CV of Jay Vavra, Ph.D.

University of Southern California: Ph.D., 1998, Department of Biological Sciences

Stanford University: B.S. (with honors), 1987, Department of Biological Sciences

University of California, San Diego, 1984, Scripps Institute of Oceanography: Oceanography course

Director, Bushmeat Identification Workshop, Mweka College of African Wildlife Management, Moshi, Tanzania (7/09)

Assistant Instructor, J. Craig Venter Institute, Genomics Workshop, JCVI, La Jolla, CA (7/08)

Lead Teacher, Project Lead the Way Summer Training Institute, Biotechnical Engineering, Purdue University (8/05)

Biotechnology/Biology Teacher, High Tech High – San Diego, CA (8/02-present)
Multidisciplinary program in Biotechnology and Biology

Biotechnology/Biology Teacher, Department of Biology – San Diego High School (9/00-6/02)
Biotechnology course taught at San Diego City College

Assistant Professor, Dept. of Biology- San Diego City College (8/99-5/00);
General Biology, Human Anatomy and Marine Biology -lecture and laboratory instruction.

Adjunct Biology Instructor, Dept. of Biology – Southwestern College (1/99-6/99);
Human Physiology – lecture and laboratory instruction.

Adjunct Biology Instructor, Dept. of Natural Sciences – San Diego City College (8/98-7/99; 8/00-5/01)
General Biology and Marine Biology – lecture and laboratory instruction.

Teaching Assistant, Dept. of Biological Sciences – U.S.C. (9/89-5/97)
Principles of Biology, Microbiology, Biochemistry, Human Physiology, Animal Physiology, Immunology, and Invertebrate Zoology

McMurdo Station – National Science Foundation, Antarctica (12/93-2/94)
Biological Adaptations of Antarctic Marine Organisms (National Science Foundation)

U.S.C., Catalina Marine Science Center, Santa Catalina Island, CA (6/92-8/92 & 5/91-7/91)
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of Marine Organisms (Office of Naval Research)


Quiksilver – USC Formal Teaching Excellence Award, 2012

National Education Association Christa McAuliffe Award, 2009

Invitrogen-Genzyme Biotech Educator of the Year, 2008

SDGE San Diego County Enivironmental Educator of the Year, 2007

Amgen Science Teacher of the Year, 2007

San Diego County Science Fair Teacher of the Year, 2006

San Diego Unified School District – Regional Occupational Program Distinguished Teacher, 2005

University Teaching Assistant of the Year, U.S.C.; 1996-97

Nominated by Dept. of Biological Sciences for the University Teaching Assistant of the Year, U.S.C.; 1995-96

Upper-Division Biology Teaching Assistant, U.S.C.; 1991-92, 1993-94 and 1994-95

Education Director, E.O. Wilson’s Life on Earth (8/08 – present)

Curriculum Development, Biotechnology Institute (2007- 2008t)
Operation Biotech, Supported by Department of Labor

Curriculum Development and Curriculum Writing, Project Lead the Way (2003-2005)
Biotechnical Engineering

Vice President and Co-founder, Natural Selection Bath and Body Products, Inc., San Diego, CA (2/00-present)
Development, production and marketing of natural bath and body products.

President, Environ Marine Products, San Diego, CA (10/98-9/99)
Analyzed and distributed environmentally safe marine products.

Environmental Consultant, Marine Ecological Consultants, Carlsbad, CA (1/89-8/89)
Conducted productivity and environmental impact surveys of artificial reefs and sewage outfalls.

Biologist – Biotechnology, Syva-Syntex, Medical Diagnostics Division, Palo Alto, CA (11/87-9/88)
Evaluated monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies for medical diagnostics (using: column chromatography, ELISA, gel electrophoresis). Analyzed rapid assays for therapeutic and abusive drugs.

Assistant Aquarist, Scripps Institute of Oceanography Aquarium, La Jolla, CA (7/85-9/85)
Collected specimens and monitored aquaria.

Biomimicry, San Diego, CA (8/08-present)
Development of new products and systems from nature’s designs.

DNA Barcoding of African Bushmeat, San Diego, CA (6/05-present)
Developing methods indentifying unknown meat samlpes using DNA sequencing of Cytochrome Oxidase I. Collaboration with CRES of the San Diego Zoological Society.

San Diego Bay, San Diego, CA (9/04-present)
Ecological assessment of marine invertebrate abundance and diversity in the rocky intertidal. Also bird censusing and plankton analysis.

San Diego City College, San Diego, CA (10/98-9/99)
Analyzed nontoxic boat hull coatings for repelling fouling organisms.

Bodega Bay Marine Laboratory – UC Davis, Bodega Bay, CA (6/94-8/94 &5/93-7/93)
Studied physiological components of hybrid vigor in oyster larvae.

McMurdo Station – National Science Foundation, Antarctica (12/93-2/94)
Studied physiological adaptations to low temperature in antarctic sea urchin larvae.

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA (9/89-8/98)
Studied protein metabolism in marine invertebrate larvae with Donal Manahan.

Trinity College, Cambridge, England (9/87-11/87)
Analyzed early oyster farming from a British Romano site in Southern England.

Skourta Plain, Greece (6/87-8/87)
Archaeological field survey with the Stanford University Classics Department.

Punta Cabras, Baja California, Mexico (7/86-9/86)
Marine archaeology project (honors thesis), with an emphasis on shellfish exploitation.

Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University, Pacific Grove, CA (3/86-6/86)
Independent research on dispersal and settlement of barnacles.

San Diego Bay: A Call for Conservation. 2009. California Sea Grant. Foreword by E.O. Wilson; Preface by Jane Goodall. Review

Vavra, J., Evolution to Ecology: Knowing and Surveying Intertidal Invertebrates

San Diego Bay: A Story of Exploitation and Restoration. 2007. California Sea Grant. Foreword by Jane Goodall

Vavra, J. and O. Ryder, A class action: DNA barcoding, student scientists and the bushmeat crisis. ZOONOOZ, Oct. 2006

Vavra, J and T. Fehrenbacher San Diego Bay Field Guide Project. Gates Dissemination Grant. High Tech High, 2006.

Perspectives of San Diego Bay: A Field Guide, 2005, Next Generation Press, Providence, RI., 2006. Foreword by Jane Goodall

Vavra, J. and D.T. Manahan. 1999. Protein metabolism in lecithotrophic larvae (Gastropoda: Haliotis rufescens). Biological Bulletin. 196:177-186.

Vavra, J. Doctoral Dissertation, Biological Sciences. Protein Metabolism During Marine Invertebrate Development. University of Southern California Press.

Hedgecock, D., D.J. McGoldrick, D.T. Manahan, J. Vavra, N. Appelmans, and B.L. Bayne. 1996. Quantitative and molecular genetic analyses of heterosis in bivalve molluscs. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 203: 49-59.

Podolsky, R., P. Virtue, T. Hamilton, J. Vavra, and D.T. Manahan. 1994. Energy metabolism during development of the Antarctic sea urchin Sterechinus neumayeri. Antarctic Journal of the United States. 29:157-159.

Vavra, J. 2010.”The Art of Biology and the Biology of Art: High Tech High Presentation of Learning,” AAAS-Pacific Division Annual Meeting

Vavra, J. 2010. “”The Case for Original Research in the High School Science Classroom,” AAAS-National Meeting

Vavra, J. and M.K. Morikawa. 2009.”Monitoring African Bushmeat in the Classroom: Global Conservation Education,” AAAS-Pacific Division Annual Meeting

Vavra, J. 2009. ?The San Diego Bay Study: Community-Based Conservation, ?AAAS-Pacific Division Annual Meeting, Symposium – Sustainability as A Way of Life: Learning, Practice, and Experience

Vavra, J. and M.K. Morikawa. The African Bushmeat Expedition: Inquiry-based conservation education and the bushmeat crisis, 9th meeting of the National Conference for Science and the Environment, 2008.

Shumer, R., Vavra, J. and L. Shumer. Youth Led Research: Interdisciplinary Examples for Community-Based Learning. National Council for the Social Studies Annual Meeting. 2007.

DNA Barcoding, student scientists and the bushmeat crisis, session sponsored by Smithsonian Institution, Annual American Zoo and Aquarium Meeting, Tampa Florida

Vavra, J. and D.T. Manahan. 1998. Protein loss and turnover during lecithotrophic larval development of the gastropod Haliotis rufescens. American Zoologist. 37: 13A.

Paper presented at the 1998 annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (formerly the American Society of Zoologists) in Boston, Massachusetts.

Vavra, J., N. Appelmans, and D.T. Manahan. 1995. A quantitative genetic study of metabolic rate and protein turnover during larval growth and development of the bivalve Crassostrea gigas. Physiological Zoology. 68:121A.

Paper presented at the 1995 International Society of Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry meeting in Birmingham, England.

Vavra, J. and D.T. Manahan. 1993. Effects of delayed feeding on amino acid transport and protein metabolism in sea urchin larvae. American Zoologist. 33:14A.

Presented this talk at the 1993 annual meeting of the American Society of Zoologists in Los Angeles, California.

Vavra, J. and D.T. Manahan. 1991. Ontogenic changes and the effects of food quality on protein synthesis in bivalve larvae. American Zoologist. 31:13A.

Presented this talk at the 1991 annual meeting of American Society of Zoologists in Atlanta, Georgia.

Invasive Species Assessment of San Diego Bay, United States Navy, Southwest Division ($15,900)

SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and Fujifilm Environmental Education Award, 2009 ($10,000)

Invitrogen Foundation – African Bushmeat Expedition, Summer 2008 ($16,000)

Port of San Diego, Environmental Education Grant, 2007 ($10,000)

Toyota Tapestry Grant, Science and Literacy, 2007 ($10,000)

National Sea Grant College Program, U.S. Dept. of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Grant #NA04OAR4170038, 2007 ($7,500)

Port of San Diego, Environmental Services Grant ($6,000)

SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and Fujifilm Environmental Education Award, 2006 ($10,000)

National Education Association Teacher Innovation Grant, 2006 ($5,000)

What Kids Can Do Grant, 2004-2005, “Two Sides of San Diego Bay: A Field Guide, ” ($4,500)

Commendation from City of San Diego, Presented by City Council Member Michael Zucchet, November, 2004

Turner Biosystems Fluorometer Grant, 2004, (TBS-380, $3,000)

San Diego Department of Outdoor Education Environmental Studies Grant, “Two Sides of the Boat Channel: A Field Guide” 2004

Science Tools Grant, Education Committee of the San Diego Chapter of the Armed Forces Communication and Electronics, 2003

Perkins Mini Grant, San Diego School to Career, 2003

Nell Soto Grant for Community Outreach, San Diego High School, 2001

University Dissertation Fellowship: Letters, Arts, and Sciences, U.S.C.; 1997-98

Sea Grant Traineeship (Fellowship for Graduate Research); 1995-96

Achievement Reward for College Scientists ($5,000 Annual Research Award); 1993�96

Firestone Award – Outstanding Honors Thesis, Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University

Firestone Research Grant for Undergraduate Research, Stanford University; 1985-86

Interpretive Advisory Council of the Zoological Society of San Diego (2/10-present)

Member, AAAS Pacific Divsion Education Committee for 2009-2010

Member-at-large, Council of the AAAS Pacific Division, 2009 – 2012

Educational Taskforce of the Zoological Society of San Diego (7/08-1/10)

Member National Science Teachers Association.

San Diego GIS Educational Consortium

Board of Directors, Marine Technology Society, San Diego Chapter (2003-2006)

Curriculum design Team (Kernel Development) for Biotechnical Engineering with Project Lead the Way and Indiana State Department of Education

Member of American Society of Engineering Education

High Tech High Summer Institute for Gates Foundation Schools, 2003-2007

Member of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, Biosite, San Diego; 2002-2004t

SciTech Academy Advisory Board, San Diego High School

Career Paths Committee, Western Association of Schools and Colleges, San Diego High School

Member of the National Science Teacher’s Association

Member of Science Education Association of San Diego

Member of American Bamboo Society

Member of the Janoch Scholarship Committee, San Diego City College

Member of N.S.F. sponsored F.I.R.S.T (Faculty Interests in Reforming Science Teaching), SDCC

State of the University: Graduate Student Panel, U.S.C.; 1998

Chairman of Committee on Teaching Assistant and Research Assistant Affairs, Council of Professional and Graduate Students, U.S.C.; 1994-95

Graduate Student Representative, Marine Biology Graduate Program, U.S.C.; 1993-1995

Videographer – E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation presents “A Journey Through Gorongosa”

Two Sides of the Boat Channel: A Field Guide, Spring 2004 HTH Biotech class project,
Foreword by Dr. Jane Goodall

Presentation on Embryology and Evolution for Science Education Association of San Diego (SEASAND), Pt Loma Nazarene University, Summer Institute, 2003

Biotechnology Teacher’s Forum, BIO 2001 Conference

Reviewer of Marine Life and the Sea, 2nd edition by David H. Milne

Judge for the 1997 California State Science Fair, Pharmacology Division

Varsity Track and Field, Stanford University, 1983-1985

Extensive travel experience: New Zealand, Antarctica, Europe, North Africa, East Africa, South Africa, Southeast Asia, and Central America

Languages: Fluent in Spanish and basic conversation in Swahili and Modern Greek

1 Response to CV of Jay Vavra, Ph.D.

  1. Vea Estrada says:

    Dear Mr.Jay Vavra:

    Greetings from Abiva Publishing House, Inc.!

    Abiva is a Philippine publisher offering textbooks in basic education. We are currently producing a Science series for high school students. In light of this, may we respectfully request for your permission to include the second photo of the Odantomachus seen in the blog entry “Hammerhead Ants” (

    We would also appreciate it if you can provide the proper citation for the photo or you may check for the accuracy of the following:

    Hammerhead Ants. From Jay Vavra of Life On Earth – Gorongosa Blog. (accessed October 20, 2012)

    Thank you and hoping for your favorable response to our request.


    Vea Estrada
    Book Development Coordinator

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