The National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS) has instituted various awards for recognizing significant contributions of senior, middle level and young scientists to promote agricultural research. These awards are presented biennially at the time of Agricultural Science Congress. For 2013-14, the covetous Dr. K.C. Mehta Memorial Award of NAAS goes to Dr. P B Kirti for his outstanding contribution in Plant Protection. Dr. P B Kirti is a Professor in the Department of Plant Sciences, School of Life Sciences at University of Hyderabad (UoH).
The award carries a citation, a Gold Medal and reward of Rs. 1.00 Lakh.
Prof. Kirti’s group has been interested in the genetic manipulation of crop plants for biotic and abiotic stresses, which form the components of climate change. In this direction, they have been characterizing several genes that have important functions in plant stress tolerance. These include annexins, defensins, proteinase inhibitors, Non-expressor of pathogenesis proteins-1, insecticidal protein genes and so on. They have studied the responses of a resistant wild peanut germplasm Arachis diogoi challenged with the fungal pathogen that causes late leaf spot in susceptible cultivated groundnut varieties and characterized a few hundred genes using the differential expression study of these genes, which included genes like SGT1, some R-genes, protein kinases, vacuolar processing enzyme that is the caspase equivalent in animal systems, cyclophilins, splicing factors, genes involved in strengthening cell wall, genes involved in the generation of reactive oxygen species and hypersensitive cell death, and so on. Several of these genes have been characterized in homologous system (groundnut) and heterologous system (tobacco).
Prof. Kirti can be contacted on email: firstname.lastname@example.org