Satish Kumar Raina received BSc from J&K University, MSc from Agra University and PhD (1977) from Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi where he worked on generating haploid plants from pollen grains of Indica Rice. He continued to work at IARI till 2004, initially at the Genetics Division and subsequently (1985) at the Biotechnology Centre (now National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology, NRCPB). He was a Professor at NRCPB when he sought voluntary retirement (2004) to take up an assignment with Nath Group at Aurangabad for bringing in an Alternative Bt Cotton Technology to India. He is presently Director of Global Transgenes Ltd, a Nath Group Company, pursuing different programs on 'genetic engineering technologies'. During his employment at IARI and NRCPB, he worked at several institutions abroad, especially the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Philippines (1987-1989), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Switzerland (1995) and John Innes Centre, UK (1996).
Academic & Research Achievements: Raina made pioneering contributions to produce doubled haploids from pollen grains of Indica rice hybrids and factors affecting their anther culturability. To continue researches to breed new varieties of rice, he developed a 'Haploid Breeding Program in Indica Rice' at the Genetics Division of IARI. Hundreds of doubled haploid pure lines of potentially promising rice F1 hybrids were generated, field tested at several locations in the country, and even selected for release as new rice varieties. Besides the plant growth hormones, significant advances were made from re-designing the basal medium for Indica genotypes and an in depth study of donor plant growth conditions. The most significant effect was derived by modifying the total nitrogen content and NO-3 : NH+4 ratio. For the first time in Indica rice, numerous microspore-embryos and haploid plants were generated from isolated microspores using a novel approach of initial sugar-starvation medium stress and subsequent use of maltose as the carbohydrate source. Techniques were standardized for biolistic transformation of uninucleate microspores. At Nath (Aurangabad), he steered the transgenic Bt-Cotton program from the very inception, all the way through the elaborate route of Indian Regulatory system, till the final approval of commercialization in 2006. The approval marked the beginning of an era of competitive environment in the area of GM Crops in India. This Bt Cotton technology has now been sub-licensed to eight Indian seed companies.
Other Contributions: His laboratory at the NRCPB was the first in the country to develop an efficient genetic transformation system for elite Indica rice cultivars. His group was also the first to conduct Contained Field Trials of transgenic Bt Rice (1999).
Awards and Honours: Professor Raina is Recipient of the prestigious ABLE (Agri-Biotechnology led Enterprises) Award for Excellence in Agricultural Sciences (2008).