Leading snake expert dies at 38

Prominent Herpetologist suffered fatal snake-bite in Myanmar

SAN FRANCISCO - Dr. Joseph B. Slowinski died on the morning of September 12 in Myanmar (Burma) after suffering a bite from a highly venomous snake while conducting scientific research. He was 38. "We are profoundly shocked and saddened by this loss," said Dr. Patrick Kociolek, Curator and Executive Director of the California Academy of Sciences.

"Joe was one of the world's leading experts on venomous snakes and his commitment and zeal for his work never wavered despite the risks he faced. I am comforted only by the fact that he was doing what he loved most." He added, "This is a huge loss to the entire scientific community."

Dr. Slowinski was born on November 15, 1962. He received his B.S. from the University of Kansas in 1984 and a Ph.D. from the University of Miami in 1991. He was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Museum of Natural History from 1991 to 1992, and a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Museum of Natural Science, Louisiana State University from 1992 to 1994.

Dr. Slowinski was an Instructor of Biology at Louisiana State University from 1994 through 1996 and at Southeastern Louisiana University from 1996 through 1997. In 1997, he joined the California Academy of Sciences as an Assistant Curator in the Department of Herpetology and became an Associate Curator in 2000. Dr. Slowinski was also elected to the Fellowship of the California Academy of Sciences in 2000.

During his career, he was the recipient of numerous grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Geographic Society.

In 1997, Dr. Slowinski began a long-term, comprehensive survey of the herpetofauna of Myanmar, a project supported by the National Science Foundation. As part of the project, Dr. Slowinski created a training program to provide Burmese biologists with the skills needed to conduct their own biodiversity surveys so that baseline data necessary

Contact: Amy Cramer
California Academy of Sciences

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