George Amato

Director Emeritus, Institute for Comparative Genomics

(212) 769-5736


  • Yale University, Ph.D., 1994
  • Yale University, M.S.
  • Yale University, M.Phil.
  • University of Connecticut, B.S., 1978 

Research Interests

Dr. Amato's current research interests include genetic threats associated with habitat fragmentation in endangered species, molecular ecology, taxonomic and phylogenetic questions related to determining units of conservation, using molecular markers for assessing priority areas for biodiversity conservation, non-invasive sampling techniques for endangered species and monitoring the trade in endangered species products using DNA based forensic science. Dr. Amato has participated in research activities worldwide, including research in Cuba, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Madagascar, South Africa, Tanzania, Malaysia, China and Peru. He has published and lectured extensively on conservation strategies for endangered species and especially on using molecular analyses to determine conservation priorities.


Institute for Comparative Genomics

Richard Gilder Graduate School

Center for Conservation Genetics


Doukakis, P., R. Hanner, M. Shivji, C. Bartholomew, D. Chapman, E. Wong and G. Amato. 2011. Applying genetic techniques to study remote shark fisheries in northeastern Madagascar. Mitochondrial DNA.2011; Early Online:1-6.

Redford, K.H., G. Amato, J. Baillie, P. Beldomenico, E.L. Bennett, N. Clum, R. Cook, G. Fonseca, S. Hedges, F. Launay, S. Lieberman, G.M. Mace, A. Murayama, A. Putnam, J.G. Robinson, H. Rosenbaum, E.W. Sanderson, S.N. Stuart, P. Thomas and J. Thorbjarnarson. 2011. What does it mean to successfully conserve a (Vertebrate) species? BioScience. 61(1) 39-48.

Russello, M.A., C. Stahala, D. Lalonde, K.L. Schmidt and G. Amato. 2010. Cryptic diversity and conservation units in the Bahama parrot. Conservation Genetics. 11(5)1809-1821.

Lowenstein. J.H., J. Burger, C.W. Jeitner, G. Amato, S.O. Kolokotronis, and M. Gochfeld. 2010. DNA barcodes reveal species-specific mercury levels in tuna sushi that pose a health risk to consumers. Biology Letters. 6:692-695.

Hekkala, E.R., G. Amato, R. DeSalle, and M.J. Blum. 2010. Molecular assessment of population differentiation and individual assignment potential of Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) populations. Conservation Genetics. 11:1435-1443. 

Teaching Experience

Faculty Appointments

  • Adjunct Professor of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology, Columbia University
  • Adjunct Professor of Biology, Fordham University

Courses Taught

  • Conservation Genetics, Center for Environmental Research and Conservation, Columbia University, 2002-2007
  • Conservation Genetics, Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies, 2005

Graduate Advisees

  • Anthony Caragiulo, Fordham University
  • Kari Schmidt, Columbia University
  • Evon Hekkala, Columbia University
  • Michael Russello, Columbia University 
  • Mary Egan, Fordham University

Graduate Committees

  • Sebastian Kvist, Richard Gilder Graduate School
  • Minh Le, Columbia University
  • Christopher Nagy, CUNY
  • Linda Gormezano, CUNY
  • Sergios Kolokotronis, Columbia University 
  • Christina Castellano, Fordham University
  • Garl Gaines , Fordham University
  • Eugenia Naro-Maciel, Columbia University
  • Phaedra Dukakis, Yale University
  • Yael Wyner, Yale University
  • Howard Rosenbaum, Yale University