Dr. Kuldeep Singh joined as the eighth regular Director of ICAR-NBPGR, on August 11, 2016. Hailing from a tiny hamlet of Kashmir, Dr. Singh did his B.Sc. (Ag.) from Sukhadia University, Udaipur and M.Sc. & Ph.D. (Plant Breeding) from Punjab agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana. He was decorated with ‘Sardar Iqbal Singh Dhillon Gold Medal’, for securing highest marks during his post-graduation.
He started his career as an Assistant Wheat Breeder at PAU, Ludhiana in July 1990 and continued till May 1999. During this period he was associated with development and release of three wheat varieties and establishment of basic genetic material and protocols for development of wheat haploids through wheat x maize crosses and for hybrid wheat.
Between April 1992 to October 1995, he joined the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Philippines, as a Post-Doctoral Fellow with the World Food Laureate, Dr. G.S. Khush, wherein a complete series of secondary trisomics in rice were developed and used for mapping centromere positions in the classical and molecular linkage maps of rice. This lead to corrected orientation of the linkage maps and defining positions of the centromeres on the 12 linkage groups in rice and laid foundation for generating correct physical map of rice and the rice genome sequence.
Dr. Singh worked as Molecular Geneticist (1999-2007), Senior Molecular Geneticist (2007-2016) and Director (Nov 2010 – Jan 2015) at the School of Agricultural Biotechnology , PAU, Ludhiana and was involved in wide hybridization (wheat and rice, using wild varieties), gene identification and mapping (gene conferring resistance to bacterial blight, blast, brown plant hopper and sheath blight in rice; novel genes conferring resistance to stripe rust, leaf rust, cereal cyst nematode, Karnal bunt and powdery mildew in wheat), molecular breeding (marker assisted selection in rice) and genome sequencing (led the country for sequencing of chromosomes 2A of wheat). He raised funds to the tune of more than Rs. 50 crores, over a period of 15 years, through 30 externally-funded projects. He has to his credit, 102 research papers in prestigious refereed journals, including Science, Science Communication, PNAS, Genetics, TAG, PLoS ONE, Crop Science, Genome, Heredity, Euphytica, Plant Breeding etc.
As a popular teacher, Dr. Singh has taught 13 different courses in Genetics, Plant Breeding and Molecular Genetics and Genomics at PAU, Ludhiana. He established three teaching programmes leading to award of B.Sc., M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Biotechnology. Till date, he has guided 14 M.Sc. and 14 Ph.D. students, of which four students were selected for the prestigious ‘Monsanto’s Beachell-Borlaug International Scholarship’.