X
× The Zoo is closed. For more information, see the COVID-19 Update page.

Share this page:

Budhan S. Pukazhenthi, Ph.D.

Research Physiologist (Ungulates)
B.V.Sc. Madras Veterinary College, India; M.S. and Ph.D., University of Maryland

The primary goal of Budhan S. Pukazhenthi’s research is the conservation of critically endangered species including ungulates and elephants in captivity and in the wild. His research interests include understanding the fundamental reproductive biology of rare and endangered species, mitigating infertility, developing assisted reproductive technologies, and gamete and embryo cryopreservation. Recently, his team produced the world’s first Przewalski’s horse foal via artificial insemination. Pukazhenthi also studies the reproductive biology of African lions in an effort to enhance reproduction in zoological institutions and developing innovative technologies for preservation of male and female gametes and reproductive tissues.

Pukazhenthi's team produced the world’s first Przewalski’s horse foal via artificial insemination. He is involved in various field conservation projects including in the reintroduction of Eld’s deer into the Western Forest Complex in Thailand and population surveys of Baird’s tapir in Panama. He also recently completed a biomedical survey of all Baird’s tapirs maintained in captivity in Panama and for the first time, successfully collected and cryopreserved tapir spermatozoa. Pukazhenthi is a strong advocate for the development of collaborative research and actively participates in the activities of various species management organizations, including the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group (of the IUCN-World Conservation Union), the Ungulate Taxon Advisory Group and various Species Survival Plans under the umbrella of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). He also serves as chair of the AZA's Biomaterial Banking Advisory Group, reproductive advisor of AZA's lion Species Survival Plan, and is a member of AZA's Ungulate Taxon Advisory Group).
Pukazhenthi completed his bachelor's degree in veterinary sciences at the Madras Veterinary College in India in 1987. He also has a master's degree and a doctorate from the University of Maryland. He completed a post-doctoral training at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in 1998, where he trained with JoGayle Howard and David Wildt. Pukazhenthi also was a recipient of the prestigious Special Emphasis Research Career Award from NIH, University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Alumni Early Career Award, and Outstanding Alumni Award.
Recent Publications: 
Gooley, Rebecca M., Tamazian, Gaik, Castaneda-Rico, Susette, Murphy, Katherine R., Dobrynin, Pavel, Ferrie, Gina M., Haefele, Holly, Maldonado, Jesus E., Wildt, David E., Pukazhenthi, Budhan S., Edwards, Cody W. and Koepfli, Klaus-Peter. 2020. Comparison of genomic diversity and structure of sable antelope (Hippotragus niger) in zoos, conservation centers, and private ranches in North America. Evolutionary Applications. https://doi.org/10.1111/eva.12976
Pennington, Parker M., Splan, Rebecca K., Jacobs, Robert D., Chen, Yong, Singh, Ram P., Li, Yue, Gucek, Marjan, Wagner, Ashley L., Freeman, Elizabeth W. and Pukazhenthi, Budhan S. 2020. Influence of Metabolic Status and Diet on Early Pregnant Equine Histotroph Proteome: Preliminary Findings. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, Article 102938. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jevs.2020.102938
Gibson, Keylie M., Nguyen, Bryan N., Neumann, Laura M., Miller, Michele, Buss, Peter, Daniels, Savel, Ahn, Michelle J., Crandall, Keith A. and Pukazhenthi, Budhan. 2019. Gut microbiome differences between wild and captive black rhinoceros - implications for rhino health. Scientific Reports, 7570. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-43875-3

Projects: