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Gabriela Chavarria, PhD

Vice President of Research and Collections

Gabriela Chavarria, PhD, became vice president of research and collections at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science in January 2018.


Dr. Chavarria brings more than 20 years of experience in managing teams of gifted professionals and innovative science programs, influencing policy, developing new scientific collections, and leading scientists in research efforts both nationally and internationally. She is a recognized visionary leader in the scientific world. Most recently, she was senior science advisor and forensic science branch chief at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife National Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, Ore.


Growing up in Mexico City, Dr. Chavarria fell in love with bees at an early age. She has devoted her career to the conservation of native pollinators, especially bumble bees. Her recent work as a wood anatomist focused on fighting the illegal trafficking of tropical hardwoods.


She received her bachelor’s degree in biology from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and her master’s and PhD in organismic and evolutionary biology from Harvard University, where she studied under E.O. Wilson, the researcher, naturalist, entomologist, and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner. She has conducted research in more than 30 countries throughout the world. She serves on a number of boards and advisory councils, including Science Works Museum in Ashland and the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars at the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a special commitment to mentoring the next generation of scientists.

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