Paramjit Khurana obtained her B.Sc. (1975), M.Sc. (1977), M.Phil. (1978) and Ph.D. (1983) degrees in Botany from University of Delhi. She then worked as a Scientist (1983-84) in the Unit for Plant Cell and Molecular Biology, at University of Delhi, before moving to S.G.T.B. Khalsa College, University of Delhi as a Lecturer (1984-87). Subsequently, she worked at Michigan State University (MSU), East Lansing, U.S.A., as a Research Associate (1987-88). She was then appointed as a Lecturer (1988-90), Reader (1990-98) and Professor (1998 to date) in the Department of Plant Molecular Biology, University of Delhi, South Campus. She served as Head of the Department from 2004-2007.
Academic and Research Achievements: At Michigan State University,Paramjit worked on LPS-mediated cellular recognition during legume-Rhizobium symbiosis and cell-to-cell communication in living cells by use of impermeant macromolecules. In addition, her work unravelled the role of pectins in mediating cell wall porosity in higher plants. Upon return to India, Paramjithas made pioneering contributions in the area of “Wheat and Seribiotechnology”, and “Comparative Genomics”. During the past decade, genetic transformation of Indian wheats has been accomplished by her group for resistance against the cereal cyst nematode and for abiotic stress tolerance. In mulberry too, transgenics capable of withstanding salinity and drought stress conditions have been developed. In the past few years, research activities have been directed towards understanding the molecular basis of somatic embryogenesis and heat stress tolerance in wheat. Her group is also developing effective genetic engineering strategies leading to stress tolerance in crop plants and sustaining agriculture under changing climatic conditions. In addition to an active participation in sequencing of chromosome 11 of rice and chromosome 5 of tomato, as a part of international initiative, her group has sequenced the complete chloroplast genome of mulberry. At present, her group is involved in sequencing of chromosome 2A of wheat. She has authored more than 125 publications and mentored 10 Post-Doctorates, 15 Ph.D scholars, 4 M.Phil. and 20 Master’s students.
Other Contributions: Professor Paramjit Khurana is a member of several scientific societies and organizations and served as an expert on several national committees of DBT DST, CSIR, UGC, academic bodies and selection panels of various Institutes and Universities. She has served on the Editorial boards of Physiology and Molecular Biology of Plants, Proceedings National Academy of Sciences, Section B-Biological Sciences, and Journal ofSeribiodiversity, and refereed articles for several International /National Scientific Journals.
Awards and Honors: Professor Paramjit Khurana was elected Fellow of the Indian Acaedmy of Sciences (2010), and the National Academy of Sciences India (2003). She was awarded the ‘Certificate of Honour’, by the Gantavaya Sansthan on International Women’s Day (2011), Professor Archana Sharma Memorial Award, by Indian Science Congress Association (2011-2012) and Prof. J.C. Bose Fellowship (2012-2017) by the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India.