Santosh Kumar

Assistant Professor

Dr Santosh Kumar is a plant biologist actively engaged in teaching and research activities in KIIT. He works in the area of silica deposition in plants and is currently handling two research projects as Principal Investigator awarded to him by DBT and DST (Gov of India), respectively. He obtained his PhD (Biotechnology) degree from CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory, Pune, India in 2012. After a brief stint as Research Associate in Bose Institute, Kolkata, India he moved to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel (HUJI) for his post-doctoral studies. During his tenure at HUJI, he elucidated the mechanism of silica deposition in sorghum silica cells mostly using laser scanning confocal and scanning electron microscopies. He successfully established that silica deposition in silica cells is actively controlled by viable silica cells and also discovered the protein that precipitates silica in silica cells. Next, he joined the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel for another post-doctoral study where he worked on silica deposition in diatoms. Using state of the art cryo-scanning electron microscopy, cryo-Focused Ion Beam scanning electron microscopy (cryoFIB-SEM) and cryo-energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (cryoEDX) he imaged and quantified the homeostatic levels of intracellular silicon in diatoms. Results from his post-doctoral studies in Israel were published in highly reputed journals like Science Advances, New Phytologist and Journal of Experimental Botany etc. Dr Kumar returned to India in 2019 and joined NCBS, Bangalore, India as the facility in-charge of their Electron Microscopy Facility. He was awarded the prestigious Ramalingaswami Re-entry Fellowship by DBT and subsequently joined BITS Pilani (Goa Campus) as Ramalingaswami Fellow in February 2021. Since March 2023, he has been working in the school of Biotechnology, KIIT Deemed to be University as Assistant Professor (Ramalingaswami Fellow).

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[email protected]
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Educational Qualification

  • (1) Ramalingaswami Re-entry Fellowship Project Project title: Elucidation of the mechanism of silica deposition in abaxial epidermal long cells in Sorghum bicolor lemma Amount: 1.13 Crore (approx) rupees Duration: 5 years (up to 2026) Funding agency: Department of Biotechnology, Government of India
  • (2) DST SERB Core Research Grant Project title: An ultrastructural study on the development of rice silica cells at micro- and nano-scale Amount: 45 Lakh (approx) rupees Duration: 3 years (up to 2026) Funding agency: Department of Science and Technology, Government of India

Awards & Honours
  • Ramalingaswami Re-entry Fellowship award
  • Planning and Budgeting Committee Post Doctoral Fellowship for three years by Government of Israel (awarded to outstanding post-doctoral fellows from India and China)
  • Junior and Senior Research Fellowship by CSIR during PhD
  • Merit Scholarship by DBT during MSc (Agriculture) degree program
  • University merit scholarship in all the semesters of BSc (Agriculture) degree program

Electron Microscopy Society of India
Journals/Conferences :
1. Santosh Kumar*, Filipe Natalio* and Rivka Elbaum* (2021) Protein-driven biomineralization: comparing silica formation in grass silica cells to other biomineralization processes. Journal of Structural Biology 213: 107665 (IF: 2.867)

2.Santosh Kumar, Katya Rechav, Ifat Kaplan-Ashiri and Assaf Gal* (2020) Imaging and quantifying homeostatic levels of intracellular silicon in diatoms. Science Advances 6: eaaz7554 (IF: 14.136)

3.Santosh Kumar*, Nurit Adiram-Filiba, Shula Blum, Javier Arturo Sanchez-Lopez, Oren Tzfadia, Ayelet Omid, Hanne Volpin, Yael Heifetz, Gil Goobes and Rivka Elbaum* (2020) Siliplant1 (Slp1) protein precipitates silica in sorghum silica cells. Journal of Experimental Botany 71(21): 6830-6843 (IF: 6.992)

4.Nurit Adiram-Filiba, Yasmin Geiger, Santosh Kumar, Keren Keinan-Adamsky, Rivka Elbaum and Gil Goobes* (2020) Peptides from diatoms and grasses harness phosphate ion binding to silica to help regulate the biomaterial structure. Acta Biomaterialia 112: 286-297 (IF: 8.947)

5.Oshry Markovich, Santosh Kumar, Dikla Cohen, Sefi Addadi, Eyal Fridman and Rivka Elbaum* (2019) Silicification in leaves of sorghum mutant with low silicon accumulation. Silicon 11: 2385-2391 (IF: 2.67)

6.Santosh Kumar and Rivka Elbaum* (2018) Interplay between silica deposition and viability during the life span of sorghum silica cells. New Phytologist 217(3): 1137-1145 (IF: 10.151)

7.Santosh Kumar*, Yonat Milstein, Yaniv Brami, Michael Elbaum and Rivka Elbaum* (2017) Mechanism of silica deposition in sorghum silica cells. New Phytologist 213(2): 791-798 (IF: 10.151)

8.Santosh Kumar, Milan Soukup and Rivka Elbaum* (2017) Silicification in grasses: variation between different cell types. Frontiers in Plant Science 8: 438 (IF: 5.753)

9.Santosh Kumar#, Sumita Omer#, Krunal Patel and Bashir M Khan* (2013) Cinnamate 4-hydroxylase genes from Leucaena leucocephala: a pulp yielding leguminous tree. Molecular Biology Reports 40(2):1265-1274 (IF: 2.316)

10.Sumita Omer#, Santosh Kumar# and Bashir M Khan* (2013) Over-expression of a subgroup 4 R2R3 type MYB transcription factor gene from Leucaena leucocephala reduces lignin content in transgenic tobacco. Plant Cell Reports 32(1):161-171 (IF: 4.57)[*corresponding author(s); #Equal contribution]