Rachel Felton, M.S.
Rachel Felton serves San Diego Zoo Global as a Senior Research Associate in Reproductive Sciences. She is interested in how environmental chemicals disrupt reproduction in endangered species. In the lab, Rachel clones hormone receptors from species of interest for receptor activation assays. These assays identify chemicals that interfere with the actions of endogenous hormones by binding to receptors, which ultimately disrupt key processes such as reproduction. In addition, she assists with urine and fecal hormone assays to compile hormone profiles on species in the San Diego Zoo Global collection for management purposes.
Rachel’s current research focuses on how chemicals present in coastal habitats affect reproduction of the critically endangered California condor. Her research aims to help prioritize the selection of future release sites toward areas with low risk of exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.
Rachel earned her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Missouri State University and her master’s degree in Animal Science from University of Missouri, where she studied the interactions of environmental contaminants on California condor estrogen receptors. Before initially coming to San Diego Zoo Global as an Undergraduate Summer Student Fellow, she worked part time as a keeper at Dickerson Park Zoo. Her passion for animals and wildlife extends into her everyday life, where she enjoys taking her dogs to the beach and exploring southern California trails on horseback.