Meet Dr. Aardra Kachroo
Co-Inventor of Phytogenesis
“Follow your passion and don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Someone wise once told me 'If you want to be of service and don’t know where to begin, focus on your own expertise and think about how you might use it to solve problems.'"
Q & A
Q1: What is your background and what are you doing now?
A1: “I am a microbiologists/plant physiologists by training. I received my PhD from M. S. University of Baroda, India. I was a Rockefeller Foundation graduate fellow at The Salk Institute of Biological Studies, CA. Post PhD, I did two postdocs, first at Duke University and the second at Cornell University. I came to the University of Kentucky (UK) in 2003 and am a Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology, Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food & Environment. My research at UK, has focused on understanding how plants respond and resist disease caused by microbes. I also study how plants distinguish between beneficial and pathogenic microbes. Currently, I am on leave from the University, serving as temporary Program Director at the National Science Foundation."
Q2: How did you to come up with the idea for your invention?
A2: "This invention was the product of nearly 15 years of research. I am co-inventor along with my husband Pradeep Kachroo, who is also faculty at UK. We started by seeking answers to simple questions about the plant’s immune system and serendipitously ended up studying an understudied form of immunity. This mechanism of disease protection is unique only to plants and has tremendous implications for agriculture. The knowledge that years of research could finally be applied to solve real world problems was the inspiration behind this invention."
Q3: What has been the most rewarding part of creating your own invention?
A3: "The research journey itself and working with a dedicated cohort of students, postdocs, and collaborators. Conversations with potential consumers and investors and their excitement about our invention has also been very rewarding."
Q4: What community resources would you recommend to other inventors?
A4: "UK’s Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC) has been a tremendous resource for us. UK OTC and their extremely supportive team offers many training sessions, resources, and networking opportunities for UK faculty as well as the community at large. The Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation also has great resources, programs, and a very helpful team."
Q5: What is one piece of advice you would share to anyone considering becoming an inventor?
A5: “Follow your passion and don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Someone wise once told me 'If you want to be of service and don’t know where to begin, focus on your own expertise and think about how you might use it to solve problems.'"