In mid - January 2017, Arun Dhar moved to Tucson to begin his duties as an associate professor in the School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences, and director of the Aquaculture Pathology Laboratory—both in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Dhar earned his doctorate from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, India and conducted post-doctoral research in Agriculture Canada, in Fredericton, New Brunswick, and Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, Massachusetts.
Dhar has worked in start-up as well as in multinational biotech companies in California and Maryland. He has spent much of his professional career working on developing diagnostics, oral vaccines and therapies, and genetic markers for viral disease resistance in fish and shellfish.
Over the years while working in biotech companies, Dhar has also been actively involved in teaching and mentoring graduate students at several colleges and universities including MIT, University of Maryland-Baltimore County, Towson University and Hood College. He also teaches in the AQUAVET® Program at Cornell University.
The Arizona Aquaculture Pathology lab serves as the OIE Reference lab for crustacean diseases and was developed and led by Donald Lightner for many years before his recent retirement. As director, Dhar leads a world-class research and development team with expertise in diagnostics, treatment and biosecurity against virtually all classes of pathogens and parasites of shrimp and other crustaceans.
The lab personnel are active with competitive research grants, assisting the global aquaculture industry as a service lab, collaborative research projects with national and international organizations, as the OIE reference lab, and as a teaching center. The lab team provides the summer shrimp pathology short course in Tucson, which has been attended by virtually every shrimp pathologist in the world, and a plethora of short courses held on-site and in all the active shrimp farming regions of the world. As a research center, the lab also hosts visiting scientists and trains graduate and undergrad students.
The School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences and Dhar plan to add additional research capabilities and staff to the lab while maintaining the outstanding services and training that have been so critical to the global shrimp farming industry. With continued growth of shrimp farming around the world, the lab will continue to grow and add cutting-edge technologies that will allow it to maintain its pre-eminent position in the world.