AWI Welcomes New Scientific Committee Members

This year, AWI welcomes four esteemed individuals to its Scientific Committee: Drs. Frank Cipriano, Cristina Eisenberg, David Fraser, and Richard Reading. They will join three long-standing members on the committee: Drs. Roger Fouts, Viktor Reinhardt, and Robert Schmidt. The deep knowledge, experience, perspective, ethics, and commitment of these scientists help AWI work toward our objectives on behalf of animals. We are grateful for their support.

Frank Cipriano, PhD
An evolutionary biologist and ecologist, Frank has served on the International Whaling Commission’s Scientific Committee since 1997. In the 1990s, he developed a portable DNA testing method that he has used to identify commercial products containing endangered and threatened whale and dolphin species. Frank has been a field and laboratory course instructor, Earthwatch project leader, National Science Foundation marine biotechnology post-doc at the University of Hawaii, and conservation genetics post-doc at Harvard University. For 18 years, he was director of the Genomics/Transcriptomics Analysis Core and a molecular techniques instructor at San Francisco State University. He currently serves on the River Otter Ecology Project’s Scientific Advisory Board, is a research associate and academy fellow at the California Academy of Sciences, a research associate with Fundación Cethus in Argentina, and a member of the IUCN’s Cetacean Specialist Group. 

Cristina Eisenberg, PhD 
Cristina is a Native American community ecologist who, over the past two decades, has studied the effects of fire, large herbivore grazing, and predator-prey relationships within forest and grassland ecosystems. Cristina works to integrate the Traditional Ecological Knowledge of Indigenous communities into ecological restoration projects and is the principal investigator on major restoration projects within Alberta’s Waterton Lakes National Park and Montana’s Fort Belknap Reservation. She is a Smithsonian Research Associate and the former chief scientist at Earthwatch Institute, where she oversaw a global research program focusing on ecological restoration, wildlife conservation, social justice for Indigenous peoples, and sustainable natural resources production. She is a member of the graduate faculty at Oregon State University in the College of Forestry and serves on several boards. 

David Fraser, PhD 
David is a professor in the University of British Columbia’s Animal Welfare Program. Over the course of a distinguished career spanning five decades, he has studied the welfare of farm, wild, and companion animals and worked with many organizations and international committees to find practical ways to improve the lives of animals. He was one of the original members of the Animal Welfare Working Group of the World Organisation for Animal Health and chaired the expert consultation on animal welfare of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. David was one of the original members of Canada’s National Farmed Animal Health and Welfare Council and led the development of the council’s national strategy for farm animal welfare. In 2005, he was appointed Member of the Order of Canada for his work as “a pioneer in the field of animal welfare science.”

Richard Reading, PhD
Richard is director for research and conservation at the Butterfly Pavilion and serves as the executive director of the Coalition for International Conservation. He has conducted or overseen projects in dozens of countries in six continents, working primarily on grassland and arid ecosystems—in particular the Great Plains of North America, the steppes and deserts of Mongolia, the savannahs and deserts of Botswana, and the Altiplano of Peru. His work focuses on developing pragmatic, effective, and interdisciplinary approaches to the conservation of wildlife and protected areas through research, capacity development, and working with local people and governments. Richard serves as an associate editor for five scientific journals and holds affiliations with the University of Denver, Colorado State University, and the University of Nebraska.

Roger Fouts, PhD
Roger, along with his wife and collaborator, Deborah Fouts, may be most well-known for his communication research conducted with the famed Washoe and other chimpanzees using sign language. Roger secured an enriched environment for the chimpanzees while ensuring that they would never be used in biomedical research. His book, Next of Kin, chronicles his lifelong relationship with Washoe and tells the story of how the chimpanzees signed to humans and each other. He was the co-founder and co-director of the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute and co-founder of Friends of Washoe. Roger has been among the strongest and most vocal of advocates for chimpanzees used in experiments, but his compassion extends broadly to all animals. Roger served on AWI’s board of directors from fall 2000 until spring 2007, when he transitioned onto the scientific committee.

Viktor Reinhardt, DVM, PhD
Viktor, an ethologist and veterinarian, worked for many years at the Primate Research Center in Wisconsin, where he pioneered methods of handling, housing, and caring for primates to better meet their behavioral needs and promote the animals’ psychological well-being. In 1995, he joined the staff at AWI, continuing his groundbreaking efforts to promote better conditions for animals in research. In 2002, he established the Laboratory Animal Refinement and Enrichment Forum (LAREF), a global online discussion forum for laboratory animal care personnel seeking to improve conditions for the animals in their care. Viktor has written, co-authored, and edited numerous AWI books addressing behavior and refinement. Viktor “retired” from AWI in 2013 and joined the Scientific Committee. He continues to moderate LAREF and is working on the sixth in a series of books based on LAREF discussions.

Robert Schmidt, PhD
Robert’s long-standing interest is in “human dimensions” (humanity’s relationship with nature and natural resources), and the focus of much of his research is the relationships between people and wildlife, including hunting and trapping ethics, gray wolves and humans, coyotes and livestock, and urban predators. Robert is an emeritus associate professor in the Department of Environment and Society at Utah State University, where he has taught and conducted research since 1991. He teaches a popular course, Living with Wildlife, to get students thinking about issues such as overexploitation, the impacts on biodiversity of habitat loss and fragmentation, and invasive species. Robert is past president of the Western Section of The Wildlife Society, has served on the USDA National Wildlife Services Advisory Committee, and is currently a member of the National Feline Research Council. He has served on AWI’s Scientific Committee since 2007.

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