Dr. Nasheeman Ashraf

Plant Biotechnology Division
CSIR - Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine,Canal Road, Jammu – 180001
Email: nashraf@iiim.ac.in

Positions Held  
Position Held Date Organization
Scientist 2012 - Present CSIR-IIIM
Honours & Awards  
  • Awarded EMBO short term fellowship to work as a visiting scientist at Botanical Institute, University of Castilla La Mancha, Albacete, Spain.

  • Awarded CSIR-Raman research fellowship to work as a visiting scientist in University of Kentucky, USA (2015-16).

  • Awarded junior research fellowship by council of scientific and industrial research (CSIR) (2003-2005).

  • Awarded senior research fellowship by council of scientific and industrial research (CSIR) (2005-2008).

  • Qualified graduate aptitude test for engineering (GATE) in 2003 with 97.19 percentile.

Research Area

Plants are master chemists and produce a large repertoire of secondary metabolites.These small molecules perform plethora of functions, for example, they act as hormones, defense compounds, pharmaceuticals, insecticides, dyes, flavors, and fragrances. Inspite of their tremendous importanc for humans as for the plant itself, plant secondary metabolism remains poorly characterized. Our focus is elucidation of biosynthetic and regulatory pathways of plant secondary metabolism. We use combinatorial OMICS approach for comprehensive investigations and large-scale gene discovery programs in plant secondary metabolism. With integration of transcriptome and metabolome profiling data, we develop extensive collections of genes which are involved in different plant secondary metabolic pathways. This data is also used for discovery of novel regulators of these pathways. Together, this knowledge can be used for engineering of these pathways towards increased yields.We are also working on elucidating biological function of plant secondary metabolites.

Currently our lab is working on Crocus sativus.C. sativus is a triploid, sterile geophyte which has been cultivated and used as spice and medicinal plant since thousands of years. The desiccated stigma of C. sativus forms saffron and is source of various carotenoids and unique compounds called apocarotenoids which are produced by oxidative tailoring of carotenoids. In fact Crocus is the only plant which produces apocarotenoids like crocin, picrocrocin and safranalin significant amounts.These compounds provide color, flavour and aroma to this crop making it world’s costliest spice. In addition, these compounds have a broad spectrum of pharmacological properties as well. In order to understand apocarotenoid biosynthetic pathway and its regulation, we are developing transcriptome map for Crocus. This transcriptome data would be used for identification of genes involved in apocarotenoid biosynthesis and also transcription factors which regulate this process.


  • Ashraf, N.; Basu, S.; Narula, K.; Ghosh, S.; Tayal, R.; Gangisetty, N.; Biswas, S.; Aggarwal, R.P.; Chakraborty, N.; Chakraborty, S; Integrative network analyses of wilt transcriptome in chickpea reveal genotype dependent regulatory hubs in immunity and susceptibility. Scientific Reports (2018), 8 (1): 6528.

  • Mohiuddin, T.; Baba, S.A.; Ashraf, N. Identification, phylogenetic analysis and expression profiling of ABC transporter family of Crocus sativus L: A step towards understanding apocarotenoid transport. Plant Gene (2018), 14:1-6.

  • Wani, Z.A.; Kumar, A.; Sultan, P.; Bindu, K.; Hassan , R.U.; Ashraf, N. Mortierellaalpina CS10E4, an oleaginous fungal endophyte of Crocus sativus L. enhances apocarotenoid biosynthesis and stress tolerance in the host plant. Scientific Reports (2017), 7: 8598.    

  • Baba, S.A.; Vishwakarma, R.A.; Ashraf, N. Functional characterization of CsBGlu12, a β-glucosidase from Crocus sativus provides insights into its role in abiotic stress through accumulation of antioxidant flavonols. The Journal of biological chemistry (2017), 292, 4700 –4713.

  • Malik, A.H.; Ashraf, N. Transcriptome wide identification, phylogenetic analysis, and expression profiling of zinc-finger transcription factors from Crocus sativus L. Mol Genet Genomics (2017), 292 (3): 619-633.

  • Baba, S.A.; Jain, D.; Abbas, N.; Ashraf, N. Overexpression of Crocus carotenoid cleavage dioxygenase, CsCCD4b, in Arabidopsis imparts tolerance to dehydration, salt and oxidative stresses by modulating ROS machinery. Journal of plant physiology (2015), 189: 114-125.

  • Baba, S.A.; Mohiuddin, T.; Basu, S.; Swarankar, M.K.; Malik, A.H.; Wani, Z.A.; Singh, A.K.; Ashraf, N. Comprehensive transcriptome analysis of Crocus sativus for discovery and expression of genes involved in apocarotenoid biosynthesis. BMC Genomics (2015), 16:698. 

  • Ashraf, N.; Jain, D.; Vishwakarma, R.A. Identification, cloning and characterization of an ultrapetaltranscription factor CsULT1 from Crocus: a novel regulator of apocarotenoid biosynthesis. BMC Plant Biology (2015), 15: 25.

  • Wani, Z.A.; Ashraf, N.; Mohiuddin, T.; Riyaz-Ul-Hassan, S. Plant-endophyte symbiosis, an ecological perspective. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol (2015), 99(7):2955-65.

  • Bhat, W.W.; Dhar, N.; Razdan, S.; Rana, S.; Mehra, R.; Nargotra, A.; Dhar, R.S.; Ashraf, N.; Vishwakarma, R.; Lattoo, S.K. Molecular characterization of UGT94F2 and UGT86C4, two glycosyltransferases from Picrorhizakurrooa: comparative structural insight and evaluation of substrate recognition. PLoS One (2013), 16;8(9):e73804.

  • Husaini, A.M.;  Ashraf, N. Understanding Saffron biology using bioinformatics tools. Functional Plant Science and Biotechnology (2010), 4,31-37.

  • Ashraf, N.; Ghai, D.; Barman, P.; Basu, S.; Gangisetty, N.; Mandal, M.K.; Chakraborty, N.; Datta, A.; Chakraborty, S. Comparative analyses of genotype dependent expressed sequence tags and stress-responsive transcriptome of chickpea wilt illustrate predicted and unexpected genes and novel regulators of plant immunity. BMC Genomics (2009), 10:415.


  • Chakraborty, S.; Chakraborty, N.; Datta, A.; Ashraf, N. Polynucleotides derived from chickpea and uses thereof”.(Patent file:PCT/IN2010000573).
AcSIR Students

Tabasum Mohiuddin
Zahid Yaqoob Bhat
Javaid Mir
Khadim Hussain
Nargis Khursheed