Kristofer Helgen

Professor Kristofer Helgen


School of Biological Sciences

Faculty of Sciences

Kristofer M. Helgen is Professor of Biological Sciences and Deputy Director of the Centre for Applied Conservation Science at the University of Adelaide. His research focuses especially on fieldwork and research in museum collections to document the richness of life, explore global change, and contribute to important problems in biomedicine.

Professor Helgen received his undergraduate degree in Biology from Harvard University and his Ph.D. in Zoology at the University of Adelaide. From 2008-2017 he served as Curator of Mammals at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. He has worked professionally in more than 50 countries, and has documented and named dozens of previously overlooked species of living mammals, including the Skywalker Hoolock Gibbon of southern China and Myanmar, the Greater Monkey-Faced Bat of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, and the Olinguito of the Andes Mountains. He has organized and led major research expeditions all over the world. He is a dedicated public communicator in support of biodiversity discovery and conservation, and appears regularly on television and radio programs.

Helgen holds professorial or other honorary academic appointments at George Mason University (Fairfax, Virginia), the Natural History Museum (London), the American Museum of Natural History (New York), the Bishop Museum (Honolulu), the Australian Museum (Sydney), the South Australian Museum (Adelaide), and the National Geographic Society (Washington, D.C.), where he was inducted as a National Geographic Explorer in 2009. In 2016 Helgen was awarded the James McWha Award for Excellence from the University of Adelaide and the Westbrook Free Lectureship at the Wagner Free Institute of Science in Philadelphia. In 2017 he was appointed as a Full Professor at the University of Adelaide.

  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2017 Professor University of Adelaide
    2017 Deputy Director University of Adelaide
    2017 Honorary Research Associate South Australian Museum
    2017 Affiliate Professor George Mason University
    2014 Research Associate Australian Museum
    2011 Affiliate Professor George Mason University
    2008 - 2017 Curator of Mammals Smithsonian Institution
    2007 Research Associate Bishop Museum
    2006 Research Associate American Museum of Natural History
    2006 - 2008 Postdoctoral Fellow Smithsonian Institution
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2001 - 2007 University of Adelaide Australia Ph.D., Zoology
    1997 - 2001 Harvard University United States A.B., Biology
  • Research Interests

  • Position: Researcher
  • Phone: 83138021
  • Email:
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Darling, floor 1
  • Room: 1 12
  • Org Unit: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

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