Rekha Kandaswamy Profile

Rekha Kandaswamy


I’m from Chennai, India, where I completed my Bachelors and Masters degree in

Biotechnology from University of Madras, Chennai (2006-2011) with University ranks (9 th

rank in B.Sc. and 2 nd rank in M.Sc.). With my profound interest in plants, I began my research

career as a trainee in National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow, India, and gained

expertise in the area of plant-microbe interaction. Having worked in few corporate companies

I continued my research career through an industrial training (2012) sponsored by Biotech

Consortium of India Ltd, New Delhi, India. During this tenure, I got expertise in the areas of

molecular biology, plant and animal cell culture, and phytochemistry; and had guided the

undergraduate students with their dissertation projects. Following this, I joined as a junior

research fellow (2013) under Department of Biotechnology - Integrated Programme in Life

Sciences (DBT-IPLS) programme in Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai, India, where I

developed my knowledge in applied microbiology and plant-microbe interaction. With my

passion towards molecular biology I joined for Ph.D. in 2014 at SRMIST, Chennai, India

(formerly known as SRM University) and carried out research in the field of plant-microbe

interaction investigating the molecular mechanisms underlying PGPR induced root exudation

in rice plants. After my PhD graduation, I joined Dr. Wayne Curtis group at PSU as a post-

doctoral scholar (2019) and currently working on gene silencing of plant viruses in an effort

to develop strategies for crop protection by genetic engineering.

Research interests

Plant-Microbe Interactions, Plant transformation, Plant Virology, Phytochemicals and



Currently I’m working on the DARPA Insect Allies project with Dr. Wayne Curtis as the

Principal Investigator. The project focus is on using deconstructed viruses for delivery of

plant protective genes.


 Durgesh Thingujam, Rekha K, Megala J, and Usha B. 2015. Antioxidant and anticancer properties of Catharanthus pusillus. IJACSA. 3(1): 2347.

 Kandaswamy Rekha, Baburaj Baskar, Santhanam Srinath, and Balasundaram Usha. 2018. Plant growth promoting rhizobacteria Bacillus subtilis RR4 isolated from rice rhizosphere induces malic acid biosynthesis in rice roots. Can. J. Microbiol. 64(1):20-27.

 Kandaswamy Rekha, Dongal D. Sarbesh, and Balasundaram Usha. 2018. Does rhizospheric bacterium influence root exudation of sucrose? A preliminary investigation using Bacillus subtilis RR4. Res. J. Biotech. 13(11): 45-49.

 Kandaswamy Rekha, Ramasamy MohanKumar, K Ilango, Arunraj Rex, and Balasundaram Usha. Transcriptome profiling of rice roots in early response to Bacillus subtilis (RR4) colonization. Botany. 96: 749-765.

 Kandaswamy Rekha, Ramasamy Mohan Kumar, Palanivel Rameshthangam, and Balasundaram Usha. 2019. Impact of Pseudomonas putida RRF3 on the root transcriptome of rice plants: Insights into defense response, secondary metabolism,

and root exudation. J Biosci. (Accepted) ORAL PRESENTATIONS

 Rekha K. “RNA interference and its Applications” on the National level Seminar on “Biotechnology & its Applications in Human Welfare” held at the University of Madras, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India (2010).

 Rekha K, Sarbesh D. Dongol, and Usha B. “Impact of Bacillus subtilis RR4 on the expression of sucrose transporters and root exudation of sucrose in rice plants” in Recent Trends in Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology held at SRM University, Kattankulathur, Tamil Nadu, India (2017).


 Durgesh Thingujam, Rekha K, and Usha B. “Characterization of phytochemicals in Catharanthus pusillus for anti-microbial, anti-oxidant and anti-cancer activities”. Indian Youth Science Congress held at Acharya Nagarjuna University, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India (2015).

 Durgesh Thingujam, Rekha K, and Usha B. “Catharanthus pusillus, a potential target for anticancer drugs”. Indian Genetic Congress held at SRMIST, Kattankulathur, Tamil Nadu, India (2015).

 Rekha K, Baskar B, Srinath S, and Usha B. “Bacillus subtilis (RR4) induces root exudation of malic acid from rice plants”. Regional Conference on “Science and Technology for National Development” held at SRMIST, Kattankulathur, Tamil Nadu, India (2016).

 Rekha K and Usha B. “Comparative transcriptome profiling of rice roots in response

to different PGPRs with a focus on regulation in phytochemical synthesis” in 5th Annual South Asia Biosafety Conference held at Taj Hotel, Bangalore, Karnataka, India (2017).


  • Received 1st prize for oral presentation in National Conference on Recent Trends in Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology 2017.

  • Received BCIL fellowship and grant for industrial training from Biotech Consortium of India Ltd., New Delhi (2013).

  • Qualified in GATE with 91 percentile (2012).

  • Awarded for proficiency in B. Sc. Biotechnology - “Class Topper” (Vel’s College of Science) (2009).

  • Received “The Best Outgoing Student” award (twice - in 2004 & 2006).

  • Received “School Topper” award in X-std (2004).

  • Received Governor award (2003) and President award (2006) in co-curricular activity (Scouts & Guides)

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