WISDOM Good Works

Sharing Scientific Expertise to Restore Ecological Balance Around the World

Image courtesy of the Galapagos National Park Service

About Us

WISDOM Good Works is a collaboration of scientists, educators, environmentalists, philanthropists who believe in the potential of humane animal population control.

Learn more about some of the WISDOM Good Works team members below:

Founding Sponsors

WISDOM Good Works has been launched with support from these organizations and individuals:


Virginia Joy Vorous

Virginia Joy Vorous

She always lived up to her middle name.

Virginia Joy Vorous was so named because she was a joy to her family, the first girl to be born after two sons.

And for 83 years, she lived with the joy of a person who was passionate about science and animals and the promise of discovery. She was one of our inspirations when we founded WISDOM – the epitome of a woman in science doing outreach to mentor others.

Virginia was a clinical chemistry technologist at the University of California, San Diego, University Hospital. For decades, she trained countless people on how to report critical chemistry results for best possible patient care.

I met her 50 years ago when I was an undergraduate at UCSD and trying to figure out how to use autoanalyzer equipment for a project. Virginia not only taught me how the machine worked, but she also showed me how to troubleshoot it when it broke down. Years later, when I was earning my PhD and it became clear that the grant stipend to support my research wasn’t enough to live on, Virginia provided me with free room, board, and beer. But for her generosity, I wouldn’t have graduated and begun my career as a research scientist. 

Virginia loved animals, all animals. She was an avid birdwatcher and a docent at the San Diego Zoo. When we all went out on a family vacation one year in Hawaii, she snorkeled every day and was so entranced by the sea life that she wouldn’t notice the tide was drifting her into a reef or out to sea. We began having our daughters go out and snorkel by her side to keep her safe!

When Loretta and I began work on a scientific model for a product that would render female mice infertile without any harmful side effects, Virginia was very excited about the potential of this new technology. Ever the teacher, she had me “show her the science,” drawing out our plans on scraps of paper or cocktail napkins. (It was very touching that when Loretta and I helped her move into assisted living, we found she had saved all those napkins.)

When the opportunity arose in 2004 to put our product into practice with unowned dogs on the Navajo Nation, Virginia immediately wrote a check for $25,000 to get us started. She was one of our very first investors in our movement to improve how we handle animal overpopulation, and we are so happy that our last road trip with her was to visit one of our research field sites in Utah and show her what her support had launched.

Now in a final act of kindness, Virginia has remembered WISDOM Good Works in her will with a large bequest. It is a phenomenally generous act that will further our work to make fertility-control technology – and not poison – the standard of practice to deal with animal overpopulation.

We miss Virginia Joy so much – her friendship, her passion for science, her legendary “tailgate” parties at her home before games (she was a big NFL football fan and a diehard Padres fan), and her love for all creatures, human and animal.

We hope that our work to restore ecological balance throughout the world, which she supported in so many ways over the years, is part of her lasting legacy. Thank you, Virginia.


Cheryl Dyer


WISDOM Good Works

Virginia Joy Vorous