Bridget C. Coughlin, PhD

President & CEO / John G. Shedd Aquarium

Bridget C. Coughlin, Ph.D., was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Shedd Aquarium in 2016. Under her leadership, Shedd has welcomed nearly 10 million aquarium guests, diverted over 21,000 pounds of plastic from lakes and rivers, and published more than 100 research papers. A nature lover and scientist both at heart and by training, Dr. Coughlin is passionate about animal life in oceans, rivers and lakes. Her commitment to Shedd’s Mission of sparking compassion, curiosity and conservation for the aquatic animal world extends well beyond the walls of Shedd Aquarium.  

Dr. Coughlin serves on the boards of mindSpark Learning in Denver, the Alaska SeaLife Center and the Latin School of Chicago. Dr. Coughlin is also a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago, the Chicago Network, and the Chicago Club.  

Before joining Shedd, Dr. Coughlin served as vice president of strategic partnerships and programs and adjunct curator at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (DMNS) where her work won international awards and was written in two Harvard School of Business case studies. Her history also includes five years with the National Academy of Sciences, where she served as managing editor of the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. She has also led research teams funded by the National Institutes of Health, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory. She holds a Bachelor of arts from Knox College and a Doctorate in Biochemistry from the University of Iowa. 

Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @sheddaquaceo. 

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