The Department has been supported under UGC Special Assistance Programme and the DST-Funds for Infrastructure in Science and Technology (FIST) Level-II and is marching towards achieving the status of the UGC Centre for Advanced Studies. The foundations for the rapid growth of the Department in the last thirteen years have been laid with its philosophy to provide a well-balanced training to the students in modern Plant Sciences to enable them to choose careers in both advanced teaching and high quality research. The Department offers Masters in Plant Biology and Biology and Biotechnology and Molecular Biology (in collaboration with sister Departments) and Ph.D. in Plant Sciences besides being actively associated with teaching of Masters in Biotechnology, Integrated Masters of Science in Systems Biology, and M.Tech Bioinformatics programmes of the School of Life Sciences.
The Department has a vibrant research activity with the active participation of over 50 Ph.D. students, about 20 research fellows/associates of the sponsored research projects and extensive international collaborations. One of the regular features of the Department is to host distinguished scholars from abroad for short duration under the international exchange programmes. To name the most recent visits, the Department hosted Prof. Bruno Moershcbacher, University of Munster, Germany, Prof. K.H. Kogel, Vice President, University of Milan, Italy, Prof. Vittoriao Sagermella of Parco Technologico, Italy, Dr. Stephen Goff, Member, IRGSP. Syngenta, Prof. J.F. Imhoff, IFM-GEOCAR, Kiel, Germany, Prof. R.J. Strasser, Geneva, Switzerland, Prof. W.J. Plaxton, Kingsotn, Ontario, Canada, Prof. Roberto Tuberosa, University of Bologna, Italy, and Prof. Govindjee, University of Illinoi, Urbana, USA.
All national and international funding agencies like DBT, MNES, CSIR, DST, INSA, NATP-ICAR, DAE, IAR, MoEF, AP-Netherlands Biotechnology Programme, Humboldt Foundation, International Atomic Energy Agency, Rockefeller Foundation, Volkswagen Foundation, USDA, Indo-French Centre for Promotion of Advanced Research, the European Union, Third World Academy of Sciences are supporting the research activities of the Department. The individual research laboratories are well equipped, apart from the availability of major equipment in central facilities of the Department, sister Departments in the School, and also at Central Instrumentation Lab of the University.
The major areas of research in the Department include Molecular Plant Physiology, Functional Genomics, Environmental Sciences, Plant Biotechnology, Molecular Plant Microbe Interactions, Systematics of Plants and Bacteria, and other related frontier areas of plant sciences.
The Faculty from the Department of Plant Sciences have the track record of consciously publishing in journals of repute like Nature, Plant Physiology, Trends in Plant Sciences, Molecular Breeding, TAG, MGG, Phytopathology, Molecular Plant Microbe Interactions, International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology, Phytochemistry etc., The faculty of the Department are actively associated with peer reviewing of several high impact factor journals and received laurels for publishing high standard edited books for Academic Press, Springer Vorlag, Kluwer Academic Publsihers, Elsevier, Haworth Press etc., world over in current topics in plant biology. The faculty members of Plant Sciences are on the national Programme Advisory Committee / Task Force of funding agencies like DST, DBT and CSIR, and on the research advisory council of national laboratories of CSIR, and ICAR.
National and International Science academies honoured the faculty by electing them as fellows of Third World Academy of Sciences, Indian National Science Academy, Indian Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, National Academy of Sciences, Linnean Society, Indian Phytopathological Society etc., The glory of the faculty in the Department glittered with rare and coveted awards like JC Bose National Fellowship, K. Ramaiah Memorial Award, A.P. Scientist of the Year 2005, INSA Prof. T.S. Sadasivan Memorial Lecture 2006, and Outstanding Plant Pathologist Award of the Indian Society of Mycology and Plant Pathology in 2005. The Young faculty received prestigious international fellowships like Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship.
The Department organized two major international events such as Workshop on Tomato Genomics and a Conference in Agricultural Biotechnology in 2006 alone and announced another major event on Photobiology in August 2007. Societal concerns of the Department were amply demonstrated with its involvement in a massive tree plantation programme in the University to get the rare honour of being the greener patch of the tricity and also made substantial contributions to the rain water harvesting in the huge campus.
The alumni of the Department are well settled in India and abroad in several important teaching and research positions. The graduates of the Department are making significant contributions in the corporate bodies, besides being the flamboyant entrepreneurs.
In all, the Department of Plant Sciences made consistently significant contributions and earned the reputation of being one of the best schools of plant sciences teaching and research in India and abroad.