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Sajeevan Radha Sivarajan

Sajeevan Radha Sivarajan
I am a post-doctoral researcher in the Resistance Biology Group at the Department of Plant Protection Biology at Alnarp. I joined the team in February 2020. I am currently working on molecular biology and applied bioinformatics for the analysis of new resistance and susceptibility sources against potato early blight.


I am a plant molecular biologist by training and a physiologist by interest, working to explore the hidden mechanisms of few crop plant survival and reproduction under 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 cooperate them in susceptible or cultivated varieties using different functional genomics approaches.


Early blight (ER) is a very common disease in potato crops all over the world. It is caused by the fungus Alternaria solani. Little work has been done to identify the mechanism (s) of resistance or susceptibility, the pathways and genes involved. In the current project, I will be focusing on identifying the pathway (s) and the possible genes involved in ER resistance or susceptibility in potato by using multiple omics approaches. The identified gene/s or pathway/s will be edited using CRISPR in the potato variety and evaluate the performance under controlled conditions.


2017 – 2019: SERB National Post Doctoral 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: PhD 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.



Master's thesis project:

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

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

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

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. G Sellamuthu*, V Jegadeeson*, RS Sajeevan*, R Rajakani, P Parthasarathy, K Raju, L Shabala, Z-H Chen, M Zhou, R Sowdhamini, S Shabala, 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).

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

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. 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).

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

11. 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.

Postdoctor at the Institutionen för växtskyddsbiologi
Postal address:
Växtskyddsbiologi, Box 102
23053 Alnarp
Visiting address: Sundsvägen 16, Alnarp