Friday, October 31, 2014
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

In Memory of Dr. Gopi Krishna Podila

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Dr. Gopi Krishna Podila
(1957 – 2010)

Dr. Podila was a great leader in the scientific community all along and befriended many from all sectors of life through his pleasing mannerism, helpful nature, as well as interest in culture and arts. Dr. Podila is survived by his wife Vani, two daughters Bindu and Anila, mother Ramalakshmi Devi, and three brothers Sitaramanjaneya Sarma, Ravi and Siva Subrahmaniam. He was preceded in death by his father Surya Prakasa Rao, Retired Reader at Nagarjuna University, Guntur.

Dr. Podila, son of (Late) Sri Surya Prakasa Rao and Smt. Ramalakshmi Devi was born in 1957 at Guntur, Andhra Pradesh. He was youngest of the four brothers in the family. He obtained Undergraduate and Masters level education from Nagarjuna University, India in the fields of Biology, Plant Pathology and Soil Microbiology. He continued his graduate education in United States by studying Plant Pathology to achieve a Masters degree from Louisiana State University. He continued the graduate education further at Indiana State University and obtained a Doctors degree in Molecular Biology in 1987 and began postdoctoral fellowship at the Ohio State University under the guidance of Dr. Kolattukudy.

Dr. Podila joined the Department of Biological Sciences at Michigan Technological University as Assistant Professor in 1990 and rose through faculty ranks to become the Professor and Adjunt Associate Professor in the School of Forestry within a short period. He served that department until 2002 when he was chosen to lead the University of Alabama in Huntsville’s Department of Biological Sciences in the dual roles as Professor and Chairman. During his tenure at UAH, he was instrumental in strengthening the Biological Sciences program from undergraduate to Ph.D. level training while coordinating the role for university researchers to interact with Biotechnology Industry in Huntsville.

His pioneering work at Michigan Tech and UA Huntsville had set him on course for recognition in the field of in plant biology with specializations in the genomics of poplars and symbiotic mycorrhizal associations between trees and a beneficial fungus. Dr. Podila had published over 90 research papers, three books and is an owner of four patents. He has served on the Editorial Boards of eminent journals – Symbiosis journal, New Phytologist, Physiology and Molecular Biology of Plants, Journal of Plant Interactions and Global Science Journals. Dr. Podila trained eleven post-doctoral scholars; seventeen graduate students and over forty undergraduates in his laboratory. He was a sought after visiting professor, having served in that capacity at University of Urbino and University of Torino, in Italy, the University of Stuttgart, Germany, and at the Finnish National Academy. Dr. Podila had an accomplished career that was well known around the world. He will be missed by his colleagues in Alabama, US and on nearly every continent for his outstanding contributions to biological science education and research.

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