Vanessa Handley

Cycad Consortium Lead

Montgomery Botanical Center

11901 Old Cutler Road
Coral Gables, FL 33156 USA

Dr. Vanessa Handley is a botanist and conservation biologist working in biodiversity hotspots around the world. Her overarching objective is to advance regional conservation efforts via collaborative, community-based approaches. To this end, Vanessa deploys tools that range from practical horticulture to genomics.

In addition to her work at Montgomery Botanical Center as lead of the Global Conservation Consortium for Cycads, Vanessa is Director of Conservation Science at The Red List Project (a plant conservation nonprofit), and a Research Associate at California Academy of Sciences and University of California – Berkeley. Her current research centers on conservation genetics, reintroduction of imperiled species, and tropical montane floristics.

Vanessa’s conservation activities extend to service as a Specialist within the IUCN Species Survival Commission, participation in various scientific advisory boards and conservation consortia, and mentorship of underrepresented and non-traditional students in the conservation field.

Vanessa holds a Ph.D. in Plant Biology from University of California Berkeley and previously served as Director of Collections & Research at the University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley. Prior to this, Vanessa enjoyed a decade as an Associate Professor and Chair at Holy Names University.

Ph.D. in Plant Biology
University of California Berkeley