Benchmark has hired Dr Grazyella Yoshida as senior geneticist and Hans Ekvall as junior geneticist. Photo: Benchmark.

Benchmark strengthens genetics team

Aquaculture biotechnology company Benchmark has strengthened its genetics team by hiring Dr Grazyella Yoshida as senior geneticist and Hans Ekvall as junior geneticist. Both positions are located at the Benchmark Genetics head office in Bergen, Norway.

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Yoshida earned her MSc in Animal Science from the University of Maringa, Brazil, in 2014, and her PhD in Genetics and Animal Breeding from Sao Paulo State University in 2018. She has worked as an associate with José Manuel Yáñez’ renowned research group at the University of Chile, supporting the development and uptake of quantitative and genomic tools in R&D projects with numerous aquaculture species. Also, she has extensive experience from support to applied breeding programs for salmonids and tilapia in Chile and Brazil.

Benchmark said the scientist brings significant competence and capacity to its team in many relevant areas for the company’s genetics work. This includes large-scale genetic and genomic evaluations, optimisation of the use of genomic information, and technical supervision of applied breeding programs.

Hands-on experience

Ekvall recently completed his European Master’s in Animal Breeding and Genetics (EMABG) program with combined studies at Georg August University in Germany and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU). His Master’s program focused on breeding program designs and comparative methylome studies on infectious salmon anaemia in Atlantic salmon.

Before that, he did a bachelor on epigenetics in tilapia at the Nord University in Bodø, followed by studies in biomedicine at the University of Bergen. He also holds a BA in International Development from Middlesex University, London.

His experience includes nearly three years as a technician in Atlantic salmon eyed egg production at Erfjord Stamfisk. He will support external clients with applied consultancy services in his new role.

Top-level recruit

Benchmark Genetics is a leading supplier of genetically selected eyed eggs to the salmon industry, and of genetically selected stock of marine shrimp and Nile tilapia.

In December, the company announced that one of the world’s leading aquaculture genetics experts, Professor Ross Houston, will join Benchmark Genetics at the beginning of March.

Houston, who holds a personal chair in aquaculture genetics at Edinburgh University’s world famous Roslin Institute, will be the company’s director of innovation, genetics.