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Director of Biodiversity Banking - Institute for Conservation Research

15600 San Pasqual Valley Rd, Escondido, CA 92027, USA Req #250
Thursday, February 6, 2020
San Diego Zoo Global is a conservation organization dedicated to the science of saving endangered species worldwide. San Diego Zoo Global operates three world-class facilities: the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research.

Our organization’s vision - we will lead the fight against extinction.

Help us to make a difference for wildlife and begin your adventure with a career at the San Diego Zoo. Join the dedicated crew who are passionate about what they do and strive to create unforgettable experiences for our guests.

The San Diego Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research has an immediate opening for a full-time conservation innovator to develop and lead the research and technical team devoted to our unique Frozen Zoo® cryobank (®). This position will also interface with our Native Plant Seed Bank, Pathology Archives and other biomaterials collections.


We are specifically seeking candidates with experience managing cryopreservation systems who possess the scientific training preparing them to conduct collection management research and to curate preserved biological collections of plants and animals, as well as skills to develop and manage the Biodiversity Banking team as an enterprising, service-oriented unit.  A background that includes a strong understanding of cryobiology, cell biology, tissue culture, gamete preservation, and/or seed banking as well as curation and collection management is desirable.


This position marks Biodiversity Banking’s establishment as an independent unit within the San Diego Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research and presents opportunities to collaborate with a dynamic research team that includes Community Engagement, Conservation Genetics, Disease Investigations, Plant Conservation, Population Sustainability, Reproductive Sciences, and Recovery Ecology.  We are the largest zoo-based, multidisciplinary research and wildlife conservation team in the world and are currently engaged in projects in more than 40 countries benefitting over 100 species.


The successful candidate will oversee the current five-person team and the Frozen Zoo® facilities at the Beckman Center for Conservation Research in Escondido, California, and at the San Diego Zoo. The initial expectation is to adapt the existing group into an independent unit supporting scientific research of other Institute teams while developing a productive new program dedicated to improving the science of cryopreservation and biobank collection management.


We are looking for candidates with:

  • An advanced degree in the biological or curatorial sciences
  • Relevant science and professional management experience
  • Proficiency and interest in working as a member of an applied, multidisciplinary scientific research team dedicated to saving species
  • Collections management experience with curator-level responsibility
  • Systems management skills, including the capacity to organize diverse biomaterials collections into an integrated whole
  • Proven ability to collect reliable data, formulate accurate analysis and lead others to take effective action in novel circumstances
  • Organizational and planning skills applicable to maximizing both return on conservation mission as well as return on investment in staff and capital
  • Experience with preparation and management of budgets at the departmental level


The Director of Biodiversity Banking will expand and balance Frozen Zoo® operations to meet San Diego Zoo Global’s strategic objectives, promote the value it adds to the organization, and generate appropriate revenue for services and materials it provides externally.


PLEASE READ IMPORTANT INFORMATION:  When uploading your resume please include your cover letter as the first page of your resume and upload it as one document. (In the cover letter, candidates are requested to include a statement of career goals and vision for San Diego Zoo Global’s Biodiversity Banking program).



  • Plans, designs, organizes, supervises, and conducts independent and collaborative, mission-aligned research projects and programs
  • Oversees operations of laboratory and/or field programs
  • Mentors staff within the team and determines reporting needs
  • Develops and administers training concerning research goals, including doctoral and postdoctoral students, volunteers, and others
  • Keeps abreast of relevant research and technology developments
  • Determines research parameters, methodology, and cost requirements
  • Develops, administers, and monitors assigned budgets
  • Obtains external funding to support programs
  • Evaluates funding sources and prepares grant applications
  • Engages in enterprise activities that maximize return on investment in staff and capital
  • Publishes papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals and popular literature
  • Prepares progress reports and other documentation as required
  • Adheres to all SDZG and department policies and practices
  • Exemplifies the highest standard of work ethics
  • Practices the GRRREAT Customer Service Standards



  • Develops a broad-scale scientific research program for the team that is aligned with the organization and the Institute’s strategic goals
  • Oversees data collection and documentation of research methodology and results
  • Develops and applies new methodologies
  • Generates appropriate revenue for services and materials
  • Maintains inventories and provides samples to collaborating researchers
  • Maintains applicable records
  • Makes presentations to professional groups and organization staff
  • Serves on the ICR Directors Team and participates in a wide variety of the Institute’s business discussions and decisions
  • Collaborates with scientific colleagues within and outside San Diego Zoo Global
  • May organize international symposia
  • Reviews scientific manuscripts and grant proposals
  • Serves in a professional service capacity for outside conservation organizations and academic institutions
  • Serves on national and international advisory committees
  • Maintains a variety of contacts in order to respond to inquiries and requests and effectively coordinate activities



Performs related duties and responsibilities as required.



PhD in a specialized area of biological science and/or a DVM or equivalent specialized training; considerable experience conducting and directing research in a specialized field; valid California driver license.


Knowledge of:

  • Government regulations applicable to research, hazardous materials, and safety
  • Effective leadership skills

Ability to:

  • Use word processing, spreadsheet, database, graphics, and desktop publishing systems
  • Develop, administer, and monitor budgets
  • Prepare and review grant applications and administer grants
  • Prepare papers for publication scientific journals
  • Create and manage a dynamic team
  • Manage staff and work effectively with others in a diverse environment
  • Communicate effectively (verbal and written)
  • Prepare and deliver presentations



Possible exposure to radiation, zoonotic diseases, potentially hazardous chemicals, and biohazardous materials; work outdoors with wild animals in varying weather conditions



Move moderately heavy objects approximately 25-35 pounds; may require travel


Institute for Conservation Research – Escondido, CA

Duration: Year Round/Exempt with benefits

Exempt position: Salary is commensurate with experience

Application deadline: Tuesday, March 31, 2020




SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL IS AN EEO/AA/DISABILITY/PROTECTED VETERAN EMPLOYER – San Diego Zoo Global makes every effort to ensure equal employment opportunities for all individuals and abides by EEO and nondiscrimination provisions of all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations. If you require a reasonable accommodation to complete an application, please email your request to and provide the job title and location to which you are applying. 

All New Hires are subject to passing a drug screen and some employment is contingent upon passing pre-placement testing.

Are you ready to start your adventure and put your Passion for Wildlife to work?

Other details

  • Pay Type Salary
  • 15600 San Pasqual Valley Rd, Escondido, CA 92027, USA