Dr Katie Edwards

Lead Conservation Scientist - Biomarker Research and Development

  • Qualifications BSc (Hons) MSc PhD
  • Focus area
  • Location
    Africa South Asia

My research focuses around developing and applying novel physiological biomarkers to understand animal reproduction, health and well-being. These tools can be applied to guide the management of wildlife in situ and ex situ, helping us to provide optimal conditions for individuals and populations to thrive and maximize the contribution they can make to global conservation efforts.

I received my bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees at the University of Liverpool. My doctoral research was in collaboration with Chester Zoo, U.K., investigating factors associated with reproductive success in eastern black rhinoceros housed in European zoos. After five years as a postdoctoral researcher at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, I returned to Chester Zoo in 2019.


Edes, A.N., Brown, J.L. and Edwards, K.L. (2020). Testing lipid markers as predictors of all-cause morbidity, cardiac disease, and mortality risk in captive western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla). Primate Biology 7: 41-59. DOI: 10.5194/pb-7-41-2020

Glaeser, S.S., Edwards, K.L., Wielebnowski, N. and Brown, J.L. (2020). Effects of physiological changes and social life events on adrenal glucocorticoid activity in female zoo-housed Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). PLoS ONE 15(11): e0241910 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0241910

Kosaruk, W., Brown, J.L., Plangsangmas, T., Towiboon, P., Punyapornwithaya, V., Silva-Fletcher, A., Thitaram, C., Khonmee, J., Edwards, K.L. and Somgird, C. (2020). Effect of tourist activities on fecal and salivary glucocorticoids and immunoglobulin A in female captive Asian elephants in Thailand. Animals 10(10): 1928 DOI: 10.3390/ani10101928

Edwards, K.L., Miller, M.A., Siegal-Willott, J. and Brown, J.L. (2020). Serum health biomarkers in African and Asian elephants: value ranges and clinical values indicative of the immune response. Animals 10(10): 1756 DOI:10.3390/ani10101756

Holmes, L., Edwards, K., Moss, A., Tollington, S., Fowler, A., Hughes, D. and Sudell, M. (2020). Statistics at the zoo. Significance 17: 26-29. DOI:10.1111/1740-9713.01446

Bastian, M.L., Glendinning, D.R., Brown, J.L., Boisseau, N.P. and Edwards, K.L. (2020). Effects of a recurring late night event on the behavior and welfare of a population of zoo-housed gorillas. Zoo Biology 39: 217- 229. DOI:10.1002/zoo.21553

Edes, A.N., Edwards, K.L., Wolfe, B.A., Brown, J.L. and Crews, D.E. (2020). Allostatic load indices with cholesterol and triglycerides predict disease and mortality risk in zoo-housed western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla). Biomarker Insights 15: 1177271920914585. DOI: 10.1177/1177271920914585

Edwards, K.L., Pilgrim, M., Brown, J.L. and Walker, S.L., 2020. Irregular ovarian cyclicity is associated with adrenal activity in female eastern black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis michaeli). General and Comparative Endocrinology, 289, p.113376.

Byron, M.J., Koester, D.C., Edwards, K.L., Mozdziak, P.E., Farin, C.E. and Crosier, A.E., 2020. Immunoglobulin J chain as a non-invasive indicator of pregnancy in the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus). PloS one, 15(2), p.e0225354.

Plangsangmas, T., Brown, J.L., Thitaram, C., Silva-Fletcher, A., Edwards, K.L., Punyapornwithaya, V., Towiboon, P. and Somgird, C., 2020. Circadian Rhythm of Salivary Immunoglobulin A and Associations with Cortisol as A Stress Biomarker in Captive Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus). Animals, 10(1), p.157.

Edwards, K.L., Edes, A.N. and Brown, J.L., 2019. Stress, well-being and reproductive success. In Reproductive Sciences in Animal Conservation (pp. 91-162). Springer, Cham.

Edwards, K.L., Bansiddhi, P., Paris, S., Galloway, M. and Brown, J.L., 2019. The development of an immunoassay to measure immunoglobulin A in Asian elephant feces, saliva, urine and serum as a potential biomarker of well-being. Conservation physiology, 7(1), p.coy077.

Edwards, K.L., Miller, M.A., Carlstead, K. and Brown, J.L., 2019. Relationships between housing and management factors and clinical health events in elephants in North American zoos. PloS one, 14(6).

Antwis, R.E., Edwards, K.L., Unwin, B., Walker, S.L. and Shultz, S., 2019. Rare gut microbiota associated with breeding success, hormone metabolites and ovarian cycle phase in the critically endangered eastern black rhino. Microbiome, 7(1), p.27.

Chave, E., Edwards, K.L., Paris, S., Prado, N., Morfeld, K.A. and Brown, J.L., 2019. Variation in metabolic factors and gonadal, pituitary, thyroid, and adrenal hormones in association with musth in African and Asian elephant bulls. General and comparative endocrinology, 276, pp.1-13.

Bansiddhi, P., Brown, J.L., Thitaram, C., Punyapornwithaya, V., Somgird, C., Edwards, K.L. and Nganvongpanit, K., 2018. Changing trends in elephant camp management in northern Thailand and implications for welfare. PeerJ, 6, p.e5996.

Maly, M.A., Edwards, K.L., Farin, C.E., Koester, D.C. and Crosier, A.E., 2018. Assessing puberty in ex situ male cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) via fecal hormone metabolites and body weights. General and comparative endocrinology, 268, pp.22-33.

Edwards, K.L., Trotter, J., Jones, M., Brown, J.L., Steinmetz, H.W. and Walker, S.L., 2016. Investigating temporary acyclicity in a captive group of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus): relationship between management, adrenal activity and social factors. General and comparative endocrinology, 225, pp.104-116.

Edwards, K.L., Walker, S.L., Dunham, A.E., Pilgrim, M., Okita-Ouma, B. and Shultz, S., 2015. Low birth rates and reproductive skew limit the viability of Europe’s captive eastern black rhinoceros, Diceros bicornis michaeli. Biodiversity and conservation, 24(11), pp.2831-2852.

Edwards, K.L., Shultz, S., Pilgrim, M. and Walker, S.L., 2015. Irregular ovarian activity, body condition and behavioural differences are associated with reproductive success in female eastern black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis michaeli). General and comparative endocrinology, 214, pp.186-194.

Edwards, K.L., Shultz, S., Pilgrim, M. and Walker, S.L., 2015. Male reproductive success is correlated with testosterone in the eastern black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis michaeli). General and comparative endocrinology, 213, pp.40-49.

Edwards, K.L., McArthur, H.M., Liddicoat, T. and Walker, S.L., 2014. A practical field extraction method for non-invasive monitoring of hormone activity in the black rhinoceros. Conservation physiology, 2(1), p.cot037.

Edwards, K.L., Walker, S.L., Bodenham, R.F., Ritchie, H. and Shultz, S., 2013. Associations between social behaviour and adrenal activity in female Barbary macaques: Consequences of study design. General and Comparative Endocrinology, 186, pp.72-79.

Watson, R., Munro, C., Edwards, K.L., Norton, V., Brown, J.L. and Walker, S.L., 2013. Development of a versatile enzyme immunoassay for non-invasive assessment of glucocorticoid metabolites in a diversity of taxonomic species. General and Comparative Endocrinology, 186, pp.16-24.

Partners and Collaborators