Professor, Biological Sciences, University of Adelaide
Kristofer M. Helgen is Professor of Biological Sciences and Deputy Director of the Centre for Applied Conservation Science at the University of Adelaide. His research focuses especially on fieldwork with wild animals and research in museum collections to document the richness of life, explore global change, and contribute to important problems in biomedicine. He is well known for discovering or rediscovering species of mammals all over the world, and one of his greatest goals is to search for a remnant population of Caloprymnus in Australia.
Professor Helgen received his undergraduate degree in Biology from Harvard University and his Ph.D. in Zoology at the University of Adelaide. From 2008-2017 he served as Curator of Mammals at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. He has worked professionally in more than 50 countries, and has documented and named dozens of previously overlooked species of living mammals, including the Skywalker Hoolock Gibbon of China and Myanmar, the Greater Monkey-Faced Bat of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, and the Olinguito of the Andes Mountains of Colombia and Ecuador. He has organized and led major research expeditions all over the world. He is a dedicated public communicator in support of biodiversity discovery and conservation, and appears regularly on television and radio programs.
Helgen holds professorial or other honorary academic appointments at George Mason University (Virginia), the Natural History Museum (London), the American Museum of Natural History (New York), the Bishop Museum (Honolulu), the Australian Museum (Sydney), the South Australian Museum (Adelaide), and the National Geographic Society (Washington, D.C.), where he was inducted as a National Geographic Explorer in 2009. In 2016 Helgen was awarded the James McWha Award for Excellence from the University of Adelaide and the Westbrook Free Lectureship at the Wagner Free Institute of Science in Philadelphia.