The National Centre for Biological Sciences is delighted to have Amey Redkar, the newest faculty member join the Centre. Amey’s research focuses on genetic and cellular mechanisms of plant-microbial interactions, specifically dissecting molecular dialogues between plant roots and microbes that drive the disease outcomes.
“Devastating plant diseases are on the rise. We lose around 14% of agricultural production worldwide to plant pathogens, which is enormous considering the increasing population that we have to feed by 2050. It is vital to understand plant diseases at the molecular level and the immune pathways that plants deploy to deal with invading pathogens. This is important in developing disease-resistant crops and to increase food yield”, says Amey.
Probing the plant-microbial communication network fascinated Amey since his early days in research. It was while working on defense mechanisms in tomatoes against early blight, during his post-graduation in Botany that marked the beginning of Amey’s journey in decoding plant-microbial crosstalk. For his PhD at Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology in Marburg, Germany, as a DAAD fellow, Amey investigated how pathogenicity genes (effectors) in corn smut fungal pathogen promote tumorous disease symptoms. His postdoctoral research with EMBO long-term fellowship took him to The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich, UK and then with MSCA postdoctoral fellowship, he moved to Universidad de Córdoba, Spain. His postdoctoral work focused on deciphering different aspects of microbial interactions in pathosystems such as white rust disease of Brassicaceae and vascular-wilt disease caused by Fusarium sp. in diverse crops.
At NCBS, Amey’s group will focus on understanding the molecular interactions between soil-inhabiting fungi and plant roots, how these interactions are shaped across different plant lineages and factors that mediate pathogenic and non-pathogenic outcomes. The group's research will seek to identify nature of host signals that allow fungal pathogens to adapt to different cell types in complex tissues and how microbial consortium surrounding roots, shape disease progression.
Climate-related impacts including adaptation of fungal pathogens to increasing temperatures, and burgeoning antimicrobial resistance are influencing crop yields across the globe. Plant diseases are a major threat to food security and agricultural sustainability. “Our work has potential applications in designing biocontrol formulations and using modern synthetic microbiology we aim to engineer resilient plant microbiomes that can help in combating emerging plant diseases,” says Amey.
He has also been an active advocate in several early-career community platforms and looks forward to mentoring early-career researchers who are interested in undertaking new questions in plant-microbial interactions and exploring interdisciplinary research directions.