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About me....

Enchanting Mahe riverI was born in Chembra, a picturesque village in Mahé under the Union Territory of Pondichèrry. A part of the pre-independent French colony, Mahé today is embedded inside Kerala, sandwiched between Canannore and Calicut districts. I had my primary education from an school near my home, few walks away. Memories of those school days, walking in the thick monsoon, catching tadpoles and dragonflies are fresh in my mind. I had my high school education from the Government Boys' High School at Pallour. My pre-university education was from Mahatma Gandhi Government Arts College, situated on the banks of Mahé river.

I then moved to Coimbatore, popularly known as the Manchester of South India for the cotton garment industry there, to join Tamil Nadu Agricultural University for my graduate programme in Agriculture during 1983. Four years I spent in this immaculate campus shaped my dreams in scientific career. After finishing graduation I moved to the Temple town of Madurai in South India (known as the Athens of the East), to join my Masters programme in Plant Breeding and Genetics, under the same University. I worked on the inheritance of male sterility and fertility restoration in hybrid rice involving wild abortive cytoplasmic male sterility.

My Alma Mater - Tamil Nadu Agricultural UniversityMy research career began as a research associate at the School of Genetics, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University at Coimbatore in 1990. I was working on a project funded by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi on the 'Development of hybrids in selected field crops'. My job was to develop inter-specific crosses between wild species of redgram (Cajanus cajan L.) for inducing cytoplasmic genetic male sterility for hybrid production. I was using conventional as well as embryo rescue techniques to salvage inter-specific embryos.

I had to leave the University, after I was appointed as a fulltime staff scientist at the Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII). I was seeing the rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis Muell Arg) for the first time. Switching over from field crops to an unfamiliar tree crop was a challenging task. I joined the RRII at Agartala in Tripura of the North-east India. I was latter placed at the Hevea Breeding Station at Nettana, in Dakshina Kannada District of Karnataka.

I had the opportunity to study for a diploma in Computer programming and applications from the faculty of Engineering of the famous Annamalai University at Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu. Chidambaram was a haven for temple architecture of ancient Chola kingdom in Southern India. Famous Chidambaram Natarajar temple is situated here.

After a long career with Hevea genetic resources, I joined back my Alma mater at the Centre for Plant Breeding and Genetics for my doctoral programme in 2002. I was given the task of quantitative trait loci mapping of nitrogen assimilation genes in rice using a recombinant inbred line population derived out of the cross between Basmati 370 x ASD 16. I completed my doctoral programme in 2007 and joined back to my Institute. This programme was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, USA.

I had the opportunity to take few online courses with Institute of Agricultural and Natural Resources of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln between 2005-2007. The courses were Crop and Weed Genetics, Agricultural Biotechnology, Germplasm and Genes, Self-pollinated crop breeding and Cross-pollinated crop breeding. These courses helped me to understand a new dimension to the curriculum of plant breeding.

My rendezvous with Hevea genetic resources ended when I joined Indian Agricultural Research Institute as its rice breeder in 2008, where I work at present.

I got married in 1995, with Sreeja and we are blessed with two beautiful boys, Aditya and Abhiram.

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