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Ramesh wants to use biocontrol for more resilient agricultural systems

Published: 15 August 2023
Portrait photo of a man outdoors. Photo.

Ramesh Vetukuri is the newest researcher at the SLU Centre of Biological Control, CBC. His specialty is novel and sustainable methodologies to enhance plant yield, while effectively managing disease outbreaks.

Ramesh is a dedicated molecular biologist with expertise in both fundamental and applied research, specifically focusing on advancing biocontrol strategies to optimize crop yield and bolster crop protection.

– My extensive experience encompasses a diverse array of pathogens and biocontrol agents, allowing me to contribute a multifaceted skill set to CBC. I also hope to contribute with my innovative approaches to sustainable agriculture and enhanced crop productivity, says Ramesh. 

More plant yield and efficient managing of disease outbreaks

Ramesh Vetukuri is, together with his research team at SLU Alnarp, deeply engaged in the exploration of plant-microbe and microbiome interactions. The primary emphasis is on pioneering novel and sustainable methodologies to enhance plant yield while effectively managing disease outbreaks.

– Our focal point revolves around addressing diseases that affect potatoes, cereals, and berries. We have two key fronts: harnessing the potential of biocontrol methods and spearheading advancements in Spray-induced gene silencing, SIGS, in short.

– This groundbreaking approach not only contributes to refining plant traits but also serves as a potent strategy for curbing disease proliferation. SIGS, at its core, involves introducing external RNA molecules into plants, curbing the influence of pests and pathogens. By mitigating biotic pressures, we aim to elevate crop resilience and amplify overall agricultural output.

From Marampalli to Hyderabad to Uppsala

Ramesh Vetukuri was born in 1979 in his maternal grandparent’s village called Marampalli nestled within the province of Andhra Pradesh in southern India. He embarked on his professional journey as a biochemistry lecturer based in Osmania university, Hyderabad in India. Later on, he did a master’s in molecular cell biology at Uppsala University, coupled with an additional master's degree in biochemistry attained in India. After that he continued to his PhD studies.

 – My doctoral research was on comprehending the mechanisms behind gene silencing in the oomycete pathogen, Phytophthora infestans. The culmination of this journey led to the successful completion of my PhD studies at SLU, Uppsala, within the Department of Plant Biology, under the expert guidance of Professor Christina Dixelius.

Biocontrol – a powerful tool for sustainable agriculture

In the long-time perspective, Ramesh wants to contribute to the progress of sustainable and climate-resilient agriculture.

– My focus lies in developing biocontrol as a powerful tool to achieve this goal. By advocating for a notable decrease in the reliance on fertilizers and pesticides, my work aims to pave the way for a more balanced and ecologically harmonious agricultural landscape.

– Through the application of biocontrol strategies, I strive to enhance crop yields while minimizing environmental impact, ensuring that future generations can thrive in a healthier and more resilient agricultural system.

With a nine-year-old son and a three-year-old daughter, Ramesh’s priorities gravitate towards spending quality moments with his family.

– I also cherish opportunities to reconnect with extended family members and friends to catch up on life's happenings, concludes Ramesh. 


About the SLU Centre for Biological Control

The SLU Centre for Biological Control (CBC for short) is run by SLU with a grant from the Swedish government. Five researchers associated with the Centre engage in studies to stimulate the development and implementation of biological control, working in close collaboration with a number of stakeholders. A specialist communicator is also linked to the Centre.

‘Biological control’ is a collective term for various strategies to limit pests and pathogens using living organisms; it is an important component of Integrated Pest Management in plant production. Biological control has great potential to restrict the damage caused by harmful organisms, including insect pests and plant pathogens.