Bushra RakhaBushra Rakha

The winner of the 2020 Dayong Gao Young Investigator Award, sponsored by GoldSim has been announced as Dr. Bushra Rakha of Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi, Pakistan. 

On winning the award Dr. Rakha said, "I am thankful to the Awards Committee from the Society for Cryobiology for recognizing my research and feel honored to be the second recipient of the highly prestigious and competitive Dayong Gao Young Investigator Award. Growing up in a less privileged community has not only had financial and academic challenges, but has also made it seem impossible to   challenge myself as a cryobiologist in Pakistan. 

Just to give you little perspective on my life: many years ago I started my post-graduate career as a conservation biologist back in 2005 when I came to know that wildlife species are facing threats of extinction in their environment. Genome resource banking may provide a safety net against extinction for many endangered avian species. Therefore, I started working in the field of cryobiology focusing to develop/optimize improved sperm cryopreservation protocols/procedures and published numerous peer reviewed scientific articles in various journals of international repute. This award not only gives me opportunity to earn my passion as a cryobiologist but is also a great incentive to continue my work as cryobiologist for conserving precious species germplasm."

Biography

Dr. Bushra Allah Rakha joined the Department of Wildlife Management, Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi, Pakistan in 2007 where she is currently working as an Assistant Professor.  This is a renowned university in Pakistan, ranked in the top 10 Universities in the country. 

Dr. Rakha is the pioneer who worked on semen banking of wild species in Pakistan. She carried out her post-graduate research work on sperm cryobanking of Punjab Urial (Ovis vignei punjabiensis) and did extensive work on Indian red jungle fowl (Gallus gallus murgha) during her PhD studies. Currently, she is working on sperm cryobanking of Ring-necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) and Common quail (Coturnix coturnix). The overall aim of her research is to develop protocols/techniques for sperm sexing and in vitro preservation of germplasm for long periods. Initially, Dr. Rakha carried out research to improve freezing protocols for bovine and ovine sperm as model species. Now, her recent research work in this context is directed towards the improvement of reproductive biotechnologies through: sperm sexing and validation through Real-time PCR; developing DNA based sperm quality markers; implication of frost-resistant (anti-freezing) proteins; reducing oxidative stress; bio-membrane stabilizing agents; developing novel freezing regimens; controlling semen bacteremia; gamete selection techniques; usage of permeable and non-permeable cryoprotectants; harvesting of epididydmal sperm from deceased animals; use of third generation cryo-diluents of plant origin; optimizing gamete harvesting techniques; elucidation of seasonal changes; and developing artificial insemination protocols for avian species. 

To date, Dr. Rakha has supervised more than 50 post-graduate students (MS: 20, M. Sc.: 28) and currently leading a team of 12 MS and PhD students working on semen banking of different avian species. 

Dr. Rakha has successfully won various competitive research grants from national and international funding agencies and two research projects of approximately $90,000 are currently being carried out in Dr. Rakha’s lab. Dr. Rakha has won many prestigious research awards including the Research Productivity Award from the Pakistan Council for Science and Technology, Islamabad. Dr. Rakha actively participates in International & National Conferences sponsored by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan. Recently, she has been granted a travel award from the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories to attend ISBER 2020 Annual Meetings and Exhibits. She is serving as Editor of 2 Journals (International Journal of Limnology and Journal of Zoological Research) and Associate Editor for the Journal of Wildlife and Ecology. Dr. Rakha is also Editorial Board member and Reviewer for 26 journals.

Due to her long association with Zoological Society of Pakistan, she has been selected as a life fellow for Zoological Society of Pakistan and serving as member of IUCN SSC Galliforme Specialist Group (GSG).

To learn more about Dr. Rakha's research please visit the following profiles 

Google Scholar Profile
https://scholar.google.com.pk/citations?hl=en&user=W1WCCQcAAAAJ&view_op=list_works&sortby=pubdate

Researchgate Profile
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Bushra_Rakha