Patricia Gaffney, D.V.M., M.P.V.M., Ph.D., Diplomate A.C.V.P.

Senior Scientist

Dr. Patricia Gaffney serves San Diego Zoo Global as a Senior Scientist in Disease Investigations. She works as an anatomic pathologist and researcher, providing diagnostic support for San Diego Zoo Global’s animal collection and field conservation programs. She manages collaborative pathology investigations for field programs and her research investigates the genetic basis for disease in endangered species.

Patricia collaborates with other teams at the Institute to provide disease surveillance and identify disease trends in wildlife from field programs involving a variety of mammals, amphibians, and birds. She oversees disease surveillance in Northern Kenya aimed at conservation of critically endangered Hirola antelope and Grevy’s zebra. Her ongoing conservation research is with island foxes, utilizing proteomics, genomics, bioinformatics, and epidemiology to understand genetic predisposition to disease in bottlenecked species, with focus on amyloidosis. She has ongoing investigations into diseases threatening the endangered Mexican Wolf.

Patricia earned her bachelor’s degree in Animal Physiology and Neuroscience from the University of California, San Diego, cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa. She received her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine and Masters in Preventive Veterinary Medicine from the University of California, Davis. She was the Steel Endowed Pathology Resident and is board certified in Anatomic Pathology. She was the first recipient of the ACVP/STP Linda Munson Fellowship for Wildlife Pathology Research. She also has a doctorate in Integrative Pathobiology through a combined program with UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and UC San Diego School of Medicine, followed by NIH sponsored post-doctoral research at UC San Diego’s Center for Veterinary Sciences and Comparative Medicine. She brings skills in infectious disease diagnostics, control, and prevention as a former pathologist with the AAVLD certified, California Animal Health and Food Safety laboratory system. Professional affiliations include ACVP, AAZV, WDA, and IAAAM. She is pathology advisor to the Island Fox Recovery Team and Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan.

SCIENCE AT WORK