National Institute of Plant Genome Research
Digital India     
    Dr. Aashish Ranjan
    Staff Scientist III & Ramalingaswami Fellow
    Tel: 91-11-26741612,14,17 Ext. - 117
    Direct - 26735117
    Fax: 91-11-26741658
 Professional & Academic Background
Staff Scientist III (April 2015 – present) : National Institute of Plant Genome Research, New Delhi.
Invited Guest Scientist (2015) : Cluster of Excellence on Plant Sciences, University of Cologne and Dusseldorf, Germany.
Post-Doctoral Fellow (2011 – 2015): Department of Plant Biology, University of California, Davis, USA.
Ph.D. (2006 – 2010): International Graduate School in Genetics and Functional Genomics, University of Cologne, Germany.
M.Sc. (2004 – 2006): National Research Center on Plant Biotechnology, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi.
B.Sc. (2000 – 2004): Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi.
 Awards and Fellowships
Innovative Young Biotechnologist Award (IYBA) 2015 from Department of Biotechnology, India (2016).
Young Scientist Award of Indian Society for Plant Physiology during 3rd International Plant Physiology Congress at New Delhi, India (2015).
CEPLAS Fellowship as a guest scientist at University of Cologne and Dusseldorf, Germany, (2015).
Ramalingaswamy Re-entry Fellowship from Department of Biotechnology, India, (2014).
INSPIRE faculty award for Plant and Agriculture from Department of Science and Technology, India (2014, Fellowship not availed).
F1000 Associate faculty member for Plant Genomes and Evolution for post-publication peer reviewing (2012 – present).
NSF Post-doctoral fellowship at University of California, Davis, USA (2011 – 2015).
The best PhD student publication 2010/11 in the category Plants or microbes, University of Cologne, Germany (2011).
North Rhine Westphalia international graduate fellowship for Ph.D.studies at University of Cologne, Germany (2006 – 2010).
IARI Gold Medal for outstanding academic performance in M.Sc (2007).
Junior Research Fellowship from Indian Council of Agricultural Research for M.Sc. studies (2004 – 2006).
BHU Gold Medal for standing 1st in B.Sc. (2005).
BHU merit scholarship for B.Sc.(Agriculture) at Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi (2000 – 2004).
 Research Interest

We are interested in investigating the plant development in response to environmental signals and optimizing plant developmental features for efficient photosynthesis in crop plants using genomics, molecular breeding and molecular biology tools.

1. Understanding the interaction between light and temperature signaling to regulate plant development and architecture: Light and temperature are two most important environmental factors for plant growth and development. The genetic and molecular basis of signaling of environmental factors and their influence on plant growth has been mostly studied in model plant Arabidopsis.Therefore, a systematic study to characterize the influence of changing light and temperature conditions to the development of crop plants, and the underlying genetic basis is warranted for optimizing the plant growth in desirable way in the context of climate change. We are studying the interaction of light and temperature signaling and their influence on plant growth of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) and Rice(Oryza sativa), which belong to diverse clades of angiosperms and are two very important plants of economic importance with rich genetic resources, with following objectives:
i) Defining the interaction of light and temperature to determine leaf development and plant architecture.
ii) Establishing the genetic basis of crosstalk of light and temperature signaling, and their integration to plant development.
iii) Identification and validation of key genetic regulators mediating developmental changes in response to light and temperature signals.

2. Optimizing plant developmental features for efficient photosynthesis in crop plants: The importance of improving leaf photosynthetic efficiency to increase the crop yield has been well recognized, and will become increasingly essential if the necessary yield increases are to be achieved. Photosynthesis is a multifaceted plant process that has contributions from ambient environmental conditions, developmental features and biochemical reactions. Leaf characteristics, branching and canopy features are the most important plant developmental features for the photosynthesis and carbon assimilation. However the potential to manipulate the leaf morphology and anatomy, and underlying genetic basis to improve photosynthetic efficiency is largely unexplored. With this background, we want to address following questions in model crop plant Rice(Oryza sativa):
i) Exploring the natural genetic variation for the photosynthesis and its possible link with plant, in particular leaf, developmental features.
ii) Deciphering the genetic link, and underlying key regulatory genes, between photosynthetic efficiency and plant developmental features.
iii) Manipulating the leaf and branching traits for efficient photosynthesis through breeding and/or genetic engineering.
 Group Members
Dr. Upendra Kumar Singh NIPGR Postdoc
Dr. Anuradha Singh SERB-National Postdoc
Mr. Jyotirmaya Mathan Ph. D. Student
Ms. Juhi Bhattacharya Ph. D. Student
Mr. Vikram Dattatray Jathar Ph. D. Student
Interested to join our lab?

Highly motivated researchers, interested in Plant Development and Genomics, who would like to join the lab are welcome to contact the PI.
 Research Publications
Mathan J, Bhattacharya J, Ranjan A (2016). Enhancing crop yield via the optimization of plant developmental features. Development 143: 3283-3294.
Fulop D*, Ranjan A*, Ofner I, Covington MF, Chitwood DH, West D, Ichihashi Y,  Headland L, Zamir DMaloof JN, Sinha NR (2016). A new advanced backcross tomato population enables high resolution leaf QTL mapping and gene identification. Genes|Genomes|Genetics (G3) 63169-3184(*equal contribution).
Ranjan A, Budke JM, Rowland SD, Chitwood DH, Kumar R, Carriedo L, Ichihashi Y, Zumstein K, Maloof JN, Sinha NR (2016). eQTL regulating transcript levels associated with diverse biological processes in tomato. Plant Physiology 172: 328-340.
Ostria-Gallardo E*, Ranjan A*, Zumstein K, Chitwood DH, Kumar R, Townsley BT, Ichihashi Y, Corcuera LJ, Sinha NR (2016). Transcriptomic analysis suggests a key role for SQUAMOSAPROMOTER BINDING PROTEIN LIKENAC and YUCCA genes in the heteroblastic development of the temperate rainforest tree Gevuina avellana (Proteaceae). New Phytologist.  210(2): 694-708  (* equal contribution).
Müller NA, Wijnen CL, Srinivasan A, Ryngajllo M, Ofner I, Lin T, Ranjan A, West D, Maloof JN, Sinha NR, Huang S, Zamir D, Jiménez-Gómez JM (2016). Domestication selected for deceleration of the circadian clock in cultivated tomato. Nature Genetics. 48: 89-93.
Chitwood DH, Kumar R, Ranjan A, Pelletier JM, Townsley BT, Ichihashi Y,  Martinez CC, Zumstein K, Harada JJ, Maloof JN, Sinha NR (2015). Light-Induced Indeterminacy Alters Shade-Avoiding Tomato Leaf Morphology. Plant physiology. 169 (3): 2030-47.
Mtunguja MK, Ranjan A, Laswai HS, Muzanila Y, Ndunguru J, Sinha NR (2015). Genetic diversity of farmer-preferred cassava landraces in Tanzania based on morphological descriptors and single nucleotide polymorphisms. Plant Genetic Resources. (DOI:, Published online: 03 November 2015).
Ranjan A, Townsley BT, Ichihashi Y, Sinha NR, Chitwood DH (2015). An intracellular transcriptomic atlas of the giant coenocyte Caulerpa taxifolia. PLoS Genetics. 11(1):e1004900 (Featured on cover page).
Ranjan A, Ichihashi Y, Farhi M, Zumstein K, Townsley BT, David-Schwrtz R, Sinha NR (2014). De novo assembly and characterization of the transcriptome of the parasitic weed Cuscuta pentagona identifies genes associated with plant parasitism. Plant Physiology. 166: 1186-1199.
Chitwood DH, Ranjan A Kumar R, Ichihashi Y, Zumstein K, Headland LR, Peng J, Maloof JN, Sinha NR (2014). Resolving distinct genetic regulators of leaf shape within a heteroblastic and ontogenetic context. Plant Cell. 26: 3616-3629.
Balcerowicz M, Ranjan A , Rupprecht L, Fiene G, Hoecker U (2014). Auxin represses stomatal development in dark-grown seedlings via Aux/IAA proteins. Development. 141(16): 3165-76.
Chitwood DH,Ranjan A,Martinez CC, Headland LR, Thiem T, Kumar R, Covington MF, Hatcher T, Naylor DT, Zimmerman S, Downs N, Raymundo N, Buckler ES, Maloof JN, Aradhya M, Prins B, Li L, Myles S, Sinha NR (2014). A modern ampelography: a genetic basis for leaf shape and venation patterning in Vitis vinifera. Plant Physiology. 164:259-272 (Featured on cover page).
Ranjan A, Dickopf S, Ullrich KK, Rensing SA, Hoecker U (2014). Functional analysis of COP1 and SPA orthologs from Physcomitrella and rice during photomorphogenesis of transgenic Arabidopsis reveals distinct evolutionary conservation. BMC Plant Biology 14: 178.
Chitwood DH, Kumar R, Headland LR, Ranjan A, Covington MF, Ichihashi Y, Fulop D, Jiménez-Gómez JM, Peng J, Maloof JN, Sinha NR (2013). A quantitative genetic basis for leaf morphology in a set of precisely defined tomato introgression lines. Plant Cell. 25: 2465-2481.
Ranjan A, Ichihashi Y, Sinha NR (2012). The tomato genome: implications for plant breeding, genomics and evolution.  Genome Biology. 13:167 (Featured on cover page and flagged as "Highly accessed").
Chitwood DH, Headland LR, Ranjan A, Martinez CC, Braybrook SA, Koenig DP, Kuhlemeier C, Smith RS, Sinha NR (2012). Leaf asymmetry as a developmental constraint imposed by auxin-dependent phyllotactic patterning. Plant Cell. 24: 2318-27.
Ranjan A, Fiene G, Fackendahl P, Hoecker U (2011). The Arabidopsis repressor of light signaling SPA1 acts in the phloem to regulate seedling deetiolation, leaf expansion and flowering time. Development 138(9): 1851-62.