Goa: BITS Pilani's Prof Rajesh Mehrotra Honored As Fellow Of Royal Society Of Biology, UK

Goa: BITS Pilani's Prof Rajesh Mehrotra Honored As Fellow Of Royal Society Of Biology, UK

In an exclusive conversation with The Free Press Journal, Prof. Mehrotra shared a few insights about himself and his work that brought him the rare fame.

Siksha MUpdated: Tuesday, July 02, 2024, 08:36 PM IST
article-image
Professor Rajesh Mehrotra | File

Professor Rajesh Mehrotra of the Department of Biological Sciences at BITS Pilani, KK Birla Goa Campus, and also part of its International Programmes and Collaboration Division (IPCD), has been nominated as a Fellow of the prestigious Royal Society of Biology in the United Kingdom. This is a rare honor, and only a few Indians have been conferred with a similar honour for different areas of expertise. 

In an exclusive conversation with The Free Press Journal, Prof. Mehrotra shared a few insights about himself and his work that brought him the rare fame.

FPJ: Please share some information regarding your academic background?

Prof Mehrotra: I obtained my doctoral degree from Banaras Hindu University while working at National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow. I subsequently had a post-doctoral stint at Kyoto University, Japan, in the department of gene mechanisms led by Prof Mitsuhiro Yanagida. In 2007 I joined the BITS Pilani campus as an assistant professor.

FPJ: In research terms, what does this award mean?

Prof Mehrotra: Any award or recognition is an outcome of years of effort. I’ve received various recognitions including the Indira Gandhi Education Excellence Award for undergraduate teaching, Prof CR Mitra's Best Faculty Award in 2022 and Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan Distinguished Professor in Genetics and Plant Biotechnology in 2024. In April, I was inducted as a fellow of the Royal Society of Biology for my work on plant cis-regulatory elements. My laboratory discovered the molecular switch for abiotic and biotic stress response. My work has received more than 2,200 citations for my research.

FPJ: Explain in an easy-to-understand way what your research is about.

Prof Mehrotra: Plants are sessile. They are subjected to various stresses like drought, salinity, high temperature, insect attacks and pathogen attacks. My group identified molecular switches, which can respond to abiotic and biotic stress.

FPJ: In layman’s language you are saying that you discovered a threshold at which plants experience pain?

Prof Mehrotra: What kind of genes are expressed under different stress and what are their molecular signatures? My laboratory discovered that genes which are expressed under biotic stress have different molecular signatures as compared to the ones expressed under abiotic stress. This information can be used by plant biotechnologists to target yield loss in plants due to stress conditions.

FPJ: But plants do not have pain receptors? They don’t have a nervous system.

Prof Mehrotra: Pain signal means here that they release various biochemical molecules, which help them to combat stress conditions.

FPJ: Do plants feel stressed?

Prof Mehrotra: Plants do feel stressed and their gene expression profile is very different when compared to non-stressed plants.

FPJ: What are you exactly working on now?

Prof Mehrotra: We are trying to understand the molecular circuits of seed weight regulation for enhanced plant productivity. Recently, we got a grant from professors from Zurich and Australia for research on the subject. 

RECENT STORIES

NEET Case: CBI Reveals 'Collusion' Between Oasis School Principal, Vice Principal, Mastermind

NEET Case: CBI Reveals 'Collusion' Between Oasis School Principal, Vice Principal, Mastermind

UPPSC Staff Nurse Main Examination On July 28; Check Admit Card Details Here!

UPPSC Staff Nurse Main Examination On July 28; Check Admit Card Details Here!

Control Rooms, Police In Plain Clothes, & Strict Regulations; Delhi University Announces...

Control Rooms, Police In Plain Clothes, & Strict Regulations; Delhi University Announces...

MPPSC Announces State Services Exam (SSE) Mains 2024 Schedule: Read Eligibility & More Details

MPPSC Announces State Services Exam (SSE) Mains 2024 Schedule: Read Eligibility & More Details

University Of Mumbai Extends Application Deadline For MMS, MCA Distance Learning Entrance Exams

University Of Mumbai Extends Application Deadline For MMS, MCA Distance Learning Entrance Exams