Sreejata Bandopadhyay works in Ashley Shade's lab.
Area of Expertise: Microbial resuscitation and rhizosphere assembly in response to plant stress.
Sreejata completed her Bachelors and Masters degree in Microbiology at the University of Calcutta in India. During her Masters program, Sreejata developed a deeper interest in microbial ecology and wanted to explore how microbes respond to different environmental perturbations. Post her Masters degree, Sreejata accepted an offer to pursue a PhD in Plant, Soil and Environmental Sciences at the University of Tennessee. Under the direction of Dr. Jennifer DeBruyn, Sreejata's doctoral research was part of a multi-disciplinary effort to evaluate biodegradable plastic mulches as a more sustainable alternative to conventional polyethylene plastic mulches for cropping systems. She identified the types of microbes associated with plastics and characterized soil microbial communities to determine if repeated tilling of plastics has detrimental effects on soil functions. Her research showed that biodegradable mulches do not adversely affect soil microbial community structure or function over the short term and provided insights into the relationship between microbes, plastics and soil health in mulched systems. Her current research in Dr. Ashley Shade’s lab focuses on understanding how dormant soil microbes resuscitate in response to phytohormones released by plants during stressed conditions such as drought, elevated temperatures and pathogen exposure. Sreejata is interested to study growth patterns of individual strains in response to complex root exudates and extend this to decipher community level interactions that could have an important role in promoting plant resiliency in the face of climate change. During her spare time, Sreejata likes to cook, practice music and explore new places.