Recognizing the importance of rice and wheat in global food security, Monsanto Company has pledged $13 million, over a period of eight years, from 2009-2017, to improve yields in these crops as part of its commitment to sustainable yield, in honor of the two great Noble laureates- Dr. Henry Beachell and Dr. Norman Borlaug. To accelerate breakthrough public sector research in rice & wheat yields through advanced plant breeding techniques, we support rice and wheat plant breeders who can serve as future agricultural leaders in India.
Rice and wheat are two key crops in India with limited yield gains in the last decade. However with population growing at a rapid pace, this stagnation in yield is a major threat to food security thereby creating a need for such game changing programs. This program aims to ignite the minds of bright young Indian researchers to innovate & share their vision of Indian agriculture & help our farmers produce more grain from the same amount of land. Under the MBBISP, scholars from around the world compete for scholarship grants that provide for student stipend, applicable fees, tuition fees, heath insurance, research fees, travel & funds for the collaborating institution & professor.
The program while funded by Monsanto, is administered by Texas AgriLife Resarch an agency of the Texas A&M University.
It is a matter of great pride that this global scholarship has seen 20 winners from India, out of total 70 awardees worldwide highest for any nation!
Brief snapshot – MBBISP Winners (20) from India since 2009
1. Ms. Bhanu Kalia – Punjab Agricultural University (PAU)
“Methodology for Efficient Mapping of Alien Introgression for Adult Plant Resistance to Leaf Rust and Other Agronomic Traits in Wheat Aegilops Tauschii Hybrids.”
Ms. Kalia will pursue a PhD at Kansas State University and collaborate with CIMMYT on her work. She received an MS in genetics from Punjab Agricultural University, and she is a citizen of India. Her mentoring professor is Dr. Bikram Gill of Kansas State University.
2. Ms. Anuradha Bansal- TERI University
“Effects of the Lr34 and Lr46 Rust Resistance Genes on Susceptibility to Hemibiotrophic and Necrotrophic Disease of Wheat”
Ms Bansal is pursing her Ph.D. in plant sciences at the John Innes Centre in England under the supervision of Professor James Brown, Dr. Paul Nicholson and Dr. Etienne Duveiller. She holds a Masters in plant biotechnology from TERI University Vasant Kunj in New Delhi. She is an Indian citizen. Ms. Bansal is committed to contributing to the field of crop biotechnology and sustainable agriculture.
3. Ms. Amandeep Sandhu - Punjab Agricultural University (PAU)
“Mapping and Characterization of Leaf Rust Resistance Gene Transferred from Triticum Monococcum L. to Wheat (Triticum Aestivum L.)”
Ms. Sandhu is pursuing a Ph.D. at Punjab University in India and her mentoring professor will be Virinder Singh Sohu. She will also be collaborating with Beat Keller at the University of Zurich. She received an MS in plant breeding and genetics from Punjab Agriculture University, and she is a citizen of India. She won the best thesis award at the university level and second best thesis award at zone level for her MS thesis.
4. Ms. Luxmi Tomar – Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University (CCSHAU)
“Molecular Breeding for Developing Grain Protein and Micronutrient (Iron and Zinc) Dense Indian Bread Wheat Genotypes”
Ms. Tomar is pursing a Ph.D. at CCS Haryana Agriculture University in India and her mentoring professor will be Neelam Yadav. She will also be collaborating with Jorge Dubcovsky at UC Davis. She received an MS in biotechnology and molecular breeding from CCS Haryana Agriculture University, and she is a citizen of India.
5. Mr. Chetan Arun Patokar- G B Pant University of Agriculture & Technology
“Molecular Cytogenetic Characterization and Development of Chromosomal Segment Introgression in Wheat-Thinopyrum Alien Lines”
Mr. Chetan Arun Patokar is pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom under the supervision of Dr. J.S. (Pat) Heslop-Harrison. He will collaborate with Professor Mujeeb Kazi from the National Agricultural Research Center (NARC) in Pakistan. He received an MS in molecular biology and biotechnology from Govind Ballabh (G.B.) Pant University of Agriculture and Technology in India, his country of citizenship. Mr. Patokar’s research will provide solutions to improve yields by exploring the genetic diversity of wheat relatives in order to develop wheat cultivars containing traits resilient to growing global climatic changes.
6. Ms. Nitika Sandhu - Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University (CCSHAU)
“Molecular and Physiological Studies to Identify Traits Enhancing Rice Cultivars Adaptation to Aerobic Conditions for Sustainable Rice Production in Water Short Situations”
Ms. Nitika Sandhu is pursuing her Ph.D. at Ch. Charan Singh (CCS) Haryana Agricultural University in India and her advisor will be Dr. Rajinder Kumar Jain. She will collaborate with Dr. Arvind Kumar from IRRI and Dr. Tanguy Lafarge from CIRAD as part of the Ph.D. project. She received an MS in biotechnology and molecular biology from CCS Haryana Agricultural University, and she is an Indian citizen. Ms. Sandhu’s research will be important for understanding root systems of aerobic rice varieties that could provide flexibility and productivity during water scarcity.
7. Mr. Anuj Kumar –Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (SVP) University of Agriculture and Technology, Merrut
“Development and Characterization of Rice Genotypes for Water Use Efficiency and Drought Resistance”
Mr. Anuj Kumar is pursuing his Ph.D. at the University of Arkansas and will be co-advised by Dr. Andy Pereira and Dr. Karen Moldenhauer. He will also collaborate with Dr. Arvind Kumar from IRRI as part of the Ph.D. project. He holds an MS in plant biotechnology from Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (SVP) University of Agriculture and Technology in India. He is a citizen of India. Mr. Kumar’s research will address the importance of a sustainable rice ecosystem through breeding for water use efficiency and drought resistance, which are an increasingly important areas of study as climatic changes occur.
8. Mr. Prakash Gangashetty – UAS Dharwad
“Fine Mapping of Candidate Genes in Upland Rice (Oryza sativa L.) for Adaptation to Drought Prone Environments”
Mr. Prakash Gangashetty is pursuing a Ph.D. at University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS) in Dharwad, India and his advisor will be Dr. P. M. Salimath. He will collaborate with Dr. Katherine Steele from Bangor University in the United Kingdom as part of the Ph.D. project. He received an MS in genetics and plant breeding from UAS in Dharwad, India. Mr. Gangashetty is a citizen of India. His research will provide better yielding rice varieties by utilizing modern genetics to develop cultivars resistant to drought conditions.
9. Mr. Dharminder Bhatia – Punjab Agricultural University (PAU)
“Molecular Characterization of Inter-Specific Backcross Inbred Lines of Rice for Mapping of Yield Related QTLs”
Mr. Dharminder Bhatia is pursuing his Ph.D. at Punjab Agricultural University in India and will be advised by Dr. Kuldeep Singh. He will also collaborate with Dr. Rod Wing from the University of Arizona. He received his MS in plant breeding and genetics from Punjab Agricultural University in India, his country of citizenship. Mr. Bhatia is committed to utilizing advanced planting breeding technologies to increase desirable traits in rice varieties, which will contribute to sustainable agriculture.
10. Mr. H.B. Mahesh –UAS, Bangalore
"Genome Wide Association Analysis of Blast Resistance QTLs/Genes in Landraces of Rice (Oryza sativa L.)”
Mr. H.B. Mahesh is pursuing a Ph.D. at University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS) in Bangalore, India and under the supervision of Dr. Shailaja Hittalmani. He will collaborate with Dr. Guo-liang Wang from Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. He holds an MS in genetics and plant breeding from the UAS in Bangalore, India. He is a citizen of India. In addition to his educational background and industry experience in corn breeding activities, Mr. Mahesh’s innovative research will address major constraints in Indian rice production, which can economically impact the region.
11. Mr. Bharath Reddy –CIMMYT, Mexico
“Enhancing yield potential of hard red winter wheat via use of improved synthetic backcrosses”
Bharath Reddy’s wheat research is focused on enhancing yield potential of hard red winter wheat at Texas A&M University, USA in collaboration with CIMMYT, Mexico and Turkey. His earlier research on plant physiology and water use efficiency in sorghum will provide valuable information and experience.
12. Mr. Navdeep Jamwal – CSK Himachal Pradesh Agricultural University
“High resolution mapping of chromosome elimination approach-mediated rye (Secale cereale) chromatin introgressed bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) recombinants for drought tolerance and rust resistance through molecular cytogenetic techniques”
Navdeep Jamwal’s wheat research is focused on improving drought tolerance and rust resistance in wheat at CSK Himachal Pradesh Ag University in collaboration with the University of Leicester, UK.
13. Ms. Amandeep Kaur – Punjab Agricultural University (PAU)
“Evaluating wild species germplasm for variation in activity of bran lipase (RBL)”
Amandeep Kaur’s rice research is focused on stabilizing rice bran oil to avoid rancidity of oil at Punjab Ag University in collaboration with the University of Maine, USA.
14. Mr. Bharathi Ramadoss – Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU)
“Allele mining through eco-tilling for low glycemic index rice”
Bharathi R. Ramadoss’s rice research is focused on optimal glycemic index in rice at Tamil Nadu Ag University in collaboration with the University of Saskatchewan, Canada.
15. Ms. Mitaly Bansal, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU)
Fine mapping and identification of candidate genes for stripe and leaf rust resistance transferred from Aegilops umbellulata to bread wheat (Triticum aestivum)
16. Ms. Pilomin Juliana, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU)
Determining the breeding value of CIMMYT International bread wheat nursery entries for multiple disease resistance
17. Mr. Ashish Rajurkar- Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU)
Ashish is pursuing his Ph. D. in Biotechnology from Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. He will be doing his research on breeding for drought resilience in rice: fine mapping & characterization of near isogenic lines for plant production, transcriptome, root system architecture & drought physiology. His mentoring Professor is Dr. R Chandra Babu from the home University & he will be collaborating with Dr. Philip Benfey from the Duke University, Durham, USA.
18. Ms. Palvi Malik- Punjab Agricultural University (PAU)
Palvi is currently pursuing her Ph.D. from Punjab Agricultural University. She will be doing her research on rice under the topic- Genome wide selection for rapid introgression of desirable alleles for productivity traits from Oryza Rufipogon into Oryza Sativa. Her mentoring Professors are Dr. Kuldeep Singh & Dr. Neelam Kumari from the home University, & she will be collaborating with Dr. Clay Sneller from the Ohio State University, USA.
19. Raghvendra Sharma- National Institute of Plant Genome Research ( NIPGR), Delhi
Raghvendra is a Senior Research Fellow at the National Institute of Plant Genome Research (NIPGR), New Delhi. He will be doing his research on wheat under the title - Mitigation of the trade-offs of durable resistance to rusts of wheat. His Guiding Professors are Dr. K M Brown & Dr Paul Nicholson from John Innes Centre, Norfolk, UK & he will be collaborating with Dr. Pawan Kumar from CIMMYT, Mexico.
20. Priyanka Gupta- IC International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA),Morocco
Priyanka is a Research Scholar at International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA),Morocco. Her research work will be on wheat titled- Laying the basis for a hybrid durum wheat breeding program. Her mentoring professors are Peter Langride from University of Adelaide, Australia & she will be collaborating with Dr. Filippo Bassi from ICARDA, & Dr. Roberto Tuberosa, from University of Bologna, Italy.