Reader in Molecular Plant Pathology, Agriculture, Health & Environment Department
Organization: Natural Resources Institute (NRI), University of Greenwich - UK
I’m a plant virologist and vector entomologist with over 15 years of research experience on a wide range of multidisciplinary skills from field epidemiology, molecular biology, tissue culture to functional genomics with particular strengths in plant-virus-vector interactions, especially those involving geminiviruses, potyviruses and their whitefly vector, Bemisia tabaci, infecting cassava, vegetables and other staple food crops in the tropics. Originating from south India, near Bengaluru, I did my under graduation (1992-96) in agriculture at the University of Agricultural Sciences-Bengaluru. My Masters was in Plant Pathology (1996-98) at the same university, in a project to identify sources of resistance to the economically important tomato leaf curl disease. I then moved to NRI in the UK for PhD, under the supervision of Professor John Colvin, on cassava mosaic disease. Following completion of PhD in 2001, I joined NRI as a post-doctoral fellow, subsequently promoted to research fellow and senior research fellow. Currently, as a reader in molecular plant pathology, I lead a core team of researchers investigating the reasons for the recent outbreak of cassava brown streak disease in the eastern African region. I employ a holistic approach from field epidemiology to molecular biology to better understand plant-virus-vector relationships that drive disease epidemics, and understand the mechanisms of resistance for developing control strategies (http://www.nri.org/nri-staff/gowdamaruthi). In the cassava whitefly project, I’m contributing to identify cassava varieties resistant to the whiteflies.