Research Interests: Plant Genetic Engineering, Genome Editing
Professor Pathak received her PhD from the University of Arkansas in Cell and Molecular Biology in 2019. She holds dual Masters in Biotechnology and Agronomy from Sardar Patel University and the University of Florida respectively. Before joining Ahmedabad University, she was a programme associate at the University of Arkansas, where she worked on the identification of target genes for the transgene transcription factor introduced in rice through transcriptomic and physiological approaches.
Her research primarily focuses on the development and testing of tools to assist plant breeders in the introduction of novel traits in crop improvement. These tools utilise biotechnology approaches of gene stacking and genome editing. In the genome editing, using CRISPR/Cas9, with rice as a model system, her team showed that point mutagenesis in the form of single base additions/deletions (indels) occur at greater frequency than big deletions (Pathak et al., 2019). The controlled approach of Cas9 expression is more desirable than its constitutive expression, as the constitutive expression leads to more off-target effects than the controlled expression (Nandy and Pathak et al., 2019). Her research at Ahmedabad University will focus on optimising, evaluating and testing the feasibility of these novel tools used in genome editing and gene stacking before their integration in the mainstream of crop improvement of oil seed crops, which are a primary focus of Gujarat region.
*Equal contributing authors