Parag Chitnis

Deputy Director, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture


As Deputy Director at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) of USDA, Dr. Chitnis leads NIFA’s Institute of Food Production and Sustainability (IFPS), which invests $670M for research and extension activities in plant, animal, and agricultural systems. Prior to joining NIFA, he was the Director for the Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences at the National Science Foundation (NSF). In his academic career, Dr. Chitnis was a professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology at Iowa State University, and was an assistant professor in the Division of Biology at Kansas State University. As a researcher at these universities, he received more than $7 million in research and training grants from federal and private sources including funding from NIFA, NSF, and NIH. He has authored over 100 peer-reviewed or invited publications in the areas of plant biochemistry, photosynthesis and proteomics. He has mentored over 50 undergraduate students, MS and PhD students, post-doctoral fellows, and AAAS fellows. Dr. Chitnis has a B.S. in botany/plant breeding from the Konkan Agricultural University in India, an M.S. in genetics/biochemistry from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, and Ph.D. in biology from the University of California at Los Angeles.

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