Chakravarthy Rajan

Research Group Staff

Research Assistant


B2/L3 – 3255-WS15


In Kaust my research is focusing on Genetic engineering of Rice and Pearl millet for crop improvement, which includes molecular cloning, tissue culture and transformation studies.

In TLL (my previous Lab) my project summary is - Plants are capable of producing an overwhelming variety of specialized metabolites among which terpenoids are of great economic importance and are widely used for flavors, fragrances, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Most of these chemicals are produced and stored in specialized secretory structures called glandular trichomes present on plant aerial structures. The genes that are involved in the development of these structures are largely unknown. 

Most of the commercially important chemicals made by plants are produced as part of their secondary metabolism. Majority of secondary metabolites are generally produced in low quantities in their host plants and their isolation suffers from low yield and high consumption of natural resources, which are driving some plants and forests to near extinction. Aromatic Mint plants of Mentha species are easy to cultivate and harvest and they are the source of the best known monoterpene chemical the - Menthol which is the principal component of peppermint essential oil that is widely used in, pharmaceuticals, oral care products, cosmetics & teas product.

Transformation protocols are essential for metabolic engineering; hence I established transformation system and hairy root culture in Mint and Sweet Basil.

Research Interests

  • Plant Secondary Metabolites Production
  • Plant Molecular biology
  • Plant Genetic Engineering
  • Plant transformation studies
  • Cell culture and tissue culture

Selected Publications

  • Comparative transcriptome analysis of oil palm flowers reveals an EAR- motifcontaining R2R3-MYB that modulates phenylpropene biosynthesis. BMC Plant Biology 17: 219.  Li R, Jin J, Reddy V A, Rajan Chakravarthy, Wang Q, Yue G, Lim CH, Chua NH, Ye J, Sarojam R. (2017) 
  • Spearmint R2R3-MYB transcription factor MsMYB negatively regulates monoterpene production and suppresses the expression of geranyl diphosphate synthase large subunit (MsGPPS.LSU).. Plant Biotechnology Journal. Reddy Vaishnavi ; Wang Qian; Dhar, Niha; Kumar Nadimuthu; Venkatesh Prasanna; Rajan Chakravarthy ; Panicker Deepa; Sridhar Vishweshwaran ; MAO HUIZHU; Sarojam Rajani.
  • Metabolic engineering of terpene biosynthesis in plants using a trichome specific transcription factor MsYABBY5 from spearmint (Mentha spicata) in Plant biotechnology. Wang, Qian; Reddy, Vaishnavi; Panicker, Deepa; MAO, HUIZHU; Kumar, Nadimuthu; Rajan Chakravarthy ; Venkatesh, Prasanna; Chua, Nam-Hai; Sarojam, Rajani .
  • An efficient in vitro system for somatic embryogenesis and podophyllotoxin production in Podophyllum hexandrum Royle in Protoplasma . Manoharan Rajesh & Ganeshan Sivanandhan & Murugaraj Jeyaraj & Rajan Chackravarthy & Markandan Manickavasagam & N. Selvaraj & Andy Ganapathi.
  • Assessment of somatic embryogenesis potency in Indian soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] Cultivars. Indian Journal of Experimental Biology. Thankaraj Salammal Mariashibu, Kondeti Subramanyam, Muthukrishnan Arun, Jeevaraj Theboral,Manoharan Rajesh, Sampath Kasthuri Rengan, Rajan Chakravarthy, Markandan Manickavasagam & Andy Ganapath


  • Masters in Biotechnology (First Class with Distinction) Bharathidasan University, Trichy, Tamil Nadu. 2006-2008.
  • Bachelors in Biotechnology (First Class with Distinction), Bharathidasan University, Trichy, Tamil Nadu. 2003-2006

Professional Profile

  • Research Specialist (2018 to till now) - Kaust, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia.
  • Research Associate (2016 – 2018) - Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering (SCELSE). NTU, Singapore.
  • Assistant Research Officer (2010 – 2016) - Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory, NUS, Singapore.
  • Research Assistant (2008 – 2010) - BDU, Trichy, Tamilnadu, India.