Subhash Rajpurohit

Assistant Professor and Ramanujan Fellow
Areas of interest
Genetic basis of climate adaptation, metabolic ecology, and rapid evolution

Lab website:
Fly Resource:

Lab website:

Dr. Subhash Rajpurohit is an evolutionary physiologist. Having completed his PhD in Bioscience (Population Genetics), he held a postdoctoral appointment at the University of Nevada, USA (Gibbs Lab) and at the University of Pennsylvania, USA (Schmidt Lab). He is a recipient of the prestigious Ramanujan Fellowship from DST-SERB, Government of India in 2018. Dr Rajpurohit describes his approach as ‘Macrophysiology to molecules’. He is interested in understanding the fundamental questions around spatiotemporal variations, metabolic ecology, and rapid adaptations through an evolutionary physiology lens. In addition, he uses experimental evolution to study how physiological systems function and evolve under defined conditions. He has been involved in using Indian drosophilids as a natural laboratory of evolutionary biology and leading long-term studies on tropical Indian drosophilids. His Lab 'HOW Lab' How Organisms Work <> hosts a resource on Indian Drosophila <>. At this Lab, undergraduate, graduate students, and postdocs are engaged in various evolutionary physiology projects. Dr. Rajpurohit ‘believes in the big picture’, and so collaborates with several labs in India, North America, and Australia. At the School of Arts and Sciences, Ahmedabad University, he teaches evolutionary biology and research methodology.

At Ahmedabad University, the Rajpurohit Lab is focusing on 'How Organisms Work". To address our specific research questions we use evolutionary physiology lens. To know more about our group and research work please visit our Lab webpage:


PhD Programme Chair (2019-present)

Biological and Life Sciences, School of Arts and Sciences


In my Lab, we study ecological- and evolutionary-physiology, focusing on mechanisms fundamental to the understanding of ecological patterns and processes, survival in and adaptation to a changing world. We are currently focusing on three major areas:

1. Clines, Seasonality, & Rapid Adaptations

In the past, I studied ecologically relevant traits in Drosophila species populations along spatial and temporal scales in India (Rajpurohit et al. 2008 abc; Rajpurohit & Nedved 2013; Rajpurohit et al. 2017). My most recent research in the Gibbs Lab (in collaboration with William J. Etges) and the Schmidt Lab (in collaboration with Dmitri A. Petrov) included artificial selection (Rajpurohit & Gibbs 2012), functional genomics (Rajpurohit et al. 2013), spatiotemporal variations (Rajpurohit & Schmidt 2016, Rajpurohit et al. 2017 ab), experimental evolution (outdoor mesocosm settings), and eco-evolutionary dynamics/rapid adaptations in North American Drosophila melanogaster populations (Rajpurohit et al. 2017 cd, in preparation). I am following up this work here at the Division of Biological & Life Sciences using tropical drosophilid populations. This work is in collaboration with Volker Loeschcke (Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark) and two other Drosophila consortiums: Dros-RTEC (North America) and DrosEU (Europe). My lab is particularly interested in ecological and evolutionary physiology questions. All these efforts are part of a long-term study on tropical Indian drosophilids relating to organismal responses to climate change and monitoring. My Lab also hosts a resource on Indian Drosophila Ecology & Evolution (a window to Indian Drosophila clines DrosoCline). The research findings associated to this long-term study are regularly updated on the following web-resource: 

2. Climate & Metabolic Ecology

Metabolic rates are the fundamental biological rate that governs most observed patterns in organismal ecology. The thermal sensitivity of physiological rates (i.e. metabolic rate) is one of the most significant characteristics of all organisms. It is especially important in ectotherms, which frequently have a more limited scope for thermoregulation than do endotherms and so are more susceptible to changing environmental temperatures. The unprecedented rates of climate changes in the future, coupled with land use changes that impede gene flow, can be expected to disrupt the entire ecology of many insect species. At the physiological level, we could argue that the entire metabolic machinery of an organism is going to be affected. Warmer temperatures (mediated through metabolic machinery) associated with climate changes will tend to influence (and frequently amplify) insect species' population dynamics directly through effects on survival, generation time, fecundity and dispersal. We are studying metabolic responses to climate warming. My current focus is on the life in the Thar Desert. This is one of the hottest areas of India - with summer temperatures averaging and peaking at 49.5 °C. This work is in collaboration with Allen G. Gibbs, William J. Etges, and Eran Gefen.

3. Molecules Matter

The colonization of terrestrial environments necessitated evolution of mechanisms to minimize desiccation and preserve water balance, particularly for small animals with a high surface area to volume ratio. Arthropods were among the first terrestrial animals and are particularly vulnerable to desiccation; one primary adaptation to desiccating terrestrial environments is the production and deposition of a variety of hydrophobic compounds (hydrocarbons) on the cuticle that function as a barrier to water transpiration. These cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) have been secondarily co-opted for a variety of other functions such as communication and the conveyance of information regarding species identity or mating status. CHC profiles are genetically determined, exhibit extensive phenotypic variation within and among populations and covary with environmental parameters such as temperature and humidity; this suggests that the evolution of CHCs may be dynamic and rapid in natural populations. Despite the established functional links to fitness traits that vary in nature, the potential role of CHCs in adaptation to heterogeneous environments has not been comprehensively examined.


Google Scholar            ResearchGate

  1. Machado H, Bergland AO, Taylor R, Tilk S, Behrman E, Dyer K, Fabian D, Flatt T, Gonzalez J, Karasov T, Kozeretska I, Lazzaro B, Merritt T, Pool J, O'Brien K, Rajpurohit S, Roy P, Schaeffer S, Serga S, Schmidt P, Petrov D. 2019. Broad geographic sampling reveals predictable and pervasive seasonal adaptation in DrosophilaElife (in revision).
  2. Betancourt N, Rajpurohit S, Durmaz E, Fabian D, Kapun M, Flatt T, Schmidt P. 2019. Allelic polymorphism at foxo contributes to local adaptation in Drosophila melanogaster. Molecular Ecology (under review) 71565.
  3. Rudman S, Greenblum S, Hughes R C, Rajpurohit S, Kiratli O, Lowder DB, Lemmon SG, Petrov D, Schmidt PS. 2019. Microbiome composition shapes rapid genomic adaptation of Drosophila melanogasterProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A., in press.
  4. Rajpurohit S and Schmidt PS. 2019. Latitudinal pigmentation variation contradicts ultraviolet radiation exposure: a case study in tropical Indian Drosophila melanogasterFrontiers in Physiology 10:84. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2019.00084.
  5. Durmaz E, Rajpurohit S, Betancourt N, Fabian DK, Kapun M, Schmidt PS, Flatt T. 2019. A clinal polymorphism in the insulin signaling transcription factor foxo contribute to life-history adaptation in DrosophilaEvolution,
  6. *Rajpurohit S, Gefen S, Bergland AO, Petrov D, Gibbs AG, Schmidt PS. 2018. Spatiotemporal dynamics and genome-wide association analysis of desiccation tolerance in Drosophila melanogaster. Molecular Ecology 27: 3525-3540. 


Publications prior to joining Ahmedabad University (Aug 2017)


1. *Rajpurohit S, Zhao X, and Schmidt PS. 2017. A resource on latitudinal and altitudinal clines of ecologically relevant phenotypes of the Indian Drosophila populations. Scientific Data – Nature 4:170066 DOI: 10.1038/sdata.2017.66.

2. Etges WJ, de Oliveira CC, Rajpurohit S, and Gibbs AG. 2016. Effects of temperature on transcriptome and cuticular hydrocarbon expression in ecologically differentiated populations of desert Drosophila. Ecology & Evolution 7:619-637.

3. Rajpurohit S, Hanus R, Vrkoslav V, Behrman EL, Bergland A, Dmitri P, Cvacka J, and Schmidt PS. 2016. Adaptive dynamics of cuticular hydrocarbon profiles in Drosophila. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 30:66-80.

4. *Rajpurohit S, Richardson R, Dean J, Vazquez R, Wong G and Schmidt PS. 2016. Pigmentation and trade-off through the lens of artificial selection. Biology Letters, DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2016.0625.

5. *Rajpurohit S, Peterson LM, Orr A, Marlon AJ, and Gibbs AG. 2016. An experimental test of the relationship between melanism and desiccation survival in insects. PLoS One 11(9):e0163414.

6. Rajpurohit S, and Schmidt PS. 2016. Measuring thermal behaviour in smaller insects: a case study in Drosophila melanogaster demonstrate effects of sex, geographic origin, and rearing temperature on adult behaviour. Fly 10:149-161.

7. Etges WJ, Oliveira de CC, Rajpurohit S, and Gibbs AG. 2016. Preadult life-history variation determines adult transcriptome expression. Molecular Ecology 23:741-763.

8. Etges W, Trotter MV, de Oliveira CC, Rajpurohit S, Gibbs AG, and Tuljapurkar S. 2015. Deciphering life history transcriptomics in different environments. Molecular Ecology 24:151-179.

9. Rajpurohit S, de Oliveira CC, Etges WJ and Gibbs AG. 2013. Functional genomic and phenotypic responses to desiccation in natural populations of desert drosophilid. Molecular Ecology 22:2698-2715.

10. *Rajpurohit S, Nedved O and Gibbs AG. 2013. Meta-analysis of geographical clines in desiccation tolerance of Indian drosophilids. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology 164:391-398.

11. *Rajpurohit S, and Gibbs AG. 2012. Selection of body tergite pigmentation and correlated responses in trident: a case study in Drosophila melanogaster. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 106:287-294.

12. *Rajpurohit S, and Marlon AJ. 2011. Pigmentation scoring method for DrosophilaDrosophila Information Service 94:134-139.

13. Parkash R, *Rajpurohit S, and Ramniwas S. 2009. Impact of darker, intermediate and lighter phenotypes of body melanisation on desiccation resistance in Drosophila melanogasterJournal of Insect Science 9:1-10. First two authors equally contributed.

14. Parkash R, Rajpurohit S, and Ramniwas S. 2008. Changes in body melanization and desiccation resistance in highland vs. lowland populations of D. melanogasterJournal of Insect Physiology 54:1050-1056.

15. *Rajpurohit S, Parkash R, and Ramniwas S. 2008. Pigmentation, ovariole number and fecundity variations in lowland and highland populations of Drosophila melanogaster. Insect Science 15:553-561.

16. *Rajpurohit S, Parkash R, and Ramniwas S. 2008. Climatic changes and shifting species boundaries of drosophilids in the western Himalaya. Acta Entomologica Sinica 51:328-335.

17. *Rajpurohit S, Parkash R, and Ramniwas S. 2008. Climate change, boundary increase and elongation of a pre-existing cline: a case study in Drosophila ananassaeEntomological Research 38:268-275.

18. *Rajpurohit S, Parkash R, and Ramniwas S. 2008. Body melanization and its adaptive role in thermoregulation and tolerance against desiccating conditions in drosophilids. Entomological Research 38:49-60.

19. Parkash R, Ramniwas S, Rajpurohit S, and Sharma V. 2007. Variations in body melanization impact desiccation resistance in Drosophila immigrans from western Himalaya. Journal of Zoology 276:219-227.

20. *Rajpurohit S, Parkash R, Ramniwas S, Nedved O, and Singh S. 2007. Parallel trend in pigmentation and desiccation tolerance: altitudinal and latitudinal effects in Drosophila melanogaster. Drosophila Information Service 90:70-79.

21. Pregent SR, and Rajpurohit S. 2007. Genome, Evolution, Drosophila and Beyond. Fly 1:297-302. (Meeting Report)

22. Parkash R, Tyagi PK, Sharma I, and Rajpurohit S. 2005. Adaptations to environmental stress in altitudinal populations of two Drosophila species. Physiological Entomology 30:353-361.


1. *Rajpurohit S, and Nedved O. 2013. Clinal variation in fitness related traits in tropical drosophilids of the Indian subcontinent. Journal of Thermal Biology 38:345-354.

Book Chapter

1. Gibbs AG, and Rajpurohit S. 2010. Cuticular Lipids and Water Balance. In Insect Hydrocarbons-Biology, Biochemistry, and Chemical Biology, G. J. Blomquist, ed. (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Publisher), pp. 100-119.


*corresponding author


Winter 2020 (Jan-Apr): Research Methodology

Foundation Programme (Mar-Apr 2020): Studio-Environment & Climate Change; Module-2 (with Krishna B L Swamy)


In Past:

Foundation Programme (Jul-Oct 2019): Environment & Climate Change

(with Prof. P R Shukla, IPCC Co-chair; Dr. Minal Pathak; Dr. Arijit Ganguli; Dr. Tana Trivedi and Dr. Ashwin Pandey)

Winter 2019 (Jan-Apr): Research Methodology

ISP 2018 (Dec): One Planet: Sustainability Challenges and Solutions

(with Prof. P R Shukla, IPCC Co-chair; Dr. Minal Pathak; Dr. Arijit Ganguli; Dr. Tana Trivedi and Dr. Ashwin Pandey)

Monsoon 2018: Evolutionary Biology

Winter 2018: Research Methodology

Summer 2017: Chemical Ecology

Professional Service

Biological and Life Sciences Division, School of Arts and Sciences

1. PhD Programme Chair 



Journal Board Member

1. Journal of Evolutionary Biology

Board of Reviewing Editors

2. Current Science

Board of Subject Editors

3. BMC Research Notes

Associate Editorial Board 

4. Frontiers in Physiology (Integrative Physiology)

Topic Editor (with Aya Takahashi, Tokyo Metropolitan University), Melanism: macrophysiology to molecules


Panel Member

1. Mentor Panel of BioNEST

SHRISTI Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions




Our current research has been generously funded by:

1. SERB-Core Research Grant 2019-2021

2. DST-SERB Ramanujan Fellowship 2018-2022

3. University Research Board - Ahmedabad University, Start-UP Grant 2018-2020



Recent TALKS

1. Molecules matter: insect cuticular hydrocarbons. 24-25 October 2019. ISEB1: Celebrating Ecology and Evolutiion in India. First Conference of the Indian Society of Evolutionary Biologists. JNCASR, Bangaluru, India. 

2. Water Balance in Insects. 20 September 2019. H N B Garhwal University Campus Badshahithaul, Srinagar, Uttrakhand, India.
3. Seasonality and eco-evolutionary dynamics. 18 September. H N B Garhwal University Campus Chauras/Birma Campus, Tehari, Uttrakhand, India. 

4. Impacts and risks to ecosystems. 23 August 2019. Global Centre for Environment and Energy, Ahmedabad University, Ahmedabad, India. 

5. Natural variation, laboratory selection, and genomics of desiccation tolerance in Drosophila. 15 March 2018. International Centre for Theoretical Sciences-TIFR Bangaluru (3rd Bangalore School on Population Genetics & Evolution), Bangaluru, India

6. Understanding geographical clines: seasonality and eco-evolutionary dynamics. 14 Feb 2017. IISER Pune, Pune, Maharastra, India.

7. Adaptation to spatial and temporal environmental variants in Drosophila25 Oct 2016. Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Sciences, Bangaluru, India.





1. Teaching Biology to Young and Curious Minds.

2. What does a fruit-fly tell us about water?

3. Panel Discussion; To mark the launch of the Global Centre for Environment and Energy at Ahmedabad University, a panel discussion was organized titled No ‘Plan B’: Looking Through the Sustainability Lens.





City Nature Challenge 2018 Ahmedabad, India

April 27-29, 2018

We, humans, share Ahmedabad with a large number of organisms living in our neighbourhoods! Let's try to find out what's out there! Join us (Rajpurohit Lab @ the Division of Biological & Life Sciences, School of Arts & Sciences, Ahmedabad University, Ahmedabad) in this citizen science adventure to catalogue our city's biodiversity!

Participation is very simple. Download the iNaturalist app to your mobile phone; then, from April 27-30, 2018, use the app to take photos of plants, trees, insects, animals, fungi, moss or other organisms you see and the iNaturalist community will help you identify it.

Note: For this project, our geographical boundary is outer ring road. Anything inside the outer ring road is advised to go in this work. Please keep your mobile coordinates open.

Stay tuned to us for further updates.

The City Nature Challenge is organized by Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and California Academy of Sciences, USA.


May 1-3, 2018



1. Fruit flies' microbes shape their evolution


107, Division of Biological & Life Sciences,
Ahmedabad University,
Central Campus,
Navrangpura, Ahmedabad,
Gujarat, India


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