FACULTY PROFILE
Dr.A. Chandra sekhar
Assistant professor
+91-9849080331
acsekhar@yogivemanauniversity.ac.in
Qualification :
M. Sc., Ph.D. UNIVERSITY OF HYDERABAD (CENTRAL UNIVERSITY OF HYDERABAD), HYDERABAD
PDF experience :
. Worked as visiting scientist to the lab of Prof. Roberto Tuberosa, Biotechnology applied to Plant Breeding, Department of Agro environmental Sciences and Technology, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy as visiting scientist under Institute of Advanced Study (IAS) - Senior Visiting Fellowship (Early Stage Research Fellowship at the Institute of Advanced Studies of the University of Bologna). July 2006 – November 2006.
. Worked as a Post doctoral research fellow (Research Associate) with Prof. Arjula R. Reddy in a International collaboration project with ICRISAT and ICGEB under Generation Challenge Program (GCP) in Pearl millet EST generation project entitled “Stress response enriched ESTs for targeted species” April 2005 – June 2006.
. Senior Research Fellow from University Grants Commission, Govt. of India, During PhD program. February, 2002- January, 2005
. Junior Research Fellow from University Grants Commission, Govt. of India, During PhD program. February, 2001- January, 2002
. Research Assistant under Rockefeller Foundation Rice Biotechnology Project to Prof. Arjula R. Reddy, University of Hyderabad. During Novovember, 2000 – Jananuary, 2001
. Summer Research Fellow “Screening Heat Tolerant Varieties in Ground nut" in ICRISAT, under guidance of Dr. R.C. Nageshwara Rao, Senior Scientist, GREP, ICRISAT, Patancheru, Hyderabad, India from May 7th - July 7th, 1998
Area/s of research interests :
PLANT MOLECULAR GENETICS AND FUNCTIONAL GENOMICS
1. Millet Genomics.
2. Functional Genomics of Drought Tolerance and Root Development in cereals.
3. Molecular Characterization of Hybrid Seed Production.
4. Molecular and Functional characterization of Medicinal Plants
Present Areas of Interest :
1. Molecular Markers and Mapping
2. Functional Genomics and Molecular Stress Biology of Cereals
3. Rice Functional Genomics
4. Small Millet Molecular Genetics and Functional Genomics
To dissect drought tolerance in Rice and other Millets from the research experience earned from past and to contribute little to the vast area of Cereal genomics for drought tolerance.
Earlier Work :
  1. Worked as visiting scientist to the lab of Prof. Roberto Tuberosa, Biotechnology applied to Plant Breeding, Department of Agro environmental Sciences and Technology, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy as visiting scientist under Institute of Advanced Study (IAS) - Senior Visiting Fellowship (Early Stage Research Fellowship at the Institute of Advanced Studies of the University of Bologna). Mainly worked on two topics, (1) to analyse the genetic variability for plasticity of root architecture present in rice in response to ABA and (2) to identify candidate genes at QTL regions for roots in rice and to deploy EcoTILLING to investigate haplotype variation of different rice accessions at such candidate genes.
  2. During first Post Doctoral research work, I was associated with Prof. Arjula R Reddy and worked as Post Doctoral Research Fellow (Research Associate) with Prof. Arjula R. Reddy in a International collaboration project with ICRISAT and ICGEB under Generation Challenge Program (GCP) in Pearl millet EST generation project entitled “Stress response enriched ESTs for targeted species” (April, 2005 – June, 2006). My work involved in - “total RNA isolation from terminal drought stressed (Leaf and Panicle) pearl millet, differential cDNA libraries construction, generation of ESTs from differential cDNA libraries, sequencing of clones etc., and their use for identification and development of candidate gene based SSRs, EST-PCR markers and SNP markers linked to QTL(s) for drought tolerance, facilitating marker-assisted selection for drought tolerance in pearl millet.” Succeeded in generation of about 1200 ESTs from pearl millet differential cDNA libraries, out of which 243 ESTs has been submitted in the GenBank.
  3. Doctoral work was focused on "Molecular mapping using SSRs and EST-PCR based markers, and identification of quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for drought tolerance in a Doubled Haploid Line population of rice (Oryza sativa L.)" under the guidance of Prof. Arjula R. Reddy, Plant Molecular Biology and Molecular Genetics Laboratory, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad. During my doctoral research, I have mainly involved in map saturation of a DHL mapping population with SSRs and EST-PCR markers and QTL identification for drought tolerance (morphological, phenological and yield traits under field drought stress) in rice, conversion of ESTs in to PCR-based markers and studied their use in diversity analysis and molecular mapping of rice.
  4. Attended workshop “Plant Gene Expression” at International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, New Delhi, India from Nov 19th – Dec 2nd, 2001. Undergone training in differential cDNA libraries construction and screening.
  5. One month training "Molecular mapping of Wheat quality related QTLs" under guidance of Dr. P. K Ranjekar and Dr. Vidya S. Gupta, Plant Molecular Biology Laboratory, National Chemical Laboratory, Pune from July 17th - August 18th, 2000.
  6. Two months project "Screening Heat Tolerant Varieties in Ground nut" in ICRISAT, under guidance of Dr. R.C. Nageshwara Rao, Senior Scientist, GREP, ICRISAT, Patancheru, Hyderabad, India from May 7th - July 7th, 1998.
Present Research Focus:

My present research work is focused on multidisciplinary and multi-institutional collaborative research with long term objectives for understanding insights of stress tolerance mechanism of crop plants at molecular genetic level and development of stress tolerance crop plants. Main crops of interest that were being studied from last few years are small millets, rice, groundnut, sunflower etc., Apart from the food crops, we are also focused a little on medicinal plants with no / limited molecular data of secondary compounds with medicinal property for humankind benefit. In brief, we are focusing on following aspects -

In view of my long term research focus, we have collaborated with Agricultural Research Institute, Nandyal and focused on foxtail millet. The goal of the collaboration is - In Search of Novel Alleles for Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Setaria italica L. : Molecular Genetic, Physiological and Biochemical Characterization - Minor millets are the small-grained cereals belonging to the family Poaceae, and often called as underutilized and under-researched plant species but with local importance as a source of food. Foxtail millet is a small diploid C4 panicoid crop species, whose genome is being sequenced by the Joint Genome Institute (JGI) of the Department of Energy, USA. It is one of the agronomically and nutritionally important cereal crops, and is next to rice in genome size with 490 Mb. Inspite of its genetic, genomic and agronomic importance there is less progress towards understanding mechanisms at biochemical and molecular genetic level for abiotic sress tolerance. More over less efforts has been made to develop permanent mapping population to better understand various physiological mechanisms of abiotic stress tolerance in foxtail millet when compared to its other relatives like rice, sorghum, maize etc., This study aimed to assess genetic variability in land races of foxtail millet in comparision with other released / elite varieties in terms of various biochemical mechanisms like proline accumulation, ascorbate peroxidase (APX), catalase, glutahione reductase and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity in foxtail millet in response to various abiotic stress factors and at molecualar genetic level by means of various marker systems by developing recombinant inbred line (RIL) mapping population. Our preliminary results show that there is enormous variability both at genetic and physiological level; in land races of foxtail millet when compared to elite / released varieites, towards the degree of sensitivity and phenotypic plasticity for proline accumulation and various antioxidant enzymes that confirm abiotic stress tolerance. Insights of the present study highlights an integrative approach for identification of molecular markers and marker enzymes that can be used as bioindicators in selection of stress tolerant genotypes with in a natural population / varieties / landraces of foxtail millet.

We are also focused on one of the important oil crops, for Tobacco Streak Virus resistant alleles in cultivated sunflower along with a private company. The main goal of the collaboration is assessing available germplasm with molecular markers In Search of Novel Alleles for TSV Resistance in Sunflower: A Molecular Marker Approach - Sunflower is one of the most important oil crops in the world after soybean. The cultivated sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) has been the main source of edible oil in Russia and other eastern European countries for decades. In the last 25 to 30 years, production of sunflower has increased many folds due to the expansion of its cultivation in several parts of the world. Crop production is limited by variety of stresses, of which biotic factors including viruses, bacteria, and fungi diseases cause huge loses due to its susceptibility. Virus diseases have a disastrous effect on crop yields and threaten total seed or crop production. The crop is highly vulnerable to TSV which cause necrosis in sunflower, causing devastation in crop production worth of about US$ 40 million per year. Identification of resistance sources and use of these resistant cultivars in plant breeding programs has resulted in substantial gains in crop productivity. Application of various molecular markers in sunflower breeding programs has made substantial developments for various physiological characters. In our attempt to identify resistant source in sunflower germplasm, for TSV resistance we have employed various molecular markers to screen germplasm. Uncharacterized germplasm along with the resistant and susceptible parents were screened with ISSRs and RAPDs markers; and dendrogram was constructed. Our results clearly emphasized presence of uncharacterized alleles for TSV resistance in sunflower germplasm

Apart form this I am actively collaborating with Dr. P. Chandra Obul Reddy, Department of Botany, Yogi Vemana University in various aspects of stress tolerance mechanisms in crop plants viz., Development of groundnut transgenic plants for drought tolerance; Phytoremediation of Uranium; Development of sunflower transgenics for improved abiotic stress tolerance and Genetic engineering of rice for enhanced crop productivity:

Projects undertaken :
As Principal Investigator
1) Molecular Tagging of Tobacco Streak Virus gene: Screening Sunflower for Resistance to Tobacco Streak Virus and Mapping the TSV Resistance Gene. Vibha Agrotech, Ltd, Hyderabad. Budget-9,96,946-00, Period: 2009-2011
2) Molecular tagging of stress tolerant small millet varieties and development of genetic and genomic resources for molecular breeding, Agri Science Project, Yogi Vemana University, Budget- 2,50,000-00, Period: 2010-2012.
As Co-Principal Investigator
1) Development of sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) transgenics carrying HD-START and DREB1F transcription factors for improved abiotic stress tolerane. Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (C.S.I.R), Govt. of India, New Delhi. Budget -20, 00,000-00, Period: 2009-2012.
2) Phytoremediation of Uranium enriched soils: Molecular, Biochemical and Transgenic approach. Department of Biotechnology (D.B.T), Govt. of India, New Delhi. Budget -25, 00,000 -00, Period: 2009-2012.
3) Development of groundnut (Arachis hypogaea, L.) transgenics carrying HD-START transcription factor for improved drought stress tolerance. Department of Science and Technology (D.S.T), Govt. of India, New Delhi. Budget -26,60,000 -00, Period: 2009-2012.
4) Screening of small millets for abiotic stress tolerance: A physiological approach. Agri Science Project, Yogi Vemana University. Budget: 1, 50,000-00, Period: 2010-2012.
Achievements/Awards :
. Recipient of prestigious Institute of Advanced Studies – Senior Visiting Fellowship (Early Stage Research Fellowship at the Institute of Advanced Studies of the University of Bologna) University of Bologna, Italy for the year 2006 sponsored by IAS.
. Recipient of Research Associate Fellowship under Generation Challenge Program (GCP) project to Prof. Arjula R. Reddy, University of Hyderabad. April 2005 – June 2006.
. Institutional Bio-safety Committee Member (IBSC), Yogi Vemana University, Kadapa. 2008 to till date
. Founder Head Department of Biotechnology, Yogi Vemana University, Kadapa. From July, 2007 – April, 2008.
Research Scholars – Research areas
Name of the Research Scholar Research Topic Research Area
Mr. P. Ramesh Physiological, Biochemical & Molecular screening of foxtail millet (Seteria italica L.) germ plasm for abiotic stress tolerance. Molecular Genetics and Mapping
Mr. J. Vijaya Naresh (Extramural) Co-Supervisor Genetic transformation of rice (Oryza sativa L.) for enhancing abiotic stress tolerance. Plant Genetic Engineering
Foreign visits (Academic/ Research purpose)
Visited University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy as visiting scientist to the lab of Prof. Roberto Tuberosa, Biotechnology applied to Plant Breeding, Department of Agro environmental Sciences and Technology, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy as visiting scientist under Institute of Advanced Study (IAS) - Senior Visiting Fellowship (Early Stage Research Fellowship at the Institute of Advanced Studies of the University of Bologna) during July 2006 – November 2006.
Mainly worked on two topics, (1) to analyse the genetic variability for plasticity of root architecture present in rice in response to ABA and (2) to identify candidate genes at QTL regions for roots in rice and to deploy EcoTILLING to investigate haplotype variation of different rice accessions at such candidate genes.
Details of significant paper publications :
1. Banavath, J. N., Konduru, S., Pandit, V., Guduru, K. K., Ramesh, P., Podha S., Sekhar, A. C., and Puli, C. O. R.,. (2014). Genotypic Differences in Some Physiological and Biochemical Parameters Symptomatic for Nickel (Ni) Induced Stress in Groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.). Current Trends in Biotechnology and Pharmacy 8(3): 224-234.
2. Konduru, S., Puli, C. O. R., Banavath, J. N., Pandit, V., Guduru, K. K and Sekhar, A. C. (2014). An improved and optimized method of high quality RNA isolation from recalcitrant plant. International Journal of Pharma and Bio Sciences 5 (3): B 658 – 665. (ISSN 0975-6299)
3. Reddi, K. V.N. R., Rajesh, S. S., Narendra, K., Jangala, S., Reddy, P. C. O., Satya, A. K., Sivaramana, T., and Sekhar, A. C. (2014). In vitro anti-venom potential of various Jatropha extracts on neutralizing cytotoxic effect induced by phospholipase A2 of crude venom from Indian cobra (Naja naja). Bangladesh J Pharmacol 9: 22-28
4. Setti, A., Sankati, H. S., Devi, T. A., Sekhar, A. C, Rao, J. V, and Pawar, S. C (2013). Structural Insights into the Extra Cellular Segment of Integrinβ5 and Molecular interaction studies. Journal of Receptors and Signal Transduction 33(5):319-324.
5. Velpula, K. K., Rehman, A. A., Chigurupati, S., Sanam, R., Inampudi, K. K., and Akila, C. S (2012). Computational Analysis of Human and Mouse CREB3L4 Protein. Bioinformation 8(12): 574-577.
6. Submitted 245 pearl millet ESTs from terminal drought stressed pearl millet differential cDNA libraries to GenBank from EB410835-EB411151 in NCBI dbest database. Hash,C.T., Reddy Lachagari,V.B., Markandeya,G., Reddy,S.P., Rizwi ,S.M.H., Jayashree,B., Sekhar, A. C., Prasad,L.S., Reddy,M.K. and Reddy,A.R (2006). Identification of differentially expressed genes in pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum) under drought stress. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/dbest.
7. Submitted 3087 rice ESTs from drought stressed indica variety to GenBank from CB964418 to CB967504 in NCBI dbest database. Markandeya, G., Ravindra Babu, P., Venkat Reddy, B., Nagabhushana, I., Chandra Sekhar, A., Bennetzen, J. L., Ramakrishna, W. and Reddy, A. R. (2003). ESTs from a normalized cDNA library of drought stressed rice seedlings (Oryza sativa L.cv Nagina 22). www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/dbest.
8. Submitted one full-length rice cDNA of CRT/DRE-binding protein gene to GenBank accession no. AY502052. Ravindra Babu, P., Markandeya, G., Chandra Sekhar, A. and Reddy, A. R. (2003). Isolation and characterization of a CRT/DRE-binding protein gene. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
9. Submitted 1151 rice ESTs from drought stressed indica variety to GenBank from BU672765 to BU673915 in NCBI dbest database. Reddy, A. R., Markandeya, G., Ramakrishna, W., Nagabhushana, I., Ravindra Babu, P., Madana Mohan Reddy, A., Chandra Sekhar, A. and Bennetzen, J. L. (2002). Novel EST enrichment with normalized cDNA libraries from drought stressed rice (Oryza sativa L.cv Nagina 22) www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/dbest.
10. Submitted one full-length rice cDNA of DRE-binding protein 1B gene to GenBank accession no. AY166833. Ravindra Babu, P., Markandeya, G., Ramakrishna, W., Nagabhushana, I., Chandra Sekhar, A., Madana Mohan Reddy, A., Bennetzen, J. L. and Reddy, A. R. (2002). Isolation and characterization of mRNA of a DRE-binding protein 1B (DREB 1B) of indica rice. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
11. Submitted 1577 rice ESTs from drought stressed indica variety to GenBank from BI305180 to BI306756 in NCBI dbest database. Reddy, A. R., Ramakrishna, W., Chandra Sekhar, A., Nagabhushan, I., Ravindrababu, P. and Bennetzen, J. L. (2001). Novel EST enrichment with normalized cDNA libraries from drought stressed rice (Oryza sativa L.cv Nagina 22) www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/dbest.
12. Arjula R. Reddy., W. Ramakrishna., A. Chandra Sekhar, Nagabhushan Ithal., P. Ravindra Babu., M. F. Bonaldo., M.B. Soares., and Jeffrey L. Bennetzen (2002). Novel genes are enriched in normalized cDNA libraries from drought-stressed seedlings of rice (Oryza sativa L.subsp. indica cv. Nagina 22). Genome 45: 204-211.
Full Length Conference Proceedings
1. Reddy, C. V. C. M., Reddy, P. V. R. M., Sekhar, A. C., and Reddy, M. V. S (2014). Comparision of Chlorophyll content, leaf relative water content and mineral elements in foxtail millet (Setaria italica L. Breauv) under drought stress. Full Length Conference Proceedings, Edited by Dr. S. P. Singh. National Conference on “Emerging Problems and Recent Advances in Applied Sciences: Basic to Molecular Approaches” organized by Society for Scientific Development in Agriculture and Technology, Meerut, UP in Ch. Charan Singh University, Meerut-250 004 (U.P., INDIA) Pages 68-71.
2. Reddy, M. V. S., Reddy, C. V. C. M., Reddy, P. V. R. M., Sekhar, A. C., and Padmalatha, Y (2014). Improvement of Drought Tolerance in Crop Plants. Full Length Conference Proceedings, Edited by Dr. S. P. Singh. National Conference on “Emerging Problems and Recent Advances in Applied Sciences: Basic to Molecular Approaches” organized by Society for Scientific Development in Agriculture and Technology, Meerut, UP in Ch. Charan Singh University, Meerut-250 004 (U.P., INDIA) Pages 95-98.
Book Chapters:
1. Sravani Konduru, S., Puli, PCOR., Akila, C. S., Pandit, V., Guduru, K. K., Banavath, J. N (2014). Remediation of Uranium Contaminated Soils: Conventional and Emerging Technologies (Book Chapter Submitted; Abstract submitted to Springer Publications)
2. Sekhar. A. C., Reddy, P. C. O., Krishnaveni, T., Ramesh, P. and Reddi. K. V. N. R. (2014). Molecular Markers: An Array of Technological Advancements and Their Applications in Crop Improvement T. Pullaiah (Ed.)., Biotechnology for Sustainable Development (2014) P. P. ………. Regency Publications, New Delhi (Accepted for Publication)
3. Banavath. J. N., Pandit, V., Konduru, S., Guduru, K. K., Podha, S., Sekhar, A. C., and Reddy, P. C. O (2014). Genetic Engineering of Groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) for Abiotic Stress Tolerance: Challenges and Prospects. T. Pullaiah (Ed.)., Biotechnology for Suistainable Development (2014) P. P. ………. Regency Publications, New Delhi (Accepted for Publication)
4. Thiruveedhi, K., Puli, C. O. R., Akila, C. S., Thammineni, C., Konduru, S., Banavath, J. N., and Pandit, V., (2013). “Real-time PCR: A reliable method for gene expression studies in plants”. T. Pullaiah (Ed.)., Abiotic Stress and Biotechnology (2013) P. P. 235 – 283. Regency Publications, New Delhi (ISBN: 978-81-89233)
5. Puli, C. O. R., Konduru, S., Banavath, J. N., Pandit, V., Thiruveedhi, K., and Akila, C. S., (2013). ‘Subtractive Hybridization: A Powerful Method to isolate differentially Expressed Genes”. T. Pullaiah (Ed.)., Abiotic Stress and Biotechnology (2013). P. P.285 – 309. Regency Publications, New Delhi (ISBN: 978-81-89233)
SYMPOSIA ORGANIZED (as one of active member / main organizer)
  • International Seminars
  • 1. International Seminar on Plant Biotechnology and Genomics -2009, 6-7th February, 2009 in Yogi Vemana University, Kadapa jointly organized by Department of Biotechnology, Biochemistry, Botany and Microbiology (one of the active members)
  • National Seminars / Workshops
  • 1. Recent Trends in Biotechnology – 2014 conducted by Department of Biotechnology, Yogi Vemana Univerity, 25th – 26th February, 2014 (Organizing Secretary)
    2. Recent Trends in “Omics” conducted jointly by Department of Biotechnology, Department of Genetics & Genomics and Department of Biotechnology & Bioinformatics held at Yogi Vemana University 21st - 22nd March 2012, Kadapa, Andhra Pradesh. (one of the active members and Treasurer)
    3. Onsite workshop on “Advances in Computational Genomics” in collaboration with UGC-Networking Resource Centre in Biological Sciences, Maduai Kamaraj University, Madurai during 13th – 20th February, 2012 along with Department of Botany, Yogi Vemana University (LOCAL ORGANIZER)
    4. One day public debate on “Pros and Cons of Biotechnology” jointly organized by Department of Biotechnology and Department of Botany, Yogi Vemana University, on 31st January, 2011 (one of the Organizing Secretaries)

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