Rakesh Tuli received BSc and MSc from GB Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, after which he worked at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai (1976-92), and then at National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI), Lucknow (1992- ) where he has been Director (2006- ). He obtained PhD (Botany) from Gujarat University under the guidance of Dr Joseph Thomas. He visited the University of Chicago, USA (1980) where he worked with Professor Haselkorn, and the University of Sussex (1985-86) where he was associated with Dr MJ Merrick.
Academic and Research Achievements: At BARC, Tuli made pioneering findings on genetic and biochemical regulation of nitrogen fixation through glutamine metabolism in cyanobacteria. Some of his best cited works were published in the area of regulation of nitrogen metabolism and fine resolution of ntr and glnA regions in Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae while working at Chicago and the University of Sussex respectively. His work on physiological separation of oxygenic photosynthesis and anoxygenic dinitrogen fixation in non heterocystous cyanobacterium Plectonema boryanum opened up new area for genetic analysis of cyclic regulation between carbon and nitrogen status in cells. At NBRI, his laboratory designed and chemically synthesized the first agronomically valuable gene in the country and plant promoters that led to the development of Bt-transgenic cotton, pigeon-pea, castor and groundnut and new models of partnerships with agri and seed industries. Some of his remarkable works of high applied value to agriculture emerged out of his basic studies in the areas of regulation of gene expression, insect resistance, drought tolerance, fibre development and arsenic accumulation in plants. He has 79 research papers and 16 patents to his credit.
Other Contributions: As Director of NBRI, Tuli established the Plant Molecular Biology and Genetics Laboratory for research on transgenic plants for agricultural and medical biotechnology. He also developed a variety of new models for partnerships with seed and agribiotech industries and promoted new programmes in floriculture, medicinal plants and biofertilisers for societal and rural development. While functioning as Director of Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI), Lucknow (2007-08), he initiated mentoring of the new National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education & Research (NIPER) at Rae Barielly. He has been Member of International Society for Plant Molecular Biology, Expert, Drug Advisory Committee of WHO and Advisory and Executive committees of national science academies and societies. He also served on several Editorial boards.
Awards and Honours: Dr Tuli won the Young Scientist Medal of INSA (1983) for his studies on biochemical regulation of nitrogen fixation. He was awarded All India Biotech Association Award (2001), CSIR Technology Prize (2005), JC Bose National Fellowship (2007) and Sundar Lal Hora Medal by INSA (2008). He was elected Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore (1997), National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad (1997), National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, New Delhi (1996) and a member of Guha Research Conference (1990).