• Siddharth Tiwari, PhD
  • Scientist - D
  • Joining Date in NABI: 28th July 2010
  • +91(172) 5221138
  • siddharth[at]nabi.res.in; siddharthdna20[at]yahoo.com

Discipline and Specialization:

Plant Molecular Biology and Genetic Engineering

Training/advance exposure in the area of work:

1. Visited Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane, Australia in the third series of Stewardship training on the aspect of pro-vitamin A (PVA) and iron content analysis in transgenic banana fruit samples under the BIRAC funded banana biofortification collaborative research project during 12th – 17th October, 2015.

2. Visited Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane, Australia in the second series of Stewardship training on the aspect of (i) safety, (ii) compliance, (III) containment and confinement, (iv) product identity and (v) quality and sustainability under the BIRAC funded banana biofortification collaborative research project during 24th – 27th August, 2014.

3. Visited QUT, Brisbane, Australia in the first Stewardship training on capacity enhancement in banana transformation and regeneration methodology under the BIRAC funded banana biofortification collaborative research project during 10th – 14th December, 2012.

Contribution to the scientific advancement

1. In the international collaboration, we are working towards the enhancement of pro-vitamin A (PVA) content in banana. Multiple gene constructs from Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Australia those which are capable of enhancing PVA were transferred in cultivated varieties of Indian Banana. Containment trial for the transgenic banana with high PVA content is being performed by following biosafety guidelines. Promising banana lines will be further evaluated for bioavailability, nutritional and multilocation agronomical trials with other national institutes.

2. Gene editing for target banana genes has been initiated for enhancing the synthesis/stability of carotenoids in banana.

3. Transgenic wheat lines with low phytic acid (PA) were generated by RNAi mediated silencing of a putative gene belonging to the subfamily of ABCC transporter (TaABCC13).

4.Exploring genome editing based approach to modify the identified candidate genes to develop wheat crop with high micronutrient content and bioavailability.

5. Marker free transformation procedure for wheat and banana will be explored and developed.

6. Two major contributions were derived from my doctoral research. The first one was the expression of cholera toxin B subunit fusion with rabies glycoprotein in peanut/groundnut seed which also demonstrated immunoprotection in mice. It was a step-forward research in the direction to develop plant-seed-based edible vaccine against cholera and rabies (received DR. YSR BioAsia Innovation Young Scientist Award-2010). The second outcome was the expression of insect resistance Cry1EC protein in leaves of peanut which showed complete protection against economical important polyphagous foliage insect tobacco cutworm (Spodoptera litura) (received 97th Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA) Young Scientist Award-2010).

Current area of research:

Metabolic engineering of staple crops (banana and wheat) for nutritional-enrichment: Banana and wheat are the important staple crops that significantly contribute towards the food security in many developing countries where vitamin A and iron deficiencies are the major problems. Biofortification of these crops for beta-carotene and iron enhancement is being considered by us as a promising, cost-effective and sustainable solution. For this, we are utilizing modern biotechnological approaches like transgenic, cisgenic, depletion of anti-nutrient (by RNAi) and genome editing (by CRISPR-CAS). We are generating new knowledge and implementing the available resources of genomics, bioinformatics, transcriptomics and metabolomics for precise metabolic engineering of the relevant biosynthetic pathways in these two crops. Further, the biofortified crops would be analyzed for nutritional and agronomical performance with the appropriate collaborative efforts in due course of time.

Publications (best five):

Awards and Fellowships

1. First Prize received by Navneet Kaur (SRF) in poster presentation competition in the International BITS Conference on Gene and Genome Regulation (BCGGR-16) held on 18-20th February, 2016 at the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, Rajasthan, India. Title of poster “Identification and characterization of genes involved in carotenoid biosynthesis in banana”.

2.First Prize received by Navneet Kaur (SRF) in poster presentation competition in the National Conference on Frontiers in Applied Biotechnology held on 22-23rd December, 2015 at Chandigarh University, Gharuan, Mohali. Title of poster “Phytoene synthase: Role in regulation of carotenogenesis in banana (Musa spp.)”.

3. Received Dr. YSR BioAsia Innovation Award - 2010 for Young Scientist. Award was presented by the Andhra Pradesh Governor Shri E.S.L. Narasimhan during the BioAsia conference from 3-6 February, 2010 at Hyderabad.

4. Received Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA) Young Scientist Award - 2010 in the section of Plant Sciences. Award was presented by the former Indian President Dr. A.P.J. Kalam. Award presentation was held on Kerala University, Thrivananthapurum, during the 97th session of Indian Science Congress from 3-7 Jan., 2010.

5. Post Graduate Research Fellowship, awarded by Department of Higher Education, Government of Madhya Pradesh, India for the Session 1999-2001.