Dr. Oliver A. Ryder is Director of Genetics and holds the Kleberg Chair at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. He oversees a highly productive laboratory group that includes activities in the areas of molecular genetics, cytogenetics, cell culture, and tissue culture cryobanking. He directs the viable cell collection of the Frozen Zoo® project, a unique resource of cell cultures that has made notable scientific contributions in the field of conservation and other biological disciplines. His professional career has been devoted to developing and applying genetic research methods in support of endangered species conservation efforts for species held in the Zoo and wild populations.
Dr. Ryder is a geneticist with broad background and training. He has been recognized for his contributions to understanding and conserving genetic diversity as an AAAS fellow. His scientific achievements in wild animal health were recognized by the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians in 2005.
He has published extensively, including citation classics in the field of mammalian evolution, conservation science and policy, comparative cytogenetics, and genomics research.
Dr. Ryder’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from the University of California, Riverside, and a Ph.D. in biology from the University of California, San Diego. He holds a position of adjunct professor in the Department of Evolution, Behavior and Ecology, in the Division of Biology, at the University of California, San Diego. He also holds adjunct faculty positions at San Diego State University and the University of California, Riverside.
Dr. Ryder has contributed key studies relevant to conservation management efforts for gorillas, California condors, African rhinos, Przewalski’s horses, Anegada iguanas, and numerous other species. He has been a leader in developing studies that link conservation efforts for small managed populations, such as are held in zoos, with larger landscape scale efforts for wild populations.