SUSHMA NAITHANI

Candidate: Sushma Naithani
Current Position: Associate Professor Senior Research
Affiliation: Oregon State University

Biosketch:
Naithani is an Associate Professor (Senior Research) in the Dept. of Botany and Plant Pathology. The current research focus of Naithani lab (http://naithanilab.cgrb.oregonstate.edu) is on development of the system-level models of crops and model plants of evolutionary importance by utilizing publicly available genomic data to understand how genetic diversity and a plant’s immediate environment relate to yield, stress tolerance and quality traits. Naithani collaborates with several labs and is involved in genome annotation and curation of plant pathways databases. She serves as a senior biocurator for the Plant Reactome database of Gramene (Gramene.org) and has developed metabolic pathway databases for grapevine and strawberry. Before joining Oregon State University, Naithani worked as a Lecturer, and researcher at Cornell University. She earned Ph.D in Botany and M.S. in Biotechnology. Naithani is a member of American Society of Plant Biologists; and the International Society for Biocuration.

Motivations for running for a position on the ISB Executive Committee:
Since 2010, I am involved with biocuration of plant metabolic networks MaizeCyc, FragariaCyc, VitisCyc and Plant Reactome pathway portal of Gramene. I have participated in writing two white-papers on organizing public databases, data policy and biocuration for AgBioData (https://www.agbiodata.org) and Grapevine Information System (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27917288). I have joined ISB in 2017 and have received travel fellowship to attend meetings in Stanford (2017) and Cambridge (2019). The ISB meeting provided me an opportunity to connect with the community of biocurators. In past five years, I have learned more about the society, got connected with biocurators and database personnel who are working in systems other than plants. and found resources, and common themes that are unique to biocurators and teams working on databases and genomic resources. At present, I see very low representations of plant biocurators and biocurators from Asian countries. I will focus on bringing more members from these two under represented groups. Since early 2021, I have joined the ISB EDI committee, and recently chaired EDI workshop in a virtual conference on 17 Aug 2021. I would like to continue in helping issues/projects related to EDI.

Conflicts of Interest:
I have joined the ISB EDI committee (if that is considered a conflict).