Recognizing Plant Direct authors: Shivani Upadhyaya

Shivani Upadhyaya, first author of Reciprocal regulation of photosynthesis and mitochondrial respiration by TOR kinase in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii

Current Position: Graduate Student, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai, India

Education: M.Sc in Bioinformatics

Non-Scientific Interests: Robotics, science fiction reading and writing

Brief Bio: I joined my graduate studies in 2014 and was very interested in working with the unicellular eukaryotic photosynthetic algae – Chlamydomonas. Working with Chlamy was a delight and I soon got fascinated by its cell biology and metabolic flexibility. Interestingly, I read that one of the known important regulators of mitochondrial biogenesis in mammalian cells is TOR kinase, the central metabolic regulator. However, not much is known about the regulation of mitochondria and chloroplast in photosynthetic organisms by TOR kinase. We were surprised to see that TOR inhibition primarily regulates photosynthesis while mitochondrial respiration compensates for the decrease and thereby uncover interesting chlamy biology. Interestingly, TOR kinase also regulates lipid metabolism and it would be hugely beneficial for biofuel production if we can understand the TOR signaling pathway in further detail. I would like to thank my advisor Prof BJ Rao for giving me the freedom and support to pursue my interest in this exciting field of TOR signaling in photosynthetic organisms. I would also like to thank plant direct for this opportunity!