Ashish Kumar: The Plant Cell First Author

Ashish Kumar, co-first author of “Plant-specific HDT family histone deacetylases are nucleoplasmins”

Current Position: Postdoctoral Research Associate at Yale University, CT, USA.

Education: Ph.D. in Biotechnology from Institute of Life Sciences, Bhubaneswar, India

Non-scientific Interests: Teaching and mentoring high school students, writing poetries, watching movies

Brief bio:

In 2013, I completed my master’s degree in biotechnology at Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University in India. During this degree program, I had the opportunity to read and publish a review article on how distinct plant miRNAs could influence plant gene expression. This piqued my interest in learning more about the molecular mechanisms that control plant chromatin.

I moved to the Institute of Life Sciences, India, to pursue my Ph.D. with Dr. Dileep Vasudevan and began working on plant-specific histone chaperones, where I had the chance to employ X-ray crystallography as a method to explore the structure and function of plant histone chaperones. In addition to structural investigations, I employed biochemical and biophysical methods to characterize further the function of these histone chaperones and how they could be involved in regulating different chromatin states.

Aside from this published work on HDTs, I extensively examined the structure and function of the plant-specific histone chaperone NRP2 throughout my Ph.D. and discovered that NRP2 might be functionally more significant during heat stress conditions in plants. I also authored a review article examining the structure-function relationships of several H2A-H2B specific plant histone chaperones and emphasized the significance of studying plant protein structure-function relationships.

I moved to Yale University for my postdoctoral studies after earning my Ph.D. with Dr. Vasudevan, and I am presently exploring the mechanism of DNA replication initiation in the heterochromatin domain of the eukaryotic genome. I hope to leverage my previous and present learning experiences to understand more about the mechanisms and factors that control plant DNA replication under various stress situations.