Jitendra Paul Khurana earned his BSc degree from University of Delhi and MSc from Kurukshetra University. He obtained his PhD from University of Delhi and served as a Scientist (1982-85) in the Unit for Plant Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Delhi, before moving to USA for higher studies. He worked as a post-doctoral Fellow (1985-86) with CF Cleland at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Rockville, Maryland, and then at the Plant Research laboratory, Michigan State University (MSU), East Lansing (1986-88), with KL Poff. Khurana returned to India (1988) to join as Reader in the Department of Plant Molecular Biology, University of Delhi (South Campus). He was appointed as Professor (1996), served as Head of the Department (1995-98, 2001-04), Chairman, Board of Research Studies, Faculty of Interdisciplinary and Applied Sciences (2003-07) and is presently Coordinator (UGC-SAP; 2002 to date). He was a Visiting Professor to USDA, Beltsville (1996, 1998) and Waksman Institute, Rutgers University, USA (2001).
Academic and Research Achievements: During his stay at MSU, Khurana did pioneering work on the isolation and characterization of Arabidopsis mutants defective in sensing blue light for regulating phototropism. He has contributed extensively in the area of light and hormone signal transduction and plant genomics. His group has characterized cryptochromes (blue light receptors) from mustard and rice, and functionally validated their role in regulating agronomically important traits like plant height and flowering time. In addition, an extensive bioinformatics analysis and microarray-based expression profiling have been carried out for genes encoding F-box proteins (involved in 26S proteasome-mediated protein degradation), the basic leucine zipper (bZIP) proteins and homeobox proteins, with the aim to unravel their role in regulating floral transition and panicle development in rice. He has mentored seventeen Post-Doctorates, sixteen PhD Scholars, nine MPhil and twentry five Master's students.
Other Contributions: Khurana participated in sequencing of rice genome as part of the International Rice Genome Sequencing Programme (IRGSP). He is a member of the Editorial Board of several journals, including Journal of Bioscience, Indian Journal of Microbiology and Journal of Plant Biochemistry and Biotechnology. He is an active member of several academic societies and has also served as President of the Indian Photobiology Society (2003-05). He has served on several Advisory Committees of DBT, DST, ICAR, CSIR and UGC.
Awards and Honours: Professor Khurana is a recipient of Professor Shri Ranjan Memorial Lecture Award of the National Academy of Sciences (2006), Professor HE Street Memorial Lecture Award of the Plant Tissue Culture Association (2007) and Professor Panchanan Maheshwari Memorial Lecture Award of INSA (2008). He is a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad and National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, New Delhi.