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MSSRF leadership

Dr. G.N. Hariharan, Director, 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. Contact: 


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 V Selvam, Lead, Coastal System Research and Climate Change 

Dr. V. Selvam is Senior Director at MSSRF. He has nearly 30 years experience including over 22 years in MSSRF in research and management of mangrove ecosystem including its restoration and conservation. An expert in science-based and community-centred coastal resources management, he has experience in designingand demonstrating artificial reef and integrated mangrove fishery farming system and skills in management of coastal forest such as tropical dry evergreen forests. With a post-graduate degree in Marine Biology and Oceanography and Ph. D degree in Marine Biology he is author of three mangrove atlases, seven manuals on community based mangrove conservation and management, 25 publications in national and international journals including a publication on Protective Role of Coastal Vegetation in Science.



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 Balasubramanian is Director – Communication at M S Swaminathan Research Foundation. Her 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 been visiting faculty for post-graduate students of media and journalism. She has written and broadcast extensively in popular media in three languages.