Advisory Team

Bruce Elfström

Bruce Elfström, professional biologist, expedition training expert, and field logistics coordinator; it was in 2004 while filming an IMAX film in Mongolia when he first became aware of the environmental challenges the nomadic herders of Mongolia face on a daily basis.  The interconnection of pastoral nomads, predator prey relationships, and how this all affects desertification fascinated him.  Ever practical, Bruce began talking to herders and researching livestock protection dogs as a missing link in the complex conservation puzzle. He realized that this was a historical solution to a highly modern problem. Discovering several families still using the original Bankhar dogs in remote areas of Mongolia, Bruce founded Mongolian Bankhar Dog Project in 2011 to put this research into practice.

Adam Boyko PhD

Adam Boyko:  Head Genetics Advisory Team.   Adam and the MBDP have worked together since 2013 on the genetics of domestic dogs and their origin as well as the genetic aspects of landrace animals.  Adam is an assistant professor in Biomedical Sciences at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. His research focuses on genomic investigation of dogs as a model of genetic disease and evolutionary genetics. One aspect of this work is understanding the evolution and genetics of village dogs, the semi-feral pariah dogs found in much of the world today. Dr. Boyko is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and received an MS in Computer Science and a PhD in Biology from Purdue University before his postdoctoral research in the Department of Biological Statistics and Computational Biology at Cornell University. He served as a Research Associate in the Genetics Department at the Stanford School of Medicine before beginning his faculty appointment at Cornell in 2011.

Megddorj Khorolsuren

Prior to starting the Mongolian Bankhar Dog Project in 2010, an enterprising Mongolian had a similar vision – to ensure the traditions and use of the Bankhar Dog were not lost.  Since a boy, Megddorj Khorolsuren has been a dog enthusiast.  As a child in the countryside he grew up alongside Mongol Bankhars. Later as a young man he began exploring the vast countryside of Mongolia experiencing and learning the traditions of the nomads. Megddorj is now a successful businessman in Mongolia. Having spent many years abroad in Switzerland and Canada pursuing higher education he had understood the importance of retaining the traditions and role of the Bankhar.  On returning to Mongolia he made it his passion to gather these Bankhar and bring them together under one roof in hopes of starting a breeding center.  During his travels he paid particular attention to gather dogs only from isolated areas where only true working Bankhar existed and to gather them only from traditional nomads. Once we at the Mongolian Bankhar Dog Project became aware of Megddorj and his work, we of course teamed up.  The result was that Megddorj contributed a group of our founding dogs and allowed us to rent land to build our earliest breeding center.  Megddorj has since stayed on as a member of our advisory group and board of directors, a role he still holds to this day. Simply stated, without Megddorj’s passion for our work the Mongolian Bankhar Dog Project would not have gotten off the ground so…

Carol Beuchat

Dr Carol Beuchat is the scientific director of the Institute of Canine Biology. Her background in comparative biology and an interest in the biology of dogs motivated the formation of the Institute of Canine Biology as a means of bringing scientists studying various aspects of canine biology together with the dog breeders and owners who have vast collective experience and knowledge of dogs. The increasing number of genetic disorders in dogs are a huge concern for breeders, who lack the tools and resources to address these problems.  At the same time, there is a revolution in genetic research fueled by the discovery of the dog as a model animal in which to study genetic disease in humans.  The possibilities for fruitful interaction between the scientists and the dog breeders and owners are potentially endless.

Orysia Dawydiak

Orysia Dawydiak is the author of ‘Livestock Protection Dogs – Selection, Care and Training’. She has been the long-time editor of the Akbash Sentinel, as well as a breeder and importer of Akbash livestock protection dogs from Turkey.