Horticultural Sciences Department

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Dr. Bala Rathinasabapathi


Office:2247 Fifield Hall
For list of publications, project descriptions and press releases, visit Dr. Saba's website. 


Areas of Research

  • Capsicum breeding, genetics & genomics
  • High temperature stress tolerance in crops
  • Biofuel algae
  • Arsenic hyperaccumulation in ferns

Educational Background

  • Ph.D.  (1990) in Biology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada
  • M.Sc. (1985) in Genetics, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, India
  • B.Sc. (1983)  in Agriculture, Annamalai University, Tamil Nadu, India

Teaching Responsibilities

Work and International Experiences

  • Post-doctoral research at the MSU-DOE Plant Research Lab, Michigan State University, East Lansing and IRBV,  University of Montreal,  Montreal.  
  • As one of the two advisors for Gator Citrus Club, travelled to study horticultural industries in Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Spain and Puerto Rico. 

Honors and Awards

  • Elected to Gamma Sigma Delta, University of Florida (2002)
  • Outstanding Teacher of the Year, Environ. Horticulture Club, Univ. of Florida (1997-98)
  • Associate editor, BMC Microbiology and the Journal of Botany 
  • Member, American Society of Horticultural Science
  • Member, American Society of Plant Biology

Program Personnel

  • Aparna Krishnamurthy, Ph.D. (Graduated in Aug 2014)
  • Elton Goncalves, Ph.D. (Graduated in Aug 2015)
  • Newton Kilasi, Ph.D. (Graduated in  Dec 2016) 
  • Saul Sotomayor, M.S.  (Graduated Aug 2015)
  • Qingyuan Xiang, Ph.D. student 
  • David Friedman, Ph.D. student 
  • Jingwei Fu, Ph.D. student
  • Adeel  Shahid (Visiting graduate student, Spring 2018)
  • Shazia Arif (Visiting graduate student, Spring 2014) 
  • Sana Tesheen (Visiting graduate student, Summer 2014)  
  • Manal El-Zohri Ph.D. (Visiting scholar, Spring-Summer 2014)
  • Francisco De Carvalho Ph.D. (Visiting professor from Amazonia, Brazil, 2018)  
  • Maria Luiza Grigio (Visiting graduate student, 2015-16) 
  • Building Better Peppers Program (current or recent undergraduates):
    • Yang Yue (2017-2018)
    • Yanlin Wang (2017-2018)
    • Nidhi Patel (Summer, 2018)
    • Thomas J. Roth (Summer, 2018)
    • Isabel Branstrom (Fall 2013)
    • Mackenzie DeNew (2015-18)
    • Dylan Kovach (2016-17)
    • Christopher Imler (2017)
    • Jessica Webster (2017)
    • Christine Barnes (2017)
    • Nicholas Eagel, Mitchell Clifton, Sasha Camenkar and  Briana Aguila (Summer 2013)
    • Katrina Benzrihem and Denee Salazar (Spring 2013)

Selected Publications

Click here for Google Scholar Record

  • Lessl, J.T., Ma, L.Q., Rathinasabapathi, B, Guy C (2013)  A novel phytase from Pteris vittata resistant to arsenate, high temperature, and soil inactivation.  Environ Sci and Technol 47: 2204-2211.  
  • Goncalves E.C., Wilkie A.C., Kirst M., Rathinasabapathi B (2016)  Metabolic regulation of triacylglycerol accumulation in the green algae:  idenetification of potential targets for engineering to improve oil yield.  Plant Biotechnology Journal 14: 1649-1660.  
  • Goncalves E.C., Koh, J., Zhu N, Yoo M.J., Chen S, Matsuo T, Johnson J.V., Rathinasabapathi B (2016)  Nitrogen starvation-induced accumulation of triacylglycerol in the green algae:  Evidence for a role for ROC40, a transcription factor involved in circadian rhythm.  Plant Journal 85: 743-757.  
  • Goncalves, E.C., Johnson, J.V., Rathinasabapathi B (2013) Conversion of membrane lipid acyl groups to triacylglycerol and formation of lipid bodies upon nitrogen starvation in biofuel green algae Chlorella UTEX29.  Planta 238: 895-906. 
  • Wang, X., Rathinasabapathi, B., De Oliveira, L.M., Guilherme, L.R., Ma, LQ (2012)  Bacteria-mediated arsenic oxidation and reduction in the growth media of arsenic hyperaccumulator Pteris vittata.  Environ. Sci. Technol. 46: 11259-11266. 
  • Rathinasabapathi, B. (2012)  Functional genomics of drought tolerance in crops:  Engineering transcriptional regulators and pathways.  In:  ‘Improving Crop Resistance to Abiotic Stress” Edited by N. Tuteja, A.F. Tiburcio, S. S. Gill and R. Tuteja, Wiley-Blackwell, Wiley-VCH Verlag, pp. 243-253.
  • Wang, X., Ma, L.Q., Rathinasabapathi, B., Cai Y., Liu, Y.G., Zeng, G.M. (2011)  Mechanisms of efficient arsenite uptake by arsenic-hyperaccumulator Pteris vittata.  Environmental Science and Technology 45:9719-9725.
  • Ghosh, P., Rathinasabapathi, B., and Ma, L.Q.  (2011) Arsenic-resistant bacteria enhanced arsenic solubilization and promoted the growth of arsenic hyperaccumulator Pteris vittataL.  Bioresource Technology 102:8756-8761.
  • Sundaram, S., Rathinasabapathi B (2010)  Transgenic expression of fern Pteris vittata glutaredoxin PvGrx5 in Arabidopsis thaliana increases plant tolerance to high temperature stress and reduces oxidative damage to proteins.  Planta 231: 361-369.