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PROF. SUMITA JHA (Professor of Botany and HOD, Genetics)

Professor Sumita Jha obtained her B.Sc. (Hons.) degree in Botany from Lady Brabourne College in Kolkata (1973) and her M.Sc. degree in Botany from Calcutta University in 1975. She earned her Ph.D. (Botany) in 1981 from University of Calcutta and has since been active in the areas of Plant Cytogenetics & Plant Biotechnology research and teaching.  She has published 94 articles in International and National Journals along with 16 Book Chapters.  To her credit, Professor Jha has mentored several students for their Ph.D. degree, has initiated and engaged in numerous International Research Collaborations, has served on various Advisory Committees and has garnered prestigious awards for her contributions to academic excellence.  Notable among these are the INSA Science Academy Medal for Young Scientist (1983), the Prof. Hiralal Chakravarty Award by ISCA (1989), the UGC Career Award for young teachers (1994-1997), Membership of the Plant Science Committee, DST Govt. of India (2007-2012) and Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, India (2008).  Professor Jha has an extensive administrative experience and has served with distinction as Coordinator of the M.Sc. Program in Genetics (2002-2009), Head, Department of Genetics (2009-2011; 2013 - present), Head, Department of Botany (2007-2009), Deputy Programme Co-ordinator, CAS in Botany (2001-2004) and as Programme Co-ordinator UGC-CAS in Botany (2004-present) at Calcutta University.  Her research interests include: 

1. Secondary metabolism in cell cultures and genetically transformed cultures: synthesis and regulation

Professor Jha's group has developed transgenic cell and organ cultures in a number of rare, endangered indigenous medicinal plants for production of high value pharmaceuticals. With her collaborator Dr. David Tepfer, INRA, Versailles, Prof. Jha and her students have contributed to the understanding of the effect of crypt expression in transgenic hairy root cultures of several medicinal plants aiming at enhancement of bioactive secondary metabolites. They have transformed Bacopa monnieri with the cryptogein gene (crypt) and observed a stimulation of growth and saponins in plants grown in tissue culture. We propose that natural transformation operates as an adaptive resource in evolution, particularly in plant-microorganism interactions.  Further study to elucidate molecular basis of elicitation by cryptogein are being pursued in several indigenous medicinal plants. 

2. Chromosomal Explorations, Phylogeny and Diversity:

The family Hyacinthaceae formerly treated as a part of Liliaceae sensu lato, now placed in Asparagales based on molecular phylogenetic study, is poor in qualitative diagnostic characters. Among different genera of the family Hyacinthaceae, Drimia and Ledebouria are polytypic genera, which show intraspecific variation and are difficult to delimit. Prof. Jha and group are analyzing   Internal Transcribed Spacers (ITS) sequence data of different taxa to draw the phylogenetic relationship of Drimia and Ledebouria with other related taxa of Hyacinthaceae.

Again, in Cucurbitaceae, presence of dioecious forms makes it an interesting model to study the evolution of sex in plants because dioecism is an advanced strategy in plants that assures spatial separation of male and female sex organs. On the other hand, presence of cosexual forms in cucurbits can also be used to compare and correlate the different parameters of chromosome evolution with special emphasis on sex chromosomes. Coccinia being a perrenial dioecious genus of the family Cucurbitaceae, is a model plant for such study. Prof. Jha and co-workers are working on   development of molecular strategies for the early identification of sex in Coccinia for better understanding of evolutionary pathways of dimorphism. Their main objective is evaluating the phylogenetic diversity of sex chromosome behavior through karyomorphological and molecular approach in some genera of Cucurbitaceae and characterizing the sex linked genes by developing SCAR markers

Selected Publications

1.       Satyabrata Nanda, Basudeba Kar, Sanghamitra Nayak, Sumita Jha, Raj Kumar Joshi (2013) Development of an ISSR based STS marker for sex identification in pointed gourd (Trichosanthes dioica Roxb.)Scientia Horticulturae 150 : 11-15

2.   Biplab Kumar Bhowmick,Timir B. Jha and Sumita Jha (2012) Chromosome analysis in the dioecious cucurbit Coccinia grandis (L.) Voigt. Chromosome Science,15:9-15 (The Society of Chromosome Research, Japan) 

3.   Partha Sarathi Saha , Krishnadas Nandagopal ,Biswajit Ghosh and  Sumita Jha (2012) Molecular characterization of aromatic Oryza sativa L. cultivars from West Bengal, India. The Nucleus. DOI 10.1007/s13237-012-0058-0

4.   Sukanya Majumdar, Saraswati Garai & Sumita Jha (2012) Use of the cryptogein gene to stimulate the accumulation of bacopa saponins in transgenic Bacopa monnieri plants  Plant Cell Reports DOI 10.1007/s00299-012-1303-3

5.   Sukanya Majumdar, Saraswati Garai and Sumita Jha (2011)Genetic transformation of Bacopa monnieri by wild type strains of Agrobacterium rhizogenes stimulates production of bacopa saponins in transformed calli and plants  Plant Cell Reports :DOI 10.1007/s00299-011-1035-9 A contribution to the Special Issue: Plant Biotechnology in Support of the Millennium Development Goals.30:941-954

6.   Myo Ma Ma Than, Amita Pal and Sumita Jha (2011)  Chromosome number and modal karyotype in a polysomatic endangered orchid, Bulbophyllum auricomum Lindl., the Royal Flower of Myanmar Plant Systematics and Evolution ;294:167-175  DOI: 10.1007/s00606-011-0459-6

7.   Myo Ma Ma Than ,  Anrini Majumder , Amita Pal and Sumita Jha (2011) Genomic variations among in in vitroregenerated Bulbophyllum auricomum Lindl. plants. The Nucleus; 54(1):9-17

8.  Kuntal Chaudhuri, Sudripta Das, Moumita Bandyopadhyay, Andreja Zalar, Albert Kollmann, Sumita Jha and David Tepfer (2009) . Transgenic mimicry of pathogen attack stimulates growth and secondary metabolite accumulation. Transgenic Research :DOI 10.1007/s11248-008-9201-8;  18:121-134

9.   Anrini Majumder and Sumita Jha (2009)   Characterization of Podophyllotoxin yielding cell lines of Podophyllum hexandrum  Caryologia  62(3) 220-235

10. Ghosh, S, Ghosh, B and Jha, S (2008). Polymorphism in Gloriosa superba   Plant Genetic Resources: Characterization and Utilization (CABI Publications) DOI: 10.1017/S1479262108995125.

11.   M. Bandyopadhyay, S Jha and D Tepfer (2007), Changes in morphological phenotypes and withanolide composition of Ri-transformed roots of Withania somnifera Plant Cell Reports : DOI 10.1007/s00299-006-0260-0 26(5) :599-609.

12. KN Chaudhuri, B Ghosh, D Tepfer, S Jha (2006)Spontaneous plant regeneration in transformed roots and calli from Tylophora indica: changes in morphological phenotype and tylophorine accumulation associated with transformation by Agrobacterium rhizogenes  Plant Cell Reports .25: 1059-1066

13.  S Ghosh, B Ghosh, S Jha (2006)Aluminium chloride enhances colchicine production in root cultures of Gloriosa superba. Biotechnology Letters  . 28: 497-503

14. KN Chaudhuri, B Ghosh, D Tepfer, S Jha (2005) Genetic transformation of Tylophora indica with Agrobacterium rhizogenes A4: growth and tylophorine productivity in different transformed root clones. Plant Cell Reports.24:25-35

15. Mukherjee,S, Ghosh, B. and Jha,S.(2003) Higher Production of forskolin in Genetically transformed cultures ofColeus forskohlii Briq. Induced by growth regulators. J. Plant Biochemistry and Biotechnology .12(1) 81-85

16. Ray,S.and Jha,S.(2002) Regeneration of Withania somnifera plants with withanolide contents J. Tropical Medicinal Plants. 3(1):89-96

17.  Mukherjee, S, Ghosh,B,. Jha,T.B. and Jha,S (2002)Variation in content of taxol and related taxanes in Eastern Himalayan populations of Taxus wallichiana.Planta Medica 68: 757-759

18.  Ghosh,B,Mukherjee S, Jha TB and Jha S.(2002)Enhanced colchicine production in root cultures of Gloriosa superba by direct and indirect precursors of the biosynthetic pathway. Biotechnology Letters 24:231-234

19.  Ray,S and Jha,S  (2001)Production of  withaferin A in shoot cultures of Withania somnifera  Dunal Planta Medica  67:432-437               

20.  Mukherjee S, Ghosh B and Jha, S.(2000) Enhanced forskolin production in genetically transformed cultures ofColeus forskohlii by casein hydrolysate and studies on growth and organisation. Biotechnology Letters 22: 133-136

21. Mukherjee S, Ghosh B and Jha, S.(2000) Establishment of forskolin yielding transformed cell suspension cultures of Coleus forskohlii as controlled by different factors. Journal of Biotechnology 76 : 73-81

22.  Ray S and Jha S.(1999) Withanolide synthesis in cultures of Withania somnifera transformed with Agrobacterium tumefaciens. Plant Science 146 : 1-7

23. Jha S, Sanyal D, Ghosh B and Jha TB.(1998) Improved Taxol Yield in cell suspension culture of Taxus wallichiana(Himalayan yew). Planta Medica 64 : 270-272

24. Ghosh B, Mukherjee S and Jha S.(1997) Genetic transformation of Artemisia annua with Agrobacterium tumefaciens and artemisinin synthesis in transformed cultures. Plant Science 122: 193-199

25. Ray S, Ghosh B, Sen S and Jha S. (1996)Withanolide production by root cultures of Withania somniferatransformed with Agrobacterium rhizogenes. Planta Medica 62:571-573 (1996)

26. Mukherjee S, Ghosh B and Jha S. (1996) Forskolin synthesis in in vitro cultures of Coleus forskohlii Briq. transformed with Agrobacterium tumefaciens. Plant Cell Reports 15: 691-694

27. Jha S and Jha TB. A fast growing cell line of Taxus baccata L. (Himalayan yew) - a potential source of taxol precursor. (1995) Current Science 69 : 971-972

28.  Jha S, Sahu NP, Sen J, Jha TB and Mahato SB. (1991) Two stage cell suspension culture and root culture ofCephaelis ipecacuanha Rich. For production of emetine and cephaeline Phytochemistry 30 (12): 3999-4003

29.   Jha S, Sahu NP and Mahato SB. (1991) Callus induction, organogenesis and somatic embryogenesis in three chromosomal races of Urginea indica and production of bufadienolides. Plant Cell Tissue and Organ Culture25 (2): 85-90

30.  Jha S and Sen S (1990). Induction of mitosis in polytene nuclei and hormonal effect on nuclear changes during callus initiation in diploid Urginea indica Kunth. Genetica 80: 9-15 .

31. Jha S, Sengupta J and Sen S (1989) Stable regenerants from long term callus cultures of Ruscus hypophyllum L.Cytologia  54 (4) : 687-691

32. Jha S (1989) Cytological analysis of embryogenic calli and regenerated plants of Urginea indica Kunth.Caryologia  42(2) : 165-173

33.  Sengupta J, Jha S and Sen S (1988). Karyotype stability in long term callus derived plants of Crepis tectorum L.Biologia Plantarum 30 : 244-251

34.  Jha S, Sahu NP and Mahato SB.(1988) Production of the alkaloids emetine and cephaeline in callus cultures ofCephaelis ipecacuanha Rich. Planta Medica 6 : 504-506

35.  Jha S and Sen S(1987)  Karyotype variability in regenerated plants of Urginea indica. Cytologia 52 : 615- 625 (1987)

36.  Jha S and Sen S  (1987)  Nuclear changes and organogenesis during callus culture of Urginea indica Kunth, Indian squill. Cytologia 52 : 433-  438

37.  Jha S and Sen S (1984) Influence of chromosome behaviour, nuclic acid content and ultra structural analysis of accessories in Urginea indica Kunth. Biologia Plantarum 26 : 260- 262

38.  Jha S and Sen S(1983)  Chromosome study of polyploid Indian squill, Urginea indica Kunth. Cytologia 48: 407- 418

39.   Jha S and Sen S (1983) Chromosome study of diploid Indian squill, Urginea indica Kunth. Cytologia 48: 79- 86 (1983)

40.  Jha S and Sen S (1983) Quantiation of principal budienolides in different cytotypes of Urginea indica. Planta Medica 47: 43- 45

41.Jha S and Sen S (1981) Sterols in different cytological races of Urginea indica. Phytochemistry 20: 1442- 1444

42. Jha S and Sen S (1981) Bufadienolides in chromosomal races of Indian squill. Phytochemistry 20: 524- 526

43.  Jha S and Sen S (1980) A search for scilladienolides in Scilla indica Roxb. Current Science 49 : 273- 274 

Contact Information

Prof. Sumita Jha, Head

Department of Genetics

University of Calcutta

35 Ballygunge Circular Road

Kolkata 700019

e-mail:        hodgenetics2013@gmail.com


Mobile:       9830510733