Aitken-Palmer returns to the Zoo as Head Veterinarian

The National Zoo has announced that Dr. Copper Aitken-Palmer has assumed the position of Head Veterinarian at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va.  In this role, she takes on the responsibility of managing the health care of SCBI’s research collections and conducting veterinary research.  Copper received her bachelor’s degree in biology from Eckerd College (1991), a master’s and Doctor of Veterinary Science degrees from Kansas State University (2003), and a doctorate from the University of Maryland (2010). Her dissertation research focused on the reproductive physiology of Giant Pandas and was conducted at the National Zoo and at the Chengdu Research Center in China under co-advisers Drs. Mary Ann Ottinger and JoGayle Howard. While completing her dissertation research, Copper simultaneously honed her veterinary skills working as a part-time veterinarian with several private practices in the Washington, D.C. area.

From left, National Zoo Reproductive Scientists Copper Aitken-Palmer, JoGayle Howard and Pierre Comizzoli perform an artificial insemination on giant panda Mei Xiang on March 19, 2008. (Photo by Jessie Cohen)

Since July 2008, she has been associated with the  University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine as a Veterinary Resident (2008-2010), a  Senior Veterinary Resident (2010-2011), and a Clinical Lecturer (2011-present). Her tenure at the University of Florida provided her with a broad range of veterinary, research  and conservation experiences, including:

  • training veterinary students in the U.S. and abroad;
  • developing and conducting an International Conservation Medicine Course; and
  • managing the health care of the collection animals and wildlife at the White Oak Conservation Center and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Posted: 14 March 2012
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