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MSSRF leadership

Dr. G.N. HariharanDirector Biotechnology

Dr. G.N. Hariharan has been working with MSSRF for over 20 years. He began his career as a Scientist and his group's scientific contributions on the lichens have opened up new avenues to explore the potentialities of the much neglected lichens of our country and also to link the ecological security of lichen rich locations (as it is developing alternative protocols for sustainable lichen collection coupled with lichen compound synthesis in vitro - so that the naturally occurring lichens are saved ) with the livelihood security of the rural communities, who depend on lichen collections as Non Timber Forest Produce. The biotech group focus on developing rice varieties for abiotic stress tolerance and nutritional enhancement using plant breeding pathway as well as transgenic approaches. He has collected a large number of traditional saline tolerant rice germplasm and is actively involved in varietal selection trails as well as participatory on-farm trails in collaboration with state agricultural universities.

He is involved in grass root level mobilization for implementing programs in the areas of mangrove restoration, livelihood development and establishment of Village Knowledge Centre, and these programs have received the appreciation of the village communities as well as the other stakeholders.

Dr. Hariharan has guided eight students and is guiding three Ph. D. students and published over 30 peer reviewed research papers.


Dr Nadesa Panicker Anil Kumar, Lead Biodiversity Conservation, M S Swaminathan Botanical Garden

A scientist and practitioner in the area of tropical agrobiodiversity management, and conservation of rare, endemic and threatened plant genetic resources. He has over 25 years of work experience with MSSRF. He joined the organization in the year 1992, as a training specialist in the area of biodiversity. He then served in different capacities, in which over 10 years of experience as the director of MSSRF’s Community Agrobiodiversity Centre, and about a year as the Senior Director of the Coastal System Research. There are over 70 scientific papers and several popular articles as the author or co-author in his credit. He serves in different committees that are of national and international significance to the area of sustainable development.



Dr Rengalakshmi, Director, Ecotechnology

Rengalakshmi holds doctoral degree in Agriculture and has over twenty years of experience in working with interdisciplinary team as a field worker, researcher and development professional. Her professional areas of interest are in agriculture development including sustainable agriculture, organic farming, agro-biodiversity, climate change, livelihoods, institution building and gender. She has evaluated several developmental programmes implemented by civil society partners in South Asia and served as trainer for community, developmental professionals and policy makers. Contact

Dr R V Bhavani, Director, Agriculture-Nutrition-Health

Bhavani has been working at MSSRF since the year 2000. Rural development, food, nutrition and livelihood security issues are the focus areas of her work. Between 2004 and 2006, she was on deputation to the National Commission on Farmers, Government of India, as officer on special duty to the chairman. From 2012 to 2018, she was project manager of the multi-country Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia (LANSA) research programme consortium led by MSSRF. Before joining MSSRF, she was an officer in State Bank of India for a decade. Bhavani has a MPhil in Planning & Development from IIT Bombay and PhD in Economics from Madras University.


Jayashree Balasubramanian, Director, Communication

Jayashree's work for over two decades has traversed sectors of HIV/AIDS prevention, Child Health, Nutrition, Water and Sanitation, Agriculture, Food Security besides corporate and media experience. At MSSRF she has taken forward the Foundation’s goal of linking science and society, through various strategies and contemporary communication approaches. Prior to this, she worked with ICRISAT, UNICEF and with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s HIV project in south India. In her media career, she was Bureau Chief South India, with India Today Television. Jayashree is also an academic researcher of media science, is a national certified trainer in Corporate Social Responsibility in India and has served as visiting faculty for post-graduate students of media and journalism. She has written and broadcast extensively in popular media in three languages.