Director of Reproductive Sciences
Job Details
Omaha Zoological Society - Omaha, NE
Full Time

Job Title: Director of Reproductive Sciences 

FLSA Status: Exempt 

Hours: Full-time 


About us: 

We are an equal opportunity employer that sets out to inspire, educate and engage people to serve as lifelong stewards for animals, their habitats and their conservation, both locally and from a far. Together, we can preserve and enhance the legacy of the zoo and its species for future generations to come! We are Nebraska's #1 tourist attraction and consistently ranked among the top zoos in the world! 


About the team: 

A team of about 300 full-time and 650 part-time staff members strong, Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium benefits the lives of more than 1,415 species across 162 acres of land. We also support the efforts of numerous field conservation projects and research projects that help ensure a future for endangered and critically endangered flora and fauna around the world, even right here in Nebraska! Our team makes a big impart and every role is essential to move our conservation mission forward. From the much-needed Keepers to care for our species to the important Food and Beverage employees helping us gain funds to further continue our mission. This is definitely a unique place to work, employees are exposed to a fun atmosphere, where each workday is never the same. Our zoo is world-class with unmatched scenery to help you get through your duties! 


About Omaha: 

There’s just something about living in Omaha. Something that makes you feel alive and in the moment. Maybe it’s the shorter drive times or the lower cost of living. Or maybe it’s the world-class dining, arts and entertainment that are never too far away. Most likely, it’s the combination of those things that help you settle in and show out, living your best life in one of America’s most up-and-coming cities. Here are a few things that make Omaha easy for us to call home! 

  • Work: The average commute is 20.2 minutes. #8 City for the Best Work-Life Balance. (Kisi, 2019) 

  • Cost of living: 27% less than the national average. A one-bedroom apartments rent is 21% below average. (National Association of Realtors, “Median Sales Price of Existing Single-Family Homes for Metropolitan Areas”) 

  • Hobbies: Home to 85+ miles of paved, interconnected trails for walking, jogging and biking. 30+ lake communities along with 14 state parks all within 40 miles. (Yelp, 2017) 


About the role:  

We are seeking a Director of Reproductive Sciences to lead the Department of Reproductive Sciences which conducts basic studies of reproductive biology to facilitate the propagation and genetic management of endangered species through both natural and assisted reproduction.  This position is located in the Grewcock Center for Conservation Research at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Omaha, NE.  The zoo exhibits living animals, increases public awareness of conservation challenges, educates the public, and conducts research in the reproductive sciences, genetics, nutrition, veterinary medicine, and pathology.  Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium also manages a drive through Safari Park containing native animals and an off-site conservation breeding facility at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park located in Ashland, NE.  This position reports directly to the Vice President of Conservation and Animal Health. 


Duties and Responsibilities (include but not limited to): 

The primary function of the Director is to provide leadership and guidance to the Department of Reproductive Sciences with the broad goal of increasing knowledge in all fields of reproduction involving wildlife species maintained under ex situ (captive) or in situ (in the field) conditions and then interpreting and translating new data into scientific publications and improved husbandry and management.  The specific goal is to develop, improve, and apply reproductive sciences for the genetic management of sustainable populations of threatened or endangered species.  The Department also promotes advanced training of young professionals at all educational levels and is expected to share new information with Zoo staff to enhance public awareness and integrate science stories into public exhibits. 

  • Conducts and leads research. Personally investigates and oversees other scientific personnel responsible for a variety of projects involving the reproductive sciences (including the fields of gamete biology, embryology, cryobiology, endocrinology and assisted reproductive technologies). 

  • Serves as the primary source of expertise and advisor in reproductive sciences for Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium animal management staff for the practical application of the science to successful animal management. 

  • Develops, formulates, and manages the operational and travel budget for all departmental activities. 

  • Recruits, hires, supervises and evaluates the performance of scientists, technicians and trainees in the department and ensures that all research achieves high standards of excellence and contributes to the organizational mission.   

  • Encourages and reinforces collaborative, multi-disciplinary approaches among the zoo staff, as well as extramural institutions.  Special attention is given to (a) basic and applied approaches that improve knowledge that can be used to achieve sustainable population targets for priority species and (b) integrating other scientific disciplines (including from other departments at the zoo) into reproductive studies to better address the challenges of conservation breeding.  

  • Ensures that significant manuscripts are published in the peer-reviewed literature annually. 

  • Establishes collaborations and partnerships with other institutional units (animal care and research), as well as diverse extramural organizations (e.g., other AZA and non-AZA institutions, C2S2, CPSG, universities, state and federal agencies and appropriate non-governmental organizations).  These collaborations are used to identify new research projects, enhance the scope and quality of projects, and provide more and better opportunities for training young professionals. 

  • Continuously identifies priority financial needs for the Department and seeks and secures support for ongoing and new programs by submitting proposals to appropriate granting institutions.  With the prior approval of the zoo’s executive director, works with Omaha Zoo Foundation personnel to identify projects that are suitable for donor support (individuals, foundations, corporate).  Assists the Zoo in cultivating donors.  

  • Communicates with other department heads to determine common research interests and alignments that will facilitate cooperative funds generation. 

  • Supervision and training.  Supervises directly or through subordinates all activities within the Department.  By developing partnerships and funding sources, develops and leads capacity building of programs for trainees, especially post-doctoral fellows, graduate students, and interns with an emphasis on answering scientific questions. 

  • Diversity of exhibits and programs.  When invited, ensures that departmental staff participates in the development of new exhibits, education, and outreach programs.  Supports science input into exhibits, website development and other public programs. 

  • Diversity of staff.  Actively promotes diversity in the OHDZA workforce.  Fosters hiring and outreach among staff, which seek to increase diversity among employees and trainees. 


Qualifications, Knowledge, Skills and Abilities: 

  • Candidates must have a Ph.D. in one or more of the specific fields of reproduction. 

  • Additional post-doctoral training in reproductive biology and experience with multiple species preferred. 

  • Established record of publication in peer-reviewed journals. 

  • Demonstrated ability to secure external funding to support research. 

  • Experience with collaborative, multi-institutional projects associated with Taxon Advisory Groups or Species Survival Plans preferred. 

  • Five or more years of post-graduate experience preferred. 

Candidates might be required to pass a pre-employment background check, drug test, negative TB test, and possess a valid driver’s license with a good history. 


Working Conditions and Physical Effort: 

  • Will sometimes work extended/odd hours including weekends, holidays and some night programs. 

  • Must be able to walk long distances across the zoo. 

  • Coordinate multiple tasks simultaneously. 

  • Accurately complete detailed forms and reports. 

  • Calculate figures and amounts. 

  • Participate in field work under ambient temperature and humidity environments. 

  • This position performs the majority of its function in a laboratory environment.  There can be occasion where this position will be exposed to the elements or conduct its function in a zoo/aquarium environment.   Exposure to and direct contact with animals will occur.   

  • This position may also spend time in the field environment under challenging circumstances. 

  • Must be able to stand, sit, kneel, bend, twist, reach above head and climb. 

  • Will lift, push, pull, and/or move up to 25 pounds and occasionally up to 50 pounds using safe and proper lifting methods. 


Employee Benefits: 

Eligible employees at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium are provided a wide range of benefits. Throughout the hiring process we will provide you with more benefit details and which ones apply to your role. 


  • 401(k) savings plan. 

  • Flexible spending account. 

  • Medical insurance. 

  • Dental insurance. 

  • Vision insurance. 

  • Employee assistance program. 

  • Life insurance. 

  • Long-term disability. 

  • Voluntary term life insurance. 

  • Vacation, sick leave, holiday and paid-time off (PTO) accrual. 

  • Uniforms are provided. 

  • Free annual tickets for rides. 

Part-Time (the benefits below also apply to full-time staff) 

  • Free Zoo and Wildlife Safari Park membership for you and your immediate family. 

  • Employee discounts. 

  • Behind-the-scenes sneak peek at new exhibits. 



The information presented indicates the general nature and level of work expected of employees in this classification. It is not designed to contain, nor is it to be interpreted as, a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities, qualifications and objectives required of employees assigned to this job.  

Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer as defined by the EEOC.