Dr. Mike Cranfield
Co-Director
Dr. Mike has led Gorilla Doctors team for 13 years, splitting his time between overseeing operations in Africa, fundraising on the road, and administering the project from his base at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. He was one of the first veterinarians to embrace the One Health concept for great ape conservation, and worked to establish Gorilla Doctors with the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center, where he is a staff veterinarian. Originally from Peterborough, Ontario, Dr. Mike obtained his doctorate of veterinary medicine at the University of Guelph in 1977 and completed his residency at the Toronto Zoo. He later moved to the Maryland Zoo where, in addition to his clinical duties, he pursued research on avian malaria in penguins, parasitic diseases in snakes, in vitro fertilization in lion-tailed macaques, and captive breeding of endangered frog species. In 1999, after realizing that work with captive animals was not enough to preserve some species, Mike took on the leadership of Gorilla Doctors.
Dr. Kirsten Gilardi
Co-Director
Dr. Kirsten joined Gorilla Doctors in 2009 as co-director at the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center (WHC), which is a self-supporting research, service and teaching Center of Excellence at the School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Kirsten works closely with Dr. Mike on managing all aspects of Gorilla Doctors, including gorilla health research and on the PREDICT wildlife disease surveillance project. As co-director of the WHC, Dr. Kirsten splits her time between managing Gorilla Doctors and other WHC projects, such as the SeaDoc Society and PREDICT. After graduating from UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 1993, she completed a 3-year residency in primate medicine at UC Davis before joining the WHC in 1998. Dr. Kirsten is board-certified by the American College of Zoological Medicine.
Dr. Jan Ramer
Regional Manager

Dr. Jan served as the Gorilla Doctors’ Regional Veterinary Manger from 2009 to 2011 and returned to Africa to once again lead our in-country veterinary team in December 2013. Dr. Jan led dozens of health interventions, conducted hundreds of routine health checks, oversaw the treatment of seven new gorilla orphans, and helped facilitate the move of two mountain and six Grauer's gorilla orphans from Rwanda to DRC during her first term as RVM. Dr. Jan worked as an Associate Veterinarian at the Indianapolis Zoo for 14 years before joining the Gorilla Doctors team. Dr. Jan is board-certified by the American College of Zoological Medicine.

Dr. Jean-Felix Kinani
Rwanda Head Field Veterinarian
Serving as our Rwanda in-country field veterinarian since 2004, Dr. Jean-Felix was promoted to Rwanda Head Veterinarian in 2011. He takes the lead on health monitoring and interventions for Rwanda’s mountain gorillas, and assists with interventions in Uganda and DRC as needed. Dr. Jean-Felix also heads up our Gorilla Doctors’ rabies vaccination program in Rwanda, working with local veterinarians and the Rwanda Agricultural Board to vaccinate domestic dogs and cats in the vicinity of Volcanoes National Park. Originally from DRC, Dr. Jean-Felix received his veterinary degree from Check Anta Diop University in Dakar, Senegal, in 2003. Dr. Jean-Felix recently finished his Masters of Field Epidemiology at the School of Public Health at National University of Rwanda.
Dr. Eddy Kambale
Democratic Republic of Congo Head Field Veterinarian
Dr. Eddy has worked as our DRC in-country field veterinarian since 2004 and was promoted to Head DRC Field Veterinarian in 2011. Dr. Eddy’s duties include monitoring both the mountain and Grauer’s gorilla populations in DRC and caring for the mountain gorilla orphans at the Senkwekwe sanctuary. He also occasionally assists with veterinary operations in Rwanda and Uganda. He received his veterinary degree at the Catholic University of Graben, Butembo, in the DRC. Before joining the MGVP, he was a scholar at the Technical Institute for Agriculture and Veterinary Science in Butembo, DRC.
Dr. Fred Nizeyimana
Uganda Field Veterinarian
Dr. Fred joined Gorilla Doctors in 2010 and serves as our Uganda field veterinarian, performing routine health checks and interventions in Mgahinga and Bwindi Impenetrable National Parks. While studying veterinary medicine at Makerere University in Kampala, he participated in a mountain gorilla research project funded by Gorilla Doctors. After graduating in 2005, Dr. Fred worked as the acting project manager for the Kibale Eco-health Project in Kibale National Park. In 2007, he volunteered at the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary and was later promoted to the role of sanctuary manager and veterinarian.
Dr. John Bosco Nizeyi
Capacity Building Coordinator
Dr. John Bosco is Gorilla Doctors’ research veterinarian, and a professor in the Wild Animal Resource Management Department of Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Dr. JBN (he’s known by his initials) has worked for Gorilla Doctors since 1993, originally serving as our Uganda in-country filed veterinarian. At Makerere, Dr. JBN mentors the next generation of African veterinarians and conducts research, including on the use of fecal cortisol to monitor stress levels in wild animals. He received his veterinary degree at Makerere, his Master of Science degree in recreational resources from Colorado State University, and his PhD in Veterinary Medicine at Makerere in 2005.
Dr. Benard Ssebide
PREDICT Uganda Country Coordinator
Our Uganda in-country field veterinarian from 2007 to 2010, Dr. Benard now heads up our PREDICT work in Uganda, looking for evidence of emerging zoonotic viruses in primates, rodents, bats and other wild animals in Uganda. Prior to joining Gorilla Doctors, he worked for the Ugandan Wildlife Authority, first as a veterinarian and then as Chief Park Warden of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Dr. Benard received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Master of Science degrees in wildlife health and management from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda.
Dr. Julius Nziza
PREDICT Rwanda Country Coordinator
Dr. Julius joined Gorilla Doctors in May 2010 to oversee our PREDICT work in and around Rwanda’s three national parks. Before coming to Gorilla Doctors, Dr. Julius worked for the Department of Tourism and Conservation of the Rwanda Development Board for 3 years, serving as the veterinary warden at Nyungwe National Park in the southwestern corner of Rwanda. While Rwandan by nationality, Dr. Julius was born in Uganda and obtained his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda.
Dr. Jean Bosco Noheri
Rwanda In-Country Field Veterinarian
Dr. Jean Bosco Noheli, known as Dr. Noel, joined Gorilla Doctors in 2009 to run our clinical laboratory at regional headquarters in Musanze, Rwanda. In that position, he processed samples collected in the field, managed our drug and medical supplies inventory, and assisted in necropsies and non-primate surgeries. He also assisted with health monitoring and interventions performed in the field and in the care of the orphans at our Kinigi quarantine facility. In 2012, Dr. Noel was promoted to the position of Rwanda Field Veterinarian for Rwanda where he assists Dr. Jean-Felix with monitoring and care for mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. Dr. Noel received his veterinary degree from the Higher Institute of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry (ISAE)-Busogo in 2010.

Dr. Martin Kabuyaya Balyananziu

Democratic Republic of Congo Field Veterinarian

Dr. Martin joined Gorilla Doctors in 2012 to work with Dr. Eddy to provide veterinary care to DRC’s mountain and Grauer’s gorillas and the orphans at the Senkwekwe Center. Previously, Dr. Martin managed the serological service for the veterinary laboratory in Goma, DRC, and taught anatomy and animal science courses at Kivu University.  A native of Goma, Dr. Martin received his veterinary medicine degree from the University of Lubumbashi in 2009.

Dr. Olivier Nsengimana
Rwanda PREDICT Field Veterinarian
Dr. Olivier serves as Dr. Julius' field assistant for the PREDICT project in Rwanda. Olivier, a native of Gitarama, Rwanda, graduated with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the Higher Institute of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry (ISAE) - Busogo. In early 2010, Dr. Olivier interned with Gorilla Doctors, working to develop a management plan for the dairy farm at Imbabazi Orphanage. Later in the year, he volunteered for the PREDICT project, taking blood samples from rodents around Volcanoes National Park to be analyzed for infectious disease. Dr. Olivier now performs similar duties as a Gorilla Doctor, collecting diagnostic samples from primates, bats and rodents in and around Rwanda's national parks.

Dr. Rachael Mbabazi
Uganda PREDICT Field Veterinarian
Dr. Rachael assists Dr. Benard in carrying out our PREDICT work in Uganda. Before joining Gorilla Doctors in late 2010, Rachael graduated from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. As a student she worked with Dr. JBN, Gorilla Doctors’ research veterinarian and a professor in Makerere's Wild Animal Resource Management Department. The Morris Animal Foundation selected Rachel to be one of their 2010 Veterinary Student Scholars and provided funding for her to research gastrointestinal parasites in mountain gorillas.

Dr. Methode Bahizi
Regional Laboratory Veterinarian
As the Regional Laboratory Veterinarian, Dr. Methode manages the Gorilla Doctors lab in Musanze. He processes samples, assists in necropsies and non-primate medical and surgical interventions, orphan gorilla care and captive golden monkey health monitoring at the Kinigi facility in Rwanda. Dr. Methode began his work with Gorilla Doctors in 2009, when, through the Rwanda Agriculture department, he participated in various projects involving cattle, farmers and local veterinarians around the Virunga Massif. Dr. Methode completed an internship with Gorilla Doctors in 2011, researching tick control strategies around Akagera National Park. The following year, he graduated from Umutara Polytechnic and completed externships at the Houston Zoo and Indianapolis Zoo in the United States before becoming a full time Gorilla Doctor in August 2012.


Jean-Paul Lukusa
Gorilla Conservation Employee Health Manager
As the head of the Gorilla Conservation Employee Health Program, Jean-Paul coordinates doctors visits, laboratory testing, follow-up care, and family health education for hundreds of conservation works in Rwanda, Uganda, and DRC each year. Before joining Gorilla Doctors in 2003, Jean-Paul taught at the ESSA Ruhengeri medical school in Rwanda. Jean-Paul has a degree in microbiology from L’Institute Superior Medicale and a degree in public health from the University Ouverte, both located in DRC, his home country.

Dr. Jacques Iyanya

Democratic Republic of Congo Administrative Veterinarian 

For seven years, Dr. Jacques served alongside Dr. Eddy as a DRC field veterinarian before moving into an administrative role in 2012. As our administrator in the DRC, Dr. Jacques frequently travels to Kinshasa, the capital of DRC, to liaise with our partners at the L'Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN). Dr. Jacques received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Lubumbashi in DRC, and then worked for the Department of Agriculture and Development in the eastern part of the country before joining Gorilla Doctors.

Schadrack Niyonzima
Regional Administrative Assistant
Schadrack works as the administrative assistant at our Musanze headquarters and has been a vital member of the team since joining Gorilla Doctors in 2009. Thanks to his management and business savvy, Gorilla Doctors' local operations run smoothly. Schadrack received his degree in management and accounting from the Adventist University for Central Africa in Rwanda, and has 5 years of experience working with other international NGOs.

Clementine Usanase
Regional Data Technician
As the Gorilla Doctors Regional Data Technician, Clementine enters the IMPACT data collected in the field by veterinarians and park rangers. After completing primary and secondary school in Musanze, Clementine worked with the Gorilla Doctors as an Administrative Assistant in 2008. With her degree in Electronics and Information Technology completed, Clementine joined the Gorilla Doctors as the full time Regional Data Technician in October 2012.

Dr. Linda Lowenstine
Veterinary Pathologist
Dr. Linda is a board certified Veterinary Pathologist who has worked with Gorilla Doctors since 1987 examining tissues and determining causes of death in mountain gorillas examined post mortem by the Gorilla Doctors. She is also a member of the Gorilla Doctors Science Advisory Committee. At UC Davis, Dr. Linda serves as a Professor of Veterinary Pathology, where she specializes in the pathology of captive and free-living wild animals. After graduation from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 1973, Dr. Linda completed a comparative pathology residency during which she trained at the New England National Primate Research Center and the National Zoological Park. This was followed by a PhD in Comparative Pathology from UC Davis while she was staff pathologist at the California National Primate Research Center.

Jess Burbridge
Director of Marketing and Communications
Jess is dedicated to publicizing the work of Gorilla Doctors through photography, multimedia, writing, and social media. She also manages our website and public relations efforts, and coordinates logistics for visiting filmmakers and journalists. Prior to joining the Gorilla Doctors, Jess was based in Rwanda as the Field Communications Officer for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. Through her work with the Fossey Fund, she traveled Rwanda and DR Congo extensively and developed an intimate knowledge of the Karisoke-monitored mountain gorillas. She has worked as a photojournalist in Uganda, Zambia, Rwanda, DR Congo and Kenya and has a special interest in great ape conservation. Jess graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design with a BFA in Photography and is currently completing a Masters of Communication at the Johns Hopkins University.

Nina Storch
Administrative Assistant
Serving as Dr. Mike’s administrative assistant at the Maryland Zoo for more than 14 years, Nina works to ensure that Gorilla Doctors’ Co-Director is equipped to successfully manage the organization. Nina greatly enjoys communicating with Gorilla Doctors staff and local and international partners. She has a BA in English and has worked in both the human and animal medicine fields. Originally from Florida, Nina has lived in Baltimore for the last 27 years.

Jennifer Sohl
Bio Bank Manager and Registered Veterinary Technician
From her base at the Maryland Zoo where she serves as Clinical Laboratory Manager and Veterinary Technician, Jennifer manages the archive of mountain gorilla samples and tissues collected in Africa. She also assists Dr. Mike with many tasks, including inventorying, procuring, and packing medicine and supplies to be used Africa. Jennifer has worked for Gorilla Doctors since 2002. She earned a BS in Animal Science from Virginia Tech and has worked as a Registered Veterinary Technician since 1994.

Desiree Washabaugh
Development Assistant

Based at the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center One Health Institute, Desiree works closely on development and marketing strategies for several programs, and communicates directly with donors of Gorilla Doctors. Desiree also assists Gorilla Doctors Co-Director Dr. Kirsten Gilardi in planning and donor relations efforts. Desiree is from Modesto, California, and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies with emphasis in Public Relations from California State University, Sacramento.


Leon Ntahobavukira
Rwanda House Manager & Cook
Gorilla Doctors’ second longest-standing employee (after Dr. JBN), Leon has served as the house manager and chef at our Rwanda headquarters for 17 years. Leon’s homemade meals have given generations of Gorilla Doctors the energy needed for long days in the field and office.

Gorilla Orphan Caretakers
Gorilla Doctors employs a team of dedicated caretakers to look after confiscated gorillas held at our quarantine facility in Kinigi, Rwanda. The caretakers include Innocent Kabendera and Dieudonnee Munyembabazi.

Rwandan Support Staff
Our PREDICT program is supported by Administrative Assistants Sandrine Umubyeyi and Sylvia Nakimera in Rwanda and Uganda, respectively. Felicien Mulinda, Faustin Nemeye, and Samuel Nshimiyimana work as guards and grounds staff at the regional headquarters in Musanze, Rwanda. Jean-Claude Rusengamihigo, Michel Mwemezi, and Innocent Barimenshi perform a similar function at the interim quarantine facility (IQF) for orphaned gorillas in Kinigi, Rwanda.

UC Davis Wildlife Health Center Staff
Gorilla Doctors is also supported by a team of dedicated staff at the UC Davis Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center (WHC) which is overseen by Directors Dr. Kirsten and Dr. Mike Ziccardi. WHC is an integral component of the One Health Institute, directed by Dr. Jonna Mazet. WHC staff include Matt Blake, Elizabeth Leasure, Courtney Chambers, and Lori Faherty.