SMACON Advisory Board

Dr. Grace Kia

A Veterinarian with a passion for Wildlife ecology who has studied zoonotic diseases in Nigerian bats. An Assistant Professor at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Dr Kia is committed to mentoring young Nigerians in zoonotic disease risk assessment and prevention. She is affiliated with the African Center of Excellence for Neglected Tropical Disease and Forensic Biotechnology, and founded the NGO War against Rabies ( Her interest in bat conservation and commitment to sound science in Nigeria aligns with our capacity building policies at SMACON. 

Dr. Cullen Geiselman


A bat ecologist and conservationist, who has primarily focused on bat-plant interactions and launched a project ( that has become a valuable resource to the global community of ecologists. Dr Geiselman sits on the boards of some conservation NGOs and a former Board Chair at Bat Conservation International. With many years of philanthropy, Cullen has demonstrated long term support for students in tropical areas and continues to support developing country scientists, especially in Africa. Her experience supporting on the ground conservation efforts across the world is a valuable resource to our operations at SMACON.   

Dr. Paul Bates


A bat/rodent taxonomist who has published extensively on the diversity, distribution and ecology of both groups in Asia, Arabia and Africa. Dr. Bates is the Director of the Harrison Institute (, who together with his wife, Beatrix Lanzinger, co-supports ecotourism/conservation, and biodiversity science projects in Myanmar. His current focus is developing capacity among in-country university/museum staff and students across Asia and Africa, notably as the manager of an EU funded  environmental education project in Myanmar ( Paul is also an international mentor on SMACON Research Fellowship program.