Shanta Karki

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Shanta Karki

Shanta is from Nepal and joined IRRI in 2009. She is a Molecular Biologist who worked on the genetic engineering of rice to improve its yield potential by using the sunlight more efficiently. Her research group is involved in genetic transformation of rice, molecular evaluation of the generated transgenic plants and managing the transgenic pipeline of the C4 rice project. She contributed to the C4 rice consortium by developing transgenic rice lines with various C4 genes and their characterization. Shanta also initiated the C4 gene stacking pipeline, which will soon become the first C4 rice prototype with the basic C4 biochemical pathway. 

Shanta provided expertise as well as training to various staff members of the C4C in molecular biology techniques. She provided scientific guidance and daily supervision to the scholars and on job trainees.

Shanta’s research interests include crop improvement, photosynthesis, plant developmental processes, plant molecular biology and biotechnology, improvement of the quality of food produced and global food security.


  • Molecular biology
  • Plant breeding
  • Agronomy
  • Bioinformatics


  • PhD in Plant Breeding, Kyoto University, Japan (2009)
  • MSc in Plant breeding, Kyoto University, Japan (2006)
  • BSc in Agricultural Sciences, Tribhuwan University, Nepal (2002)


  • Postdoctoral research fellow, IRRI (2009-2015)
  • Mentoring program, Heifer International Nepal (May-Nov 2003)


  • Awardee of Japanese Government Scholarship Program (April 2004-March 2009)
  • Aishwarya Viday Padak (Queen’s Gold Medal) 2002
  • Awardee of Winrock International Nepal Scholarship Program (1998-2001)
  • Award of Academic Excellence (1997)
  • Awardee of UMN Scholarship Program (1988-1997)


  • Member of the Society for Experimental Biology (SEB)
  • Member of the International Society of Photosynthesis Research (ISPR)


  1. G. Rizal, S. Karki, M. Alcasid, N. Larazo, R. Garcia, and W.P. Quick. 2015. The use of maleic hydrazide for effective hybridization of Setaria viridis. PLOS ONE DOI:10.137/journal.pone.0125092
  2. S. Karki, G. Rizal and W.P. Quick. 2013. Improvement of photosynthesis in rice (Oryza sativa L.) by inserting the C4 pathway. Rice 6: 6-28.
  3. P. Wang, J. Fouracre, S. Kelly, S. Karki, U. Gowik, S. Aubry, MK. Shaw, P. Westhoff, IHS. Loedin, WP. Quick, JM. Hibberd and JA. Langdale. 2013. Evolution of GOLDEN2-like gene function in C3 and C4 plants. Planta 237(2): 481-495.
  4. K. Kajala, S. Covshoff, S. Karki, H. Woodfield, BJ. Tolley, MJ. Dionora, R. Mogul, A. Elmido-Mabilangan, F. Danila, JM. Hibberd and WP. Quick. 2011. Strategies for engineering a two-celled C4 photosynthetic pathway into rice. J. Exp. Bot. (2011) doi: 10.1093/jxb/err022.
  5. Shanta Karki, Takuji Tsukiyama, Yutaka Okumoto, Govinda Rizal, Ken Naito, Masayoshi Teraishi, Tetsuya Nakazaki, and Takatoshi Tanisaka (2009) Analysis of distribution and proliferation of mPing family transposons in a wild rice species (Oryza rufipogon Griff.). JSBBS 59(3): 297-307.
  6. Shanta Karki, Takuji Tsukiyama, Yutaka Okumoto, Masayoshi Teraishi, Govinda Rizal, and Takatoshi Tanisaka (2009) Differential distribution of miniature inverted-repeat transposable elements in wild Oryza species. Journal of Crop Research 54: 91-97.