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Om Parkash

Om Parkash, Associate Professor, Stockbridge School of Agriculture
Associate Professor
Plant Molecular Biology
(413) 545-0062
Stockbridge School of Agriculture
320 Paige Laboratory
University of Massachusetts
161 Holdsworth Way
Amherst, MA 01003-9286

Prof. Om Parkash Dhankher is a plant/agriculture biotechnologist. His research focus is multidisciplinary in nature ranging from crop improvements, environmental remediation to biofuels. Along with strong research in engineering plants for detoxification and phytoremediation of heavy metals, his laboratory is developing arsenic free and arsenic tolerant food crops in order to improve human health using both forward and reverse genetic approaches. Prof. Parkash (Dhankher) was the first one to develop the transgenic plant based approach for arsenic phytoremediation by combining the expression of two bacterial genes, arsenate reductase- ArsC and γ-glutamylcysteine synthase- γECS, in plants. Further, he characterized the first plant arsenate reductase, AtACR2, from Arabidopsis using the RNAi knockdown approach. His research team is also engineering crops via manipulating key pathways and network of genes responsible for enhanced tolerance to multiple abiotic and oxidative stresses and GSH homeostasis for improving crop yield under changing climate conditions. Additionally, his lab is involved in metabolic engineering of oil seed crops such as Crambe abyssinica, Camelina sativa and Brassica juncea for increased oil yields for biofuels production and specialized biopolymers for industrial uses. Prof. Parkash (Dhankher) has extensively published his research work in high profile journals including Nature Biotech, PNAS, The Plant Cell etc. and has several patents awarded to him based on his research findings. His research has been widely publicized in numerous leading national and international newspapers (e.g. USA Today, Salt Lake Tribune, The Ottawa Citizen (Canada), Le Monde (France), Indian Express (India) etc.) and science magazines (e.g. The Scientist, National Geography, Science Daily, MIT Technology Review, Geotime, La Recherche (France), Down to Earth, Terragreen etc.). His research has also been featured in headlines on National Geographic Channel, ABC, Reuters, and PBS online project “How we Get to Next” with Steven Johnson etc.