Savithramma Dinesh-Kumar

Dinesh headshot

Position Title
Professor and Chair

  • Plant Biology
116 Briggs Hall

Research Interests

Our lab studies plant immune responses and inter-organellar communication with a specific focus on Nucleotide-binding Leucine-rich Repeat (NLRs) class of immune receptors, which are pivotal in innate immune signaling in plants and also in animals. These receptors play a crucial role in recognizing pathogens and initiating defense mechanisms, a process that is essential for plant survival and resilience. We also study autophagy’s role in defense and the interactions between different cellular organelles with specific emphasis on chloroplasts during immune responses, which is critical for understanding how plants coordinate complex defense strategies. Our work aims to unravel how pathogens manipulate host cellular machinery for infection, and how plants counter these pathogen strategies. Additionally, we explore virus-based gene editing, a cutting-edge technology that holds promise for advancing our ability to modify plant genomes without the need for genetic transformation and plant regeneration for better traits and disease resistance. 

Education and Degree(s)
  • 1994 Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, Iowa State University