Singh Lab

Meet Our Lab members

PhD Candidates

Wei-Yuan Chen

PhD Candidate Pre-Harvest Sprouting (PHS) is seeds germinating prematurely, and it reduces the grains’ value significantly. Our group has associated AGO4_9 (Argonaute4_9) genes with PHS in both barley and wheat. The AGO4_9 is a member of RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) pathway, which is a regulation mechanism of DNA methylation in plants. Besides, the literatures have shown the intensive methylation events happened during seed development, and demethylation in germination, in model plants. To summary, these indicate the methylation plays a role in dormancy/germination of seeds, and this may determine the difference of various PHS responses in cereals. My project aims to understand how the RdDM associated with the PHS in details. This work starts with genome-widely identifying RdDM genes. At the same time, I am creating the transgenic barley with RNAi and CRISPR to characterize the RdDM’s role in barley seed dormancy/germination. I would like to find certain methylation events that determines the PHS responses in barley. These can provide not only the new approach to manipulate seeds dormancy/germination, but also the novel markers in the cereals breeding. Eventually, the work can help our agriculture to fight against the growing population and climate changes.

Purnima Kundpal 

PhD Candidate

Pre-harvest sprouting (PHS) is a complex problem of small cereals causing frequent yield and economic losses in Canada. We hypothesize that a synergistic and integrated multi-dimensional approach could provide viable and rapid solutions. Previous findings from our lab observed the role of AGO802 and AGO804 gene in wheat seed dormancy and PHS resistance through the modulation of DNA methylation process. So, I am working on a two-way approach of ingressing AGO802/AGO804 gene(s) into elite white wheat lines and supplementing the genes exogenously through safe nano-sprouting inhibitor modules.

Jasneet Singh 

PhD Candidate

Jasneet obtained his M.Sc. Biotechnology and in Agricultural Biotechnology from Punjab Agricultural University, India. He got a merit award for both the bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He worked on developing and validating a novel core set of KASP markers for DSR adaptive traits in rice as his master’s research. In Fall of 2022, he joined Dr. Singh’s lab as a Ph.D. student. He is working on understanding transcriptional regulation and functional characterization of wall-associated kinase 1 (WAK1) in barley.

Mehtab Singh 

PhD Candidate

I joined Dr. Jaswinder Singh’s lab for M.Sc. Plant Science degree at McGill University. Later, I upgraded to a PhD programme starting Fall 2022. I am working on exploring SQUAMOSA promoter binding like (SPL) gene family and their role in transcriptional modulation of vernalization (Vrn) genes in oat using CRISPR/Cas9. My long term goal is to develop high yielding oat genotypes suitable for Canadian agroclimatic conditions. I am fond of clicking pictures and playing badminton during my leisure time.

MSc Candidates

Cali Kaye

MSc Candidate

I am currently enrolled in the Master of Plant Science program at McGill. My research interests lie in genetics and genomics. I am currently working to functionally characterize a thaumatin-like protein in barley.

Post-Doctroal Fellow & Research Associaets

Dr. Zhou Zhou

Post-Doctoral Fellow Dr. Zhou’s current research interests lie primarily in genetic improvement of economically important traits in cereals and field pea using an integrated set of agricultural biotechnologies. The early studies on pea laid a solid foundation in the field of plant genetics, however, advances in pea genomics and breeding lagged behind other legume species. The work on oil and starch biosynthesis in pea is oriented toward understanding the regulatory mechanism of carbon partitioning in pea seed and identifying the key elements associated with the seed composition traits in pea. The ultimate goal is to develop oil-rich pea germplasm growing under cold climate for the market. As one of major cereal crops worldwide, the oat possesses high potential of utilization in human consumption and animal feeding. The work on oil content in oat targets on the elevation of oil content in oat seeds and/or vegetative tissues through genetic manipulation of the committed steps in lipid biosynthesis. The novel oat lines with high oil content will provide sufficient added value to meet the needs of end-users.

Dr. Rajvinder Kaur

Research Associate 

Dr. Sorabh Sethi

Post-Doctoral Fellow I am a plant breeder and molecular geneticist with an expertise in conventional and advanced crop breeding principles and strategies coupled with latest genomics techniques. I have an experience working on wheat and chickpea crops as part of my graducate research projects. On wheat, I had worked on identifying and characterizing the alpha-amylase gene ortholog. As alpha-amylase enzyme is one of the key hydrolytic enzymes that play an important role in providing energy to developing embryo by breaking down starch in the seed, the research was part of developing heat-tolerant, climate-resilient wheat project, that sparked my interest in developing and breeding crop plants, ready for future environmental (abiotic) challenges ahead. Thereafter, as CSIR (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research) Ph.D. fellow, I worked on identifying genomic regions (QTLs) associated with key nitrogen-fixing and micro-nutrient traits in chickpea, as an effort to enhance quality traits in the crop, and currently I am working on developing genomic selection model for yield and key associated traits for Canadian wheat breeding lines.b

Singh Lab Emeritus

Students Graduated

  • Miss. Annis Fatmawati (M.Sc. – 2018 – 2020)
  • Dr. Simerjeet Kaur (Ph.D. – 2013 – 2017)
  • Dr. Surinder Singh (Ph.D. – 2011 – 2015)
  • Miss. Marie-Josee Cardinal (M.Sc. – 2012)
  • Mr. Prabhjot Nandha (M.Sc. – 2011 – 2014)
  • Mr. Han Qi-Tan (M.Sc. – 2008 – 2010)
  • Mr. Sajjad Ahmed (M.Sc. – 2010 – 2012)
  • Mr. Daishu Yi (M.Sc. – 2013 – 2016)
  • Mr. Harvinder Syan (M.Sc. 2010 – 2012, Co-supervisor with Dr. Prasher)
  • Mr. Irfan Iqbal (Ph.D.)
  • Miss. Sukhjiwan Kadoll (M.Sc)
  • Mr. Thomas Donoso (M.Sc)

Student Trainees and Interns

  • Dr. Simerjeet Kaur (Ph.D. – 2013 – 2017)
  • D. Lamb-Palmer (M.Sc.-2010-2011- Biotechnology Intern, Institute of Parasitology)
  • Dr. Simerjeet Kaur (Ph.D. – 2013 – 2017)
  • Muhammad Ashfaq (6 month Ph.D. trainee – 2011)
  • Muhammad Ali (6 month Ph.D. trainee – 2013)
  • Dr. Simerjeet Kaur (Ph.D. – 2013 – 2017)
  • Sahabat Noor (6 month Ph.D. trainee – 2013)
  • Dr. Simerjeet Kaur (Ph.D. – 2013 – 2017)
  • John Alexander Aguirre Tabares (Canada-Columbia exchange MSc student- 2017-18)

Research Associates/PDFs

  • Dr. Rajiv Tripathi (Aug. 2015- Feb. 2020)
  • Dr. Manjit Singh (May 2010-Dec. 2012)
  • Dr. Ravneet Kaur (June 2011-Feb. 2013)
  • Dr. Kashmir Singh (Visiting Scientist- May 2012-Jan. 2013)

Undergraduate Research Students

  • Thomas Donoso (NSERC USRA-2018, 2019)
  • Jérôme Gélinas Bélanger (NSERC USRA-2017)
  • William Overbeek (2017-18)
  • Thomas Donoso (2017)
  • Dennis Park (2017)
  • Gaelle Muller-Greven
  • Karim Qasim
  • Shujun Xiao (2012- Chinese Exchange program)
  • Xin Hao (2010- Chinese Exchange program)
  • Xin Bao (2010- Chinese Exchange program)
  • Chen Li
  • Marie-Josee Cardinal
  • Taranvir Bhati
  • Mélanie Chapleau (NSERC USRA-2009)