Rucha Karnik

Royal Society University Research Fellow


Rucha obtained her her Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry at St Xavier’s College, Ahmedabad and her Masters degree in Biotechnology from the Gujarat University in India. She spent  six years in the pharma-biotech industry working in research, marketing and management, developing recombinant protein-based diagnostic kits, human therapeutics, biosimilars  agro-biotech.

She left industry and moved to the UK to pursue her PhD at the University of Leeds within the Institute of Membrane and Systems Biology. She was awarded fellowships from the prestigious Overseas Research Students Awards Scheme (ORSAS) sponsored by the British government, the Tetley & Lipton Scholarship and the International Research Scholarship from the University of Leeds. During her PhD she investigated membrane traffic of human ion channels and their implications for health and disease.

Rucha joined Mike Blatt’s group at the University of Glasgow in 2011 as a postdoc, where she started researching plant membrane traffic. She has since pursued closely related themes of membrane transport, regulation of membrane traffic and cellular homeostasis, developing a fundamental interest in molecular mechanisms of vesicle traffic and its coordination with transport, both of which are critical for plant physiology.

As a Royal Society University Research Fellowship, the University of Glasgow continues to be her home. Outwith her direct research interests, she is committed to promoting both women in science and scientific outreach, and serves on the Athena Swan Self-Assessment team of the Institute of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology.

Research Interests

To achieve food security in the face of global environment change,  we need to improve agricultural crops for efficient growth, nutrient uptake, CO2 and water utilisation and responses to biotic and abiotic stress. Therefore, research directed to understanding, predicting, and manipulating the molecular mechanisms of plant growth and responses to the environment is at the forefront of scientific interest. Our research focuses on understanding the role of hormone regulated membrane traffic in plant growth and homeostasis.

Current Projects

  • Investigating Proton Transport Modulators – Spatial Regulation and Effects on Plant Physiology

  • Hormone-Regulated Membrane Traffic and Plant Morphogenesis (Royal Society)

  • Profiling Differential Regulation of Proton Transport During Plant Growth, Nutrition and Immunity

  • Defining Plant Defence Strategies