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David Kersey, PhD

Assistant Professor, Physiology

College of Veterinary Medicine

E-Mail: dkersey@westernu.edu

Phone: 706-3534


Ph.D. George Mason University, Fairfax, VA 2009

David Kersey, Ph.D. is a native Southern Californian. He earned his Ph.D. in Environmental Science from George Mason University and conducted his dissertation research on the reproductive and adrenal physiology of the giant panda at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park.

Professional Experience

He has more than11 years experience in the use of non-invasive fecal and urinary steroid techniques to assess the reproductive status of diverse wildlife species. While working at the Smithsonian National Zoo, he became among the first to validate enzyme immunoassays for estrogen, progestagen, androgen and glucocorticoid metabolite monitoring in giant panda feces. After developing these techniques he applied them in a comprehensive assessment of hormonal relationships in the female giant panda during estrus, pregnancy, pseudopregnancy, acyclicity and adrenal seasonality; and in the male during seasonal changes in testicular and adrenal function. Dr. Kersey's expertise in giant panda reproduction has been, and is continually sought by US and international giant panda holding institutes to aid in the difficult task of timed breedings/artificial inseminations and during periods of suspected pregnancy. At Western U, he continues his conservation focused research by studying the reproductive biology of other rare and endangered species while still being involved in giant panda reproductive studies.

Research Interest

Selected Peer-reviewed publications

Brown, J. L., Kersey, D. C., Freeman, E. W., Wagener, T., 2010. Assessment of diurnal urinary cortisol excretion in Asian and African elephants using different endocrine methods. Zoo Biology. 29, 274-283.

Kersey, D. C., Wildt, D. E., Brown, J. L., Snyder, R. J., Huang, Y., Monfort, S. L., 2010. Endocrine milieu of periestrus in the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) as determined by noninvasive hormone measures. Reproduction, Fertility and Development. 22, 901-912.

Kersey, D. C., Wildt, D. E., Brown, J. L., Snyder, R. J., Huang, Y., Monfort, S. L., 2010. Unique biphasic progestagen profile in parturient and non-parturient giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) as determined by faecal hormone monitoring. Reproduction. 140, 183-193.

Kersey, D. C., Wildt, D. E., Brown, J. L., Snyder, R. J., Huang, Y., Monfort, S. L., 2010. Gonadal and adrenal hormones change in parallel and seasonally in male giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). Journal of Mammalogy, 91, 1496-1507.

Brown, J. L., Kersey, D. C., Walker, S. L., 2010. Assessment of luteinizing hormone and prolactin immunoactivity in Asian and African elephant urine using assays validated for serum. General and Comparative Endocrinology, 169, 138-143.

Charlton, B. D., Keating, J.L. Kersey, D. C., Rengui, L., Huang, Y., Swaisgood, R.R., 2011. Vocal cues to androgen levels in male giant pandas. Biology Letters, 7, 71-74.

Kersey, D. C., Wildt, D. E., Brown, J. L., Snyder, R. J., Huang, Y., Monfort, S. L., in press. Rising fecal glucocorticoid concentrations track reproductive activity in the female giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). General and Comparative Endocrinology.

Willis E. L., Kersey D. C., Durrant B. S., Kouba A. J., in press. The acute phase protein ceruloplasmin as a non-invasive marker of pseudopregnancy, pregnancy, and pregnancy loss in the giant panda. PLoS One.


Giant Panda Species Survival Plan, Association of Zoos and Aquariums, member, 2003 – 2010

Endocrine Specialists Advisory Group, Association of Zoos and Aquariums, member, 2008 – current

Society for the Study of Reproduction Associate Member, 2009 – current

Smithsonian Research Associate (3 yr appointment), 2009 – 2012

International Society of Wildlife Endocrinologists, member, 2010 – current


Dr. Kersey recently became a member of the newly created American Zoological Association Endocrinology Scientific Advisory Group, a group seeking to support endocrine research among zoological institutions and increase biological information on rare and endangered species. He has also conducted several national and international training courses on the techniques of noninvasive endocrine assessment.


In his free time, Dr. Kersey enjoys fishing in the Sierra Nevada, building furniture, and taking his dogs (Iggy, DeeDee and Ollie) to enjoy the local mountains and beaches.