The Global Coral RepositoryCraig Downs, Ph.D.
Executive Director

Craig graduated from Hiram College with a B.A. in philosophy and biology. He received his M.Sc. from Syracuse University where he co-discovered, with Dr. Scott Heckathorn, the function of the chloroplast and mitochondrial small heat-shock proteins in plants, as well as the mitochondrial small heat-shock protein in mammals. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Hawaii in cell and molecular biology. Craig has published over 40 scientific papers and a number of book chapters in scientific textbooks, and is Chief Editor of the CRC press veterinary book, Diseases of Corals. Craig founded and was chief executive of two biotechnology companies. These companies focused on developing various technological platforms for clinical and cellular diagnostics, as well as environmental forensics. Craig has also founded a number of non-profit organizations whose focus ranges from animal welfare to environmental conservation and exploration. Craig is an academic researcher, an industrial biotechnologist, as well as an environmental forensic investigator. His mastery of biotechnology allows him to invent or adapt technologies that address specific environmental problems and their technical difficulties, as well as engage topics of basic scientific research.

As a boy in the Philippines, he was strongly influenced by his time swimming and exploring coral reefs. As a young man in the 1990s, he was shocked by his own personal observations of the rapid loss of coral reefs in the Florida Keys. Craig was introduced to coral research by working with Prof. Phillip Dustan to investigate the massive 1998 coral bleaching/mortality event in the Florida Keys. Soon after, Craig worked for Dr. Cheryl Woodley in U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration�s Marine Biotechnology Program, where coral pathology and cellular diagnostics was a focal point of his work. Craig also has scientific research and biotechnology development experience in neuropathology, virology, plant physiology, human and veterinary epidemiology, and public health policy.

Selected publications:

Woodley, C., A. Bruckner, S. Galloway, S. McLaughlin, C. Downs, J. Fauth, E. Shott and K. Larkin (2003). Coral Disease and Health: A National Research Plan. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Silver Spring, MD.

Downs, C.A., J.E., Fauth, J.C. Halas, P. Dustan, J. Bemiss, C.M. Woodley (2002) Oxidative stress and seasonal coral bleaching. Free Radial Biology & Medicine 32: 533-543.

Brown, B.E., C.A. Downs, R.P. Dunne, S.W. Gibb (2002) Exploring the basis of thermotolerance in the reef coral Goniastrea aspera. Marine Ecology Progress Series 242: 119-129.

Downs, C.A. J.E. Fauth, D. Wetzel, P. Hallock, J.F. Halas, J.C. Halas, R. Curry, C.M. Woodley (2006). Investigating Coral Reef Degradation at Alina�s Reef in the Florida Keys: Cellular Physiology of White Grunt (Haemulon plumieri) as a Biological Indicator. Environmental Forensic Journal 7:15-32.

Downs, C.A., Kramarsky-Winter, E., Martinez, J., Kushmaro, A., Woodley, C.M., Loya, Y., G.K. Ostrander. (2009). Symbiophagy as a mechanism for coral bleaching. Autophagy 5:211-216.

Downs, C.A., Fauth, J.F., Downs, V.D., Ostrander, G.K. (2010). In vitro cell-toxicity screening as an alternative animal model for coral toxicology: effects of heat stress, sulfide, rotenone, cyanide, and cuprous oxide on cell viability and mitochondrial function. Ecotoxicology 19:171-184.