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Sajeevan Radha Sivarajan

Sajeevan Radha Sivarajan
I am a researcher in the Resistance Biology Group at the Department of Plant Protection Biology, Alnarp. My research interest is exploring and understanding the physiological and molecular mechanisms behind plants' biotic and abiotic stress responses and their biotechnological improvement for better survival and productivity. The primary focus is on plant-fungal interactions (Potato - Alternaria solani) and plant-environmental interactions (Potato and Oats - Drought and Heat -Individual and combined stress tolerance).


I am a plant molecular biologist by training and a physiologist by interest, working to explore the hidden mechanisms of a few crop plant survival and reproduction under both biotic and abiotic stresses. The key interest is in identifying and characterizing regulatory molecule (s) from resistant or wild genotypes using various physiological and molecular biology tools and in cooperating in susceptible or cultivated varieties using different functional genomics approaches.


BI1296: MSc course Plant Biology for breeding and protection (Course Leader).
PLG0049: How to write and publish a scientific paper.


Current Research Projects

1. Molecular biology and applied bioinformatics for analysis of new resistance and susceptibility sources against potato early blight.

2. Whole-genome sequence and metabolome profiling of a hyper-virulent Swedish Alternaria solani isolate.

3. Identifying key genes and regulators of early blight disease resistance in potato.

4. Molecular basis for climate-resilient oats, especially in relation to early summer drought stress.

5. Molecular dissection of pathways regulating plant responses to a combination of drought and heat stress.

6. Understanding the environmental stress conditions affecting oat seeds viability and vigor – a pilot study.

7. Moringa platform development: Identifying knowledge gaps for sustainability and livelihood improvement in East and South Africa.


University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Technical University of Denmark - DTU

Lantmännen Research Foundation, Sweden

DLF Seeds Ltd.


2019 - 2022: Postdoctoral Fellow at Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Alnarp, Sweden.

2017 – 2019: SERB National Postdoctoral Fellowship (N-PDF), National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Bengaluru, Karnataka, India.

2017: Academic guest, Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zurich / Functional Genomic Center Zurich (FGCZ), ETH, Switzerland.

2015 – 2017: Senior Research Fellow, Department of Biotechnology/ Department of Crop Physiology, University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Bengaluru, Karnataka, India.

2008 – 2015: Ph.D. in Applied Botany, Kuvempu University, Karnataka, India. (Worked at Department of Crop Physiology, University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Bengaluru, Karnataka, India).

2008: Senior Research Fellow, Department of Crop Physiology, University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Bengaluru, Karnataka, India.

2007: Junior Research Fellow, Plant Molecular Biology, Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India.

2006 – 2007: Research Fellow, Biotechnology Division, Rubber Research Institute of India, Kottayam, Kerala, India.

M.Sc. in Biotechnology, University of Kerala, Kerala, India. Graduation year 2005.

B.Sc. in Biotechnology, University of Kerala, Kerala, India. Graduation year 2002.




1. Maria Vera Jesus Da Costa (2023 - till date): Identification of oat plant responses to individual and combination of drought and heat stress, also during seed germination

Master's thesis project:

1. Evaluation of transgenic mulberry expressing the transcription activator AtSHN1 for abiotic stress tolerance.

2. Validation of identified genes for water stress in rice (Oryza sativa L.) mediated by Pseudomonas fluorescens

3. Screening methods for early blight in potato cultivars with varying levels of susceptibility to Alternaria solani. (Co-Supervisor, 2020)

4. The use of plant resistance inducers (PRIs) in tomato cultivation and control of Alternaria solani. (Co-Supervisor, 2022)

5. Understanding the role of WRKY transcription factors in early blight disease of potato caused by Alternaria solani. (Supervisor, 2023) 

6. Exploring the effect of pulsed electric field on the growth and stress tolerance of oat plants. (Supervisor, 2023) 

Bachelor's thesis project:

1. In silico analysis for identification of master transcription factor for multiple abiotic stresses in Arabidopsis thaliana.

2. Functional annotation of multiple stress-responsive hypothetical proteins from Oryza sativa and approaches to annotate DUF1645.

Short term internship - two to six months:

1. Screening and identification of tobacco transgenic plants carrying the Arabidopsis SHINE1 (AtSHN1) gene.

2. Evaluation of the mulberry transgenic plants under different abiotic stress using excised leaf disc assay.

3. Evaluation of tobacco F1 progenies for the integration of the gene of interest.

4. Micropropagation of tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) using the leaf as explant. 

Selected publications

1. N Earanna, RS Sajeevan and KN Nataraja (2010) Identification of mushroom spawn contaminating bacterium using morphological, biochemical and molecular approaches. Mushroom Research, 19(2): 62-67.

2. PK Jayasree, RS Sajeevan and A Thulaseedharan (2012) Changes in protein profile during different developmental stages of somatic embryogenesis in Hevea brasiliensis. Rubber Science, 25(2): 183-188.

3. RS Sajeevan, MB Shivanna and KN Nataraja (2014) An efficient protocol for total RNA isolation from healthy and stressed tissues of mulberry (Morus sp.) and other species. American Journal of Plant Sciences, 5(13): 2057-2065.

4. RS Sajeevan and KN Nataraja (2016) Molecular cloning and characterization of a novel basic helix-loop-helix-144 (bHLH144)-like transcription factor from Morus alba (L.). Plant Gene, 5: 109-117.

5. B Mathithumilan*, RS Sajeevan*, B Jyoti, T Madhuri, KN Nataraja and MS Sheshshayee (2016) Development and characterization of genic SSR markers from Indian mulberry transcriptome and their transferability to related species of Moraceae. PLoS ONE, 11(9): e0162909 (*Authors contributed equally).

6. SS Hiremath, RS Sajeevan, KN Nataraja, AK Chaturvedi, V Chinnusamy and Madan Pal (2017) Silencing of fatty acid desaturase (FAD7) gene enhances membrane stability and photosynthetic efficiency under heat stress in tobacco (Nicotiana benthamiana). Indian Journal of Experimental Biology, 55: 532-541.

7. RS Sajeevan, KN Nataraja, KS Shivashankara, N Pallavi, DS Gurumurthy and MB Shivanna (2017) Expression of Arabidopsis SHN1 in Indian mulberry (Morus indica L.) increases leaf surface wax content and reduces post-harvest water loss. Frontiers in Plant Science, 8: 418.

8. N Ashwini, RS Sajeevan, M Udayakumar and KN Nataraja (2018) Identification of splice variant of OsGBF1 in Oryza sativa ssp. indica genotypes under salinity stress. 3 Biotech, 8:345.

9. H Masaomi, A Sirisha, B Mathithumilan, RS Sajeevan, P Andrea, G Simon, P Lucy, SI Rie, B John, FK Jan, KN Karaba, YAN Reddy, P Shyamprasad, RL Ravikumar, S Ralph, MS Sheshshayee and KS Kentaro (2018) Multiple hybrid de novo genome assembly of finger millet, an orphan allotetraploid crop. DNA Research, 25(1): 39-47.

10. SN Pasha, KM Shafi, AG. Joshi, I Meenakshi, K Harini, J Mahita, RS Sajeevan, SD Karpe, G Pritha, S Nitish, A Gandhimathi, OK Mathew, SH Prasanna, M Malini, E Mutt, M Naika, N Ravooru, RM Rao, PN Shingate, A Sukhwal, MS Sunitha, AK Upadhyay, RS Vinekar and R Sowdhamini (2020) The transcriptome enables the identification of candidate genes behind medicinal value of Drumstick tree (Moringa oleifera). Genomics, 112(1): 621-628.

11. G Sellamuthu*, V Jegadeeson*, RS Sajeevan*, R Rajakani, P Parthasarathy, K Raju, L Shabala, Z-H Chen, M Zhou, R Sowdhamini, S Shabala and G Venkataraman (2020) Distinct evolutionary origins of intron retention splicing events in NHX1 antiporter transcripts relate to sequence specific distinctions in Oryza species. Frontiers in Plant Science, 11: 267 (*Authors contributed equally).

12. MBN Naika, N Sathyanarayanan, RS Sajeevan,  B Teerna, G Pritha, I Meenakshi, J Mahita, AG Joshi,  K Harini, KM Shafi, K Neha, SD Karpe, M Bhavika, SN Pasha and R Sowdhamini (2022) Exploring the medicinally important secondary metabolites landscape through the lens of transcriptome data in fenugreek (Trigonella foenum graecum L.). Scientific Reports 12: 13534.

13. KM Shafi, RS Sajeevan,  S Kouser, CN Vishnuprasad, and R Sowdhamini (2022) Transcriptome profiling of two Moringa species and insights into their antihyperglycemic activity. BMC Plant Biology 22: 561.

14. N Ashwini, RS Sajeevan* and KN Nataraja (2023) Inhibition of ABA-mediated Responses by Dithiothreitol in Plants. Journal of Plant Growth Regulation, 42: 237–248 (*Authors contributed equally).

15. RS Sajeevan*, I Abdelmeguid, GV Saripella, M Lenman, E Alexandersson* (2023) Comprehensive transcriptome analysis of different potato cultivars provides insight into early blight disease caused by Alternaria solani. BMC Plant Biology 23:130 (*Corresponding author).

16. F Abdelghafour*, SR Sivarajan*, I Abdelmeguid, M Ryckewaert, JM Roger, R Bendoula, E Alexandersson (2023) Including measurement effects and temporal variations in VIS-NIRS models to improve early detection of plant disease: Application to Alternaria solani in potatoes. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture 211, 107947 (*Corresponding author).


Researcher at the Department of Plant Protection Biology
Postal address:
Växtskyddsbiologi, Box 190
234 22 LOMMA
Visiting address: Sundsvägen 16, Alnarp

Publications list: