Sanjeev Kumar Sharma is a member of the Potato Genetics and Breeding group at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee. He earned his Bachelor’s in Forestry and Master’s in Biotechnology, with a minor in Forestry, from CCS Haryana Agricultural University, India; and pursued his PhD at the University of Dundee, UK under a prestigious Commonwealth Scholarship award.

Sanjeev has over 25 years’ experience in potato basic and applied research covering a wide spectrum of expertise from novel methods of propagation and seed production, through to genetics, genomics, marker development, molecular biology, transgenics, next-generation sequencing and bioinformatics. He has developed a prototype for advanced and accelerated propagation system in potato using somatic embryo-derived synthetic seeds. Sanjeev was the member of the international potato genome sequencing project where he co-planned and co-coordinated the genetic anchoring part which led to the construction of the first reference potato chromosome-scale pseudomolecules. He also chaired and coordinated the project monitoring meetings of the international potato genome sequencing consortium. He has collaborated on several national and international projects related to potato including Innovate UK project on potato breeding and genomics, BBSRC-HAPI project on tuber dormancy, EU H2020 G2PSOL and ADAPT projects as well as various other academic and industrially funded projects.

He is utilizing and developing novel genetic and sequence-based genotyping approaches for trait analyses and allele mining in potato targeting important agronomic and processing as well as disease resistance traits covering approaches such as linkage mapping, genome-wide association studies, sequence-based bulk-segregant analysis, genomic selection, genotyping-by-sequencing, whole-exome capture sequencing and single-primer enrichment technology. Overall, here his broader focus of research is to exploit genetic, genomic, and biotechnological approaches for furthering potato research and accelerate breeding efficiencies in potato.

He has served as member of the Scientific Program Committee for the 18th International Solanaceae Genome Conference (SOL2023, Canada), Advisory Board Panel member for Plant Genomics Congress Europe (2015-2016), reviewer for British Council Newton Fund (2018-2022) grants and evaluator for KAPPA Programme grants 2020 TACR Czech Republic. He sits on the Editorial Board of the international journal Genes and has been invited to several international conferences as invited speaker and to deliver platform talks. He also co-organised India-Scotland Research Symposium at Hutton.

 

Past research

Before relocating to the UK, he acquired considerable experience in commercial plant tissue culture notably managing technical operations in a large micropropagation facility (Sheel Biotech Ltd, India – established in collaboration with Cultiss, Holland B.V.) with an annual capacity of >5 million plants. He also established an R&D-cum-pilot scale tissue culture laboratory at Thapar Centre for Industrial Research, Patiala, India along with developing indigenous protocols for large-scale production of potato microtubers and upscaled it for generating over 0.5 million microtubers and 1.2 million minitubers per annum. There, he also worked on the selection and micropropagation of elite Eucalyptus trees for the pulp and paper industry including establishment of a clonal demonstration plantation using tissue culture raised Eucalypt saplings.

Employment history

  • 2015 – present: Senior Research Scientist/Senior Molecular Geneticist, James Hutton Institute, Dundee, UK
  • 2011 – 2015: Molecular Geneticist, James Hutton Institute, Dundee, UK
  • 2009 – 2011: Molecular Geneticist, SCRI, Dundee, UK
  • 2007 – 2009: Scientist E-I, National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow, India
  • 2006 – 2007: Molecular Geneticist, SCRI, Dundee, UK
  • 2002 – 2006: Commonwealth Doctoral Scholar, University of Dundee, UK
  • 1995 – 2002: Research Scientist (Apr 2000 to Sep 2002); Assistant Research Scientist (Apr 1999 to Mar 2000); Senior Scientific Assistant (Nov 1995 to Mar 1999); Thapar Centre for Industrial R&D, Patiala, India
  • 1994 – 1995: Senior Scientific Officer, M/s Sheel Biotech Ltd (Established in collaboration with Cultiss, Holland B.V.), Gurgaon, India
  • 1994 – 1994: Research Associate, Department of Genetics, CCS Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar, India

Journals

Books / chapters

  • Sharma, S.K.; Bryan, G.J. (2017) Genome sequence-based marker development and genotyping in potato., In: Kumar Chakrabarti S., Xie C. & Kumar Tiwari,J. (eds.) The Potato Genome. Compendium of Plant Genomes. Springer, Cham., Chapter 17, pp307-316.
  • Millam, S.; Sharma, S.K. (2007) Soil-free techniques., In: Potato Biology and Biotechnology: Advances and Perspectives (eds. D. Vreugdenhil, J.E. Bradshaw, C. Gebhardt, F. Govers, D.K.L. MacKerron, M.A.Taylor, and H.A. Ross). Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp705-716.

Technical / contract reports

  • Sharma, S.K.; Millam, S.; Hedley, P.E.; Hein, I.; McNicol, J.W.; Bryan, G.J. (2008) Somatic embryogenesis in potato., Annual Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute for 2007, pp18-19.
  • Millam, S.; Sharma, S.K.; Bryan, G.J.; Matti-Rokka, V.; Middlefell-Williams, J. (2004) Pathways of vegetative development via embryogenesis in Solanum tuberosum L., Annual Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute for 2003/2004, pp124-125.

Conference papers

  • Sharma, S.K.; McLean, K.; Sønderkær, M.; Bryan, G.J. (2022) SPET genotyping within the genespace for advancing genetics and breeding applications in potato, The XVII International Conference on the Plant Family of Solanaceae (SOL2022), 1-5 November 2022, Thessaloniki, Greece.
  • Sharma, S.K. (2020) Sequence-based genotyping and genetic analysis in potato, Global Potato Conclave 2020, Gandhinagar, 28-31January 2020, Gujarat, India.
  • Sharma, S.K. (2020) Advances in potato genetics and genomics, National Symposium on Trends in Plant Biotechnology & Agriculture, 6-8 February 2020, Patiala, India.
  • Sharma, S.K.; McLean, K.; Morris, W.; Colgan, R.J.; Rees, D.; Taylor, M.; Bryan, G. (2019) The genetic analysis of tuber dormancy and sprout growth in potato, European Association for Potato Research (EAPR) Section Meeting 12-14 March 2019, Norwich, UK.
  • Sharma, S.K.; Bayer, M.; MacKenzie, K.; McLean, K.; Dale, F.; Taylor, M.; Bryan, G.J. (2018) Sequence-based genotyping and trait analysis in potato., 15th Solanaceae Conference (SOL2018), Chiang Mai, Thailand, 30 September – 4 October 2018.
  • Sharma, S.K.; McLean, K.; Morris, W.; Colgan, R.J.; Rees, D.; Taylor, M.; Bryan, G.J. (2018) The genetic control of tuber dormancy and sprout elongation in potato., 19th Joint Meeting of the Section ‘Breeding and Varietal Assessment’ of the EAPR and the EUCARPIA Section ‘Potatoes’, EAPR 2018 Conference, Rostock-Warnemuende, Germany, 3-6 December 2018.
  • Sharma, S.K.; McLean, K.; Morris, W.L.; Sønderkær, M.; Colgan, R.; Rees, D.; Taylor, M.A.; Bryan, G. (2017) The genetic control of tuber dormancy and sprout elongation in potato., XIV Solanaceae and 3rd Cucurbitaceae Joint Conference Solcuc 2017, Valencia, Spain, 3-6 September 2017.
  • Sharma, S.K.; Bayer, M.; McLean, K.; MacKenzie, K.; Daniels, S.; Dale, F.; Bryan, G. (2015) Application of genotyping-by-sequencing and genome-wide association analysis in tetraploid potato, 3rd Plant Genomics Congress, 11-12 May 2015, London, UK.
  • Sharma, S.K.; Bayer, M.; McLean, K.; MacKenzie, K.; Daniels, S.; Dale, F.; Bryan, G. (2015) Genome-wide association studies using high-throughput SNP analysis in tetraploid potato, 12th Solanaceae Conference (SOL 2015), 25-29 October 2015, Bordeaux, France.
  • Sharma, S.K.; Bayer, M.; McLean, K.; MacKenzie, K.; Daniels, S.; Dale, F.; Bryan, G. (2014) Application of genotyping-by-sequencing for identifying SNP variation and performing genome-wide association studies in a tetraploid potato association panel, 19th Triennial Conference of the European Association for Potato Research (EAPR), 6-11 July 2014, Brussels, Belgium.
  • Sharma, S.K.; Bayer, M.; McLean, K.; MacKenzie, K.; Daniels, S.; Dale, F.; Bryan, G. (2014) Genotyping-by-sequencing and genome-wide association analysis in tetraploid potato, 11th Solanaceae Conference (SOL 2014), 2-6 November 2014, Porto Seguro-BA, Brazil.
  • Young, V.; Prashar, A.; McLean, K.; Hornyik, C.; Sharma, S.K.; Dale, M.F.B.; Bryan, G.J. (2014) Potential for molecular marker development and utilization in potato breeding programmes based on a genetic study in a diploid potato population., Crop Protection in Northern Britain, Environmental Management and Crop Protection, West Park Conference Centre, Dundee, 25-26 February 2014.
  • Sharma, S.K.; McLean, K.; Dale, M.F.B.; Bryan, G.J. (2012) Application of association mapping and genomic sequencing to modern potato breeding., Potatoes in Practice, Dundee, 9 August 2012.
  • Sharma, S.K.; McLean, K.; Dale, M.F.B.; Bryan, G.J.; (2012) Characterisation of the genetic diversity of tetraploid potato using genome-wide high-density SNP genotyping., SOL 2012 Conference – From Bench to Innovative Applications, Neuchatel, Switzerland, 26-30 August 2012.
  • Bryan, G.J.; Prashar, A.; Young, V.; McLean, K.; Hornyik, C.; Sharma, S.K.; Dale, M.F.B. (2012) QTL analysis of a phureja-tuberosum diploid potato cross segregating for several traits., Solanaceae Conference, Neuchatel, Switzerland, 26-30 August 2012.
  • McLean, K.; Young, V.; Sharma, S.K.; Prashar, A.; Dale, M.F.B.; Bryan, G.J. (2011) Analysis of traits on a new diploid potato population., SOL & ICUGI, Japan, 28 November – 2 December 2011.
  • Sharma, S.K. (2010) Anchoring the potato genome, EAPR-EUCARPIA Congress Potato Breeding after completion of the DNA Sequence of the Potato Genome, 27-30 June 2010, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
  • Bolser, D.M.; Sharma, S.K.; de Boer, J.; Borm, T.; Bryan, G.J.; Martin, D.M.A. (2010) Anchoring the potato genome: In silico approaches., EAPR EUCARPIA Congress, Wageningen, The Netherlands, 28-30 June 2010, Potatoe Research, 53, 205.
  • Sharma, S.K. (2010) The Potato Genome Sequencing Initiative., 7th Solanaceae Conference 2010, Dundee, 5-9 September 2010, 143
  • de Boer, J.M.; Bolser, D.; Sharma, S.K.; Bryan, G.J.; Bachem, C.W.B.; Visser, R.G.F. (2010) In silico integration of genetic and physical and sequence maps in potato using BAC sequence tags., 7th Solanaceae Conference 2010, Dundee, 5-9 September 2010, 139
  • Sharma, S.K. (2009) The Potato Genome Sequencing Initiative., Sixth Solanaceae Genome Workshop (SOL 2009), New Delhi, India, 8-13 November 2009.
  • Bryan, G.J.; Lloyd, D.; Sharma, S.K.; Bradshaw, J.E. (2008) Genetic analysis of sensory and volatile traits in potato., 17th Triennial Conference of the European Association for Potato Research, Brasov, Romania, 6-10 July 2008.
  • Bryan, G.J.; Lloyd, D.; Sharma, S.K.; Hackett, C.A.; Nevison, L.; Taylor, M.A.; Bradshaw, J.E. (2008) Genetic analysis of flavour and texture in potato., 5th Solanaceae Genome Workshop 2008, Cologne, Germany, 12-16 October 2008.
  • Sharma, S.K.; Bryan, G.J.; Millam, S. (2005) Evaluating the potential of potato somatic embryogenesis system in expediting seed potato production., 16th Triennial Conference of the European Association for Potato Research, Bilbao, Spain, 17-22 July 2005.
  • Sharma, S.K.; Bryan, G.J.; Millam, S. (2004) The development of an efficient somatic embryogenesis system in potato., World Congress on In Vitro Biology, San Francisco, USA, 22-26 May 2004.
  • Sharma, S.K.; Gillespie, T.; Williamson, B.; Bryan, G.J.; Millam, S. (2003) Confirmation of potato somatic embryogenesis by microscopy., 31st Scottish Microscopy Group Symposium, Dundee, 12 November 2003.

Conference posters / abstracts

  • Sharma, S.K.; Yildiz, J.; Wilde, G.; McKenzie, G.; Morris, W.; Taylor, M.; Hornyik, C.; Bonar, N. (2018) Science behind the spud – Potato@Hutton., Plant Power Day 2018, Dundee, Botanic Garden, UK, 20 May 2018.
  • Sharma, S.K.; McLean, K.; Dale, M.F.B.; Bryan, G.J. (2012) Application of association mapping and genomic sequencing to modern potato breeding., International Workshop on Advanced Breeding Programmes for Sustainable Crop and Livestock Production, Edinburgh, 2 May 2012.