Reading about research is one thing, but nothing beats seeing it for yourself in person. So when we had the opportunity to meet with the people behind the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) and learn more about how sequencing is impacting their conservation efforts, we jumped at it – and how often do you get a chance to see a real Cheetah up-close?

It’s no secret that the cheetah has suffered tragic setbacks at the hands of human-wildlife conflict, and according to CCF, their population declined by 90% in the 20th century. To understand how the species can recover, the CCF’s team of scientists is hoping to freeze the cheetah in a genetic moment in time in terms of diversity. Since new genetic diversity cannot be created, it must be preserved.

Thermo Fisher Scientific donated an Applied Biosystems Genetic Analyzer to CCF and installed it at their headquarters in Namibia. We were able to sit down with Dr. Laurie Marker, the organization’s founder and executive director, to talk about how the new instrument will positively impact their conservation efforts by quadrupling the lab’s throughput and her vision for growing the CCF to be a shining beacon for researchers all over the African continent.

As you can see from the video, a team of amazing people power the CCF, and we were very grateful to get some of their time and video footage. It’s also worth watching our exclusive #LabChat with Dr. Anne Schmidt-Küntzel, Research Geneticist and Assistant Director for Animal Health and Research at CCF. The interview reveals some fascinating details on their multi-prong approach to conservation and how her lab operates in such a remote area.

Be sure to learn more at the Cheetah Conservation Fund’s website and follow their regular updates on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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