Rachel Burns, D.V.M.

Senior Scientist

Dr. Rachel Burns serves San Diego Zoo Global as a Senior Scientist in Disease Investigations. In this role, she is the supervisor of the anatomic pathology service and provides diagnostic support for wildlife disease investigations in San Diego Zoo’s animal collection and field conservation programs. In addition, the pathology laboratory collects, organizes, and curates the frozen tissues, formalin-fixed tissues, paraffin-embedded tissue blocks, histologic slides, and other anatomic specimens that comprise our museum-accredited Pathology Archives.

Rachel’s primary interests are in diagnostic pathology of wildlife species, particularly infectious and depositional diseases. As a former Steel Endowed Pathology Resident and Fellow, Rachel served San Diego Zoo Global for four years prior to returning as a Senior Scientist in 2017.

Rachel earned her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Wake Forest University and her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. Her pathology residency was a combined program between the University of California at Davis and San Diego Zoo Global, after which she was certified as a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists. After her fellowship in anatomic pathology in Disease Investigations, Rachel worked as a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathobiology and Veterinary Science at the University of Connecticut. She is a member of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians and the American Veterinary Medical Association.

SCIENCE AT WORK