Maintain a healthy work–life balance, work gradually throughout your programme instead of work intensively and exhaust out. – Dr. Vijay Gahlaut

Dr. Vijay Gahlaut
DST INSPIRE Faculty, Biotechnology division
CSIR – Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology, Palampur

Q1. Please share your educational and professional journey?

I was born in Meerut, located in Western Uttar Pradesh; however I did my schooling from Kendriya Vidyalaya (KV) from different cities of India (my father worked in Indian Army). After completing my schooling, I initiated my journey in the interdisciplinary areas of biological sciences This journey started from CCS University where I spent important phase of my academics. After completing my graduation (B.Sc.) and postgraduation (M.Sc.) (both with first class) in Biology from this place, I joined Ph. D. at the same place in the department of genetics and plant breeding which is the prestigious department of this university known worldwide for its research in the frontier areas of wheat genomics. Meanwhile, I also qualified GATE Life Science and CSIR-NET examination also in the year 2009. My Ph.D. turned out to be a highly productive and joyful experience (under the supervision of Prof. PK Gupta and Prof. HS Balyan). During my tenure as PhD student under the esteemed supervision of Prof. PK Gupta and Prof. HS Balyan, I published 6 research papers/review articles and this helped me to improve my writing as well as presentation skills. I also presented my research work at several national and international conferences. Further, I also learnt the importance of team work as I got an opportunity to work with several eminent scientists as well as researchers working in the area of wheat genomics worldwide.  During my Ph.D., I also received travel grants from Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India to participate in International Conference on drought “InterDrought4”, held at Perth, Australia in the year 2013. I received  my doctorate in 2016, but I continued as Research Associate in the same lab for another one year and finished my pending research work. The experience and training which I received at CCSU as a Ph. D. student helped me in getting selected for a prestigious UGC-DS Kothari Postdoctoral Fellowship from Govt of India in December 2016, which I joined at another well-known institute in this area i.e., Department of Plant Molecular Biology, University of Delhi, South Campus under the mentorship of Prof Paramjit Khurana. This was followed by another  prestigious postdoc award which is equivalent  faculty position i.e. DST-INSPIRE (Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research) faculty award from Ministry of Science and Technology, Govt of India in 2017.For this award, I decided to continue working  in the same department and worked there till December 2019. Recently in 2020, I transferred my fellowship to Division of Biotechnology, CSIR-IHBT, Palampur, HP due to some personal reasons. As a part of this award, I received funding to work on the project entitled “Exploring Epigenetic Control of Grain Filling in Wheat under Heat Stress” and I am at present working on this project. Among my career highlights, I have published more than 25 international research papers in repute journals and several book chapters. Recently, I also joined the editorial board of two important journals in this area (i)  Frontier in Genetics and (ii) PlosOne Journal. I also serve as a reviewer of several important journals.

Q2. What did attract you towards Research?

During my bachelor’s in biology, I was ignorant about research and the hard work involved in it. Later, during the end of my Masters, I developed some curiosity to work on the practical aspects of genetics. Therefore, I decided to pursue Ph.D. and I feel fortunate enough to join the lab of Prof. PK Gupta who is well known name in the subject of Genetics in India. It is during my tenure at CCSU with Prof. Gupta’ group that I developed inclination towards research and therefore, decided to continue with it as my future career. The more I published papers, the more I developed interest in research. This way I realised and developed my interest in research particularly in the area of genetics and plant breeding.

Q3. What was your Thesis topic in Ph. D.? Please share some brief about it?

My Ph.D. thesis topic was “Genetic Dissection of Water Stress Tolerance in Bread Wheat”.  My thesis focuses on Quantitative genetics (GWAS, QTL mapping), functional genomics and MAS towards improvement of bread wheat. Utilizing Quantitative genetics’ aspect, I have identified genomic regions on wheat chromosomes 5A and 7A, that were involved in water stress tolerance. Utilizing GWAS, reported several MTAs that were overlapped with 7 important genes involved in transcription, transferase activity, protein processing, lipid metabolic process, protein serine/threonine kinase activity and cytochrome P450 oxidase activity, and suggested that these genes may be considered as CGs. Also, identified and characterized wheat TCS signaling elements. Sixty-two TCS signaling elements were identified and characterized in wheat, which contained conserved domains reported earlier in other plant species suggesting their conserved structure and functions across the different plant species. The TCS genes exhibit altered expression in response to drought/dehydration stress and in response to cytokinin. My study elucidated that drought stress response in wheat is controlled by many QTL/MTA and signal transduction pathways like TCS suggesting the complex genetic control of drought tolerance. These understanding of the drought response in wheat help in devising a sound strategy for breeding for drought tolerance in wheat. 

Dr. Vijay Gahlaut

Q4. How do you motivate yourself at every morning?

When I wake every morning, I take a review of previous activities, learn and motivate from past mistakes and undesired outputs. This helps me in improving my skills and stay motivated and passionate regarding the work I do.

Q5. Which one skill do you like most about yourself?

I like my flexibility to adjust in any situation and with any person. I also believing in equal treatment of each sex, caste, creed, race.

Q6. Where do you want to see yourself after 10 years in Research Domain?

I currently have more than 10 years of research experience working on different aspects of plant genetics and biotechnology. After 10 years, I aim to be a more successful group leader in Academia, as I want to be able to provide better solutions for crop improvement  leading to improve crop production in India.

Q7. Which one thing do you want to change in yourself and why?

If I could change one thing about myself, I would like to be more organized so I could get more stuff done and enhance my productivity.

Dr. Vijay Gahlaut

Q8 What advice would you give those just starting out in their science PhD?

I want to advise following things to current Ph.D. students. Doing a Ph.D. study is like running a long-distance marathon. Be determined, persistent and never give up! Maintain a healthy work–life balance, work gradually throughout your programme instead of work intensively and exhaust out. Looking after yourself is key to success. Invest time in literature reviews, both before and after experimental data collection. This will help you to be more focused in your research and you will certainly derive better conclusions. Attend/organize your departmental seminars and lab-group meetings. Develop a habit to discuss your problems with your lab mates/friends, supervisor to avoid getting depressed and you will certainly enjoy your journey towards Ph.D. Enjoy your Ph.D.! 

Get more about Dr. Vijay Gahlaut @

Google Scholar ID: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=7Ps_Z3IAAAAJ&hl=en
Research Gate ID: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Vijay_Gahlaut
Publon ID: https://publons.com/researcher/1177005/vijay-gahlaut/
MDPI sciprofiles: https://sciprofiles.com/profile/69877
ORCiD: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4381-3573
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vijay.gahlaut/