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ACADEMICS

 

Genetics

Prof. Sheela Srivastava (Head)
College Address Department of Genetics
University of Delhi South Campus
Benito Juarez Road, Dhaula Kuan
New Delhi – 110 021

M.Sc. Admission Bulletin

College Phone 24112761, 24111955, Extn. 179.
College Fax 24112761
udscgenetics@gmail.com
          Genetics

ABOUT DEPARTMENT

The Department of Genetics was established in 1984, as a part of the Faculty of Inter-disciplinary & Applied Sciences at the University of Delhi South Campus. In its brief period of existence the department has developed into an advanced centre of study in Genetics recognized by the University Grants Commission (UGC) under their Special Assistance Programme (SAP-phaseII) and Department of Science & Technology under their FIST programme. Two of the faculties also have Centers of Excellence supported by Department of Biotechnology.

The department conducts a two year post-graduate programme in Genetics, a one year M.Phil. programme in Biotechnology and a Ph.D. programme. Through its interdisciplinary approaches involving interactions with different institutes and departments of the country, the department not only offers a unique opportunity to imbibe knowledge from experts in different fields but also helps maintain a high academic standard. Teaching in the department is also supported by research activities in frontline areas being pursued by the faculty of the department. M.Sc. students are encouraged to interact intensively with the faculty as well as research scholars of the department.

Faculty Members

Professors

K., Prof. Thelma B. +91-11-24118201 thelmabk@gmail.com, thelmabk@south.du.ac.in
Pental, Prof. Deepak +91-11-24112609 dpental@gmail.com
Pradhan, Prof. Akshay Kumar +91-11-24112322 pradhancgmcp@gmail.com
Rajam, Prof. Manchikatla Venkat +91-11-24110866 rajam.mv@gmail.com; venkat.rajam@south.du.ac.in
Srivastava, Prof. Sheela +91-11-24110690 srivastava_sheela@yahoo.com

Associate Professors

Burma, Dr. Pradeep Kumar +91-11-24115221 pburma@south.du.ac.in, pburma@hotmail.com

Assistant Professors

Datta, Dr. Kaustuv   Kaustuv.datta@gmail.com
Kaur, Dr. Jagreet   jagreet@south.du.ac.in
Naorem, Dr. Aruna +91-11-24110189 ext-336 aruna.naorem@south.du.ac.in
Sarkar, Dr. Surajit 91-011- 24112503 (Ext. 325) sarkar.surajit@gmail.com;sarkar@south.du.ac.in
Srivastava, Dr. Tapasya +91-11-24112761 tapasya@south.du.ac.in

Courses Offered

Admissions

Eligibility:

A student seeking admission of M.Sc. (Genetics) must have passed B.Sc. (General) or B.Sc. (Hons.) or an equivalent undergraduate degree in any branch of life sciences / physical sciences / chemical sciences / mathematical sciences / medical sciences / pharmacology / any branch of biology / paramedical sciences with at least 60% marks in their main subject (for Hons. stream) or in aggregate (for B.Sc. general) or other equivalent undergraduate degree. Those appearing for their final year exams can also appear for the entrance test, but they will have to produce the provisional certificate of results by the end of July of the concerned year. The applicant must be at least 20 years of age on first October of the year in which he or she seeks admission. Relaxation up to one year is permissible only with the approval of the Vice Chancellor.
No. of Seats: 12 (GEN 6; OBC 3; SC 2; ST 1)
Mode of Selection Written Exam + Interview
Total Marks: 100 marks (Written paper = 80 marks; Interview = 20 marks)
Pattern of Written Exam:

Objective type (Multiple choice): Based on B.Sc. syllabus of Delhi University with an emphasis on Biology and Genetics

Candidates based on their merit in the written exam will be called for interview for final selection. The number of candidates to be called for interview will be approximately five times the intake capacity of the course.

Time Table

Research/Project Activities

Prof. D. Pental, Prof. A.K. Pradhan

The major activity of the group is the genetic improvement of oilseed mustard (Brassica juncea) through conventional and biotechnological approaches. They are actively involved in molecular mapping and marker assisted breeding in oilseed mustard Brassica juncea.. The lab has constructed a high density integrated map consisting of more than 2500 markers and also a comparative molecular map in B. juncea using single copy genes from Arabidopsis thaliana. Two independent loci have been mapped in two east European lines of B. juncea governing resistance to white rust disease using these maps. The future work aims at tagging genes for oil content, fatty acid biosynthesis, yield components and isolation and identification of candidate genes conferring resistance to Alternaria blight, white rust and some important yield components. In this regard, next generation sequencing (NGS) techniques are being used to generate more markers in B. rapa and B. juncea. As a tangible product, the lab has been successful in developing the first mustard hybrid in the country which was released in 2008 by Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India for commercial cultivation in the mustard growing areas of north-western India. Another mustard hybrid based on transgenic technology is undergoing bio-safety analysis for its future release in the farmers field.

Prof. Sheela Srivastava

Prof. Srivastava’s group is engaged in research on heavy metal tolerance in microbial systems with emphasis on characterization of the genetic basis of resistance in soil bacteria isolated from polluted sites. Genes conferring resistance to zinc, copper and nickel have been cloned and functionally characterized and resistance mechanism has been worked out. Metal accumulating bacteria have been identified and their potential role in bioremediation and redistribution of metals has been studied. Additionally, the group is also actively engaged in studies on antimicrobial peptide antibiotics, bacteriocins from lactic acid bacteria for the development of effective broad-range biopreservatives. Some bacteriocins with novel properties have been purified and characterized looking at the features critical for their application. Genetic analysis is in progress. Major gene and its regulatory sequence in IAA biosynthesis pathway have been cloned and characterized. Genetic/pathway manipulation has led to enhanced IAA production and superior bioinoculant strains. Biocontrol property of some rhizospheric isolated is being currently evaluated as part of the program on plant growth promoting rhizospheric bacteria. Another major area of interest deals with metagenomic analysis for the identification of novel functions.

Prof. M.V. Rajam

My research uses transgenic and other molecular approaches like RNAi to address a wide range of fundamental questions in plant development and stress responses. We have developed several rice, eggplant and tomato transgenics, tolerant to abiotic and biotic stresses by over-expressing various stress-related genes, notably polyamine biosynthesis genes. We have also developed transgenic tomatoes for delayed fruit ripening for longer shelf-life and improved fruit quality by over-expressing polyamine biosynthetic genes during fruit development. These studies provide clues to basic molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the plant development and stress responses, which we are actively persuing. Work is also undertaken to stack transgenes in transgenic eggplant and tomato for enhanced tolerance to abiotic and biotic stresses. For the past several years, I have been working on the molecular dissection of polyamine biosynthesis in crop plants, and also in a model organism Chamydomonas reinhardtii to decipher the roles of polyamines in various biological processes, and rigorous analysis of this important pathway has yeilded insights into the molecular and cellular basis for plant development processes and stress tolerance, and is opening new opportunities for the improvement of crop plants. The current major research interests of my laboratory is to use RNAi technology to unravel the functions of polyamine biosynthesis genes in various developmental processes, including fruit ripening, male sterility, senescence and stress responses as well as to develop transgenic tomato, eggplant and cotton plants for disease, insect and nematode resistance through plant RNAi- mediated silencing of vital genes of the target pathogens and pests. Besides, virus resistant sweet orange transgenics, male sterility transgenic tomato and marker-free transgenic tomato are being produced by using RNAi and other approaches. Farther, we are also working on the control of cancer and human fungal pathogens by silencing some important genes by siRNAs. Silencing of vital gene of a fungal pathogen (Aspergillus nidulans) and insect pest (Helicoverpa armigera) by siRNAs for their control in vitro, development of marker-free and double transgenics of tomato for stress tolerance and slow ripening transgenic tomatoes are some of our recent significant achievements.

Prof. B.K. Thelma

Medical genomics and translational science occupies a pivotal position in contemporary biomedical research. As a Centre of excellence on “Genome Sciences and Predictive Medicine” multiple aspects of research are being pursued in the laboratory by employing an interdisciplinary approach- fostering synergy amongst geneticists, medical practitioners, biochemists, cell biologists, statisticians, computational biologists and bioinformaticians. Attempts to understand the biology of common as well as emerging complex diseases such as Rheumatoid arthritis and Ulcerative colitis respectively by genome wide search for genetic variants conferring disease susceptibility and identifying novel pathways therein; translation of this knowledge to develop novel drug molecules and generate predictive medicine tools are a major area of research focus in the lab and probably one of the very few of its kind in the country. Identification and functional analysis of critical genetic variants singly or in a haplotypic configuration for determination of phenotypes is a related area of work being pursued in the lab. Another exciting project is on genetics of brain disorders such as Mental retardation, Parkinson’s disease and Schizophrenia where the emphasis is on novel gene identification using the rich resource of familial forms of these disorders available in the country combined with powerful next generation sequencing technologies. Developing predictive algorithms to enable pre-prescription testing of commonly used drugs is the long term goal of the projects under Pharmacogenomics in the laboratory.

Dr. P.K. Burma

The introduction of insect resistant Bt cotton in India has led to the integration of genetically modified crops into agriculture. Although development of transgenic crops is being routinely done, the full potential of the transgenes used in these crops are not being realized as their expressions need to be properly optimized. The group is engaged in developing strategies to optimize transgene expression in plants by targeting transcriptional as well as post-transcriptional processes. Identifying and synthesizing novel promoters for both constitutive and tissue specific expression is one area being pursued. At the post-transcriptional level work on intron-mediated enhancements (IME) of gene expression and strategies to improve translational efficiency is being carried out. The knowledge generated from the basic research is being utilized to develop transgenics in cotton. In the work on developing insect resistant cotton using Bt toxin genes, achieving appropriate levels of expression of the Bt gene without compromising the fitness of the plant was found to be a major bottle neck. Our work on cotton and tobacco demonstrated that accumulation of high levels of Cry1Ac protein was detrimental to plant regeneration and development. Such observations have been probably overlooked earlier as most of the studies were focused to identify a potential useful line. The work is currently being pursued to develop strategies to circumvent this problem. The second project on cotton is to develop a pollination control mechanism (using barnase and barstar genes) for production of hybrid seeds. The work on transgenic development is being carried out jointly with Prof. Deepak Pental.

Dr. Surajit Sarkar

Aging is a subject of interest to humans since the beginning of recorded history, yet, it remains largely, if not completely, mysterious. Aging is also associated with several neurodegenerative disorders. The major focus of our research is to understand the genetic and cellular basis of aging process and neurodegeneration, and to identify new genes involved. In addition, we are also characterizing developmental role of some stress genes and its possible role in progression of aging and neurodegeneration. To address these questions we utilize Drosophila as our model organism where we can take full advantage of a powerful array of genetic, molecular, and cellular approaches. Furthermore, availability Drosophila models of human neurodegenerative diseases providing an opportunity to study the normal function of disease proteins, as well as study of effects of familial mutations upon targeted expression of human mutant forms in the fly. By investigating these genes, it is expected to gain insights into the neurodegenerative disorders and aging phenomenon.

Dr. Jagreet Kaur

Plants are prone to attack by a variety of pathogens and plant diseases account for a significant role in yield losses in agriculture. Necrotrophs comprise the largest class of fungal plant pathogens and cause some of the most destructive of plant diseases. To study the plant-pathogen interaction, we are examining how the necrotrophic fungus, Alternaria brassicae, interacts with the model plant Arabidopsis as well as the closely related Brassica juncea. The major focus of our study is to understand how the plant recognizes the pathogen invasion and what kind of downstream resistance responses are activated in both resistant and susceptible plants. We are employing genetic and molecular approaches for identification and functional analysis of novel factors that determine plant susceptibility and/or resistance to Alternaria infection. Findings from our work will significantly advance the present level of understanding of host-necrotroph interactions and these results can be further extrapolated to improve durable resistance in crop plants using genetic engineering approaches.

Dr. Naorem Aruna Devi

The basic leucine zipper (bZIP) domain-containing proteins form one of the largest families of transcription factors in eukaryotic cells. These proteins dimerise to form homodimers and heterodimers with other bZIP proteins through their leucine repeats forming a coiled-coil with flanking a-helices that constitute the basic region for interacting with DNA bases. They play diverse roles in mediating cell proliferation, differentiation, inflammatory responses, metabolism, cellular transformation, oxidative stress response, multidrug resistance, oncogene-induced senescence and tumorogenesis etc. Dictyostelium discoideum provides a good model system for studying morphogenesis and differentiation. One of its principal attractions is the distinct separation of its life cycle into a unicellular proliferative stage, during which a unicellular amoeba are distinguishable from one another, and a multicellular stage, during which a series of morphogenetic events involve amoeba with clearly different functional characteristics and are accompanied by extensive shifts in the enzyme patterns and metabolic contents of the cell. Our main interest is in the area of transcription and its regulation. We are interested in elucidating the role of bZIP transcription factors and other proteins involved in differential expression of genes accompanying morphogenesis and cell differentiation in D. discoideum.

Dr. Tapasya Srivastava

My lab is interested in studying the various mechanisms which contribute to induction of genomic instability in primary tumors and in model systems which mimic the tumor microenvironment. We use hypoxia as a model of cellular stress and study its implications in stress induced molecular and cellular changes in the tumor cell. Addressing this issue with reference to efficacy of small molecule modulators with/without genotoxic agents has tremendous implications in cancer therapy.

Dr. Kaustav Dutta

Mitochondria are the power house of the cell. Its proper biogenesis is critical as 1 in 5,000 humans suffers from a mitochondrial disease. Saccharomyces cerevisae is an attractive model system for studying mitochondrial biology due to its ability to survive without respiration, permitting the characterization of mutants that impair mitochondrial function. My lab is focused on using molecular, genetic and biochemical approaches in deciphering the role of a novel class of GTPases that are involved in mitochondrial ribosome biogenesis.

Post Doctoral students/Research Associates/Teaching Assistants

Postdoctoral Fellow

S.No. Name Email ID
1 Dr. Bhupinder Dhir bhupdhir@gmail.com

Research Associates/Scientists

S.No. Name Email ID
1 Dr. Amarjeet Kumar Singh amarjeetsingh13@gmail.com
2 Dr. K. Lakshmi Padmaja lakshmi_padmaja@hotmail.com@gmail.com
3 Dr. Sarita Sharma sarita_sharma12@yahoo.co.in
4 Dr. Divakar Nandan divakarnandan@yahoo.co.in
5 Dr. Parul Agarwal parulaga2004@yahoo.co.in
6 Dr. Kumar Paritosh paritoshkr21@gmail.com
7 Dr. Satish Kumar yadava yadav24@gmail.com
8 Dr. Garima Juyal garimajuyal@gmail.com
9 Dr. Shalini Singh shalini.phys@gmail.com

Teaching Assistants

S.No. Name Email ID
1 Amita Kush Mehrotra Amita-bu85@yahoo.com
2 Namrata Dhaka namratadhaka@gmail.com

Student Strength

Ph.D 54 Students
M. Phil 2 student
M. Sc. 22 Students

Facilities/Major lab Equipments along with supervisory staff

Facilities

Plant tissue culture rooms
Growth chambers
Green-houses
Net-houses
Radio-isotope lab
Photographic room
Drosophila culture room
Central Instrumentation Facility
Experimental field

Major Lab Equipments

DNA sequencer
HPLC system
Fraction Collector
Fluorescence microscope
Gradient PCR
Gel doc systems
Incubation shakers
Refrigerated Centrifuges
Gel electrophoresis systems
Spectrophotometers
Deep freezers (-80C and -20C)
Speed vacs
Sonicator
Millipore water purification system
Nanodrop
Real Time PCR
Water circulating baths
Hybridization ovens
Fluorometer
Ice machines
Thermo cycler
Atomic absorption

Recent and Future Events

Several seminars/symposia are being organized regularly, especially under the UGC Special Assistant Programme, and such events will also be conducted in the future.An International Conference on “Plant Biotechnology, Molecular Medicine and Human Health” (ICPMH-2013) and 7th Annual convention of Association of Biotechnology and Pharmacy will be organized during October 18-20, 2013.