NC Academy of Science

Keynote Speaker

A spoonful of DNA, a handful of dirt, and a dash of reason: A simple recipe for successful, sustainable food production?



Dr. Karthik Aghoram

Associate Professor of Biological Sciences

Meredith College

Aghoram has been a member of the Meredith College faculty since 2005. His areas of research include Cell Biology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology with an emphasis on plants. His laboratory research is focused on two major projects: (1) Identification and characterization of drought-response genes in plants. The overall goal of research in this area is to discover genes that are turned or off in a plant in response to water-deficit, and use this information to breed crop plants with improved water-use efficiency. (2) Identification of plant natural products that inhibit the enzyme HIV protease. The overall goal of this research is to discover natural products that have potential as anti-HIV treatments.

Aghoram’s interests extend into the science communication, especially on the role of modern crop-breeding techniques such as genetic engineering as part of a responsible and sustainable crop production system. As part of this communication and outreach effort, he teaches an agricultural biotechnology workshop for high school teachers.

As the chair of the Meredith Health Professions Advising office, Aghoram advises and consults with all students who are interested in pursuing a career in health care. He serves as the President of HPANC, the Health Professions Advisors Association of North Carolina and was also elected to the Board of Directors for SAAHP, Southeastern Association for Advisors of Health Professions.

Aghoram holds B.S. and M.S. degrees from Bangalore University in India. He earned a Ph.D., in Biological Sciences from Florida State University and completed his post-doctoral training in Crop Science at North Carolina State University.