Prof. Appa Rao Podile, senior faculty member in the Department of Plant Sciences at School of Life Sciences, University of Hyderabad has been honoured with Prof. G. Rangaswami Award in “Agricultural Microbiology” by the Association of Microbiologists of India (AMI) in the Platnum Jubilee celebrations on on 20th November 2013. Prof. Rangaswami award was conferred on Prof. Appa Rao in the Annual Meeting of the association held at Rohtak during 17-20 November 2013 for the significant contributions made in the field of Agricultural microbiology. The award consists of a citation, and cash prize of Rs.20,000/-

The citation reads as follows:

Prof. Appa Rao Podile, senior faculty member at the School of Life Sciences and a Life member of the AMI since 1990 has been actively involved in teaching and research in microbiology with special reference to “Microbes in Agriculture – Use of microbes/microbial products for control of fungal diseases of plants. Prof. Podile’s lab was interested in inducing disease resistance in plants using bioagents including plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR), chitooligosaccharides (COS) and harpin. He has made pioneering contributions on the exploitation of fungal cell wall as target for fungal disease control using chitinolytic bacteria and the chitinases produced by such bacteria.

Close to a dozen of the bacterial chitinases were cloned, heterologously expressed, biochemically characterized and modified using genetic engineering. Seven genes coding for chitin binding proteins, and 3 genes coding for chitin deacetylases have also been cloned and over expressed. Further, a dozen chimeric chitinases and about a 20 site-directed mutants have already been generated using rDNA technology-based approaches.

Prof. Podile has been an elected Fellow of AMI, National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Andhra Pradesh Academy of Sciences, Association of Biotechnology and Pharmacy, and Indian Phytopathological Society. He was honored with Rajib Goyal Award for Young Scientist in Agricultural Sciences, Outstanding Plant Pathologist Award of Indian Society for Mycology and Plant Pathology and recently was honored with Gold Medal as “Life Time Achievement Award in Biotechnology” by the Association of Biotechnology and Pharmacy. He has long been on the DBT task force on Biofertilizers and continues to be a member and co-chair of the reconstituted task force on “Bioagents for Agriculture”. Prof. Podile has also been member of RAC of National Bureau of Agriculturally Important Microorganisms (NBAIM), Mau.

Prof. Podile has been a member of the Editorial Board of Indian Journal of Microbiology, Journal of Mycology and Plant Pathology and currently on the editorial board of Australasian Plant Pathology and Kavaka of Mycological Society of India. He has been a reviewer for journals like J. Bacteriol, Microbiology, PLoS One, Nature Scientific Reports, Journal of Food and Organic Chemistry, BBA, Biotechnology Progress etc., Fifteen students obtained Ph.D. under his guidance are well placed. Currently, 9 Ph.D. students, 2 post doctoral fellows and 4 research fellows are working in his group.

In view of his contributions to Agricultural Microbiology, which are of both fundamental and applied value, Prof. Podile Appa Rao is awarded by AMI, the prestigious AMI-Prof. G. Rangaswami Memorial Award for the biennium 2012-13 on this day of November 20, 2013.