Professor Priti Krishna

Professor Priti Krishna

Adjunct Professor - School of Science,
Dean's Unit, School of Science

Professor Sustainable Agriculture,
Dean's Unit School of Science


Professor Priti Krishna

Listed in the Stanford University's 2021 list of the top 2% scientists in the world.

She has a strong background in diverse but complimentary disciplines, such as microbiology (MSc), medical biochemistry (PhD), plant molecular biology (academic career at Western University, Canada), agronomy (University of New England, Australia), and proven record of leadership in developing and executing pioneering research projects. She joined Western Sydney University in 2017 as the Foundation Chair in Sustainable Agriculture and has been actively leading campus-wide renewal of Agriculture. She held individual NSERC Discovery Grants throughout her academic career in Canada and was a particpant in large-sized collaborative projects funded by Networks of Centers of Excellence, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and Ontario Research Fund. At Western Sydney University, she has been a key player in the development of the recently awarded Future Food Systems CRC proposal. Her project on improving nutritional content of fruits was featured on ABC's Landline program, June 19, 2022. 

Her research outputs with highest impact are: 

1) Instigating research and establishing the role of a relatively new plant hormone brassinosteroid in stress tolerance.

2) Instigating research and developing molecular tools for plant Hsp90 and its cochaperones, which were instrumental in proving the role of the Hsp90-chaperone system in plant disease resistance. 

3) Raising awareness of the health and commercial benefits of sea buckthorn, and aiding the development of sea buckthorn industry in Ontario through research.

She served as Senior Director and Eastern Regional Director on the Canadian Society of Plant Physiologists (CSPP) Executive between 2002 to 2009, and was the organiser of the scientific program of the Annual CSPP conference in 2000. She has been an active reviewer of research proposals under various research programs of funding agencies, including NSERC, NSF, DOE, CIHR, A-ISRF etc., as well as of manuscripts submitted to various journals, including the Plant Cell, TIPS, PNAS etc. She is currently serving as Section Editor-in-Chief for Agronomy (Farming Sustainability), Associate Editor for Frontiers in Agronomy (Plant-Soil Interactions), and as a Member of the editorial board for Scientific Reports  and International Journal of Sustainable Agricultural Research.

This information has been contributed by Professor Krishna.


  • PhD University of Calgary (Canada)
  • MSc G B Pant Uni of Agriculture & Technology (India)

Professional Memberships

  • Protected Cropping Australia (2017 - 2023)


  • DAAD Award, Technical University of Munich 1999-09-01
  • NSERC Faculty Award, Western University, Canada 1992-08-01
  • Plant Molecular Genetics Institute Award, U of Minnesota, USA 1990-04-01


  • Medicinal plants and Functional Foods
  • Plant Biotechnology
  • Plant Stress and Hormone Biology
  • Sustainable agriculture

Organisational Unit (School / Division)

  • Dean's Unit, School of Science
  • Dean's Unit School of Science


  • Greenhouse Steering Committee
  • Farm Advisory Group
  • Peri-urban Greenhouse Project
  • International Engagement, Global Centre for Land-Based Innovation
  • National Vegetable Protected Cropping Centre
  • Advisory Board, Venture Organic


Phone: (02) 4570 1730
Location: M15.G.52

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Previous Teaching Areas

  • 300791 Sustainable Food Production, 2017
  • 300791 Sustainable Food Production, 2018
  • 300791 Sustainable Food Production, 2019
  • 300791 Sustainable Food Production, 2020
  • 300804 Feeding the Planet, 2020
  • 301443 Introduction to Agrifood, 2021
  • AGRI2005 Sustainable Food Production, 2021


Chapters in Books

  • Krishna, P., Prasad, B. and Rahman, T. (2017), 'Brassinosteroid action in plant abiotic stress tolerance', Brassinosteroids: Methods and Protocols, Humana Press 9781493968114.
  • Divi, U. and Krishna, P. (2009), 'Brassinosteroids confer stress tolerance', Plant Stress Biology: From Genomics to Systems Biology, Wiley Blackwell 9783527322909.

Journal Articles

  • Krishna, P., Pandey, G., Thomas, R. and Parks, S. (2023), 'Improving blueberry fruit nutritional quality through physiological and genetic interventions : a review of current research and future directions', Antioxidants, vol 12, no 4 .
  • Nayak, J., Anwar, S., Krishna , P., Chen, Z., Plett, J., Foo, E. and Cazzonelli, C. (2022), 'Tangerine tomato roots show increased accumulation of acyclic carotenoids, less abscisic acid, drought sensitivity, and impaired endomycorrhizal colonization', Plant Science, vol 321 .
  • Prasad, B., Saini , S., Krishna, P., Kumari , D., Mahato , A., Jhambulkar, S., Kumar , P., Ranjan, T. and Pal, A. (2022), 'De novo transcriptome assembly and identification of brassinosteroid biosynthetic pathway in Safflower', Journal of Plant Growth Regulation, vol 41, no 4 , pp 1854 - 1870.
  • Kumari, D., Prasad, B., Saini, S., Nonhebel, H. and Krishna, P. (2022), 'The expanded and diversified calmodulin-binding protein 60 (CBP60) family in rice (Oryza sativa L.) is conserved in defense responses against pathogens', Agronomy, vol 12, no 12 .
  • Chakma, S., Chileshe, S., Thomas, R. and Krishna, P. (2021), 'Cotton seed priming with brassinosteroid promotes germination and seedling growth', Agronomy, vol 11, no 3 .
  • Ding, J., Ruan, C., Guan, Y. and Krishna, P. (2018), 'Identification of microRNAs involved in lipid biosynthesis and seed size in developing sea buckthorn seeds using high-throughput sequencing', Scientific Reports, vol 8 .
  • Kozlova, T., Hardy, B., Krishna, P. and Levin, D. (2017), 'Effect of phytohormones on growth and accumulation of pigments and fatty acids in the microalgae Scenedesmus quadricauda', Algal Research, vol 27 , pp 325 - 334.
  • Sahni, S., Prasad, B., Liu, Q., Grbic, V., Sharpe, A., Singh, S. and Krishna, P. (2016), 'Overexpression of the brassinosteroid biosynthetic gene DWF4 in Brassica napus simultaneously increases seed yield and stress tolerance', Scientific Reports, vol 6 .
  • Divi, U., Rahman, T. and Krishna, P. (2016), 'Gene expression and functional analyses in brassinosteroid-mediated stress tolerance', Plant Biotechnology Journal, vol 14, no 1 , pp 419 - 432.
  • Fatima, T., Kesari, V., Watt, I., Wishart, D., Todd, J., Schroeder, W., Paliyath, G. and Krishna, P. (2015), 'Metabolite profiling and expression analysis of flavonoid, Vitamin C and tocopherol biosynthesis genes in the antioxidant-rich sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides L.)', Phytochemistry, vol 118 , pp 181 - 191.
  • Zhurov, V., Navarro, M., Bruinsma, K., Arbona, V., Santamaria, M., Cazaux, M., Wybouw, N., Osborne, E., Ens, C., Rioja, C., Vermeirssen, V., Rubio-Somoza, I., Krishna, P., Diaz, I., Schmid, M., Gomez-Cadenas, A., Van de Peer, Y., Grbic, M., Clark, R., Van Leeuwen, T. and Grbic, V. (2014), 'Reciprocal responses in the interaction between arabidopsis and the cell-content-feeding chelicerate herbivore spider mite', Plant Physiology, vol 164, no 1 , pp 384 - 399.
  • Fatima, T., Snyder, C., Schroeder, W., Cram, D., Datla, R., Wishart, D., Weselake, R. and Krishna, P. (2012), 'Fatty acid composition of developing sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides L.) berry and the transcriptome of the mature seed', PLoS One, vol 7, no 4 .
  • Isidro, J., Knox, R., Singh, A., Clarke, F., Krishna, P., DePauw, R., Clarke, J. and Somers, D. (2012), 'Brassinosteroid leaf unrolling QTL mapping in durum wheat', Planta, vol 236, no 1 , pp 273 - 281.
  • Divi, U., Rahman, T. and Krishna, P. (2010), 'Brassinosteroid-mediated stress tolerance in Arabidopsis shows interactions with abscisic acid, ethylene and salicylic acid pathways', BMC Plant Biology, vol 10 , pp 151 - 164.
  • Divi, U. and Krishna, P. (2010), 'Overexpression of the brassinosteroid biosynthetic gene AtDWF4 in Arabidopsis seeds overcomes abscisic acid-induced inhibition of germination and increases cold tolerance in transgenic seedlings', Journal of Plant Growth Regulation, vol 29, no 4 , pp 385 - 393.
  • Zhang, Z., Sullivan, W., Felts, S., Prasad, B., Toft, D. and Krishna, P. (2010), 'Characterization of plant p23-like proteins for their co-chaperone activities', Cell Stress and Chaperones, vol 15, no 5 , pp 703 - 715.
  • Prasad, B., Goel, S. and Krishna, P. (2010), 'In Silico identification of carboxylate clamp type tetratricopeptide repeat proteins in Arabidopsis and rice as putative co-chaperones of Hsp90/Hsp70', PLoS One, vol 5, no 9 .
  • Chen, L., Hamada, S., Fujiwara, M., Zhu, T., Thao, N., Wong, H., Krishna, P., Ueda, T., Kaku, H., Shibuya, N., Kawasaki, T. and Shimamoto, K. (2010), 'The Hop/Sti1-Hsp90 chaperone complex facilitates the maturation and transport of a PAMP receptor in rice innate immunity', Cell Host and Microbe, vol 7, no 3 , pp 185 - 196.
  • Divi, U. and Krishna, P. (2009), 'Brassinosteroid : a biotechnological target for enhancing crop yield and stress tolerance', New Biotechnology, vol 26, no 3-4 , pp 131 - 136.
  • Dhaubhadel, S. and Krishna, P. (2008), 'Identification of differentially-expressed genes in brassinosteroid-treated Brassica napus seedlings', Journal of Plant Growth Regulation, vol 27, no 3 , pp 297 - 308.

1) Brassinosteroids (BRs) are a relatively new class of plant hormones that offer a unique opportunity to simultaneously enhance plant growth and tolerance to a broad range of stresses. Work pioneered in P. Krishna’s laboratory has shown that 1) BR confers tolerance to a broad range of stresses 2) BR regulates growth and stress responses interactively to determine balanced outputs, and 3) BR-response genes control multiple traits, leading to simultaneous enhancements. Current research is focussed on BR effects on root system architecture under stress conditions and and correlation with nutrient uptake and gene expression.

2) The Hsp90-based chaperone machinery is implicated in numerous cellular processes, including protein folding, degradation and trafficking, signal transduction, and genomic silencing. Due to its interactions with signalling components, human Hsp90 has emerged as a drug target for control of cancer progression. P. Krishna's laboratory instigated research on plant Hsp90 and its cellular roles, established the presence of and partially characterized an Hsp90-based chaperone system in plants, and generated valuable molecular tools which were instrumental in identifying the essential role of Hsp90 in plant disease resistance. 

3) Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides L.) is a hardy plant that is known for its medicinal and nutritional attributes in Asia and Europe. While its potential for the functional food and nutraceutical industry had been realized by European and Asian countries, there was little interest in this plant in Canada despite it being grown as a shelterbelt species. P. Krishna's laboratory provided the first comprehensive genome sequences for sea buckthorn, and a detailed phytochemical profiles of sea buckthorn fruits and leaves of cultivars growing in Canada. This work drew in support from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture & Food, sea buckthorn breeders and growers, and generated considerable interest and support for the sea buckthorn industry in Ontario.

4) Current research focus is on projects within the Future Food Systems-CRC eg., 'Optimising blueberry fruit nutritional quality using controlled spectra and mild stress treatment via polytunnel innovation.'

This information has been contributed by Professor Krishna.


Current Supervision

Thesis Title: A Carotenoid-derived Metabolite Regulates Rna Structure and Carotenoid Gene Expression Controlling Pro-vitamin a Accumulation in Crops
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: Optimising blueberry fruit nutritional quality using controlled spectra and mild stress treatment via polytunnel innovation
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: Role of brassinosteroid in plant response to nutrient deficiency
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: A carotenoid-derived signal controls root architecture in Arabidopsis
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: Optimising root system architecture for 'smart' crop plants.
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: Identifying autofluorescent stress biomarkers in canola (Brassica napus) under drought conditions
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: A Novel Technique for Characterising Circadian Rhythm Microenvironments: Building a Model with Arabidopsis thaliana Root Stem Cells
Field of Research:

Previous Supervision

Thesis Title: Elucidating a Novel Apocarotenoid Signal Controlling Root Development in Plants
Field of Research: Natural And Physical Sciences

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