Ankush Chandel, mentee in the 2020-21 program in VIC (La Trobe University).

I completed my “Masters in Biotechnology and Bioinformatics” from La Trobe University in 2016. In 2nd year of the degree, I got an opportunity to work on agriculturally important fungal species. My research topic was to “Investigate the effect of Epigenetic Modifiers on the production of secondary metabolites by endophytic fungi”. This was also an excellent opportunity for me to enhance my scientific skills and develop a passion for studying agriculturally significant microorganisms.

I am currently a PhD student at the Agribio, Centre for Agri Bioscience, La Trobe University investigating the seed microbiome of Australian native soybean species. This project focused on studying the native seed bacterial microbiome, and on their molecular characterisation. I am also researching the plant-bacteria interactions within these species to understand the microbial behaviour during the different growth stages of the plant. With my research, I am hoping to identify the bacteria that can have the potential to improve crop health and be an alternative to agrochemicals a step towards sustainable agriculture.

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