Balaji  Vasudevan

Balaji Vasudevan

Science Advisor/Agri-FoodTech Subject Matter Expert

  • NC, USA
  • 20+ years of post-Ph.D. experience across industry and academia
  • Agrobacterium Biology, Crop Transformation/GMO, Alt. Plant Protein, Molecular Farming

About

Over 18 years of experience in Agrobacterium Biology | Agrobacterium-Plant Interactions | Crop Transformation | Genome Editing | Cell Biology | Plant Tissue Culture | Disease Diagnostics | Phytopathogen/Plant-Microbial Assay Development | Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions | Plant Pathology | Plant Molecular Biology | Gene Silencing via HIGS/VIGS/SIGS/RNAi | Alt. Proteins In Plants | Plant Molecular Farming | RNA Biopesticides | Biologicals | Agtech Innovations Scouting | Agtech | Business Market Following | Competitive intelligence

Balaji Vasudevan is currently an SAB advisor at MyoWorks, a cell-based meat industry based in India. Also, he is an active agtech advisor/consultant/SME for USA based RNA company, plant molecular farming company and Morocco-based venture capital firm investing in agtech startups.

He earned his Master of Science in Plant Biotechnology in Chennai, India in 1994, and his Ph.D. in Plant Biotechnology from Madurai Kamaraj University, India in 2002, working with Prof. Karuppannan Veluthambi. In his thesis work, he developed transformation and regeneration system for black gram (urad bean, Vigna mungo), improved Agrobacteriummediated transformation efficiency in rice and black gram by manipulating binary vectors with key Agrobacterium vir genes, cloned, sequenced, molecular characterized DNA B of a geminivirus Mung bean yellow mosaic virus-Vigna (MYMV-Vig), developed agroinfection based viral assays, identified and showed key viral gene targets for pathogen derived resistance to MYMV-Vig. His Ph.D. research was published in 5 international journals

After completing his Ph.D., Vasudevan went on to do his post-doctoral studies at Tel-Aviv University in the lab of Guido Sessa on molecular dissection of plant-bacterial interactions with an aim to identify disease resistance genes. Vasudevan used tomato and seudomonas/Xanthomonas system for his research to address bacterial speck and leaf spot diseases. He also worked on notorious Grampositive bacterium Clavibacter that causes bacterial wilt and canker in tomato. He used cutting edge technologies like microarray, SSH and VIGS for this research and was the first researcher to identify tomato genes that were differentially regulated under Clavibacter attack.

Vasudevan returned to India in 2007 to accept a Senior Scientist/Group Lead position in Meta-helix Life Sciences Ltd., an agbiotech company located at Bangalore, India. He initiated and developed three projects for RNAi based resistance to geminiviruses in cotton, tomato and okra (CLCuV, TYLCV and OYVMV). After a brief 1 year stay at company, Vasudevan left for USA in 2008 for his second post-doctoral position at Cornell University, New York in lab of Dr. Christine Smart. His research focused on screening and identification of tomato/tobacco genes involved in disease resistance to tomato wilt and canker disease caused by Clavibacter. He was the first person to show that Clavibacter can infect N. benthamiana and cause symptoms as in host tomato. He generated transgenic tomato plants over-expressing two of lead genes that was identified from VIGS screen and showed resistance to Clavibacter-induced disease. He also collaborated with Prof. Thomas J. Burr on developing crown gall resistant GMO grapevines using Agrobacterium virE2 gene. He had 3 publications in Phytopathology, one of which was the Editor’s pick for that issue.

Currently working with Agtech/Agri-foodtech SME, UM6P ventures based in Morocco:

  • Identification and recommendation of agricultural problems and challenges relevant to the African continent
  • Scouting for agtech companies/startups working on innovations that can provide solutions to African smallholder farmers agricultural issues and problems
  • Introductory call with potential agtech industry partners and introduction to UM6P venture team
  • Scientific due-diligence analysis and written report on agtech clients to UM6P investment committee
  • Recommendation on go/no-go decision on pre-seed/seed investment in agri-food tech companies

Areas of Expertise

  • Agrobacterium
  • Gene Editing
  • Tissue Culture
  • Molecular Biology
  • Gene Silencing-RNAi
  • Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions

Career Highlights

Agtech/Agri-foodtech SME at UM6P Ventures
Agtech/Agri-foodtech SME at UM6P Ventures
Plant Pathology/Plant Biology Lead position at GreenLight Biosciences
Plant Pathology/Plant Biology Lead position at GreenLight Biosciences
Scientific PI for NSF-SBIR grant with Prof. Stanton Gelvin, Edison Agrosciences
Scientific PI for NSF-SBIR grant with Prof. Stanton Gelvin, Edison Agrosciences
Senior Scientist in a gene editing company Cibus at San Diego, CA, USA
Senior Scientist in a gene editing company Cibus at San Diego, CA, USA
Research Scientist at Noble Research Institute, Ardmore, Oklahoma in the lab of Dr. Kiran Mysore
Research Scientist at Noble Research Institute, Ardmore, Oklahoma in the lab of Dr. Kiran Mysore
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