Postdoc research associate Papaiah Sardaru, left, discusses his work with Dr. Sadanand Dhekney, professor of plant breeding and biotechnology at UMES.

A postdoctoral research associate working in UMES professor of plant breeding and biotechnology Sadanand Dhekney’s lab is the recipient of a Historically Black Colleges and Universities travel award to present his research at the American Society of Plant Biologists annual conference from August 5-9 in Savannah, Georgia.

Dr. Papaiah Sardaru, who joined Dhekney’s lab in 2021, will present research focusing on the identification and characterization of plant receptor proteins involved in the grapevine powdery mildew infection process. Using CRISPR-Cas9-mediated genome editing, Saradaru is researching novel ways of improving grapevine disease resistance.

“Since his arrival, Dr. Sardaru has been instrumental in optimizing grape genome editing protocols, along with generating edited plant lines and testing them for traits that improve their economic viability,” Dhekney said. “He has also trained undergraduate and graduate students in plant cell culture, molecular biology and phenotyping.”

Sardaru holds a doctorate and relevant training in plant virology from institutions in India and Spain. He was recently awarded second place in the faculty oral research category for his presentation at UMES’ annual research symposium.

Attending the ASPB conference, Sardaru said, will improve his knowledge in plant genome editing, provide him with networking opportunities with experts in the field and afford him training in bioinformatics to augment the lab’s capabilities.

The American Society of Plant Biologists, Dhekney said, is the foremost organization for the dissemination of research information in plant biology. The travel award is funded through a grant to ASPB by the U.S. National Science Foundation.

Gail Stephens, agricultural communications and media associate, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences, UMES Extension,, 410-621-3850.

Photos by Todd Dudek, agricultural communications, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences, UMES Extension,  

Scroll to Top