Dr Pooja Bhatnagar-Mathur

Dr Pooja Bhatnagar-Mathur
Cluster Leader – Cell & Molecular Biology and Trait Engineering
Principal Scientist

Dr Pooja Bhatnagar Mathur is Research Cluster Leader of Cell & Molecular Biology and Trait Engineering, ICRISAT. Based at Hyderabad, India, Pooja is responsible for the initiation, acquisition and execution of strategic innovations at ICRISAT in the field of cell and tissue technologies, biotechnology and genome editing in crop plants with a focus on development, implementation and routine application of methodologies to support the breeding processes.

She focuses on delivering effective biotechnology solutions for intractable/future traits in the portfolios of grain legumes and dryland cereal crops (chickpea, groundnut, pigeonpea, sorghum, pearl millet) mostly arising from discoveries made in basic research. Over last 15+ years, Pooja has been involved in several initiatives to develop new technologies and techniques that significantly accelerate our ability to deploy improved genetics of these crops.

Her team works on precision genetic innovations on key traits such as Striga resistance in sorghum and pearl millet, insect resistance in pigeonpea, health and nutrition (protein content and quality in chickpea; higher shelf life of pearl millet flour), food safety (reduced aflatoxin contamination in groundnut), adaptation traits (reproductive plasticity in pigeonpea) and forage quality in sorghum, to foster wider local adoption to maximize impact and consumer buy-in.

Pooja has served as a thought leader for truly innovative ideas for long-term impacts on crop product profiles and has developed close partnerships across regions and organizations to ensure broad utility and impact of results. She has a strong track record of solving challenging and complex problems and has successfully developed breakthrough innovations resulting in a range of product outputs, enabling technologies, patents, and high-quality research publications. She works various stakeholders and contributes to local capacities in the technical, regulatory-stewardship and communication aspects of ag-biotech and gene editing innovations, while considering downstream market/consumer demand including women and youth preferences.

Focus Areas

  • Understanding basic genetic and molecular mechanisms that control plant biology and physiology.
  • Developing biotech- and novel breeding technologies for research, innovation and product deliverables in grain legumes and dry land cereal crops.
  • Integrating discovery research with emerging ethical, legal and societal issues to responsibly mature and translate innovative plant biotechnology solutions for agriculture.

Google scholar: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=QQbrdb0AAAAJ&hl=en

ResearchGate:   https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Pooja-Bhatnagar-Mathur/7

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