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Meet Our People

Dr. Nina Woodford
Director of the Office of the Campus Veterinarian
Dr. Keith Blatner
Director of the Grizzly Bear Research, Education and Conservation Center
Dr. Charles Robbins
Professor, Wildlife Biology
Dr. Robbins has over 26 years of experience working with bears and has been studying nutrition, energetics, and ecology for over 30 years.
Dr. Lynne Nelson
WSU Bear Center DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVIM (Internal Medicine, Cardiology)
Professor, Cardiology

Dr. Nelson has advanced degrees in both wildlife biology and veterinary medicine and assists with the veterinary care of the captive bears. She has an extensive research program directed at understanding heart function, particularly in hibernating bears. She has been working with the bears for over 15 years.
Dr. Heiko Jansen
Associate Professor, Neuroscience
Dr. Jansen has been working with the bears for 6 years. His research investigates the role of biological rhythms in the organization of motivated behaviors using behavioral, anatomical, and molecular techniques.
Dr. Chantal Vella
Associate Professor, Director, Exercise Physiology Laboratory, University of Idaho
Dr. Vella is interested in the effects of obesity on cardiovascular function, as well as the effects of diet and changes in body fat on the metabolic profile and inflammatory markers in bears.
Dr. Jasmine Ware
Research Scientist
Research: Analyzing polar bear activity from two populations over the last 25 years with respect to changing sea ice conditions.

Graduate Students

Joy Erlenbach
PhD Student, Environmental & Natural Resource Sciences
Research: Marine invertebrate use by brown bears on the Katmai coast, Alaska.
Michael Saxton
PhD Student, Zoology
Research: Physiological adaptations to hibernation in brown bears.
Nicole Marinelli
MS Student, Neuroscience
Research: Brown bear cranial anatomy.


Undergraduate volunteers
Undergraduate volunteers are a valuable part of the daily care of animals, assisting in cleaning pens, feeding bears, and assisting in ongoing research. Up to 7 volunteers, typically students of wildlife ecology or zoology, are given the opportunity to work in the Bear Center each semester and during the summer.