Our Team

Dr. Manash Chatterjee – Co-founder and Managing Director

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Manash is an entrepreneur, teacher, and a plant biologist. He has more than 25 years’ experience in plant biotechnology research both in the public and private sector. He has been founder and director of India’s first TILLING research and services company BenchBio, managing it for 14 years. Under his guidance his team has been able to create mutant populations on 100 different crops (food and non-food) and TILLED 30 genes. The breakthrough outcome has been creation of the World’s first non-GM Papaya PRSV resistant variety using TILLING and filing IP. The US patent has been granted recently.

Manash had his training with two of the top pioneers in plant biology. He did his M. Phil from Cambridge University followed by PhD under Prof Cathie Martin (winner Rank prize 2021) at the John Innes Institute (JIC), Norwich, UK. He later did his post-doctoral work under Prof Joanne Chory (winner Google Life Sciences Prize 2018) at the Salk Institute, San Diego, USA.

Mr Jeet Dasgupta, Co-Founder and CFO

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Jeet is a finance professional with 25 years of POQ experience; Bachelor of Commerce (Hnrs), Chartered Accountant and also CIMA (Management Accountant).

He has worked in a range of financial institutions and roles, including in ABB, Finance head of Nokia global business unit, Nokia & Microsoft JV and lately Finance Director / CFO for a range of startups & SMEs.

Prof Charles Spillane, Co-Founder

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Charlie is a renowned genetics and biotechnology expert, whose inter-disciplinary research group works on plant and agricultural biosciences for sustainable development. He is Established Professor (Chair) of Plant Science the National University of Ireland Galway. Following his BSc degree in Biotechnology (Dublin City University) in 1988, he obtained his PhD in plant molecular genetics at the Smurfit Institute of Genetics (Trinity College Dublin) on development of virus-resistant potatoes, with the Sainsbury Laboratory, John Innes Center, Norwich, UK.

Prof. Spillane has worked extensively with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and CGIAR as a technical and policy advisor on agricultural biotechnology and genetic resources (e.g. on the inter-governmental negotiations leading to the 2001 International Treaty on Genetic Resource for Food & Agriculture). Prof. Spillane has also worked extensively on plant genetics and epigenetics in Cold Spring Harbor Lab (New York), Friedrich Miescher Institute (Basel) and University of Zurich (e.g. on heterosis and apomixis). At NUI Galway, Prof. Spillane established the Plant & AgriBiosciences Research Centre (PABC) in the Ryan Institute, and the award-winning Masters program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (MScCCAFS).

Prof. Spillane is Director of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway which is its largest research institute focused on sustainability research and innovation. Prof. Spillane is also Chair of the Irish Forum for International Agricultural Development (IFIAD). He currently leads an ~ €7 million Legumes for Sustainable Development research project.


Dr David Styles

David Styles

Dave is a Lecturer in the School of Engineering at UL, and a member of the Dave is a leading agrifood sustainability expert and a Lecturer in the School of Engineering at UL, where he is also a member of the Bernal Institute. Since 2004 he has specialised in life cycle assessment (LCA) and techno-economic analysis of food, bioproduct, energy and waste management systems while working at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (Seville), Bangor University and NUI Galway. His research group applies advanced LCA to investigate the sustainability of novel value chains, with a particular emphasis on understanding inter-system effects. Dave is PI/Co-I on 11 research projects, and has collaboratively won over €20 million of funding as PI or Co-I across 25 projects. He leads the EPA/DAFM-funded SeQUEsTER project, identifying pathways towards climate neutrality in Ireland’s agriculture & land use sector, and is a member of the International Energy Agency Task 45 concerning the sustainability of bioenergy. 

Dr Narender Singh

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Breeding R&D Advisor

Narendra has over 29 years of comprehensive experience of crop breeding, R&D management, developing breeding & crop breeding strategy, budget and its Implementation for country and Asia region for Syngenta and HM Clause. He is skilled in planning of breeding and product development strategy including usage of breeding methods and new technologies including double haploids, molecular markers, speed breeding, recruitment & management of people from different culture & language backgrounds. He has exdellent experience in project management, monitoring & execution, planning and development of R&D stations, merger and acquisition and collaboration with public and private sectors. He has been awarded the Syngenta Award twice in Syngenta for developing successful tomato hybrids for Asia & Middle East region and management of the tomato team. He is an achievement oriented professional with excellent people management skills and an ability to manage change with ease.

Dr Abhimanyu Sarkar

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Abhi is a skilled molecular biologist, and currently Group Leader-Legume Genetics at the National Institute for Agricultural Botany (NIAB,) Cambridge, UK. His areas of expertise include legume biology, speed breeding, gene discovery and genomics. He has extensive international work experience, having previously worked in New Zealand and the U.S.A. He obtained his Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of Maryland, College Park, U.S.A., a Masters degree in Genetics from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, India, and a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture from the Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture and Technology. Pantnagar, India.

Dr Balaji Vasudevan

Balaji Vasudevan is currently Agri-FoodTech SME at UM6P ventures based at Morocco in Africa. Driven by a desire to help companies bring breakthrough agri-food technologies to market that create a better food and agriculture eco-system. At UM6P Ventures, he uses his academic and industry agtech experience in eight sectors under agtech such as GMO, gene editing, RNAi, Alt. proteins, Cellular agriculture, Gene silencing, RNA Biopesticides, Plant molecular farming, Plant disease resistance, AgBiologicals, Plant tissue culture, Plant cell biology, plant molecular biology, Agtech scouting, Agetch market landscape and competitive intelligence in agtech to identify and support exceptional technology-focused future food and agtech start-ups. He is also an advisor/consultant for a US based RNA company that use topical RNAi for crop protection, US based plant molecular farming that use plants as host for biologics production, synthetic biology company, Plant based alt. protein company.

He earned his Ph.D. in plant biotechnology in India and did post-doctoral studies in Israel and USA. He has over 20 years of agtech industry and academia combined experience in Agrobacterium Biology | Agrobacterium-Plant Interactions | Crop Transformation | Genome Editing | Cell Biology | Plant Tissue Culture | Disease Diagnostics | Phytopathogen/Plant-Microbial Assay Development | Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions | Plant Pathology | Plant Molecular Biology | Gene Silencing via HIGS/VIGS/SIGS/RNAi | Alt. Proteins In Plants | Plant Molecular Farming | RNA Biopesticides | Biologicals | Agtech Innovations Scouting | Agtech Business Market Following | Competitive intelligence. He is very active in agtech space and globally connected to over 25K people in agtech sector in LinkedIn and help people to establish collaboration.

Vasudevan has 16 refereed international publications in top plant science journals, editorial board member for 2 and invited reviewer for 8 reputed journals. He is also a grant reviewer, Invited speaker and OCM member in agtech conferences. Very recently, invited by ASPB/Plantae for an Interview on My Agtech Journey and Career Advice for Young Minds to Enter Agri-Food Tech. Recently invited by American Society of Microbiology as a speaker for webinar “Career Options in Biotechnology” focused on providing ideas and steps needed for biology graduates to enter industry career. Also invited by academic institutions for several talks on Agtech as a career and its role in food security and sustainability.


Mr Abhijit Roy

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Abhijit is a thorough professional of agricultural produce who has seen the business from the angle of origination, standalone refining and distribution while working and living in Russia, Middle East, Africa and Europe. Abhijit heads sugar distribution and soybean activities in West Africa.

Website: Shree Agro – Agricultural produce for West Africa

Prof Tina Barsby OBE

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Tina Barsby is Honorary Professor of Agricultural Botany at the University of Cambridge. She retired from her position as Chief Executive at NIAB in September 2021, being appointed in 2008 as the first female Chief Executive in the Institute’s 90-year history. Professor Barsby has extensive experience in plant biotechnology and applied plant science, spanning both academic and commercial research in the agricultural crop sector, including 18 years with the plant breeder Groupe Limagrain. Professor Barsby is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, an Associate of the Royal Agricultural Society and was awarded an OBE in the 2018 New Year’s Honours List for services to Agricultural Sciences and Biotechnology. She was awarded an Honorary Professorship in Agricultural Botany by the University of Cambridge in 2021.

Website: www.csap.cam.ac.uk/network/tina-barsby

Dr Alain P. Bonjean

Photo of Dr Alain P. Bonjean

Alain is a plant geneticist and an ag-business manager, with additional diplomas in management and marketing from Paris, France (Institut de Contrôle de Gestion and Institut National of Marketing). Since 2017, Alain BONJEAN is CEO of BONJEAN & Associates SAS, which works mostly on wheat, other cereals and pseudocereals, oil and protein crops and medicinal plants, but also internationally in human nutrition and health linked to plant end-uses.From 2014 to 2017, Alain BONJEAN was Corporate Head of Strategical Information and Development at the headquarter of Groupe Limagrain in France. From 2001 to 2014, Alain was the Groupe Limagrain’s Greater China General Representative and Managing Director in China. He was also Chairman of Shanxi Limagrain JV, Managing Director of both Beijing Consulting Limagrain WOFE and Beijing Limagrain Vegetable R&D WOFE, Director of Vilmorin Hong-Kong and Scientific Adviser of LPHT, the world and Chinese leader in hybrid rice. Alain Bonjean was also member of the World Wheat Business Steering Committee of Groupe Limagrain.

Website: bonjean-associes.com

Our long term vision is to transform agriculture and food systems to be climate-friendly, resilient and nutritious. Legumes are good for people and the planet!