Our Projects

Dr Helen Senn

WildGenes Programme Manager

Research interests

Helen is interested in applying population genetic methods to a wide range of conservation issues. She has particular interest in the genetic management of reintroductions, the effect of drift on captive populations, the detection and management of hybridization, relationship between taxonomy and conservation, strategic planning and capacity building. Her academic research work mainly focuses on arid-land ungulate species (e.g. Arabian oryx, scimitar-horned oryx, addax and dama gazelle), wildcats, beaver and other mammals. Her PhD research focused on the hybridisation of red and sika deer in Scotland. Helen manages the RZSS WildGenes Lab based at Edinburgh Zoo which consist of a team of 5 scientist who work on projects centering on in-situ monitoring, ex-situ management, reintroduction management and control of the illegal wildlife trade. RZSS WildGenes works alongside government agencies, conservation charities and zoos across the world to deliver data, advice, training and capacity building.


• PhD (University of Edinburgh, UK) Molecular Ecology/Evolutionary Biology
• BSc hons (University of St Andrews) Environmental and Evolutionary Biology

Other positions

  • IUCN Antelope specialist group member (2014-)
  • IUCN Conservation genetics specialist group member (2016-)
  • Sahara Conservation Fund Conservation & Science Committee Member (2014-)
  • EAZA population management group (2015-)
  • EAZA bio-banking committee (2016-)
  • Genetics advisor to Scottish Wildcat (2016-) and AZAA Arabian Sand Cat (2014-) breeding programmes.
  • University of Edinburgh, Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Hon. Fellowship (2016-)
  • University of Glasgow, Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, Affiliate (2016-)
  • Sharjah International Workshop for the Conservation of Arabian Biodiversity Scientific Committee Member (2017-)


For all of Helen's publications please visit her Google Scholar page here.