ICRISAT Team

ICRISAT  (India)


Rajeev VarshneyPIResearch Program Director and Director (Grain legumes)

He has 15 years research experiences in international agriculture and is also the Winthrop Research Professor at The University of Western Australia. In his dual appointment, he served CGIAR Generation Challenge Program as Theme Leader for six years. Previously he worked at IPK-Gatersleben, Germany for five years. He is internationally recognized for his contribution in genome sequencing of pigeonpea, chickpea, peanut, pearl millet, sesame, mungbean and adzuki bean and development of molecular breeding products in chickpea, pigeonpea and peanut.

Elected Fellow of Leopoldina, German National Academy of Sciences, American Association of Advancement in Sciences (USA), The World Academy of Sciences, Crop Sciences Society of America (CSSA) and five science academies of India (Indian National Science Academy, The National Academy of Sciences, India, National Academy of Agricultural Sciences. Rajeev has received the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology from Government of India, the Qilu Friedship Award from Shandong Province of Republic of China, the Young Crop Scientist Award of CSSA, the Illumina Agricultural Greater Good Initiative Award, Research Excellence India Citation


Anu Chitikineni – Manager – CEG


Roma Das – Statistics, Bioinformatics and Data Management

Roma got a master’s in statistics from The University of Burdwan, West Bengal, India with a research project on “Regression Analysis for Correlated Data”, after which she started working at ICRISAT in February 2009, as Scientific Officer with the Biometrics Unit. Her responsibilities were providing data analytical support to ICRISAT research programs across Asia, Eastern & Southern Africa and West & Central Africa.  Her expertize includes designing, planning & analysis of agricultural experiments, genome wide association analysis (GWAS), genomic selection (GS), molecular diversity analysis, multi-environment analysis, mixed models and population diversity and structure. In September 2015, she joined GOBII project as a Data Curator and works with Statistics, Bioinformatics and Data Management Theme. She is pursuing her PhD (statistics) from Acharya Nagarjuna University, Andhra Pradesh, India.


Santosh Deshpande – Scientist – Molecular Breeding (Dryland legumes)


Stefania Grando – Research Program Director  (Dryland Cereals)


Himabindu Kudapa – Genomics and Molecular Breeding (Cereals)

She has basic background in molecular biology and her research focus is on functional genomics for crop improvement. Before joining ICRISAT in 2010, she worked at the ICAR- Indian Institute of Rice Research (ICAR-IIRR), Hyderabad, India for six years. Her research efforts aimed at development of genomics resources and using them for understanding molecular basis of biotic and abiotic stresses in legumes (chickpea and pigeonpea) and rice. Hima Bindu has been conferred with INSA Young Scientist Medal, NASI Young Scientist Platinum Jubilee Award and DST-INSPIRE Faculty Award based on her significant contribution in development of genomics resources and application of modern genomic tools for crop improvement programs.


Anil Kumar –  Special project scientist


Abhishek RathorneSenior scientist

He works as a Senior Scientist and Theme Leader on Statistics, Bioinformatics and Data Management (SBDM). He has extensive experience in Design of Efficient Experimental Designs, Multi-Environment Analysis (GxE), Mixed Models, Genomic Selection (GS), Genome Wide Association Analysis (GWAS), QTL Mapping, Genetic Linkage Map Construction, Marker Assisted Recurrent Selection (MARS), programming in C, C++, database development, management and sharing. His current responsibilities include heading the SBDM Unit, leading a team of statisticians, bioinformatics experts and programmers and providing research and analytical support to various research units based ICRISAT headquarters and regional centers in ESA (Eastern and Sub-Saharan Africa) and WCA (Western and Central Africa).


Manish Roorkiwal – Genomics and Molecular Breeding (Legumes)

He has a basic background in molecular genetics and applied genomics with more than 10 years of research experience which focuses on improving crop productivity of legumes in marginal environments in Africa and Asia using modern genetics and breeding approaches including genomic selection and GWAS. He has a PhD in Biotechnology with a focus on identification of candidate genes for abiotic stress tolerance for undertaking the GWAS studies using candidate gene based GWAS approach in chickpea.

After joining ICRISAT, he has been working in the area of genomics and molecular breeding with a special emphasis on next generation sequencing technology including SNP genotyping and whole genome re-sequencing. He has been using the modern breeding approaches such as genomic selection for address the issue of low productivity in chickpea.

In his current role as Scientist-Genomics and Molecular Breeding, he has been working as an Interface between ICRISAT Genomics and Breeding program for deploying markers in the routine breeding and also working towards initiation of Forward Breeding in ICRISAT.


Selvanayagam SivasubramaniSenior Scientific Officer – Computational Genomics

He holds a BTech degree in biotechnology (Anna University, India) with over 6 years of experience in computational genomics.  He has been working widely in data analysis, Linux administration and programming. Siva has been at ICRISAT over three years, under various crop-genomics projects. Earlier he led a team for three years at one of the major genomics service providers in India, Genotypic Technology Pvt. Ltd.