National Institute of Plant Genome Research
Digital India     
    Dr. Pinky Agarwal
    Staff Scientist IV
    M. Sc. and Ph. D. (Plant Molecular Biology-South Campus Delhi University)
    Tel: 91-11-26735211
    Fax: 91-11-26741658
 Research Area
Molecular studies on rice grain/seed development
(goal: increase yield and protein content of rice grain)
Staff Scientist IV, NIPGR (2018 – present)
Staff Scientist III, NIPGR (2014 – 2018)
Scientist II, NIPGR (2011 - 2014)
Research Scientist, Center of Excellence, Department of Plant Molecular Biology, Delhi University (2010 – 11)
Ph. D., Department of Plant Molecular Biology, Delhi University (2003-09)
M. Sc., Department of Plant Molecular Biology, Delhi University (2001-03)
B. Sc. (Botany-Hons.), Gargi College, Delhi University (1998-2001)
 Awards & Honors
Travel grant award by American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) to attend Plant Biology 2018 (not availed)
Selected for the 1st EMBO research leadership course in India by DBT India Alliance (2018)
SERB 'Women Excellence Award' (2013) by Science and Research Engineering Board, India and was felicitated with the same on Women's Day, 2013 at the Department of Science and Technology, New Delhi
INSA Young Scientist's Award (2012)
Special mention in Indian Women Scientist's Association (IWSA) newsletter (December 2012)
Junior and senior research fellowships from UGC (2001)
President of Gargi College Botanical Society (2000)
 Research Interests and ongoing work
Rice is a staple food of majority of the world’s population, including India. It is the source of livelihood for many farmers, and is an economically important crop plant. Increasing population, and the consequences thereof, are exerting a pressure on the land available for rice cultivation. Scientifically calculated predictions say that rice yield needs to be increased without a corresponding increment in the cultivated area. Rice contributes to 40% of the total protein intake in India, despite having a low protein content (up to 10%). Hence, the plant can be used to address the problem of malnutrition. Since the edible part of rice crop is seed/grain (diagram on left), research on the same is extremely essential to obtain food security.
Rice seed development has been categorized by us into five stages. Each stage has distinct morphological changes. Transcriptome analysis by microarray has highlighted the genes and pathways responsible for the processes occurring in each stage. Transcriptome analysis by RNAseq on the same stages, in two varieties of rice, one with large seed and the other with small seed, has shown the causes of grain size increment. miRNA analyses of all these tissues indicates that they play an important role in controlling seed size. Gene families such as those encoding for C2H2 zinc finger transcription factors, seed storage proteins and DLN repressors have been identified by us in rice. The functional role of many such transcriptional activators/repressors is being/has been elucidated in the lab. One such example is a NAC transcription factor which is good for the formation of sticky rice. Genes whose function in seed development has been characterized, especially ones responsible for size increment or seed storage protein synthesis will eventually be used for rice crop improvement.
 Openings in Laboratory
If your thoughts are in sync with above mentioned research and goals, please drop in a mail.
 Group Members
 Ankit Verma Ph. D. student
  Priya Jaiswal Ph. D. student
  Richa Priyadarshini Ph. D. student
  Antima Yadav Ph. D. student
  Iny E. Mathew Ph. D. student
  Sweta Das Ph. D. student
  Arunima Mahto Ph. D. student
  Naveen Malik Ph. D. student
  Rajeev Ranjan Ph. D. student
  Ankur Vichitra RA
  Shubhra Rastogi RA
  Rashmi Renu Sahoo SRF
  Akanksha Panwar SRF
  Purnima Singh SRF
  Megha Varshney SRF
  Sanjoli Jain JRF
  Swarnmala Samal JRF
 Veena K. Sinha JRF
  Poonam Ray JRF
 Selected Publications
Verma A, Prakash G, Ranjan R, Tyagi A K, Agarwal P# (2021) Silencing of an ubiquitin ligase increases grain width and weight in indica rice. Frontiers in Genetics 11:600378 (# - corresponding author)
Mathew IE, Priyadarshini R, Mahto A, Jaiswal P, Parida SK, Agarwal P# (2020) SUPER STARCHY1/ONAC025 participates in rice grain filling. Plant Direct 4:e00249  (# - corresponding author)
Malik N, Ranjan R, Parida SK, Agarwal P, Tyagi AK (2020) Mediator subunit OsMED14_1 plays an important role in rice development. Plant Journal 101:1411.
Das S, Parida SK, Agarwal P#, Tyagi AK (2019) Transcription factor OsNF-YB9 regulates reproductive growth and development in rice. Planta 250:1849 (# - corresponding author)
Singh P, Mathew IE, Verma A, Tyagi A K, Agarwal P# (2019) Analysis of Rice Proteins with DLN Repressor Motif/S. Int J Mol Sci 20:1600 (# - corresponding author)
Mathew IE, Agarwal P# (2018) May the fittest protein evolve: favoring the plant-specific origin and expansion of NAC transcription factors. BioEssays 40:e1800018 (# - corresponding author)
Malik N, Agarwal P, Tyagi A K (2017)  Emerging functions of multi-protein complex Mediator with special emphasis on plants. Critical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 52:475.
Mathew IE, Das S, Mahto A, Agarwal P# (2016) Three rice NAC transcription factors heteromerize and are associated with seed size. Front Plant Sci 7:1638. (# - corresponding author)
Daware A, Das S, Srivastava R, Badoni S, Singh AK, Agarwal P, Parida SK, Tyagi AK (2016) An efficient strategy combining SSR markers- and advanced QTL-seq-driven QTL mapping unravels candidate genes regulating grain weight in rice. Front Plant Sci 7:1535.
Malik N, Dwivedi N, Singh A K, Parida S K, Agarwal P, Thakur J K, Tyagi A K (2016) An integrated genomic strategy delineates candidate mediator genes regulating grain size and weight in rice. Sci Rep 6:23253.
Agarwal P, Parida S K, Raghuvanshi S, Kapoor S, Khurana P, Khurana J P, Tyagi A K (2016) Rice improvement through genome-based functional analysis and molecular breeding in India. Rice (N Y) 9 (1):1.
Daware A, Das S, Srivastava R, Badoni S, Singh AK, Agarwal P, Parida SK, Tyagi AK (2016) An efficient strategy combining SSR markers- and advanced QTL-seq-driven QTL mapping unravels candidate genes regulating grain weight in rice. Frontiers in Plant Sciences 7:1535.
Malik N, Dwivedi N, Singh A K, Parida S K, Agarwal P, Thakur J K, Tyagi A K (2016) An integrated genomic strategy delineates candidate mediator genes regulating grain size and weight in rice. Scientific Reports 6:23253.
Badoni S, Das S, Sayal YK, Gopalakrishnan S, Singh AK, Rao AR, Agarwal P, Parida SK, Tyagi AK (2016) Genome-wide generation and use of informative intron-spanning and intron-length polymorphism markers for high-throughput genetic analysis in rice. Scientific Reports 6:23765.
Agarwal P, Parida S K, Mahto A, Das S, Mathew I E, Malik N, Tyagi A K (2014) Expanding frontiers in plant transcriptomics in aid of functional genomics and molecular breeding. Biotechnol J 9:1480-1491.
Thakur J K, Agarwal P, Parida S, Bajaj D, Pasrija R (2013) Sequence and expression analyses of KIX domain proteins suggest their importance in seed development and determination of seed size in rice, and genome stability in Arabidopsis. Molecular Genetics and Genomics 288:329-46.
Sharma R*, Agarwal P*, Ray S, Deveshwar P, Sharma P, Sharma N, Nijhawan A, Jain M, Singh A K, Singh V P, Khurana J P, Tyagi A K, Kapoor S. (2012) Expression dynamics of metabolic and regulatory components across stages of panicle and seed development in indica rice. Funct Integr Genomics 12:229-248 (*-equal contribution)
Agarwal P, Kapoor S, Tyagi A K. (2011) Transcription factors regulating the progression of monocot and dicot seed development. BioEssays 33:189-202.
Chauhan H, Khurana N, Agarwal P, Khurana P (2011) Heat shock factors in rice (Oryza sativa L.): genome-wide expression analysis during reproductive development and abiotic stress. Molecular Genetics and Genomics 286:171-187.
Ray S, Dansana, P K, Giri J, Deveshwar P, Arora R, Agarwal P, Khurana J P, Kapoor S, Tyagi A K. (2011). Modulation of transcription factor and metabolic pathway genes in response to water-deficit stress in rice. Functional and Integrative Genomics 11:157-78.
Agarwal P, Arora R, Ray S, Singh A K, Singh V P, Takatsuji H, Kapoor S, Tyagi A K. (2007) Genome-wide identification of C2H2 zinc-finger gene family in rice and their phylogeny and expression analysis. Plant Mol Biol 65:467-485.
Ray S, Agarwal P, Arora R, Kapoor S, Tyagi A K. (2007) Expression analysis of calcium- dependent protein kinase gene family during reproductive development and abiotic stress conditions in rice (Oryza sativa L. ssp. indica). Molecular Genetics and Genomics 278:493-505.
Arora R, Agarwal P, Ray S, Singh A K, Singh V P, Tyagi A K,  Kapoor S. (2007) MADS-box gene family in rice: Genome wide identification, organization and expression profiling during reproductive development and stress. BMC Genomics 8:242.

Jain M, Nijhawan A, Arora R, Agarwal P, Ray S, Sharma P, Kapoor S, Tyagi A K, Khurana J P. (2007) F-box proteins in rice: Genome-wide analysis, classification, spatial and temporal gene expression during panicle and seed development, and regulation by light and abiotic stress. Plant Physiol 143:1467-1483.

 Book Chapters
Mahto A, Mathew IE and Agarwal P (2017). Decoding the transcriptome of rice seed during development. In Advances in Seed Biology, J. C. Jimenez-Lopez (Ed.), 25, InTech, Spain.
Agarwal P, Parida S, Kothari KS, Sharma G, Baranwal V, Kapoor S and Tyagi A. (2012). Transcriptome resources for function analysis and genetic enhancement of rice. In International Dialogue on Designer Rice for Future: Perception and Prospects EA Siddiq eds., 1-25, Patancheru, India
Kapoor S, Khurana R, Baranwal V, Agarwal P, Ray S, and Tyagi AK (2011). Genome-wide strategies for genetic enhancement of rice. Proceedings of National Symposium on Genomics and Crop Improvement 2011 (In Press), Hyderabad, India.
Tyagi AK, Khurana JP, Khurana P, Kapoor S, Singh VP, Singh AK, Thakur JK, Gupta V, Anand S, Vij S, Jain M, Ray S, Agarwal P, Arora R, Sharma P, Mukerjee S, Nijhawan A, Giri J, Khurana R (2007). Expression and functional analysis of rice genes involved in reproductive development and stress response. Rice Genetics V, 301-334, IRRI, Philippines.