Doctor Shubham Chhajed

Shubham ChhajedShubham is interested in all things plants and ecology. He specialises in hydraulic and photosynthetic approaches to understanding plant ecophysiology and diversity. He is currently studying how leaf and wood physiology and biomass allocation affect growth in woody angiosperms. This project aims to extend the current trait-growth and optimality theories of plant function using first principles and testing the corresponding predictions using field data being collected across Australia and China.

Shubham completed his PhD at Macquarie university (Australia) under the supervision of Prof. Ian Wright and Dr. Oscar Perez-Priego. His PhD focussed on the role of stored-water release in plant carbon-water dynamics. For his Master thesis, he worked with Prof. Lisa Donovan at University of Georgia (USA) on physiological drivers of relative growth rate across 18 genotypes of sunflowers under low-nutrient stress. He completed Bachelor of Science and Master of Science from Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research (IISER) – Pune (India) in 2018.

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Areas of Research/Teaching Expertise

  • Research: Plant ecophysiology, hydraulics, functional traits, optimality, stress, dieback, climate change.
  • Teaching: Plant Biology (unit convener), Biological Statistical Analysis, Genes to Organisms, Organisms to Ecosystems

Awards and Recognitions

  • Vice Chancellor Commendation for an outstanding PhD thesis.
  • Macquarie University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee (FEDIC) award 2022 for “strong commitment towards promoting equity, diversity and inclusion and providing tangible benefits”.
  • Outstanding student presentation – 3rd place – at the 2021 chapter of the annual Ecological Society of Australia conference.
  • 3-Minute Thesis winner and Popular Choice for Biological Sciences at Macquarie university (2019 and 2020).
  • Macquarie University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering Student Service team award 2019 for “outstanding hard-work and dedication in organising the Macquarie R Users Group and in doing so, helping to increase the digital literacy of Higher Degree Research (HDR) students and Faculty members across the University”.
  • Junior Research Fellowship and National Eligibility for Lectureship in Biology (2018) by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and University Grants Commission (UGC), India.
  • Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana (2014 – 2018) funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Govt. of India.
  • Khorana Program for Scholars (2015) by Indo-US Science and Technology Forum, Dept. of Biotechnology (Govt. of India), and WINSTEP Forward.
  • Summer Research Project Fellowship (SRPF) (May 2015 – July 2015) from Indian Academy of Sciences (IAS) for a summer internship at a national laboratory or institute in India.
  • INSPIRE fellowship (2013 – 2014) funded by DST, Govt. of India.
  • CNR Rao Education Foundation Prize (2013 and 2014) for the best academic performance at IISER-Pune.
  • National Talent Search Examination scholarship (2009 – 2013) by Govt. of India.


  • Valette Williams Scholarship in Botany, Australian Plants Society (2020) – $3000
  • Milthorpe Memorial Award, Macquarie University (2020) – $2500

Selected Publications

Nolan RH, Gauthey A, Losso A, Medlyn BE, Smith R, Chhajed SS, Fuller K, Song M, Li X, Beaumont LJ, Boer MM, Wright IJ, Choat B,  (2021) 'Hydraulic failure and tree size linked with canopy die-back in eucalypt forest during extreme drought', New Phytologist, 230: 1354-1365.

Guha, A., Chhajed, S.S., Choudhary, S., Sunny, R., Jansen, S. and Barua, D. (2018), Hydraulic anatomy affects genotypic variation in plant water use and shows differential organ specific plasticity to drought in Sorghum bicolor. Environmental and Experimental Botany, 156, pp.25-37.

Westerband, A.C., Wright, I.J., Eller, A.S., Cernusak, L.A., Reich, P.B., Perez-Priego, O., Chhajed, S.S., Hutley, L.B. and Lehmann, C.E. (2022), Nitrogen concentration and physical properties are key drivers of woody tissue respiration. Annals of Botany, 129(6), pp.633-646.