J. Bernardo Mesa Cruz, M.V., Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
I obtained a veterinary medicine degree at Universidad Nacional de Colombia, where I
found myself captivated by reproductive physiology and theriogenology. Thereafter, I
completed an internship and was an invited researcher at the Smithsonian Conservation
Biology Institute working on clouded leopard (Leopardus nebulosa) adrenal and reproductive
endocrinology via non-invasive techniques. During my master’s degree work, where I worked
with non-invasive physiological monitoring (e.g. individual DNA tagging, endocrine assessment,
diet analysis, and endoparasite identification), to examine the effects of human habitat
modification in free-ranging Neotropical felids (Felis catus, Puma yagouaroundi, Leopardus
pardalis, Puma concolor, Panthera onca) in Belize, Central America. In my doctoral work, I
focused on the study of reproductive, developmental, and skeletal muscle physiology of the
American black bear (Ursus americanus) to assess effects of environmental variation and
management actions on black bears. My master and doctoral degrees were developed in
partnership with Virginia Tech and The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.
Teaching and Research Interests
I view a faculty member as holding a social role aiming to facilitate knowledge acquisition
and help students to develop skills in order to improve their lives, their families, and
communities locally and globally. I implement inclusive pedagogy as a teaching policy that
values human beings equally, regardless of genetic background, ethnicity, sex, sexual
orientation, socio-economic status, religious or political views. I am interested on expanding my
student-centered approach by increasing the adoption of digital technology in learning
I am a physiologist focused on assessing changes in health and reproductive systems of
terrestrial vertebrates through monitoring of physiological and pathological responses to
environmental changes, including those caused by humans. I work across multiple disciplines to
develop physiological monitoring using molecular, cellular, organismal, and ecological
approaches to inform conservation programs. My research interests converge on: conservation
physiology, ecophysiology, human habitat modifications, reproductive physiology, hibernation
physiology, stress physiology, comparative physiology, animal capture, biotelemetry, and
Some of the research projects my collaborators and I are conducting include: describing
prenatal development patterns in black bears, increasing our understanding of pregnancy
endocrinology and proteome regulators of embryonic development in black bears, comparing
vital signs and anesthetic parameters from different anesthetic protocols used in chemical
immobilization of black bears, in vitro skeletal muscle cell (myocyte) metabolism dynamics from
active to hibernating states in black bears, and population estimation of the Grand Cayman blue
iguana (Cyclura lewisi) using non-invasive camera trapping arrays.
Courses taught at HU
Anatomy and Physiology I.
Anatomy and Physiology II.
Cell Biology Laboratory
Doctorate of Philosophy in Wildlife Science. Virginia Tech. Blacksburg VA, U.S.A.
Master of Science, Wildlife Science, Virginia Tech. Blacksburg, Virginia, U.S.A.
Veterinary Medicine. Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Bogota D. C., Colombia.
Teaching certificate, Future Professoriate. Blacksburg VA, U.S.A.