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What You'll Study

Lectures and theoretical study topics:

  • Theory of immunoassay methodology (radioimmunoassay and enzyme immunoassay)
  • Reproductive endocrinology and stress physiology
  • Methods of non-invasive monitoring of hormones excreted in urine and feces
  • Sample preparation and hormone extraction techniques
  • Examples of data obtained from in-situ and ex situ studies of wildlife species

Practical and lab work:

  • Demonstrations and hands-on experience in urine and feces sample processing and analysis using enzyme immunoassay technology
  • Computer lab sessions, including statistical hormone analysis techniques
  • Independent group projects where you’ll apply what you’ve learned and complete a full lab analysis and data interpretation
Program Details

July 23-August 3, 2018

Available Formats

Graduate (CONS 697, 3 credits)
Professional Training (MCCS 0525, 7.7 CEUs)


Graduate: $2516 – $3279.50 | See Mason’s graduate tuition rates

Professional Training: $2025 – $2,925.50*

*(Includes registration, lodging, and meals)

Scholarships & financial aid


Apply by May 14, 2018 for first consideration

Payment due by May 28, 2018

Meet the Faculty

Natalia Prado
Natalia Prado
Post-Doctoral Fellow
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
Natalia's current research is working to establish personalized heath care approaches for elephants using genetic markers. She also collaborates on a range of other projects within the National Zoo’s Endocrinology Laboratory.


Wildlife endocrinology is an increasingly important conservation tool that helps managers better understand factors impacting health and reproduction in captive and wild populations. Learn the latest developments in noninvasive techniques to assess hormone metabolites excreted in urine and feces.

Evaluating hormones allows you to determine:

  • The reproductive cycle, including puberty, timing of sexual receptivity, and onset of reproductive aging
  • Effects of different husbandry practices and environmental enrichment on animal well-being
  • Animal pregnancy and possible date of birth
  • Optimal hormone treatments for artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization
  • Impact of human activities or environmental changes on reproduction and health of free-ranging species

What’s Included

Total cost includes our Housing and Dining Package and covers:

  • Instruction, course manual, textbooks, and other course materials
  • All lab supplies used in demonstration and guided independent lab work
  • Airport pick-up and drop-off shuttle service at Dulles International Airport (IAD). We do not provide ground transportation shuttle service to or from any other airports in the Washington, DC, region.
  • Daily full-service buffet at the SMSC Dining Commons
  • Housing at the SMSC Residential Facility, including a shared room with bathroom (single rooms available at extra cost)

Acceptance does not guarantee you a seat in the course. Seats are allocated as registration payments are received, and early registration is strongly encouraged to ensure you get a spot.

Interested in Commuting?

With the course coordinator’s written approval in advance of registration/payment, local participants may elect to stay off campus, waive the housing and dining package, and commute to this course. Meals in the Dining Commons can then be purchased individually as needed.

Take the next step toward a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity