Endowment honors promising herpetologist killed by elephant

Dr. Margarita Metallinou, a post-doctoral research at Villanova University, was killed by an elephant in July during a research trip to Zambia. She was in the midst of researching how climate change was affecting a dwindling population of lizards. The suddenness of her loss has shaken the entire scientific community who not only lost a promising and gifted researcher, but also a brilliant and vibrant role-model for aspiring female scientists.

Her spirit lives on in a fund that will support researchers who share her passion for science and discovery. The Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles (SSAR), the world’s largest professional society dedicated to the study of amphibians and reptiles, created this fund as a permanent endowment to honor Metallinou. It will give post-PhD students from any part of the world the chance to attend their scientific conference in the USA, as Margarita had planned to do. Metallinou had been scheduled to present her latest results at the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles meeting in July at the University of Kansas.

To make sure that other early career scientists have the same opportunity, the endowment will allow researchers to present their research at the annual meeting of the world’s largest professional herpetological society and to confer with other scientists in their field. This exposure is essential to establishing a young scientist’s reputation and can often lead to great new opportunities.

These annual awards will honor in perpetuity Margarita’s dedication and passion for science, her tenacity, her boundless energy, her generosity to help everyone around her, and her determination to enjoy life and follow her dreams.

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