Meet Dr. Michael Schwartz, Director of the National Genomics
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Meet Dr. Michael Schwartz, Director of the National Genomics

I’m Mike Schwartz. I’m the director of the National Genomic
Center for Wildlife and Fish Conservation. My general field of research is using DNA
based tools and often times these are tools that we take from human genome project, from
human medicine, and we’re taking these tools and we’re applying them to
wildlife and fish populations. So, that means we’re looking at the DNA of
an organism to try to understand something about its population size, about
connectivity among populations, or about the genetic health of a population. And we’re learning things that you
couldn’t learn by just watching an animal, or by putting a radio collar on an animal. These are things about, either
contemporary things about the animal or historic things about animal populations. So we can look at genes as they’re spread
all throughout a landscape and look at how they connect to one another. And from that, we can make inferences
as to where animals will be moving, and what areas are really important
for connectivity on a landscape. And so, one of my favorite
accomplishments that comes out of our lab, is that when we can provide maps to natural
resource managers, so they can make decisions about where to protect specific
locations of land. I think the best part of this work is the fact
that we work for a natural resource agency. And that means that our data, data that
we collect, doesn’t just go on a shelf and gather dust, it gets used by managers. Not only that, we get to work in incredible
teams with people of very diverse skills. So the team of folks I get to work with every
day is just an unbelievable, intellectual yet practical group of people, it’s
just a very inspiring workplace.

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