Vania Coelho, PhD

Dr. Coelho is a tenured professor in the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, School of Health and Natural Sciences. She has a master’s degree in ecology and a Ph.D. in zoology, both from University of São Paulo, Brazil. She completed most of her doctorate research while she was working as a visiting scientist at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, in Washington, D.C. After completing her doctorate, Dr. Coelho held a post-doctoral research scientist position initially, and later an associate research scientist position, at Columbia University. She started working at Dominican University of California as a tenure-track assistant professor, being granted tenure at the associate professor level, and eventually being promoted to full professor. During her work at Dominican, she served as faculty coordinator for the Center for Sustainability and led a campus-wide sustainability assessment that resulted in a Bronze rating for the university from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. She also received an “Excellence in Education” Service Award from the City of San Rafael Chamber of Commerce, San Rafael, CA. She is currently focusing most of her time in teaching and research. She teaches the following courses: Biological Research Methodology, Ecology and Evolution, Environmental Sciences, International Field Biology, Invertebrate Biology and Marine Biology. Her current research focus is on coral reef ecology; she is particularly interested in management strategies that can help mitigate the effects of climate change on corals. Past funding for her research included grants from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Park Service.


University of São Paulo, Brazil, PhD, Zoology    
University of São Paulo, Brazil, MS, Ecology
University of São Paulo, Brazil, BS, Biology

Research Interests

Vania is interested in coral reef ecology, particularly in management strategies that can help mitigate the effects of climate change on corals.

Honors and Awards

Excellence in Education Award, City of San Rafael Chamber of Commerce, 2007

Contact Information