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        "Wilderness in me and Wildlife is my passion"

Dr. Mukesh Thakur
Young Scientist Affiliate
Wildlife Institute of India, Post Box# 18, 
Chandrabani, Dehradun #248001, Uttarakhand, India
E. mail: thamukesh@gmail.comMobile:+91-9639026807
Skype ID: mukeshthakur
                                  

Research Interest:  
My research interests lie at the interface between wildlife ecology and population genetics theory to investigate population differentiation and identify the genetic mechanisms of adaptation. Keeping an interdisciplinary vision, I am keen to explore the genetic consequences of species reintroduction programs, the use of genetic markers in applied wildlife management and conservation programs, the use of genetics and ecological information to elucidate mating systems, movement behavior, and population structure of wildlife species in the fragmented or in human intervened landscapes. I believe applying the insights obtained from genetic research to the enhancement of imperiled species is an effective way to provide science relevant to society and to communicate the importance of supporting scientific inquiry.
Area of expertise: 
  • Landscape Genetics and Conservation genomics 
  •  Molecular Ecology and Wildlife Conservation

“Destiny is no matter of chance, it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved” as said by William Jennings Bryan, the pursuit of curiosity always took me to opt the world that satisfy me from inside.

I have always been passionate in wildlife and anything to do with the natural world and still remember my college days when I used to bring my friends through some lure or some force to visit the reserve forests nearby my home town. I used to provoke them to make some fun during weekends while I used to go to have some exciting sightings and to be close with nature and natural world. In my school, I used to enjoy studying biology- the science of life and I have been fortunate to have great teachers like Shri R.D. Goswami (Govt. Inter College, BSR), Late Dr. L.K. Sharma, Dr. Rajeev Govila and Dr. L.N. Gupta (I.P. College, BSR) who motivated me by drawing parallels between worlds of exciting discoveries and their applications to everyday life. I realized with time that a comprehensive understanding of science is possible only when scientific theories are supported by practical experiments. Till my graduation, I developed a strong affinity for biology which persisted to opt for subjects like genetics, molecular biology, genomics and genetic engineering thereby gaining latitude in field of Science and further honing my learning abilities. I have been enthusiastic in assimilating the knowledge gained through the courses in my studies and perpetually developed a keen interest in molecular biology and its schematic relationship with genetics and genomics.

Master dissertation project on 
“Cloning and Transformation of Large Subunit of Rubisco (rbc L) gene isolated from Brinjal” imparted me a practical exposure in learning various lab techniques at NRC DNA fingerprinting, NBPGR, New Delhi. I will remain indebted to Dr. Manjusha Verma and Dr. Sanjay Kalia (NBPGR, Pusa) who trained me in mol bio lab and showed me the new horizons of molecular markers and DNA fingerprinting. My passion to wildlife transformed to my profession when I received opportunity to study my graduate degree (PhD) at Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun. I completed my PhD in 2012 on “Molecular genetic diversity of Red Junglefowl (Gallus gallus) in northern India and its admixture with domestic chicken” . Soon after getting my degree, I realized the necessity of technology advancement instead studying wildlife in a classical way. Being fortunate, I encountered somehow to Dr. Datta's lab at NDRI, Karnal where I have been exposed and learnt the cutting edge of technology used in reproduction genomics of cattle and buffaloes. I took part in genomic experiments, RNA spiking and briefly attempted to develop concepts on determining syntenic regions, their functional role and evolutionary importance of co-existence in different species. Here, I started thinking new dimensions of wildlife conservation that appeared to me virgin at that time. Now, I am carrying out a research project on Cheer Pheasant genetics and furthering my profession to wildlife conservation with all those experiences and expertise that I gained so far. 

I dream to work for the establishment of the National Gene Bank facility for preserving the germ cell lines of endangered animals and would like to work on the marker assisted breeding and reproductive technologies. 

Research Projects: 

P
roject 1 : Conservation of Red Junglefowl [RJF] (Gallus gallus) in India. 

 The project was funded by Wildlife Institute of India , Dehradun and supervised by Dr. S. Sathyakumar , Scientist-G/Professor.  I worked as a research personnel and investigated the extent of genetic hybridization of RJF with domestic chicken in wild as well as in captivity using multi-locus genotyping with giving core emphasis on population structuring, purity assessment and detection of hybrids. Here, I laid down the guide map for setting up captive populations and investigated how genetics factors should be taken into consideration for conservation breeding programs. In addition, I also developed microsatellites for Galliformes, Anseriformes and Columbiformes using cross-species amplification of chicken markers. These markers would provide further insight into the evolution of microsatellites and genetic divergence of birds of different taxon and will be of use to other researchers to work on these species.

Project 2: Population genetics of Asiatic Black Bear (Ursus thibetanus) in Dachigam landscape, Kashmir, India. 

This project was funded by International Association of Bear Research & Management  and supervised by Dr. S. Sathyakumar, Scientist-G/Professor. I being the sole research scholar in the project, established molecular sexing and individual identification through non-invasive genotyping of black bears using feces and hairs as the sample materials. In brief, I assessed the level of genetic diversity, population size, identified nuisance bears genetically that were known to involved in conflicts in different sites at Dachigam landscape, Jammu & Kashmir, India.    

Project 3: Elucidating the physiological and genomic regulation process of follicular development, oocyte
maturation and embryogenesis in buffalo. 

This project was funded by Indian Council of Agricultural Research  under NAIP  scheme and supervised by Dr. T.K. Datta, Principal Scientist, ABTC, NDRI, Karnal. The major objectives of the projects were to study the follicular dynamics pattern in cycling buffalo, when does the dominant follicles develop and what is the chronology of setting in of the process of atresia and identification of the specific genes that preferentially expressed at different stages of follicular development, oocyte maturation and at different cleavage stages of developing preimplantation embryos in buffalo.


Project 4: Distribution, Population status and Conservation Genetics of Cheer Pheasant (Catreus wallichi) in Himachal Pradesh.

I earned this project as an award "DST- Young Scientist" under Fast Track Scheme  (Registration No. SERC/LS-375/2012) and the grant of approx. 26,735.00 Euros (Rs. 21.75 lakhs) was  allocated from Department of Science and Technology (DST) to carry out the research for a period of three years (2013-2016). The on going project is aimed with the following major objectives: 

  • To evaluate the current status and distribution of Cheer Pheasant in the state of Himachal Pradesh.
  • To assess the level of existing genetic diversity, extent of inbreeding and effective number of breeders in the captive population of Cheer Pheasant at Chail Pheasantry.
  • To establish pedigree and kinship relationship among the captive birds for planning mating and monitoring genetic diversity.
  • To assess the population genetic structure and the bottleneck footprints, if present in the captive population of Cheer Pheasant at Chail Pheasantry.
  • To propose a management plan for monitoring Cheer Pheasant population for long term stability in Chail Pheasantry and selection of birds to release in wild.
  • To suggest the effective sites/locations in Himachal Pradesh where the birds may be released.  

Education:

PhD*- Biotechnology - 2012 from Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra . 
MSc- Biotechnology (72%)- 2004 to 2006 from Ch. Charan Singh University, Meerut .
BSc -Biology (73%)- 2001-2004 from Ch. Charan Singh University, Meerut .
* Ph.D. title : Molecular genetic diversity of Red Junglefowl (Gallus gallus) in Northern India and its admixture with domestic chicken.

Training/Project/Diploma:

Research Fellowship Awarded:

  • Young Scientist Award (DST- Fast Track Scheme)- to conduct a study on conservation genetics of Cheer Pheasant in Himachal Pradesh for a period of three years (2013-2016). 
  • Post Doctoral Fellowship at College of Animal and Veterinary Medicine, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, China (Awarded for two years i.e. May 2013-June 2015, Declined).
  • NDRI- NAIP (National Dairy Research Institute- National Agriculture Innovative Programme) Research Associateship (RA) - July 2012 to April 2013.
  • WII - MoEF (Wildlife Institute of India - Ministry of Environment and Forests, Govt. of India) Senior Research Fellowship (SRF) - June 2011 to May 2012
  • Chinese Government Scholarship - Senior Visiting Scholar to work with Institute of Animal Science-Graduate School of Chinese Academy of Agriculture Sciences (IAS-GSCAAS) - Sept 2010 to Aug 2011.
  • WII - MoEF (Wildlife Institute of India - Ministry of Environment and Forests, Govt. of India) Senior Research Fellowship (SRF) - March 2009 to Feb 2011
  • WII - MoEF (Wildlife Institute of India - Ministry of Environment and Forests, Govt. of India) Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) - March 2007 to March 2009.

Travel Grants & Awards 


Travel Grants (€ 550.00) from the organizing Committee to attend spring school: Landscape Genetics held at University of Gottingen, Germany during Mar 10th -15th 2014
Travel Grants ($ 1000.00) from Organizing Committee of Beijing Forum to attend Student Conference for Conservation Science (SCCS) held at Peking University, Beijing during 1st to 5th Nov. 2013.
Travel Grants (€ 250.00) from World Pheasants Association to attend 5th International Galliformes Symposium held at Chiang Mai, Thailand, 7-14 November 2010.
Travel Grants (€ 397.165) from World Pheasants Association to attend 4th International Galliformes Symposium held at Chengdu, Sichuan, China, 14- 21 October, 2007.
Travel Grants ($ 1000.00) from Society for Conservation Biology to attend 25th International Congress for Conservation Biology held at Edmonton, Canada. 3 – 7 July 2010.
Honorarium of (Rs. 1500/-) from NISCAIR, Pusa, New Delhi for publishing an article in Science Reporter, Vol.47 (5), May 2010, Pp.44-48, ISSN 0036-8512.
Second Best Presentation Award in XXIII Annual Research Seminar 2009 at Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun.

Professional Credentials:

  1. Member of Editorial Board -International Journal of Vocational and Technical Education        
  2. Managing Editor, PSA Hatchery Science News Letter       
  3. Reviewer-  African Journal of Biotechnology , Asian Journal of Biotechnology       
  4. International Society of Zoological Sciences [Membership no.936-I]
  5. Poultry Science Association  [Membership no.91375]
  6. Society for Conservation of Domestic Animal Biodiversity  [Membership no. SOCDAB-425]
Software Skills: 

GENE MAPPER, CONVERT, CREATE, CERVUS, GENEALEX, POPGENE, GENETIX, MICROCHECKER, GENEPOP, GDA, TFPGA, NeESTIMATOR, GDA, BOTTLENECK, ARLEQUIN, STRUCTURE, BLAST, PRIMER 3, CLUSTAL-W, DNASP, MEGA, BIOEDIT, PHYLIP AND NETWORK.

Find the complete list of softwares        for which I provide voluntarily assistance to the other researchers for data analysis.

Software Web Sources:

Phylogeny programs , Population genetics programs       



Shades of life....









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