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Dr. Viji Sitther

Viji Sitther, Ph.D.

Professor of Biology, Biology

Office: Carnegie Hall G64
Phone: (443) 885-5688


Ph.D. University of Madras, 1998
M.Phil. University of Madras, 1991
B.Ed. Annamalai University, 1990
M.S. University of Madras, 1989
B.S. University of Madras, 1987

Research Interests:

Dr. Sitther’s research focuses on the genetic engineering of a model cyanobacterium to enhance value-added traits for sustainable energy applications. The potential of gold and iron nano-material to enhance biomass accumulation and lipid production in these photosynthetic microorganisms is another aspect of her research. The transformational research has resulted in two awarded patents (USPTO 10,626,363 and 10,793,883) and a startup venture, HaloCyTech LLC, to produce various high-value natural bioproducts.

Selected Publications (Total: 51, h-Index: 13 , citations: 580); Patents: 2 awarded, 3 in progress:

  • Tabatabai, B., Adusei, A., Shrivastava, A., Singh, P. K., and Sitther V. (2020). Nitrogen deprivation in Fremyella diplosiphon augments lipid production without affecting growth. Energies 13(21):
  • Fathabad, S., Tabatabai, B., Dy’mon, W., Chen, H., Lu, J., Aslan, K., Jamal, U., William, G., and Sitther, V., 2020. Impact of zero-valent iron nanoparticles on Fremyella diplosiphon transesterified lipids and fatty acid methyl esters. ACS Omega 21, 12166–12173.
  • Fathabad, S. G., Arumanayagam, A., Tabatabai, B., Chen, H., Lu, J., Sitther, V., 2019. Augmenting Fremyella diplosiphon cellular lipid content and unsaturated fatty acid methyl esters via sterol desaturase gene overexpression. Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology 189: pp 1127–1140.
  • Tabatabai B., Fathabad, S. G.., Bonyi E., Rajini S., Aslan K., and Sitther, V. 2019. Nanoparticle-mediated impact on growth, photosynthetic efficacy, and fatty acid methyl ester composition in the cyanobacterium Fremyella diplosiphon. BioEnergy Research 12: 409-418.
  • Sitther. V., Tabatabai. B., Enitan. O., Fathabad, S. G., and Dhekney. S. A. 2019. Production of transgenic Camelina sativa plants via Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of shoot apical meristems. American Journal of Plant Science, 10: 1-11.
  • Tabatabai, B., Chen, H., Lu, J., Giwa-Otusajo, J., McKenna, A., Shrivastava, A., Sitther, V. (2018) Fremyella diplosiphon as a biodiesel agent: Identification of fatty acid methyl esters via microwave-assisted direct in situ transesterification. BioEnergy Research, 11: 528-537. DOI: 10.1007/s12155-018-9919-y.
  • Tabatabai, B., Arumanayagam, A. S., Enitan, O., Mani, A., Natarajan, S. S., and Sitther, V. 2017. Overexpression of hlyB and mdh genes confers halotolerance in Fremyella diplosiphon, a freshwater cyanobacterium. Enzyme and Microbial Technology. 103:12-17.
  • Tabatabai, B., Arumanayagam, A. S., Enitan, O., Mani, A., Natarajan, S. S., and Sitther, V. 2017. Identification of a halotolerant mutant via in vitro mutagenesis in the cyanobacterium Fremyella diplosiphon. Current Microbiology. 74: 77-83.