Bikram D. Pant: Plant Physiology First Author

Bikram D. Pant, first author of “Overexpression of Arabidopsis nucleolar GTP-binding 1 proteins confers drought tolerance in rice”

Current Position: Research Assistant Professor at Oklahoma State University, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Institute for Agricultural Biosciences.

Education: Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Max-Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, Germany; M.Sc. in Botany and Plant Biotechnology from Tribhuvan University, Nepal.

Non-scientific Interests: Playing Volleyball, Tennis, Table Tennis,  Hiking, Cycling

Brief bio: After joining Max-Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, Germany during my Ph.D., I became fascinated for identification of molecular physiological mechanisms of plant stress signaling. We identified a signaling pathway involving a transcription factor that regulates the expression of majority of phosphorus limitation induced genes including miR399. MiR399 acts as a long distance signaling molecule reporting plant shoot phosphorus limitation to the root wherein it negatively regulates an ubiquitin conjugate that degrades a phosphate transporter and thereby maintaining phosphate homeostasis in plants. I also studied the molecular mechanisms of plant nutrient limitation at systems level including small non-coding RNAome, transcriptome, proteome, metabolome and physiology. After moving to Noble Research Institute, Ardmore, OK, I continued my research in plant stress signaling including heat stress, drought stress, nutrient use efficiencies, plant-microbe interactions and cross talk between different stress pathways. We identified a molecular pathway that regulates plant heat stress tolerance and disease resistance. We also carried on working on the genetic variations in crop genotypes and identified trait loci associated with plant growth and stress tolerance. We identified molecular mechanism for regulation of plant CO2 assimilation, starch synthesis, metabolism, growth and yield. In this manuscript, we worked on plant drought tolerance and we identified the role of small GTPase nucleolar GTP-binding proteins in drought tolerance in rice via regulation of silica bodies formation around the stomata.