Staff profile

Dr Anil Harishchandra Shirsat

Senior Lecturer


Location: Memorial F20

Phone: 2323 / 2534

Research interests

Dr Anil Shirsat is interested in the molecular mechanisms which remodel the cell wall in response to biotic and abiotic stresses. To this end, he has isolated cell wall protein extensin genes from Brassica napus and Arabidopsis. He was able to show that extensin cell wall proteins, whose role in plants was unclear, are responsible for wall strengthening, and that their synthesis is regulated by the degree of mechanical stress experienced by the tissue. Stress-regulated extensin promoter elements have been identified, and a U.K. patent was awarded (1997) to develop these elements as molecular switches. More recently (2006), he has shown that over-expressing extensin genes in Arabidopsis leads to a significant and dramatic reduction in bacterial pathogen invasiveness – this finding has the considerable advantage that it will not be susceptible to failure – thereby overcoming the major problem of pathogen resistance based on R/Avr interactions. If this novel form of resistance transfers to other crop species and is active against fungal pathogens, it has the potential to revolutionise the crop seed market place by producing crops that are more robust and offer a better return on spend through the crop lifecycle, significantly reducing wastage due to pathogen attack. A second patent (2005) has been awarded to protect this finding, and research in the lab is currently aimed at exploiting the commercial potential of this discovery.

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Offices held


    • SBS Board of Studies