Meet Our Team

Rajagopalbabu Srinivasan

Professor, Principal Investigator

Post-Doctoral Researchers

Banani Mondal

I graduated with B.S. in Botany from the University of Calcutta, India. Later, I developed a deep interest in Molecular Biology and Genetics. So, I ended up graduating with an M.S. in Genetics from the same university. I did my Ph.D. in Genetics from the Bose Institute, Calcutta. During my doctoral program, I studied molecular interactions between Indian mustard and the fungal pathogen Alternaria brassicicola. My current research focuses on understanding the whitefly-virus interaction at the molecular level. Apart from that, I am deeply interested in popularising science in regional language.

Kamran Rashid

I graduated with BS Biotechnology in 2013 from Gomal University Dera Ismail Khan, KP, Pakistan, and M.Phil. Biotechnology from Gomal University Dera Ismail Khan, KP, Pakistan with one year research work from Government College University Faisalabad (GCUF), Punjab, Pakistan. I Have done my Ph.D. degree in Biotechnology in 2022 from GCUF. During my Ph.D. study, I have worked on Plant Viruses (Molecular Plant Virology) and Molecular Plant Pathology. I have worked on a project “Geographical Distribution and Molecular Characterization of Geminiviruses Infecting Crop and Non-crop Hosts in Pakistan”.  I have experienced with Nested PCR and Real-Time PCR, cDNA synthesis, Gel documentation, Gene Cloning, Agro-Transformation, Bacterial Culturing, Streaking, Spreading, and other necessary molecular and microbiology techniques.  

Currently I am working as a Research Professional and Post-Doc Researcher in UGA, under the supervision of Professor Dr. Rajagopalbabu Srinivasan. Here In UGA my research strictly focused on begomoviruses (a group of single-stranded exclusively plant-infecting DNA viruses) and on transmission of this group of plant-infecting viruses by whiteflies. These viruses and their vector are major threats to vegetable (squash, tomato, and snap bean) production in Georgia. My research included basic and applied aspects of plant-virus-insect relationships/interactions with the goal of benefitting the vegetable growers of Georgia. 

Graduate Students

Michael Catto

I am originally from Philadelphia, PA but have moved around the East coast a lot since then. As for my educational background, I studied at the University of Maryland for my BSc in Biology, with a minor in astronomy. There I was fortunate to have worked in a stink bug management lab, under the guidance of Dr. Dively. Following graduation, I went to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo to work in the Amazonia exhibit, where I cared for crickets, Collembola, and fruit flies. After my time at the Zoo, I then took a position at EAG in Easton, MD in which I worked on toxicological and genetic studies in the aquatics department. I worked mainly with midges, but also cultured and ran acute and chronic studies on medaka, bluegill, and fathead minnows. At the same time, I studied at Johns Hopkins University and received my MS in Bioinformatics under the direction of Dr. Lessick. I also volunteered at the Baltimore Underground Science Space (BUGSS) in which I helped in outreach events. I then took a position at Princeton University, where I worked as a lab manager for Dr. Andolfatto, handling various fruit fly species and sequencing large sets of fruit fly populations and genetic editing of individual flies. Currently, I am an Entomology PhD student working under the direction of Dr. Srinivasan and Dr. Hunt. Here my work is entirely computational, as I work with large genomic datasets for tobacco thrips and have also been able to work on the transcriptomes of the red palm weevil and peanut cultivars.

Sudeep Pandey

I graduated with B.S in Agricultural Sciences from Tribhuvan University, Nepal in 2015 and a MS degree in Plant Pathology from University of Agricultural Sciences- Bengaluru, India in 2018. My previous work involved plant-virus-vector interactions in legume cropping systems. I am working with aphid-mediated cotton leafroll dwarf virus in Georgia. My research focuses on greenhouse, lab and field experiments in understanding aphid-virus-host plant interactions.

Gurjit Singh

My undergrad is in Agricultural Sciences from the Punjab Agricultural University in India. Later, I decided to continue my studies as a Masters student in the Turfgrass and Ornamentals IPM lab of Dr. Shimat Joseph at the UGA Griffin campus, where I researched improvements to the IPM strategies against the Fall armyworm insect pest in bermudagrass systems. The multitrophic interactions among the host plants, plant-microbes, and insect vectors got my attention, and after graduating in Summer 2020, I joined Dr. Babu’s lab as a PhD student. Here, I am employing molecular techniques to investigate the interactions between host plants, plant viruses, and whiteflies in Cucurbits, with the ultimate goal of improving the IPM strategies against the whitefly vectors of plant viral diseases. Most of my research includes transmission bio-assays in the greenhouse and lab work, but also comprises of some field sampling during summers.

Vamsidhar Reddy Netla

I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Sciences from Acharya N. G. Ranga Agricultural University, India in 2019. I then went on to earn a Mater’s degree in Plant Pathology from the University of Agricultural Sciences-Bangalore, India in 2022. During my Master’s programme, I conducted research on virome analyses in chilli (Capsicum annuum L.) using next-generation sequencing (NGS) to detect and identify known and novel viruses. Here, my research focuses on understanding the interactions between thrips, peanuts and viruses

Past Lab Members

Dr. Rohit Kumar, post-doctoral associate, 2024

Sarah Bragg, undergraduate student worker, 2021-2023

Dr. Saptarshi Ghosh (PhD), post-doctoral associate, 2021-2022

Dr. Habibu Mugerwa (PhD), post-doctoral associate, 2019-2022

Gabrielle LaTora (MS), Research Professional & Lab Manager, 2019-2022

Dr. Yi-Ju Chen (PhD), graduate student, 2018-2022

Dr. Pin-Chu Lai (PhD), graduate student (MS and PhD), 2013-2021

Ainnee Quratulain, exchange student, 2019-2020

Sasha Kay, research professional, 2017-2019

Dr. Saurabh Gautam (PhD), graduate student, 2015-2019, post-doctoral associate, 2020-2022

Dr. Kiran Gadhave (PhD), post-doctoral associate, 2015-2017

Dr. Wendy Marchant (PhD), graduate student, 2013-2017

Dr. Saioa Legarrea (PhD), post-doctoral associate, 2013-2014, 2021-2022

Dr. Apurba Barman (PhD), post-doctoral associate, 2012-2013

Kathleen Marasigan (MS), graduate student, 2011-2014

Qaisar Abbas, exchange scientist, 2011

Dr. Suganthy Sundaraeswaran, visiting scientist, 2011

Sheran Thompson, research professional, 2009-2017

Dr. Anita Shrestha (PhD), graduate student, 2009-2016

Dr. Sivamani Sundaraj, post-doctoral associate, 2009-2011

Stan Diffie, research professional, 2008-2016

Simmy McKeown, Research Technician III, 2004-2021