Director, AMNH Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics
Ph.D. in Biology, Yale University, 1994
George Amato is Director of the Center for Conservation Genetics at the American Museum of Natural History. This program links efforts in the Museum’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation (CBC), Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics (SICG), and Ambrose Monell Cryo-Collection for Molecular and Microbial Research (AMCC) in efforts to conduct research and training in this expanding area of biological conservation. Current conservation genetics research areas include systematics and units of conservation, population level issues due to fragmentation of habitats and over-harvesting of wildlife, molecular ecology, and wildlife forensics. There are also formal graduate student training and informal education programs.
Dr. Amato received his B.S from the University of Connecticut and Ph.D. in Biology from Yale University. In 1989 he began research in conservation genetics at the Wildlife Conservation Society (formerly the New York Zoological Society) based at the Bronx Zoo. In addition to creating and directing the WCS Conservation Genetics Program, he was also the Director of the WCS Science Resource Center and was Director of Conservation and Science for the WCS Living Institutions until 2005. Dr. Amato is also an adjunct associate professor at Columbia and Fordham universities and a research associate in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department of Yale University.
His current research interests include genetic issues associated with fragmentation in endangered parrots and crocodilians, taxonomic and phylogenetic questions related to the discovery of new species of mammals in Southeast Asia and Crocodiles in Africa, non-invasive sampling techniques for endangered species, and monitoring the trade in endangered species products using DNA based forensic science. Dr. Amato has participated in research activities worldwide, including research in Cuba, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Madagascar, South Africa, Tanzania, Malaysia, China, and Peru. He has published and lectured extensively on conservation strategies for endangered species and especially on using molecular analyses to determine conservation priorities.