1. Angiosperm Taxonomy Division Guides (Prof. Santhosh Nampy, Dr. Sunojkumar P., Dr. A. K. Pradeep, Dr. Pramod C.) 

Since its inception, this division has been very active in contributing to the floristic knowledge of the country. Over the years, researchers in this division have completed several regional floristic studies including six district floras and these have helped in identifying the floristic wealth of the state. Many angiosperm families such as Amaranthaceae, Araceae, Asclepiadaceae, Asteraceae, Begoniaceae, Commelinaceae, Convolvulaceae, Cyperaceae, Gentianaceae, Gesneriaceae, Lamiaceae, Leeaceae, Linderniaceae, Malvaceae, Musaceae, Podostemaceae, Urticaceae, and Zingiberaceae in India have been revised. This has resulted in the discovery of 2 new genera and more than 200 new species of flowering plants. In addition, several taxa have been newly recorded from this region. Apart from this, biodiversity analysis and ethnobotanic studies have been conducted here and all these have resulted in the publication of several books and articles of national and international importance. This division had published over 48 books and 850 research papers and conducted several international and national workshops, symposium and seminars. 

Noted Indian taxonomists Padmasree Prof. K.S. Manilal, Prof. V.V. Sivarajan, Prof. Jos. K. Mangaly, Prof. M. Sivadasan, Prof. Philip Mathew and Prof. M. Sabu had served this division for a long time. Presently four teachers, Prof. Santhosh Nampy, Dr. P. Sunojkumar, Dr. A.K. Pradeep and Dr. C. Pramod are working in this division, and under their guidance, 20 research fellows are engaged in active research. Several major projects with an outlay of more than 4.5 crores, funded by Indian and foreign funding agencies were successfully completed under the faculty members of this division. So far, 63 PhDs, 50 MPhils and over 100 MSc dissertations were completed from this division. Apart from classical studies on taxonomy and biodiversity, this division has recently ventured into modern fields like molecular taxonomy, phylogenetics, biogeography, barcoding, pollination biology and conservation biology.

Our rich tradition of classical taxonomic research has brought laurels to this Department in the form of coveted awards:  Padmasree, Dr. Janaki Ammal award and Prof. Puri award to Prof. Manilal, Chair of Taxonomy to Prof. Sivadasan, Y.D. Tiagi gold medal to Prof. Philip Mathew, Prof. P. Maheshwari award and Dr. E.K. Janaki Ammal award to Prof. Sabu, Dr. V. V. Sivarajan gold medal to Dr. A.K. Pradeep and Tod F. Steussy Gold medal to Dr. Santhosh Nampy are some of them.  Prof. Jos. K. Mangaly, Prof. M. Sabu and Dr. Santhosh Nampy have been recognized by the Linnaean Society, London by awarding them with its honorary fellowship (FLS). Prof. Santhosh Nampy was awarded Sibbald Fellowship by Royal Botanical Garden, Edinburgh. Prof. Manilal was conferred with FNASc and Prof. M. Sabu with FNA and FASc. The scholars from this division have bagged nine awards instituted by International Association of Plant Taxonomy (IAPT).  

This division is also serving as the headquarters of the Indian Association for Angiosperm Taxonomy (IAAT), the largest organization of plant taxonomists in India.  Rheedea, an internationally acclaimed journal in angiosperm taxonomy has been published from this division since 1991. As an adjunct facility, the division also have an internationally recognized herbarium and botanical garden. The Calicut University Herbarium (CALI), one of the largest University herbaria in India, is part of this Division. It holds about 100000 specimens of vascular plants from India, including over 100 type specimens. The herbarium also holds a complete set of specimens used for the interpretation of van Rheede’s Hortus Malabaricus. The Calicut University Botanical Garden (CUBG) is nurtured and nourished by the researchers in this division. The Garden is recognized by Botanical Garden Conservation International (BGCI) in 2004. The garden holds excellent collection of wild gingers, bananas, ferns, medicinal plants, cacti and succulents. A special facility for the visually impaired is also established in the garden.

2. Biotechnology Division - Guide (Dr. Yusuf A.)

The Division of Biotechnology started in the Department by Profs. Aliyama Thomas and V.J. Philip currently has two sections: Enzyme Technology and Plant Biotechnology groups guided by Dr Sailas Benjamin and Dr A. Yusuf. The Division is concentrating on Molecular characterization of industrially significant microbes (bacteria, yeast and fungi), bioconversion of poisonous phthalates in plastics into bioactive products and screening for lignocellulolytic microbes and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) producing microbes are some of the work currently in progress in the Enzyme Technology section. Work in the Plant Biotechnology section involves molecular biology of host- parasite interactions, stress induced by abiotic and biotic factors in economically important plants like rice, and expression of ROS systems and photosyntheic efficiency under the influence of PGPRS in plants. Molecular modelling of proteins in silico by using bioinformatics tools and  the effect of elevated CO2 on a model  system, regulation of carbon sequestering  enzymes and expression of enzymes involved in CO2 acquisition are also carried out. The researchers of this Division have published several research papers in international journals with high impact factor. The division has received funding from various national level funding agenices like DST, DBT, UGC, KSCSTE etc. The new addition to the Divison is the Interuniversity centre for Plant Biotechnology funded by higher education council, Govt. of Kerala with an overall funding of 2.3 crores to develop a centre with facilities for training and research in the area of plant biotechnology for teachers and students from all over Kerala.

3. Bryology DivisionGuide (Dr. Manju C. Nair)

Southern India with its tropical climate and unique geomorphological features such as the Western Ghats support myriads of habitats for the rich growth of Bryophytes. Kerala, the peninsular Indian state is not an exception. However, the knowledge base on this unique plant group from Southern India, especially the state of Kerala, remained low for a long time. The number of Bryophytes known from Kerala upto the year 2000 was about 150 species. Dr. Manju started her PhD programme on the ‘Bryophytes of Wayanad’ in 2001, under the guidance of Professor Dr. P.V. Madhusoodanan, former head of the department and faculty in charge of Pteridology division. She completed the PhD programme in 2005, which turned out to be the first thesis on Bryophytes from a University in Kerala. The KSCSTE (Thiruvananthapuram) funded project on Bryophytes awarded to Prof. P.V. Madhusoodanan also helped in improving the resource base on this plant group.  The resource base developed by this team in the form of herbarium specimens and literature collection laid a strong foundation for Bryological research in Kerala. It was made possible with the support of agencies such as CSIR (New Delhi), KSCSTE (Thiruvananthapuram). The Systematic Research Fund of the Linnean Society (UK) awarded to her (2007) greatly helped in improving the literature base. The book published by them, ‘Bryophytes of Wayanad in Western Ghats’, an illustrative and authentic taxonomic account, turned out to be a trendsetter. It strongly influenced the students and teachers, and enabled them to undertake many studies on this group. 

After completing the PhD programme in 2005, Dr. Manju was awarded with the Young Scientist Fellowship under the Fast Track Scheme of Department of Science and Technology (DST), New Delhi. The resource base on this plant group was thus further strengthened under this PDF programme. She then moved to the Zamorins Guruvayurappan College, Kozhikode as Assistant Professor of Botany, where she continued the Bryological research; by completing four major projects, producing six PhDs on Bryophytes and publishing three books and more than 100 papers. She was also associated with the KSCSTE-Malabar Botanical Garden and Institute for Plant Science (KSCTE-MBGIPS), Kozhikode for research projects on Bryophytes. The Bryophytes are now known in Kerala by more than 750 species. Among which a major contribution was made by her team; by adding 16 new species, more than 35 new records of occurrence for India, 90 for Peninsular India and 120 for the State of Kerala. She had also developed herbarium composed of more than 5000 packets of meticulously collected and curated samples of Bryophytes from Southern India. The strong and productive academic collaborations with the experts in the field across the world such as Dr. L.T. Ellis (UK), Dr. Tamas Pocs (Hungary), Dr. Cargill Chris (Australia), etc also helped her a lot in establishing a strong research group on Bryophytes.

The Bryology Division was established in March 2022, as she returned to her alma mater as an Associate Professor. She is continuing her passionate research on Bryophytes. A major project under the Core Research Grant (CRG) of SERB-DST (2022) is ongoing in the Division. PhD programmes of her four students are also progressing. The research team now adopts a morpho-molecular approach in the systematic documentation of Bryophytes of Southern India. The Division welcomes enthusiastic young researchers with deep passion for field studies to join in the research team for Bryophytes. 

4. Cell and Molecular Biology - Guide (Prof. John E. Thoppil)

This Division started functioning when Dr John E. Thoppil joined this Department in 1995. This Division has been involved in chromosome imaging,cytotoxic studies, karyomorphometry, antimutagenic studies, essential oil extraction, GC-MS analysis, and antimicrobial and mosquito larvicidal assays. Comparative cytological, phytochemical and molecular studies are also conducted on micropropagated plants, calli and parent plants of several medicinal and aromatic plants. So far, 27 research scholars of this division have been awarded PhD degrees and 18 students got their MPhil degrees in Botany of Calicut University. Currently the division has 8 PhD students and 1 M. Phil. Student. So far, the division has produced 143 scientific publications in national and international journals. Average impact factor and name of the major journals in which publications are made are as follows: Caryologia (Impact Factor - 0.632), Acta Pharmaceutica (Impact Factor - 1.16), Turkish Journal Of Botany (Impact Factor - 1.6), Indian Journal Of Applied Research (Impact Factor - 2.16), Cytotechology (Impact Factor – 1.7), Turkish Journal OF Biology (Impact Factor – 1.3),  Journal of Environmental Biology – (Impact Factor - 0.64), Parasitology Research (Impact Factor – 2.09), Pharmaceutical Biology (Impact Factor - 0.878), Protoplasma (Impact Factor - 2.64), Phytotaxa (Impact Factor - 1.16)  and Fitoterapia (Impact Factor -2.231). Research scholars of this division have published 9 books Two major research projects funded by UGC and NMPB have been completed in the Division.

5. Cyanobacterial Diversity Division - Guide (Dr. M. Shamina)

The division of cyanobacterial Diversity started in the Department by Dr. M. Shamina in 2012. From the very beginning, this division has been engaged in studying cyanobacterial diversity of Kerala state. Now the division is concentrating on molecular and biochemical characterization of cyanobacteria, secondary metabolites from cyanobacteria, biodegradation of the coir pith by cyanobacteria, metal biosorption and bioremediation of the polluted sites by cyanobacteria, molecular taxonomy and phylogeny of fresh water and marine cyanobacteria, cyanobacterial biofertilizer for paddy, interaction between insecticide, herbicide and weedicide  with cyanobacteria in paddy fields, and mangrove cyanobacteria. These studies so far have resulted in several research papers and also with the documentation of several cyanobacterial species new to India as well as desert cyanobacteria from Arab countries. The Division has published several papers in national and international journals. The division has received funding from the National level funding agencies like DST and UGC. Currently the students are working for PhD, M. Phil and M.Sc. dissertations in this division.

6. Environmental Science Division - Guide (Prof C. C. Harilal)

7. Fungal Diversity Division -  Guide (Dr. K. P. Deepna Latha) 

Established in 1971. This division was started by Prof. K. M. Leelavathy, a renowned mycologist of India along with Dr. M. U. Rahman, a plant pathologist as Division of Mycology & Plant Pathology. From the very beginning, this division has been engaged in studying the fungal diversity of Kerala. Initially, the emphasis was on microfungi, especially soil microfungi. From the eighties onwards, however, more emphasis has been given to macrofungi, especially basidiomycetes with particular emphasis on agarics or gilled mushrooms. Lately, the division has also started unraveling the diversity of marine fungi of Kerala and Lakshadweep Islands. After the retirement of Prof. K. M. Leelavathy, Prof. P. Manimohan was in charge of the Division. He and his team were focused on studying the biodiversity, taxonomy, and phylogeny of the agaric genera Mycena, Entoloma and Inocybe, and marasmioid, gymnopoid, psathyrelloid, and coprinoid fungi in Kerala State as well as the biodiversity of agarics of Silent Valley National Park. These studies so far have resulted in the documentation of more than one thousand fungal species from Kerala State including four genera and 224 species and several varieties new to science.

Most of the papers published by the staff of the division are published in SCI journals such as Fungal Diversity, Mycological Research, Mycologia, Persoonia, Mycotaxon, Mycoscience, Phytotaxa, and International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. Several of these papers are monographic treatments of individual genera. In addition to these papers, the staff of the division has also published four books; Polypores of Kerala, Marine fungi of Kerala, Mycenas of Kerala, and Inocybes of Kerala. To this date, the division has produced 16 PhDs and 17 MPhils. Also, several generations of students were trained in Mycology as part of their MSc program. The Division has, over the years, accumulated and is maintaining an invaluable and huge collection of agarics of Kerala. The division is now running two research projects, a major project on the ‘Floristics and molecular systematics of the mushroom family Inocybaceae (Agaricales, Basidiomycota, Fungi) of Kerala State’ funded by DST-SERB, Govt. of India and a minor project funded by the University of Calicut on ‘Studies on the genus Hygrocybe and allied genera (gilled-mushrooms) of Kerala’. Presently, Dr.  K. P. Deepna Latha is in charge of the Division. Currently, she is studying the diversity and phylogeny of agarics in Kerala State.

8. Genetics and Plant Breeding Division - Guides (Prof. V. V. Radhakrishnan, Dr Resmi L.)

Established in 1971, this division was started by Prof. K. Pavithran and taken forward by Prof. K.V. Mohanan. Presently, Dr. V.V. Radhakrishnan, Professor and Dr. Resmi L., Assistant Professor are the faculty members belonging to this division. The initial works in the Division were on the genetics and linkage of characters in rice.  Phenomena like clustering of rice panicles and medicinal rices have been extensively studied.  A farm-level in vivo cloning technique for conservation and propagation of rice varieties has been standardized.  Ratoonability of rice has been studied in detail and varieties with high ratoonability have been identified.

The next phase of study was mainly concentrated on the genetics and breeding of plantation crops, underutilized crops and medicinal plants.  Studies on special systems of rice cultivation and the genetics of salt tolerance have also been carried out. The extent of genetic variability and diversity in commercially important crop species of Kerala such as rice, coffee, tea, cardamom, vanilla and mango ginger was studied in detail in order to formulate breeding strategies for genetic upgradation of planting stock. Conventional and in vitro propagation methods of ten important medicinal plants were evolved and perfected. This would help in the bulking up of these medicinal plants which are prone to genetic erosion. 

Crop improvement studies on cardamom carried out in the Division have contributed in the development of three high yielding and superior quality varieties of the crop namely ICRI-5, ICRI-6 and ICRI-7. The first man-made hybrid variety in cardamom (ICRI-5) is the outcome of systematic breeding studies undertaken by the Division.  The genetic divergence in landraces of cardamom was studied for its effective utilization in the hybridization programme. Elite coffee lines suited to the agro-ecological conditions of Wayanad were identified. Field gene bank of vanilla accessions was established and the characterization and evaluation of the germplasm resulted in the isolation of three promising accessions for further breeding studies. Floral biology and adaptability studies on vanilla were also carried out. Variability in mango ginger and kasthuri manjal could be analyzed for evolving superior lines in future. Genetical studies on apple mint and participatory breeding programme on conventional as well as new generation salt tolerant varieties of rice are in progress in the Division. Research in the Division has generated the idea of optimum tillering plant type of rice.  Genetics of agronomic characters of rice, cardamom, coffee, tea, vanilla, mango ginger, arrowroot, kasthuri manjal, false turmeric and apple mint has been studied. The association of agronomic characters in the above crop plants has been analyzed.

9. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry Division - Guide (Prof. Jos T. Puthur)

Since its inception, the institute has been involved in a wide range of research activities, with the initial focus being on the physiology of flowering in crop plants, including pineapple, okra, brinjal, and banana. Physiological and biochemical aspects of seed germination in winged beans and soybeans was one of the earliest studies from this division. During the early stages, the division conducted research on various physiological and biochemical aspects of coconut growth and development. The division also conducted extensive research on the physiology of recalcitrant and orthodox seeds. Detailed research was also conducted on the physiology and biochemistry behind the storage, desiccation, and germination in the seeds of Mangifera indica, Coffea arabica, and Borassus fabellifera. Eco-physiological studies are another major focus of the division. This includes research on the heavy metal tolerance of various plants such as Bacopa monierii, Centella asiatica, Phaseolus aureus, Chromolaena odorata and various mangroves sps. The functionality of AM fungi associated with crop plants for alleviating heavy metal stresses is one among the significant investigations from the lab.

Currently, the division has a well-equipped laboratory that continues the tradition of studies related to seed physiology and ecophysiology. Furthermore, the research also focuses on osmoregulation, biochemical and molecular responses to abiotic environmental challenges, as well as alterations in the photosynthetic and antioxidation processes of plants exposed to various abiotic stresses. We are also interested in various priming techniques for enhancing abiotic stress tolerance of crop plants. In continuity with this, we are also exploring the trans-generational memory of plants with respect to priming and stress tolerance.

Prof. K.S. Krishnan, Prof. N. Neelakandan, Prof. S. Nandakumar, Prof. Nabeesa Salim, and Prof. K.M. Jayaram were among the prominent professors who guided the division's research activities in earlier years. Prof. Jos T. Puthur is currently steering the division's research activities.

The division has international collaborations with institutions such as Bonn University in Germany, the Warsaw University of Life Sciences SGGW in Warsaw, Poland, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst in the United States, as well as national institutes such as IISER in Tirupati and the Central University of Tamil Nadu. The Division is in the process of signing an MoU with the CFTRI in Kochi for research partnerships.

The division has successfully completed 9 research projects worth 1.1 crores and a research project worth 25 lakhs is in progress with KSCSTE funding. The division has so far published more than 200 publications in nationally and internationally acclaimed journals. The division has produced 35 PhDs so far and currently 8 PhD students and 1 MPhil students are working in the division.

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