NCBS welcomes new faculty - Radhika Venkatesan

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

Ncbs is pleased to welcome Radhika Venkatesan as faculty.

Radhika Venkatesan is a chemical ecologist who trained at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany at the doctoral level with Prof. Wilhelm Boland. During this time, Venkatesan worked on understanding the regulation of indirect plant defense mechanism against herbivores. She could demonstrate that such defense strategy depended on light quality and was controlled by a plant hormone conjugated to amino acid. During her postdoctoral studies at RIKEN, Japan with Prof. Hitoshi Sakakibara, she worked on Rhodococcus fascians, a plant pathogen that affects plant productivity causing economic loss worldwide. Using molecular and chemical approaches, she identified novel molecules from the pathogen that disrupt hormonal balance in host plants thereby aiding in the infection.

At NCBS, she seeks to understand chemically mediated interactions between plants, insects and microbes. At a broader level, she will address the role of these interactions spanning their biochemistry to that of ecosystems. Towards this, an interdisciplinary approach combining ecology and chemistry will be undertaken utilizing various analytical techniques including mass spectrometry. Her research will be a significant addition to the recently initiated Chemical Ecology program at NCBS.

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