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Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

Dr Vinod Kumar

Dr Vinod Kumar

Associate Professor of Plant Biology


 01392 727504

 Geoffrey Pope M03


Geoffrey Pope Building, University of Exeter , Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4QD, UK


I am a biologist interested in the fundamental principles that underpin perception and integration of environmental signals in plants. I am particularly interested in understanding how plants sense temperature and other seasonal cues to coordinate growth, development and immune responses. Our current research is seeking to understand the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of gene regulation in response to the environment, and adaptation of these mechanisms to local and dynamic environments.

Major research areas/questions:

  • Perception and integration of environmental signals
  • Environmental epigenetics
  • Genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of environmental adaptation
  • Impact of climate change on plant health – molecular mechanisms and evolution
  • Elucidating the mechanisms of plant adaptation for climate resilience 

Join us: We are keen to hear from prospective colleagues who want to join our team. If you are interested in our research and want know more or would like to join us in exploring an exciting area of research as a PhD student or as a Postdoc please get in touch with me through email.

PhD opportunities:

Molecular control of resource mobilisation in plants 

The cellular and molecular responses of diatoms to warming temperatures

For further details and informal discussion please contact Vinod Kumar by email.


2004   PhD (Genetics) University of Delhi, India

1997   MSc. Mahatma Gandhi University, India

1995   BSc. Mahatma Gandhi University, India


2019 -                        Associate Professor of Plant Biology, School of Biosciences, University of Exeter

2011 - 2018:             Research Group Leader, John Innes Centre, UK

2011 - 2016:             BBSRC Fellow (Institute Career Path/David Philips), John Innes Centre, UK

2006 - 2011:             Postdoctoral Scientist, John Innes Centre, UK

2004 - 2006:             Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Delhi, India. 

Research group links

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Research interests

My research is addressing the fundamental biological question of how plants sense and integrate environmental signals. We are particularly interested in understanding the thermosensory modulation of growth and immunity. Current research is seeking to understand the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of gene regulation in response to the environment; and adaptation of these mechanisms to local and dynamic environments. Our long-term objective is to provide a mechanistic framework for temperature perception and its impact on growth and defense responses. We are interested in elucidating the fundamental principles that underlie important biological processes such as environmental signal integration and trade-offs between important traits. Beyond fundamental biology, our research will contribute to the efforts to improve yield, particularly through laying foundation for climate resilient crops in the long run.

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Journal articles

Quint M, Delker C, Balasubramanian S, Balcerowicz M, Casal JJ, Castroverde CDM, Chen M, Chen X, De Smet I, Fankhauser C, et al (2023). 25 Years of thermomorphogenesis research: milestones and perspectives. Trends in Plant Science, 28(10), 1098-1100.
Gaillochet C, Burko Y, Platre MP, Zhang L, Simura J, Willige BC, Kumar SV, Ljung K, Chory J, Busch W, et al (2020). HY5 and phytochrome activity modulate shoot-to-root coordination during thermomorphogenesis in Arabidopsis. Development, 147(24). Abstract.  Author URL.
Bouré N, Kumar SV, Arnaud N (2019). The BAP Module: a Multisignal Integrator Orchestrating Growth. Trends in Plant Science, 24(7), 602-610. Abstract.
Gangappa SN, Kumar SV (2018). DET1 and COP1 Modulate the Coordination of Growth and Immunity in Response to Key Seasonal Signals in Arabidopsis. Cell Reports, 25(1), 29-37.e3. Abstract.
Kumar SV (2018). H2A.Z at the Core of Transcriptional Regulation in Plants. Molecular Plant, 11(9), 1112-1114.
Li X-R, Deb J, Kumar SV, Ostergaard L (2018). Temperature Modulates Tissue-Specification Program to Control Fruit Dehiscence in Brassicaceae. MOLECULAR PLANT, 11(4), 598-606.  Author URL.
Gangappa SN, Kumar SV (2017). DET1 and HY5 Control PIF4-Mediated Thermosensory Elongation Growth through Distinct Mechanisms. CELL REPORTS, 18(2), 344-351.  Author URL.
Gangappa SN, Berriri S, Kumar SV (2017). PIF4 Coordinates Thermosensory Growth and Immunity in <i>Arabidopsis</i>. CURRENT BIOLOGY, 27(2), 243-249.  Author URL.
Yu N, Nuetzmann H-W, MacDonald JT, Moore B, Field B, Berriri S, Trick M, Rosser SJ, Kumar SV, Freemont PS, et al (2016). Delineation of metabolic gene clusters in plant genomes by chromatin signatures. NUCLEIC ACIDS RESEARCH, 44(5), 2255-2265.  Author URL.
Berriri S, Gangappa SN, Kumar SV (2016). SWR1 Chromatin-Remodeling Complex Subunits and H2A.Z Have Non-overlapping Functions in Immunity and Gene Regulation in <i>Arabidopsis</i>. MOLECULAR PLANT, 9(7), 1051-1065.  Author URL.
Gardener C, Kumar SV (2015). Hot n' Cold: Molecular Signatures of Domestication Bring Fresh Insights into Environmental Adaptation. MOLECULAR PLANT, 8(10), 1439-1441.  Author URL.
Kumar SV, Lucyshyn D, Jaeger KE, Alos E, Alvey E, Harberd NP, Wigge PA (2012). Transcription factor PIF4 controls the thermosensory activation of flowering. NATURE, 484(7393), 242-U127.  Author URL.
Franklin KA, Lee SH, Patel D, Kumar SV, Spartz AK, Gu C, Ye S, Yu P, Breen G, Cohen JD, et al (2011). PHYTOCHROME-INTERACTING FACTOR 4 (PIF4) regulates auxin biosynthesis at high temperature. PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 108(50), 20231-20235.  Author URL.
Kumar SV, Wigge PA (2010). H2A.Z-Containing Nucleosomes Mediate the Thermosensory Response in <i>Arabidopsis</i>. CELL, 140(1), 136-147.  Author URL.
Kumar V, Wigge PA (2007). Red sky in the morning, shepherd's warning. Nature Genetics, 39(11), 1309-1310.
Rajam MV, Kumar SV (2006). Green Alga (Chlamydomonas reinhardtii). Methods Mol Biol, 344, 421-433. Abstract.  Author URL.
Kumar SV, Basu B, Rajam MV (2006). Modulation of polyamine levels influence growth and cell division in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Physiology and Molecular Biology of Plants, 12(1), 53-58. Abstract.
Kumar SV, Rajam MV (2005). Polyamines enhance <i>Agrobacterium tumefaciens vir</i> gene induction and T-DNA transfer. PLANT SCIENCE, 168(2), 475-480.  Author URL.
Narula A, Kumr SV, Pande D, Rajam MV, Srivastava PS (2004). Agrobacterium-mediated transfer of arginine decarboxylase and ornithine decarboxylase genes to <i>Datura innoxia</i> enhances shoot regeneration and hyoscyamine biosynthesis. JOURNAL OF PLANT BIOCHEMISTRY AND BIOTECHNOLOGY, 13(2), 127-130.  Author URL.
Kumar SV, Misquitta RW, Reddy VS, Rao BJ, Rajam MV (2004). Genetic transformation of the green alga -: <i>Chlamydomonas reinhardtii</i> by <i>Agrobacterium tumefaciens</i>. PLANT SCIENCE, 166(3), 731-738.  Author URL.
Kumar SV, Rajam MV (2004). Polyamine-ethylene nexus: a potential target for post-harvest biotechnology. Indian Journal of Biotechnology, 3(2), 299-304. Abstract.
Kashyap V, Vinod Kumar S, Collonnier C, Fusari F, Haicour R, Rotino GL, Sihachakr D, Rajam MV (2003). Biotechnology of eggplant. Scientia Horticulturae, 97(1), 1-25.


Kumar SV, Lucyshyn D (2017). Studying Transcription Factor Binding to Specific Genomic Loci by Chromatin Immunoprecipitation (ChIP). In  (Ed) , 193-203. Abstract.  Author URL.
Rajam MV, Kumar SV (2007). Eggplant. In  (Ed) Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry, 201-219.

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Vinod currently:

1. Coordinates the new Year 3 Module BIO3046 - Frontiers in Plant Biology

2. Contributes to MSc (Advanced Biological Sciences) - BIOM549

3. Contributes to Year 2 Module BIO2099 (Molecular Plant Science)



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