Heller Fellow Disease Investigations Research Associate I - San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance

15600 San Pasqual Valley Rd, Escondido, CA 92027, USA Req #2585
Wednesday, March 15, 2023

San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance is a nonprofit international conservation leader, committed to inspiring a passion for nature and creating a world where all life thrives. Empowering people from around the globe to support our mission to conserve wildlife through innovation and partnerships, we support cutting-edge conservation, and bring the stories of our work back to our two world-famous front doors — the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park — giving millions of guests, in person and virtually, the opportunity to experience conservation in action. The deep and extensive knowledge gained from more than a century of experience in wildlife care, health, veterinary services, nutrition and conservation makes us invaluable in the global effort to save species. Our team members play a crucial role in driving our conservation efforts forward and bringing us closer to a world where all life thrives.


The Research Associate I performs assigned laboratory, animal care, field duties and/or training initiatives in support of a variety of conservation research, endangered species propagation, diagnostic activities and/or community initiatives. The position reports to a Supervisor level or higher in the Conservation Science & Wildlife Health department.



  • Perform a variety of laboratory, diagnostic, wildlife care, and/or field duties, depending on the assignment.
  • Collect, collate, maintain, process, and analyze records relevant to current projects (e.g., biological samples).
  • Prepare, arrange, and maintain records for sample and/or wildlife shipments.
  • Collect, record and analyze data utilizing spreadsheet and database systems.
  • Document, file, and maintain records.
  • Conduct a variety of assigned research, husbandry, training, and diagnostic activities.
  • Work with team administrative assistant to maintain supply inventories and prepare purchase requisitions.
  • Ensure laboratory, animal care, and field equipment are properly maintained and calibrated and coordinates repairs and maintenance of equipment and facilities with administrative assistant.



The Research Associate performs all job assignments with a positive attitude that supports San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance's mission and vision of saving species worldwide by uniting our expertise in wildlife care and conservation science with our dedication to inspiring passion for nature and leading the fight against extinction. The Research Associate performs assigned laboratory and field duties in support of a variety of conservation research, endangered species propagation, and diagnostic activities. This one year position reports to a Disease Investigations Scientist (toxicologist) and focuses on investigating new techniques to monitor wildlife health through epigenetics, especially in relation to environmental contamination. Using biobanked tissue samples the Research Associate will perform DNA methylation studies to determine if such data can help identify wildlife chronological age, biological stressors, and biomarkers of health in both laboratory and field settings. Disease Investigations works as a team of pathologists, molecular biologists, and scientists who focus on infectious disease, epidemiology and toxicology. This position is supported by the The Elwyn Heller Foundation of San Diego to San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance.


    • At least one year of experience and/or certification in conducting laboratory or field-based research required.
    • Experience with science communication or interpretation of scientific concepts preferred.
    • Bachelor’s Degree in biological sciences or a specialized field specific to the position is required.
    • Trained in methodology and equipment used in the assigned area of biological research, animal care, diagnostics, social science or science communication
    • Proficient in data and record keeping.
    • Able to operate moderately complex computer software programs.
    • Able to communicate effectively both orally and in writing.
    • Able to work effectively with others in a diverse environment,
    • Able to attend to the needs of assigned research collections and/or community members.


  • Free admission to the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park
  • Family Passes
  • Complimentary Tickets
  • Local and In-House Discounts
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Wellness Program


  • Location: Escondido, CA
  • Position Type: Temporary Full-Time Hourly Grant Non-Exempt Position
  • Salary Rate: $23.55

Be an ally for wildlife by joining our team!

At San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, we thrive on celebrating our differences. Diversity is vital for the benefit of our team members, our guests, our community, and our wildlife.

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, disability, veteran status, or other legally protected status.

If you require a reasonable accommodation to complete an application, please email your request to and provide the job title and location to which you are applying.

As a Federal Contractor, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance is required to participate in the E-Verify Program to confirm eligibility to work in the United States. 

San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance is a drug free workplace

Location on Google Maps
  • 15600 San Pasqual Valley Rd, Escondido, CA 92027, USA