PINE BLUFF– Dr. Nilima N. Renukdas has been named director/Extension fish health specialist for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) Fish Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Lonoke, Arkansas. In this position, she will oversee the lab and provide field support for the Arkansas aquaculture industry.
Located in the heart of the commercial baitfish industry, the UAPB Fish Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Lonoke specializes in water quality and the diseases of baitfish and ornamental fishes. It is one of 11 facilities nationwide approved by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to conduct diagnostic testing that allows producers to obtain health certification for the export of aquaculture species. Over 80 farms statewide use UAPB’s fish health certification services, both at the Lonoke facility and the lab located on the UAPB campus.
Dr. Renukdas will be responsible for developing and implementing an Extension program related to solving fish health problems on commercial aquaculture farms. She will maintain a wide range of fish health and water quality diagnostics services for commercial fish farms and train county Extension agents.
Prior to this position, Dr. Renukdas served as interim assistant director for the Lonoke lab. In addition to conducting fish health inspections, she also worked on diagnostic cases from fish producers and private pond owners within Arkansas and from other states. Her experience with fish disease diagnosis includes a variety of sportfish and baitfish species including channel catfish, largemouth bass, redear, hybrid striped bass, bluegill, goldfish, grass carp and minnows.
During her work as interim assistant director for the lab, Dr. Renukdas also trained farmers with best management and farming practices and provided assistance to Extension agents, small pond owners, researchers and students.
From 2014 to 2016, she was an Extension associate for the UAPB Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries and regularly assisted with fish health inspections at the campus fish health laboratory. In 2017, she became a certified aquatic animal health inspector.
Throughout her post-doctoral research at UAPB, Dr. Renukdas conducted studies with hybrid catfish, baitfish and largemouth bass. She gained experience in fish health by volunteering for the UAPB diagnostic laboratory and conducting inspections for farmers as part of the Arkansas Baitfish Certification Program.
Dr. Renukdas has a Ph.D. in biotechnology, a master’s degree in botany and a bachelor’s degree in botany and bio-medical techniques from the University of Pune in India.
She has authored and co-authored numerous scientific papers, book chapters and journal articles and has helped secure several capacity-building grants related to aquaculture and fisheries.