Conservation & Science Staff Bios

Lisa Faust, Ph.D.

  Vice President of Conservation & Science
Lincoln Park Zoo


  • Ph.D. – Demography, Conservation and Management of Small Populations, University of Illinois
  • B.A. – Grinnell College

Areas of Expertise

  • Population biology
  • Demographic modeling and population viability analyses
  • Conservation biology of African elephants, eastern massasauga rattlesnakes and other focal species
  • Demographic and genetic management of zoo and aquarium populations
  • Structured decision making in conservation planning
  • Software development for population biology

About Lisa Faust:

Since summer 2012 Lisa has been the vice president of Lincoln Park Zoo’s Conservation & Science Department. In this role she oversees the zoo’s discipline-oriented research centers, which conduct an array of research efforts locally and globally, including research in wildlife health and disease studies, population biology and management, animal behavior and welfare, and urban ecology.  Collectively these efforts aim at understanding and conserving animals in zoos and in the wild. 

Previously chair of the Alexander Center for Applied Population Biology, Lisa focuses on using demographic computer models as tools to improve the management and conservation of wildlife populations. This focus has led to work with a wide-ranging set of species, including African and Asian elephants maintained in North American zoos, apes in African sanctuaries, African elephants in Tarangire National Park, Tanzania, domestic dogs around Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, and eastern massasauga rattlesnakes in the United States. Her research also involves comparative analysis of demographic patterns across populations. Most recently, she has become interested in using structured decision making to improve conservation decisions.

Lisa also devotes time to creating tools to improve the management of zoo populations. She led the development of PopLink, a software program for management and analysis of studbook data, and is a co-developer of ZooRisk, risk-assessment software for zoo populations. Most recently, she is leading a project to develop a monitoring system, PMCTrack. This will enable the zoo community to track the outcomes of management recommendations made for cooperative-breeding programs with the ultimate goal of improving management actions. 

Lisa is a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquarium (AZA) Small Population Management Advisory Group, a course administrator for the AZA’s Population Management II professional-development courses and an advisor to the AZA Population Management Center. She is a member of the AZA's Research and Technology Committee, serves as field conservation advisor for the Eastern Massasauga Species Survival Plan® and serves on the Illinois Recovery Planning Team for Blanding’s Turtles. She is also an adjunct faculty member at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Lisa’s dissertation research focused on applied demography for the management and conservation of captive and wild populations. She has worked in conservation and science at Lincoln Park Zoo in various capacities since 1998. When not buried in computer models, Lisa enjoys travel, cooking, fiction and getting out into the wilderness.

Learn More

Leading The Lab
Read about Lisa Faust's journey from an intern in the attic to traveling the world as current vice president of Conservation & Science at Lincoln Park Zoo.



Matthew C. Allender; Randall E. Junge; Sarah Baker-Wylie; Eric T. Hileman; Lisa J. Faust; and Carolyn Cray. In press. 2015. Plasma electrophoretic profiles in the Eastern Massasauga (sistrurus catenatus) and influences of age, sex, year, location, and snake fungal disease. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine.

Faust, LJ, Bier, L, Schowe, K, and Gazlay, T 2012. PopLink 2.3 User's Manual. Lincoln Park Zoo. Chicago, IL.

Faust, LJ, Bergstrom, YM, Thompson, SD, and Bier, L. 2012. Poplink Version 2.3. Lincoln Park Zoo. Chicago, IL.

Faust, Lisa J., Theis, Melissa, Long, Sarah, and Shell, Shawn. 2011. PMCTrack: A Website for Monitoring Breeding and Transfer Recommendations for Zoo Programs.

Faust, LJ, Bergstrom, YM, and Thompson, SD, and Bier, L. 2011. PopLink Version 2.2. Lincoln Park Zoo. Chicago, IL.

Faust, LJ, Bier, L, Schowe, K, and Gazlay, T. 2011. PopLink Version 2.2 User's Manual. Lincoln Park Zoo. Chicago, IL.

Faust, LJ, Cress, D, Farmer, K, Ross, S.R., Beck, B. 2011. Predicting Capacity Demand on African Chimpanzee Sanctuaries. International Journal of Primatology, 32:849-864.

Faust, L.J., Szymanski, J., Redmer, M. 2011. Range-wide Extinction Risk Modeling for the Eastern massasauga Rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus catenatus). Technical Report to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Faust, LJ and Marti, K. 2011. Technical Report on ZooRisk Modeling of the North American African Elephant SSP Population. Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago.

Faust, LJ and Marti, K. 2011. Technical Report on ZooRisk Modeling of the North American Asian Elephant SSP Population. Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago.

Ballou, J., Lees, C., Faust, L., Long, S., Lynch, C., Bingaman-Lackey, L., and Foose, T. 2010. Demographic and Genetic management of captive populations for conservation. Wild Mammals in Captivity. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois.

Foley, C.A.H., and Faust, L.J.  2010. Rapid population growth in an elephant Loxodonta africana population recovering from poaching in Tarangire National Park, Tanzania. Oryx, 44(2): 205-212.

Earnhardt J, Faust, L.J., and Thompson, S.D. 2009. Extinction risk assessment for the Species Survival Plan (SSP) population of the Bali mynah (Leucopsar rothschildi). American Journal of Physical Anthropology (Suppl 44): 123-124.

Faust, L.J., Bier, L., and Schowe, K.  2009. PopLink 2.1: User's Manual. Lincoln Park Zoo. Chicago, IL.

Faust, L.J., Bergstrom, Y.M., Thompson, S.D., and Bier, L. 2009. PopLink Version 2.1. Lincoln Park Zoo. Chicago, IL.

Earnhardt, JM, Bergstrom, YM, Lin, A, Faust, LJ, Schloss, CA, and Thompson, SD. 2008. ZooRisk: A Risk Assessment Tool. Version 3.8. Lincoln Park Zoo. Chicago, IL.

Faust, LJ, Earnhardt, JM, Schloss, CA, and Bergstrom, YM. 2008. ZooRisk: A Risk Assessment Tool. Version 3.8 User's Manual. Lincoln Park Zoo. Chicago, IL.

Faust L.J., Earnhardt, J.E. and Thompson, S.D. 2006. Is reversing the decline of Asian elephants in captivity possible? An individual-based modeling approach. Zoo Biology, 25(3): 201-218.

Faust, L.J. 2004. Animal Attractions: Nature on Display in American Zoos (Book Review). Quarterly Review of Biology, 79(4): 431.

Faust, L.J., Jackson, R., Ford, A., Earnhardt, J. M. and Thompson, S.D. 2004. Models for management of wildlife populations: Lessons from spectacled bears in zoos and grizzly bears in Yellowstone. System Dynamics Review, 20(2): 163-178.

Faust, L.J. and Earnhardt, J.M. 2004. Zoo Risk: A Risk Assessment Tool. User’s Manual.. User’s Manual. Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, Illinois..

Faust, L.J., Thompson, S.D., Earnhardt, J.M., Brown, E., Ryan, S., Sherman, M. and Yurenka, M. 2003. Using stage-based system dynamics modeling for demographic management of captive populations. Zoo Biology, 22: 45-64.

Faust, L.J. and Thompson, S.D. 2000. Birth sex ratio in captive mammals: Patterns, bias, and the implications for management and conservation. Zoo Biology, 19: 11-25.

Faust, L.J. and Brown, J.M. 1998. Sexual selection via female choice in the gall-making fly Eurosta solidaginis Fitch (Diptera: Tephritidae) in Biology of Gall-inducing Arthropods. North Central Research Station, Forest Service U.S. Department of Agriculture, 82-90.