- About Us
- Capacity Building
- News & Events
The AquaFish Innovation Lab has supported more than 500 students pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees in aquaculture, fisheries, aquatic ecology, economics, engineering, and many other disciplines. Some of our students who are or have been supported are featured below.
Malkia’s interest in aquaculture and community development grew fairly recently out of several sociology courses she completed while an undergraduate at Tuskegee University, Alabama, where she received her BS in biology in 1997. In 1995, she completed her Associate of Arts degree in biology with a minor in chemistry in her home country of the Bahamas at the College of the Bahamas, Nassau. With AquaFish Innovation Lab support, Malkia then continued onto her Master's program, which she finished in 1999 in rural sociology at Auburn University working with Joseph Molnar.
Asaduzzaman completed a B.Sc. Fisheries (Honors) from the Faculty of Fisheries, Bangladesh Agricultural University. He received the “Prime Minister Gold Medal Award” in recognition for excellent results during his B.Sc. After completing his Bachelor’s degree, he was inspired by AquaFish Innovation Lab Host Country Principal Investigator Dr. Wahab to study for his Master’s degree in Fisheries Management. This led him to AquaFish Innovation Lab-supported work that was titled “The potentials of organic farming of freshwater prawn in Bangladesh.” He successfully defended his thesis in December 2005 and earned recognition as best M.Sc. student in the department.
Jimi received his Bachelor’s in Fisheries Science from Sylhet Agricultural University in Bangladesh in 2013. He recently graduated with a Master’s degree in Fisheries Science from Bangladesh Agricultural University, and he desires to continue contributing to aquaculture development in Bangladesh.
Jimi was recently hired as a Research Assistant for WorldFish, where he is working on developing small-scale aquaculture as an alternative livelihood option for fishers engaged in the Hilsa fishery in Bangladesh that experiences periodic fishing bans. Jimi attributes his graduate education with the AquaFish Innovation Lab toward helping him prepare for his work with WorldFish.
Rezwana completed a Master's from Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU) in 2013. Her research involved the growth and production of Nile tilapia and silver carp in polyculture ponds under different fertilizer and feed conditions. Upon graduating, she began work as a Research Fellow in the Water Quality and Pond Dynamics Lab at BAU.
Cambodian native, Touch Nget, recently graduated with his Master’s degree in Aquaculture from Royal University of Agriculture in Cambodia. Nget worked with his advisor, Dr. So Nam, and collaborator, Dr. Nen Phanna, of the Inland Fisheries Research and Development Institute, to further the development of sustainable snakehead aquaculture methods for the lower Mekong Basin in Cambodia and Vietnam, a focus of AquaFish Innovation Lab research for over a decade.
Ling earned her PhD with AquaFish Innovation Lab support from the University of Michigan in 2012. Over the course of her graduate programs, Ling became a great asset to the AquaFish Innovation Lab community, contributing to and learning from collaborations with experts and fish farmers from around the world. Now that she has finished her PhD, Ling hopes to remain in academia, teaching and pursuing her research interests. Her aim is to continue working on designing and implementing more sustainable aquaculture practices, using the results to improve the livelihoods of rural farmers.
Exposed to aquaculture at an early age, Zexia grew up in Sichuan, China where her father was a fish farmer. As fish became a central part of her life, Zexia developed a love for seafood and a fascination with biology, ecology, and fish behavior. Her interest in the natural world led her to HAU’s notable Life Sciences Department, where she completed her undergraduate degree in aquaculture in June 2007. Zexia now finished her PhD, with help from the AquaFish Innovation Lab, from a joint program with Huazhong Agricultural University and the Ohio State University. In her two years working with the AquaFish Innovation Lab, Zexia valued the international connections that she made. Her experience working with researchers from around the world has provided her the opportunity to learn about the different aquaculture issues in other countries.
Diego holds a B.S. in Marine Biology from the Universidad de Bogota Jorge Tadeo Lozano, Colombia, which he completed in 1994, and his research experience there actually had more to do with coral reefs than with aquaculture. His work as a marine biologist included a project to evaluate changes in the composition of marine zooplankton populations resulting from increased freshwater input. Diego enjoyed his work with coral reefs, but looked forward to shifting his focus towards aquaculture research. The fact that there were no graduate programs in Colombia focusing on aquaculture research further motivated Diego to travel abroad. Diego came directly from Colombia to join the Aquaculture/Fisheries Center at University of Arkansas - Pine Bluff after contacting Dr. Carole Engle, Coordinator of the Aquaculture/Fisheries Center at UAPB. Diego earned his Master's degree in 2000 from the UAPB.
Gifty earned her Masters degree in Fisheries Science from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University with AquaFish Innovation Lab support in 2012, and is now pursuing a PhD. Her research involved cage aquaculture development in Volta Lake, Ghana. Gifty surveyed and interviewed current farmers, potential adopters of cage farming, and cage farmers that have left the trade, to better understand the main barriers to cage aquaculture. Upon the completion of her Masters, Gifty worked as an assistant lecturer at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), her Bachelors’ alma mater. At KNUST, Gifty taught Ichthyology and Taxonomy of Fishes, Fisheries and Aquaculture Economics, and Fish Processing and Marketing, while also serving as an academic advisor.
Akua Akfffo was a PhD student at Purdue University in the US working under the advisory of AquaFish Innovation Lab-supported researcher Dr. Kwamena Quagrainie. Akuffo's PhD work included three research studies, 1) investigating the impacts of fish farm participation on household food security and nutrition in Ghana; 2) determining the influences of market price and household income on the demand or decisions to purchase fish among Ghanaian households; 3) investigating how current community infrastructure in Tanzania impacts accessibility and household consumption of seafood.
Akuffo Amankwah, originally from Berekuso, Ghana, received the 2013 Borlaug LEAP Fellowship, recognized as a promising leader in the field of agriculture and related disciplines. With AquaFish Innovation Lab support, Akuffo earned his Ph.D. at Purdue University under the mentorship of AquaFish Innovation Lab US-PI, Dr. Kwamena Quagrainie. Akuffo was also involved with the AquaFish Innovation Lab Strategic Investment in Rapid Technology Dissemination (SIRTD) Associate Award, entitled “Enhancing the Profitability of Small Aquaculture Operations in Ghana, Kenya, and Tanzania”.
While pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science in Natural Resources Management from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi, Ghana, Iris became aware of declining conditions of watersheds throughout the country. Much of this was due to land development and fish harvesting strategies that had little regard for sustainable resource use. Iris became interested in aquaculture due to its potential to reduce stress on wild fishstocks and contribute to food security. She chose to pursue a Master’s Degree in Fish and Wildlife Conservation to help combat barriers to sustainable aquaculture, such as mismanagement and lack of awareness, and offer appropriate and effective solutions to help her native Ghana. With the support of the AquaFish Innovation Lab, Iris successfully earned her Master's degree from Virginia Tech in 2014.
Oscar Zelaya began his PD/A CRSP (now AquaFish Innovation Lab)–funded research in 1999 with the start of his Master’s program in the Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures at Auburn University. Zelaya took an interest in the PD/A CRSP while working in his native Honduras. He was exposed to PD/A CRSP research both as a student working toward his Bachelor’s degree in agriculture at Escuela Agrícola Panamericana (El Zamorano), and as an aquaculturist for Granjas Marinas, one of the largest shrimp farming companies in Honduras. While working at Granjas Marinas, Zelaya also came into contact with PD/A CRSP Principal Investigators Bart Green and David Teichert-Coddington from Auburn University. Zelaya’s Master’s project evaluated how efficient a water recirculation system is in improving the water within a production system, as well as the effluent system that returns water to the environment
Carlos Leyva, native to Honduras, became interested in aquaculture while attending the Escuela Agricola Panamericana (EAP), Zamorano. “I was amazed going through a production cycle from stocking to harvest and astounded by the large amounts of succulent products resulting from it,” said Leyva. After graduation in 1986, Leyva worked as an extension agent. He went on to receive a B.S. from Kansas State University and began working for a shrimp farm in Choluteca, Honduras. During his time in Choluteca, he received invaluable technical support from Dan Meyer, a CRSP host country Principal Investigator based at EAP, who would ultimately influence Leyva to pursue a graduate degree in aquaculture. In 2004, Leyva began completed his Master's degree at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
Naim is from the town of Bandung, West Java, in Indonesia, where she grew up the seventh child of eleven. Her interests took her down several paths and have led her to find her passion as a researcher. In 2002, Naim completed her undergraduate studies in biology at Bandung Institute of Technology in Indonesia. Three years later in 2005, Naim finished her first MS in marine biology and aquaculture at the University of Queensland, Australia. Most recently, in 2010, she finished the first of her three degrees from University of Arizona (UA): her second MS in environmental science. In 2012, Naim finished her PhD at UA, with support of the AquaFish Innovation Lab, under the guidance of her major professor, Dr. Kevin Fitzsimmons, an AquaFish Innovation Lab PI.
Originally from the city of Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, Jeanne Coulibaly earned her doctorate degree at Purdue University in Agriculture Economics. Having obtained her undergraduate degree in biology and veterinary medicine from the University of Cocody in her hometown and the School of Veterinary Medicine in Dakar, Senegal, in 2006 Jeanne was awarded a Norman Borlaug LEAP fellowship to investigate dairy cattle and milk marketing in rural Côte d’Ivoire. Carrying this experience with her, she then investigated “Optimal Marketing Strategies for Fish Famers in Kenya and Ghana” under the AquaFish CRSP. Her major professors at Purdue were Dr. William Masters and CRSP US Lead Principal Investigator, Dr. Kwamena Quagrainie.
Ann Nyaguthii Kimotho earned her first degree from Egerton University in 1992. Ann has since returned to graduate school, with AquaFish Innovation Lab support, to earn her Masters of Science in Environmental Science at Kenyatta University. Ann works for Kirinyaga County as the County Director of Fisheries and said that while in graduate school "I have improved my way of solving challenges...I have gained knowledge on climate smart fisheries and how to cope and adapt to climate change." Mary uses her education and position to disseminate new climate-smart technologies to the fish farmers in her county.
Victoria Chepkirui Tarus first became interested in aquaculture because the demand of fish keeps growing in Kenya and she wanted to "tap into the huge potential and provide a solution to the fish deficit, which will translate into food security and improved livelihoods." Victoria followed this interest by earning her Bachelors in Fisheries at Moi University in 2001. Victoria then went to the University of Eldoret for her Master's degree with the support of Aquaculture CRSP in 2007 and her PhD in 2016. Through her work with ACRSP, she learned of the potential of small-scale farmers to contribute to the economy given opportunity and the right support. Victoria, now Chief Officer with the Kenyana Department of Agriculture and Livestock, enjoys seeing farmers "adopt new technologies in aquaculture and move from subsistence farming to commercial fish farming."
While it was a fond taste of fish that initially got Gladys Kuria fired up about aquaculture, press further and she’ll tell you there is much to love about the industry. In her native home of Kenya, for instance, aquaculture has been known to generate jobs, provide food security, and improve nutrition. Her interest in science propelled Gladys to earn her undergraduate degree in Fisheries and Aquatic Science at Moi University in 2009. She then earned a masters degree with a concentration in aquaculture at Moi University under the guidance of her major professor, Dr. Charles Ngugi and AquaFish Innovation Lab support.
Carolyne earned her Bachelors of Science in Agricultural Economics and Resource Management at Moi University in 2008. In 2015, she earned her Masters of Science in Fisheries Resource Management, supported by the AquaFish Innovation Lab, at the University of Nairobi. Carolyne became interested in aquaculture because it "has great potential in providing solutions to major challenges facing the country, like food insecurity, poverty, unemployment, poor nutrition among others." With her graduate work complete, Carolyne looks forward to being part of the aquaculture sector, which is giving hope to Kenyans for a more food secure future.
James Bundi Mugo earned his Masters of Philosophy in Aquaculture with the support of Aquaculture CRSP (ACRSP) in 2008 from Moi University. Since he was a boy catching fish out of canals, James has been interested in fisheries and aquaculture. With the aid of ACRSP, James is now capable of following his boy-hood interests as a owner of an ornamental fish farm and as a Assistant Lecturer at Karatina University. He said that he teaches from his past experiences; in particular, James pulls from his hands-on trainings in fish breeding, pond design, and pond construction that were led by Professor Charles Ngugi, an ACRSP collaborator.
Mary Adhiambo Opiyo earned her Bachelors of Science in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences from Moi University in 2007. In 2010, Mary earned her Masters of Science in Aquaculture, with the support of the AquaFish Innovation Lab, from Moi University. Mary claims that her time at university, while funded by the AquaFish Innovation Lab, shaped her career; Mary said "...the discussions with supervisors and the mentorship I received has enabled me to be competent in my career..." Mary is now a Research Officer with the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute and most enjoys working at hatcheries watching the transformation and growth of fish. In her current position, Mary mentors other recent graduates to help them develop and retain their interest in aquaculture.
Josiah Ani Sabwa is an AquaFish Innovation Lab-supported PhD candidate in Aquaculture Management at Kenya’s University of Eldoret. For his PhD, Josiah is researching how nutrients and water quality within an aquaponics system affect the growth of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus), one of the most commonly farmed fish worldwide. Aquaponics, a system in which plants are farmed alongside aquatic animals, creates a mutually beneficial environment for plants and fish. Josiah is culturing lettuce, a popular garden crop, along with tilapia.
Josiah is a native Kenyan who's passion lies in helping to develop aquaculture technologies that minimize environmental impacts and reduce costs to farmers. He said some of his most rewarding experiences have been learning about fish pond construction, hatchery design, and management under the mentorship of AquaFish Innovation Lab researchers.
Norman Osieko Munala, the Assistant Director of Fisheries at the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, Cooperatives, and Irrigation in Kakamega County, enjoys working with and training fish farmers; he takes pride in seeing fish farmers improve their practices. Norman gained his position after earning his Master of Philosophy in Aquaculture at the University of Eldoret, with the support of Aquaculture CRSP. He says that his graduate work with the AquaFish Innovation Lab "...sharpened my skills as an extension agent...and gave me an insight into the fisheries sub sector (aquaculture)."
Leah Cherop earned her first degree in Fisheries Science at Moi University in 1997. She then returned to Moi University, with Aquaculture CRSP (ACRSP) funding, to earn her Masters in Philosophy in Fisheries and Aquatic Science. Leah said that her graduate work with ACRSP gave her "confidence to transfer knowledge to others". The opportunity improved her research skills and eventually enabled her to publish her graduate results, which earned her a promotion to Lecturer at the University of Eldoret. She said "It is so fulfilling training fish farmers and students and thereafter seeing them implement what they have learned." Leah is from a rural area and became interested in aquaculture because these technologies can be easily transferred to lay people, while providing high quality food; partially in part of her upbringing, Leah most enjoys "being part and parcel of the people offering viable solutions to food production in rural areas."
Robinson Mugo earned his Bachelors of Science in Fisheries at Moi University in 1999. He continued at Moi University to earn his Masters of Science in Fisheries with the support of Aquaculture CRSP. During his master's work, he noted a mentor using GPS markers on fish, which intrigued him. By 2011, he earned his PhD in Satellite Oceanography at Hokkaido University and is now a Project Manager serving Eastern and Southern Africa with the Regional Center for Mapping of Resources for Development. Throughout his studies, Robinson was "driven by the need to make a difference in food security issues in Kenya, primarily to provide a low-cost source of protein" and he now finds great joy when his work is applied to solve real world problems.
George Owiti Osure first became interested in aquaculture because (in his own words) "aquaculture was the branch of fisheries that had the potential to grow as opposed to capture fisheries, which had stagnated for decades." George pursued that passion first at Moi University, where he earned his Bachelors in Science in Fisheries and Aquaculture and then at Auburn University, where he earned his Masters in Science in Aquaculture with the support of Aquaculture CRSP (ACRSP). He said that work with ACRSP gave him international experience and created a firm foundation for his career, giving him hands-on experience. George claimed that "My AquaFish Innovation Lab study was one of my best experiences of my life...It set me on a path of progress and development in my career and life in general." George very recently returned to academia and was appointed as an Assistant Lecturer at Pwani University.
Patricia Nduku Muendo earned her Bachelors in Science in Aquatic Ecology from University of Nairobi in 1995. She then continued at the University of Nairobi, with the support of Aquaculture CRSP (ACRSP), to earn her Masters in Science in Hydrobiology. Patricia first became interested in aquaculture because of its potential to contribute to food security and her work with ACRSP enabled her to pursue her PhD in Aquaculture at Wangeningen University in the Netherlands. Currently, she most enjoys training others in aquaculture to further develop aquaculture in Kenya; this passion led Patricia to become a Lecturer at Machakos University.
Enos Were earned his Bachelors of Science in Fisheries from Moi University in 1997. With the support of Aquaculture CRSP (ACRSP), Enos then went on to earn his Masters of Philosophy in Aquaculture from Moi University in 2002. While working with ACRSP, he learned not only practical aquaculture skills, but theory and the scientific background of practices. Enos is now turning his education into a business as he is the founder and managing director of Jewlet Enterprises.
Rachel N. Kamau earned her Bachelors of Sciences in Botany and Zoology at the University of Nairobi in 1986. She later returned to graduate school, with the support of Aquaculture CRSP (ACRSP), received her Masters in Philosophy from Moi University in 2005. Rachel first became interested in aquaculture because of its potential as an alternative and nutritious source of protein. Through work with ACRSP, she gained practical experiences and skills that augmented her abilities as an extension officer in fisheries for the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resources.
Stephen Njau graduated the University of Nairobi in 1992 with his Bachelors of Science in Botany and Zoology. he then worked on the Kenyan coast in marine fisheries. Stephen then received an opportunity to see aquaculture in action at the Sagana Fish Farm, a pond site for Aquculture CRSP (ACRSP) in central Kenya. It was there that his interest in aquaculture. After that, Stephen pursued in Masters in Philosophy in Aquaculture at Moi University with the support of ACRSP. His work with ACRSP, gave him practical skills from hands-on trainings and many visits to sundry fish farms. Stephen now, as the Assistant Director of Fisheries with Vihiga County, uses his education to develop and improve aquaculture in his jurisdiction. His professional position has provided him the ability to attend trainings internationally and he enjoys being able to share his ever evolving knowledge base.
Wilfrido Contreras-Sanchez pursued a Master’s and a Doctorate in Fisheries Science supported by funding provided by the ACRSP at Oregon State University (OSU). He completed his doctoral dissertation at OSU in 2000, which focused on finding safe and reliable masculinization techniques for sex reversal in Nile tilapia.
After completing his PhD, Wilfrido was a research professor at Universidad Juarez Autonoma de Tabasco (UJAT) and immediately started work on building capacity for aquaculture production and research in Mexico. Continuing his collaboration with the AquaFish Innovation Lab, Wilfrido has served as a principal investigator on research projects and helped promote aquaculture for conservation and food security. In 2011, Wilfrido was awarded the Medal of Merit for Environmental Defense from the Congress of Tabasco, Mexico. He recently assumed the position of Vice-President of Research at UJAT and continues his efforts in aquaculture and fisheries research.
Luis Arturo Dorantes López studied the masculinization of fly and embryos of Nile tilapia for his Bachelor's at the University of Juarez Autonoma de Tabasco under the support of Aquaculture CRSP. He is currently working with government programs to support tilapia and shrimp aquaculture producers in Tabasco, Mexico.
Arkady Uscanga-Martinez was supported by the ACRSP for his Master’s degree from the Universidad Juárez Autónoma de Tabasco (UJAT), graduating in December 2006. After completing an undergraduate degree in Biology at UJAT, Arkady went on to study Environmental Sciences under Drs. Wilfrido Miguel Contreras Sánchez (AquaFish Innovation Lab Host Country PI) and Roberto Civera Cerecedo, totaling four years of ACRSP-sponsored work.
In November of 2008, Nepalese student Mr. Ravi Lal Sharman successfully completed his Master’s degree in aquaculture from the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Sciences (IAAS) at the Rampur campus in Chitwan, Nepal. Having been inspired by AquaFish Innovation Lab HC Project PI Dr. Madhav Kumar Shrestha, Ravi decided to work on an AquaFish Innovation Lab project looking at polyculture systems involving sahar and mixed-sex Nile tilapia. Ravi’s thesis work, which started in 2007, specifically investigated the “Effect of sahar (Tor putitora) stocking on recruitment control, growth and production of mixed-sex Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) under a pond culture system.”
Having now completed his Master’s program at IAAS, Ravi plans to return to his duties as a Fisheries Development Officer until he can secure funding for his PhD. He hopes to apply his new knowledge of aquaculture for the benefit of Nepalese fish farmers. Ravi hopes to inspire others like himself to continue following their interests and achieving their goals.
Gharti originally connected with the AquaFish Innovation Lab ten years ago when she began her Master’s degree in Aquaculture, under the guidance of Dr. Sunila Rai. She earned her degree from was then the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science, Tribhuvan University (now known as Agriculture and Forestry University (AFU)). For her Master’s research, Gharti investigated alternative ways to culture Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) to maximize production. Gharti now serves as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Aquaculture and is a current AquaFish Innovation Lab Host Country Collaborator.
It’d been more than 30 years since Khop Narayan Shrestha earned his undergraduate degree in agriculture, but something about aquaculture drew him back to school. For Shrestha, that something was a lack of development of aquaculture in the hilly and mountainous regions of Nepal despite abundant water resources. While 94% of fishponds are found in the plains of Nepal, there is a need to promote fish farming into the country’s hills and mountains, he said. Khop earned his Master's degree in 2015 with two years of support from the AquaFish Innovation Lab. He is now the executive director of the nongovernmental organization Manahari Development Institute.
Subhash Jha, originally from Janakpur, Nepal, developed an interest in aquaculture at a very young age. After receiving a Bachelor’s in Agriculture from the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science (Tribhuvan University) in 2013, Subhash’s fascination with pond aquaculture persisted. Today, Subhash is an AquaFish Innovation Lab-supported Master’s student in Aquaculture at the Agriculture and Forestry University (AFU) in Chitwan, Nepal.
Subhash’s Master’s research aims to help to ameliorate the problems of aquaculture under-development and threatened populations of sahar. By assessing the spawning behavior of sahar, Subhash hopes to improve sahar breeding technology for restocking efforts in natural water bodies. This research is an extension of previous AquaFish Innovation Lab work that was done in Pokhara on sahar breeding and production to increase availability of sahar fry for culture. Subhash and researchers at AFU hope to develop protocols scale-up sahar seed production with the goal of making sahar widely available for culture in Nepal.
Sunila Rai is a Nepalese fisheries scientist whose graduate education was supported by the AquaFish CRSP/ACRSP, earning a Master’s and a Doctorate at Thailand’s Asian Institute of Technology (AIT). Sunila’s doctoral advisor was Dr. Yang Yi, who himself completed a PhD in Aquaculture Sciences at AIT supported by the AquaFish Innovation Lab. Sunila was motivated to pursue her education in fisheries and aquaculture science in part because of the need to address the significant gender gap in the aquaculture sector in Nepal. Through her formal long-term training and experience working on AquaFish Innovation Lab-funded projects, Sunila was well positioned for building on her accomplishments and continuing into a promising career in aquaculture science.
After completing her graduate education, Sunila worked as the Head of the Aquaculture Department at the Institute for Agriculture and Animal Sciences (IAAS) at Agriculture and Forestry University (AFU, formerly Tribhuvan) in Chitwan, where she conducted research for enhancing carp production in polyculture ponds. In 2013, she was appointed the Associate Dean of Academics of the Faculty of Animal Science at the AFU. Sunila is a pioneer for women in the field of aquaculture science, and she sets a strong example to encourage women to not only pursue higher education, but to become leaders in the aquaculture sector.
Thanks to Aquaculture CRSP support, Dr. Pandit earned his first Master’s degree in 2003 from Tribhuvan University’s Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science (IAAS; now known as Agriculture and Forestry University, or AFU), from which he also earned an undergraduate degree in agriculture in 2000. Dr. Pandit went on to earn a second Master’s degree from the University of the Ryukyus in Japan in 2010 with major professor Dr. Masaru Nakamura, completing the thesis “Effect of high temperature on reproductive physiology of the Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus.” In 2014, Dr. Pandit earned a Ph.D. from Shanghai Ocean University in China with the research “Identification, characterization and expression analysis of immune genes within the TNF and IL superfamilies in grass carp, Ctenopharyngodon idella.” Since earning his Ph.D. degree, Dr. Pandit has been involved with several AquaFish Innovation Lab research projects through AquaFish Innovation Lab Host Country Project PI Dr. Madhav Shrestha.
Fred earned an undergraduate Biological Sciences degree (1995) from Peru’s Universidad Nacional de la Amazonía Peruana, and an M.S. (2000) in Aquatic Biology and Fisheries from Universidade Federal do Amazonas in Brazil. Fred then joined the Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonía Peruana (IIAP) in his hometown of Iquitos, Peru, and through that institute’s collaborative research agreement with Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIUC) Fred joined SIUC as a graduate student. He worked with his major advisor, Dr. Chris Kohler, and Dr. William Camargo at SIUC on ACRSP-funded projects for five years and defended his PhD in 2007.
He received his undergraduate degree in Fishing Engineering from Agraria University, also in Lima, in 1995. He then turned his attention to agricultural business, in which he received a post-graduate certificate. From Lima, Neira then moved to Aquafuture, Inc., in Turner Falls, Massachusetts, where he worked with striped bass, then to Bioshelters, Inc., in Amherst, Massachusetts, where he worked on recirculating systems for tilapia. He found his way to the University of Arkansas - Pine Bluff to work with Dr. Carole Engle and, with the support of PD/A CRSP, earned his Master's degree in 2002.
Richard Babas graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Fisheries from Central Luzon State University in 2006. Richard's research was on probiotic use in tilapia aquaculture. Today, he is teaching Agriculture and Fisheries to high schoolers in the Philippines.
After graduating high school in 1980, Emmanuel Vera Cruz recognized that aquaculture presented an opportunity to conduct research in a new and rapidly developing field. Native to the Philippines, he saw many ways to improve aquaculture in his country. This inspired him to attain a Masters degree from Central Luzon State University in 1991, and he then earned his doctorate in Aquaculture from Florida International University (FIU) in 2006.
Dr. Ravelina Velasco developed an interest in studying fisheries at CLSU at a young age, as her father was the former Dean of CLSU’s College of Fisheries, and nurtured a passion for research. After completing her Bachelor’s in Aquaculture at CLSU, Ravelina continued on to pursue a PhD at CLSU under the advisory of long-time AquaFish Innovation Lab partner and current Regional Center for Excellence (RCE) Coordinator, Dr. Remedios Bolivar.
In 2008, Ravelina became a distinguished Borlaug Leap Fellow through the support of her advisor Dr. Remedios Bolivar, as well as AquaFish Innovation Lab Director Dr. Hillary Egna and AquaFish Innovation Lab Project PI Dr. Russell Borski. As a Borlaug fellow, Ravelina had the opportunity to collaborate with researchers at North Carolina State University (NCSU) and at WorldFish in Malaysia.
Ravelina completed her PhD research in 2011 on the biological stress markers associated with the growth of Nile tilapia reared at different stocking densities. Shortly after graduating, Ravelina received a job as a Research Associate and Program Coordinator for the National Tilapia Research and Development Program at the Freshwater Aquaculture Center at CLSU. This would be her seventh consecutive research project with CLSU since 2011. In June 2015, Ravelina will transition into a permanent position as a CLSU level one Instructor.
Rwangano, with the support of CRSP, earned his PhD at Oregon State University in 1998 and earned his Master's degree in 1990. He had originally joined the CRSP team in 1985 as a host country research associate. He previously held a Baccalaureate degree in Mathematics and Natural Science with a minor in Science Teaching Methods, and an Ingénieur Agronome (Agricultural Engineering) degree with emphasis on animal production and its economics.
Originally from the town of Iringa in the central part of Tanzania, Margareth graduated from Open University of Tanzania in 2006 with her bachelor’s degree in Zoology. Due to her interest in fisheries and natural resources, Margareth started her work at Masters work at Sokoine University of Agriculture hoping to enhance the capacity of fish farming in her home country. She worked under AquaFish Innovation Lab host country principal investigator Sebastian Chenyambuga to assess the potential uses of two local plants as a protein source in aquaculture feed.
Taworn Thunjai successfully defended his Ph.D. dissertation in 2002 at Auburn University. Thunjai’s advisor was Claude Boyd, a long-time PD/A CRSP Principal Investigator. Thunjai first became involved with the PD/A CRSP in 1997, during one of Boyd’s Thailand visits when they met. Thunjai was then working with the Thai Ministry of Agricultures and Cooperatives, Department of Fisheries. In June 1997, Thunjai moved to Auburn University. He completed two masters degrees there, based on research on pond soil samples from PD/A CRSP sites and developed an interest in the environmental aspects of aquaculture. He is particularly interested in sustainable practices and aquaculture development.
Kom Silapajarn attributes his interest in the aquacultural sciences to his childhood love of the sea. Prompted by this early interest, Silapajarn was led to further studies of fisheries, which brought him to work with PD/A CRSP (now AquaFish Innovation Lab). Silapajarn pursued his PhD at Auburn University under the direction of PD/ACRSP partner, Dr. Claude Boyd.
Moureen, originally from Uganda, graduated with her Bachelors in Environmental Science Technology and Management from Kyambogo University. Before beginning her Masters, she volunteered with the National Fisheries Resources Research Institute (NaFIRRI), where she was moved by her interactions with women farm owners.
With support from the AquaFish Innovation Lab, Moureen received a Masters in Fisheries and Allied Aquaculture from Auburn University in 2015. Her Masters research involved expanding an already existing cell phone-based aquaculture market for Ugandan farmers. Moureen plans to continue to work in aquaculture outreach in her future career.
John received his PhD in from Auburn University in 2013, after completing his dissertation on low-cost breeding and hatching technologies for the African Lungfish. John, now with the National Fisheries Resource Research Institute (NaFIRRI), Uganda, works with the AquaFish Innovation Lab as a Host Country Co-PI.
Morgan completed a Masters degree in the Marine Resource Management program at Oregon State University in 2015. Upon graduating, she stayed with the AquaFish Innovation Lab for an additional year as Professional Faculty as a Gender Specialist and Outreach and Communication Manager. Her graduate thesis research in the Philippines focused on illuminating the importance of including women and other vulnerable populations in resource and disaster management in order to produce a sustainable response from the affected community. While she is no longer full-time with the AquaFish Innovation Lab, she is still doing research on gender and aquaculture with Dr. Egna. Today, Morgan works the Global Oceans Team at The Nature Conservancy, supporting the Coastal Resilience Program.
Stephanie earned her Masters degree in Marine Resource Management from Oregon State University with AquaFish Innovation Lab support in 2011, and is now enrolled in the PhD program in Environmental Sciences at OSU. Her research is on the value and tradeoffs associated with the culture of air breathing fish for small-scale fish farmers. The uniqueness that air breathing fish bring to the food system is inherent in their ability to withstand low oxygen levels often associated with poor water quality. However, there are many tradeoffs to consider and it is the goal of her research to identify innovative practices and products for small-scale farmers to efficiently produce fish with a built-in resilience to climate change.
Frances Tain completed her Master’s thesis, entitled “Impacts of Aquaculture Extension on Small-Scale Oreochromis niloticus Production in Northeastern Thailand,” at the University of Michigan. Her thesis was the product of research Tain undertook while living in Thailand from June to September 1998. Originally from Los Angeles, California, Tain received her Bachelor’s degree in Aquatic Biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She discovered the PD/A CRSP while at the University of Michigan through her advisor, Jim Diana.
Dr. Vu Cam Luong became a lecturer at the Fisheries Department of the University of Agriculture and Forestry in Ho Chi Minh City of Vietnam in 1997 after he received his Bachelor degree from the same university that April. He joined the Asian Institute of Technology as a Master student in 1999 with a DANIDA Master Research Abroad Fellowship, and received his M.Sc. degree in 2000 with the support of the AquaFish Innovation Lab. He conducted the research entitled “Trophic model and technical-economic aspects of cove aquaculture in Tri An Reservoir of Vietnam” under the supervision of CRSP PI Professor C. Kwei Lin.
Duyen, an AquaFish Innovation Lab-supported Master’s degree candidate in aquaculture at Vietnam’s Can Tho University, experimented with the two essential amino acids in an effort to determine the dietary requirements of snakehead (Channa striata). Duyen earned her undergraduate degree in aquatic resources management at Can Tho in 2010 and her Masters, with AquaFish Innovation Lab support, in 2017.