Barbara Durrant, Ph.D.

Henshaw Endowed Director of Reproductive Sciences

Dr. Barbara Durrant serves San Diego Zoo Global as the Henshaw Endowed Director of Reproductive Sciences. Her division studies reproductive biology, endocrinology, and behavior, and develops innovative methods to encourage species reproduction. In addition to gamete physiology and assisted reproduction studies in mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians, her staff conducts research in stem cell culture and transfer, endocrine disruption, and the development and validation of hormone assays for a wide variety of species. She currently mentors a doctoral student studying reproduction and behavior of sloth bears in India.

Germplasm cryopreservation is a major focus of Barbara’s research, with emphasis on the assessment of potential fertility of thawed sperm, ova, and embryos. In vitro oocyte maturation, fertilization, and embryo development are being developed. Applied research projects include artificial insemination and the hormonal induction of estrus and ovulation. Ultrasound and infrared thermography are used to assess cyclic ovarian dynamics and detect early pregnancy.

Barbara earned her bachelor’s degree in Animal Science, her master’s degree in Physiology and Genetics, and her doctorate in Reproductive Physiology from North Carolina State University. She is an adjunct faculty member in the Biology Department at San Diego State University and the Natural Science Department at Palomar College. She is recognized in Outstanding Young Women of America, Who’s Who in the West, Who’s Who in California, and American Men and Women of Science. She is also a recipient of the McDonald Foundation’s Wildlife Heritage Fellowship and the YWCA Tribute to Women In Industry award. She has written or contributed to more than 120 published articles, books, and presentations, and participates regularly in student mentoring. She is a member of the Board of Governors and the Foundation Board of Trustees for the International Embryo Transfer Society, for which she also serves as Treasurer.

SCIENCE AT WORK