Celebrating International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Posted February 8, 2023 by Angela Hatke

February 11 is International Day of Women and Girls in Science and we are here to celebrate! Women in science can change the world! Meet some of the brilliant women who are making Cincinnati Zoo, and the world, better… with science!

Cat Razal

scientist wtih flowerDid you know the Cincinnati Zoo has animal behavior scientists who monitor the animals in our care? Cat Razal, Animal Excellence Scientist, coordinates aspects of our animal welfare program, particularly helping to manage our internal behavior research program and welfare assessment process. Razal amassed a range of research experience at multiple AZA zoos and aquariums including most recently Texas State Aquarium and Brookfield Zoo. Razal is originally from Toronto, Canada but has lived in many regions of the USA since then, most recently Corpus Christi, TX.

Dr. Mahi Puri

Dr. Mahi Puri was recently hired at the Cincinnati Zoo to lead coexistence research and collaborative field research with elephant conservation partners.  Dr. Puri is an interdisciplinary scientist and has been working on conservation issues since 2007 in various capacities. She recently worked as Senior Research Scientist at the Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources, University of Georgia. She also worked on a collaborative project with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to understand tolerance towards urban wildlife among Metro Atlanta residents. She graduated with a Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation from the University of Florida. Mahi’s Ph.D. research was at the intersection of multiple themes including carnivore biology, landscape ecology, human-wildlife interactions, stakeholder participation, and systematic conservation planning.

Terri L. Roth, MS, Ph.D

Dr. Roth and HarapanRhino expert Dr. Terri Roth is the director of Cincinnati Zoo’s Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW). She and her team of scientists are on a mission to Save Species with Science®. Dr. Roth has conducted research with species ranging from toads to rhinos but is most renowned for her scientific breakthroughs that led to the success in breeding Sumatran rhinos at both the Cincinnati Zoo and the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Indonesia. In 2021 she helped launch the American Institute of Rhinoceros Science (AIRS) to focus efforts to further our understanding of rhino biology and develop ways to support species survival. AIRS is a coalition of expert rhino scientists investigating avenues for optimizing the health and well-being of rhinos in human care. Their work focuses on four main research priorities: physical fitness, reproduction, well-being, and iron storage.

Megan Philpott, Ph.D

Dr. Philpott studies exceptional plants, which can’t be seed-banked, and tries to figure out ways to bank them and preserve them for the future. Oaks and many tropical and desert species are among those that she studies. She uses tools like cryopreservation to store plants in liquid nitrogen to help prevent them from going extinct. They can stay in a frozen state for hundreds of years! Dr. Philpott also uses tissue culture to grow plants in test tubes for restorations, and genetic techniques to understand how diverse the populations we work with are. Dr. Philpott got her bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. at the University of Cincinnati in Biology.

Erin Curry, MS, Ph.D

Dr. Curry is a Reproductive Physiologist with a focus on polar bear reproduction. She joined CREW as a Post-doctoral Fellow in January 2011 and began working with polar bears, an iconic species for climate change due to their dependence on sea ice for survival and reproduction. In addition to developing novel methods for non-invasively monitoring reproductive activity in polar bears, in 2012, Dr. Curry led a CREW team in performing the first-ever artificial insemination procedure on a polar bear.  She oversees CREW’s Polar Bear Signature Project®.