Tilak Raj Sharma obtained Ph D from HP Agricultural University, Palampur in 1990 for is studies on Induction and transfer of resistance to Alternaria blight of mustard. For his Ph D degree, he obtained the prestigious Dr. KS Krishnan fellowship from BARC Bombay. He completed his first Post Doctorate from University of Alberta Canada (1994-96) and worked on molecular biology of plant and plant pathogens. Subsequently he did two more Post doctorate trainings (2001 & 2004) on Rice genome sequencing, genome sequence finishing and genome analysis from the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, NY, USA. He worked as Assistant Professor at the Biotechnology Centre on HPKV, Palampur w.e.f. 1991 to 1999 and then joined as Senior Scientist ( Biotechnology) in June, 1999 at the National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology (NRCPB), India Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi (ICAR) and became Principal Scientists (Biotechnology) in 2007. He is incharge of Genoinformatics Centre of NRCPB w.e.f. 2002 till date.
Academic and Research Achievements
Dr. T. R. Sharma has contributed extensively to the improvement of rice for over 16 years. His most significant contributions include, mapping, cloning & functional validation of a Rice blast (Magnaporthe oryzae) resistance gene Pi-kh (Pi54) from a unique source, which activates complex defense mechanism as demonstrated by microarray analysis. He has also mined a new allele Pi-rh, from wild rice, for resistance to blast. He has also successfully mapped a novel QTL qSBR11-1, which has been transferred to Basmati type varieties for imparting resistance to sheath blight. Besides, he was Co-PI of the Indian Rice, Tomato and Pigeonpea Genome Projects and contributed to the sequencing of genome of these crops . Dr. Sharma has also developed robust DNA makers tightly linked to Pi-kh which are being used extensively in India and at IRRI to improve rice varieties.Besides Dr. Sharma has characterized genetic variability in different plant pathogens like Alternaria brassicae, A. brassicicola, A. raphani ( and Rhynchosporium secalis collected from geographically diverse regions of the world using molecular markers for the first time. He performed DNA-fingerprinting of 250 populations of Magnaporthe griseacollected from North-Western Himalayan region and also identified genes effective against M. grisea populations of north-westeran Himalayan region. He has also developed new protocolsfor in vitro multiplication of disease-free seedlings, microrhizomes and synthetic seeds of ginger. He has authored more than 95 research papers and mentored about 20 Ph D, M.Sc and post doctorate students.
Other academic activities
Dr. Sharma is the life member of Life member Biotechnology Society of India, New Delhi, the Society for Plant Biochemistry and Biotechnology, New Delhi, Association for the Promotion of DNA Fingerprinting and other DNA Technologies (APDFDT).and Indian Phytopathological Society. He is the Chief Editor of Journal of Plant Biochemistry and Biotechnology (Springer) since 1999 till date.
Awards and Honours
Dr. Sharma received University Gold Medal and Certificate of Honour in Ph.D, 1990, Young Scientist Award (Plant Protection) NAAS, 1998; ICAR Young Scientist Award (Crop Sciences), 1999; Prof. MJ Narasimhan Academic Merit Award (special prize, jointly with student) IPS, 1999; Prof. Umakant Sinha Memorial Award in Biochemistry, Biophysics and Biotechnology, Indian Science Congress Association, 2001; International World Technology Award for Biotechnology (jointly to Int. Rice Genome Sequencing Team), The World Technology Network, 2003.DBT National Bioscience Award for Career Development, 2007.NAAS Recognition Award 2008; Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Award-ICAR, 2011