Recognizing Plant Physiology authors: Rajdeep Khangura

Rajdeep Khangura, first author of Variation in maize chlorophyll biosynthesis alters plant architecture

Current Position: Post-Doctoral Researcher in the group of Dr. Brian Dilkes, Department of Biochemistry and Center for Plant Biology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA

Education: Ph.D. in Botany and Plant Pathology with Dr. Gurmukh Johal at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA; M.Sc. from Punjab Agricultural University, Punjab, India

Non-scientific interests: running, soccer, gardening

Brief-Bio: My Ph.D. research involved the use of a dominant chlorophyll biosynthesis mutant in maize to identify modifier loci in the natural population. After finishing my Ph.D. in 2018, I joined the Dilkes lab to understand the genetic control of plant metabolism and its consequences on plant architecture. Previously I showed that a wide range of chlorophyll levels in maize can be achieved by exploiting an interaction between a dominant-negative mutant allele and cis-regulatory expression polymorphisms. Here I used this genetic interaction to demonstrate that changes in the chlorophyll contents of maize plants have consequences for plant architecture. I am further exploring the relationship between plant metabolism and development. I am currently characterizing mutants in both maize and sorghum that are involved in plant defense, physiology, and development to identify the molecular mechanisms that modulate these diverse pathways and their metabolic consequences.