Barbara Durrant, Ph.D.

Director of Reproductive Physiology, Henshaw Chair

Dr. Barbara Durrant serves the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research as director of reproductive physiology and Henshaw Chair. Her division studies reproductive biology and behavior and develops innovative methods to encourage species reproduction. The scope of her responsibilities includes ova, semen, and embryo collection, evaluation, and cryopreservation; artificial insemination; in vitro oocyte growth, maturation, and fertilization; hormonal induction of estrus and ovulation to stimulate natural breeding; endocrine monitoring; the development of novel hormone assays for the detection of ovulation and diagnosis of pregnancy.

Dr. Durrant joined the Institute for Conservation Research in 1979 as a postdoctoral fellow. In 1980, she accepted a permanent staff position and developed a formal program for reproductive physiology. She was instrumental in the successful propagation of giant pandas at the San Diego Zoo and has participated in numerous research projects involving cheetahs, rhinoceroses, koalas, clouded leopards, Przewalski’s horses, Chinese pheasants, and other species. In addition to her professional duties for San Diego Zoo Global, she also is an adjunct professor at San Diego State University and serves The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla.

Dr. Durrant received her undergraduate and graduate training at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina, earning a bachelor’s degree in animal science, a master’s degree in physiology and genetics and, in 1979, a doctoral degree in reproductive physiology. Among many grants and awards throughout her career, Dr. Durrant has been named to 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 the recipient of the McDonald Foundation’s Wildlife Heritage Fellowship and the YWCA Tribute to Women In Industry award.

Dr. Durrant has written or contributed to nearly 100 published articles, books, and presentations, and participates regularly in numerous guidance activities with young students. In addition, she serves the San Diego community in various activities and organizational or committee posts. She is a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, International Embryo Transfer Society, Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine, Society for the Study of Reproduction, American Society of Andrology, and the American Association of University Women.