Engineering professor's research on endangered species recognized

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

UNC Charlotte is among the ranks of prestigious universities such  as Georgia Tech and Boston University to make a Top 10 list of colleges and universities that focus on innovative and effective ways to preserve the world’s endangered animals.

Compiled by, the ranking included schools from the United States and as far away as India with a proven track record in this important area of scientific  research.

UNC Charlotte was ranked ninth on the list, largely due to research under way by Gloria Elliott, director of the BioStability Lab in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Sciences. Elliott is using UNC Charlotte-patented microwave drying technology to develop methods for preserving the sperm and eggs of rare cat species for later in vitro fertilization.

According to, “In 2010, when the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute needed a way to safeguard the eggs of some endangered big cats, they turned to the Lee College of Engineering at UNC Charlotte. At the research lab of Associate Professor Gloria Elliott, the researchers have been working on creative ways to dry and store the eggs so that they can be fertilized in vitro to revive the fading populations of certain lions and tigers. This UNC lab was chosen because of the lab’s patented microwave drying method. At last check, the lead researcher from the Smithsonian said the team was making excellent progress and seemed to feel the choice of UNC for its partner had been a good one.”

For her part, Elliott said she appreciated the recognition.

“I am delighted to know that this is an area of concern for students in selecting a college to attend,” she said. “Students are becoming increasingly interested in the environment and in playing a pivotal role in preserving our ecosystems.   I feel honored to be in position to facilitate that kind of training and involvement."