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Surinder Chopra, Ph.D.

  • Professor of Maize Genetics
Surinder Chopra, Ph.D.
252 Agricultural Sciences and Industries Building
University Park, PA 16802
Email:
Work Phone: 814-865-1159

Areas of Expertise

  • Epigenetics
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Plant-pathogen interactions
  • Maize Genetics
  • Sorghum Genetics
  • Flavonoids
  • Phytoalexins
  • Plant-fungus interactions
  • Plant-insect interactions
  • Plant-Environment interactions

Education

  1. Ph.D., Plant Molecular Genetics, Vrije Univ. of Brussels, Belgium, 1993. Thesis: Molecular Analysis of the Expression of Aldolase and Sucrose Synthase Genes of Arabidopsis.
  2. M.S. Molecular Biology. Vrije Univ. of Brussels, Belgium, 1989. Thesis: Cloning and Characterization of Aldolase Gene of Arabidopsis.
  3. M.S. Plant Breeding and Genetics. Punjab Agric. Univ., Ludhiana, India. Thesis: Early Generation Selection for high yield, protein and oil in Brassica.

Professional Background:

  • 7/12-current. Professor, maize molecular genetics, Department of Plant Science, The Pennsylvania State University.
  • 7/06–6/12. Associate Professor, maize molecular genetics. Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University.
  • 7/00–7/06. Assistant Professor, maize molecular genetics. Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University.
  • 7/96–7/00. Associate Scientist. Department of Zoology and Genetics and Department of Agronomy, Iowa State University. Ames, IA.
  • 9/93–6/96. Post Doctoral Res. Associate. Lab. of Dr. Thomas Peterson, Department of Zoology and Genetics, Iowa State University, Ames, IA.
  • 3/93–8/93. Visiting Research Fellow. Department of Horticulture, Washington State Univ., Pullman, WA.
  • 10/87–2/93. Graduate Research Assistant. Belgian Development and Cooperation scholarship, Lab. of Prof. Michele Jacobs, Vrije Univ. of Brussels, Brussels, Belgium.
  • 9/82–9/87. Graduate Research Assistant. Belgian Development and Cooperation scholarship, Lab. of Prof. Michele Jacobs, Vrije Univ. of Brussels, Brussels, Belgium.
  • 8/78–6/81. Junior Research Fellow. Dept of Plant Breeding, Punjab Agricultural. Univ, Ludhiana, India.

Responsibilities and Interests:

The goal of our research is to develop a better understanding of metabolic coordination and role of secondary metabolites in plant developmental process as well as plant resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses. We use a flavonoid biosynthetic pathway in maize and sorghum as our model system. Our research has lead to the identification of a genetic factor that is involved in the biosynthesis of a class of plant flavonoid compounds, which act as anti-fungal agents in sorghum. These antifungal metabolites are also known as phytoalexins and in sorghum these compounds belong to the 3-deoxyanthocyanidin category. We are now generating sorghum and maize mutants and introgression lines/over expression breeding lines to understand the regulation of defense compounds. In addition to the biotic stress, we are screening and developing new sorghum accessions that are tolerant to colder climatic regions.

Appointment:

  • 70% Research
  • 30% Teaching

Courses:

  • AGRO/BIOTC 460 (3 credits) - Advances and Applications of Plant Biotech
  • PLBIO 516 (2 credits) - Modern Techniques in Plant Molecular Biology
  • HORT 497B (3 credits) - Genetics of Plant Metabolites: Plant and Human Health

Links:

Current Members of the Lab:

  • Iffa Gaffoor, Postdoctoral Research Associate, interaction of sorghum Phytoalexins with Colletotrichum sublineola.

  • Kameron Wittmeyer,  Graduate Student, Epigenetic Gene Regulation in maize.
  • Qixian Tan, Graduate Student. Graduated in Summer 2016.
  • Bin Liu, Graduate Student. Graduated in Sping 2016
  • Dinakaran Elango, Graduate Student, Sorghum Phytoalexins
  • Jin Cui, Graduate Student, Epigenetic Gene Regulation in maize.
  • Debamalya Chatterjee, Graduate Student, Genome editing in maize and rice
  • Xiaoyu Wang, Visiting Graduate Student, JiLin University, Cold tolerance Genetics and molecular biology in maize and sorghum
  • YenTing Wu, Undergraduate Student
  • Laura Reese, Undergraduate Student
  • Cullen Dixon, Undergraduate Student

Past Lab Members:

  • Rajandeep Sekhon, Graduate Student, Postdoctoral fellow. Current: Assistant Professor, Clemson University
  • Vineet Sangar, Graduate student. Current: Research Scientist, Inst. Systems Biology, Seattle.
  • Michael Robbins, Graduate Student, Postdoctoral Fellow. Current: Assistant Professor, Lock Haven University
  • Farag Ibraheem, Graduate Student. Current: Faculty, University of Monsoura, Egypt.
  • Jay Boddu, Postdoctoral Fellow. Current: Scientist, Monsanto, St Louis
  • Weiya Xue, Postdoctoral Research Associate. Current: Research Associate, Plant Pathology, Penn State Univ.
  • Rashmi Thakare, Visiting Scholar
  • Sanjeev Deshpande, Visiting Borlaug Fellow, Department Chair, University of Ag. Sciences, Dharward, India

Selected Publications:

Research Interests

Genetics and Molecular Biology

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