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Gopi K. Podila (Telugu: గోపి పొదిల) (September 14, 1957[1] – February 12, 2010) was an Indian American biologist, noted academician, and faculty member at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He was one of three faculty members killed in a shooting allegedly by Amy Bishop at the university on February 12, 2010.[2] He was chair of the university's department of biological sciences, with a particular interest in the ecology of Populus and their mycorrhizal symbionts.


Research career

He listed his research interests as "engineering tree biomass for bioenergy, functional genomics of plant-microbe interactions, plant molecular biology and biotechnology". [3]

In particular, Podila studied genes that regulate growth in fast growing trees, especially poplar and aspen. He has advocated prospective use of fast growing trees and grasses as an alternative to corn sources for producing ethanol.[4] He was also the coordinator of an international consortium of institutions that has deciphered the genome of mycorrhizal fungus, a fungus whose symbiotic properties allow trees to generate large amounts of biomass.[5]

G. K. Podila received a B.Sc. degree from Nagarjuna University in India.[6] He obtained a Master's degree from Louisiana State University in 1983 and a PhD in molecular biology from Indiana State University in 1987.[6] Prior to joining the University of Alabama in Huntsville, he worked at Michigan Technological University from 1990-2002[7].

Podila was an Editorial Board member of the journals Symbiosis,[8] New Phytologist,[9] Physiology and Molecular Biology of Plants,[10] and Journal of Plant Interactions.[11]

At the time of his death Podila was a Councilor of the International Symbiosis Society.[12] He is survived by his widow, Vani Podila.

UAH shooting

On February 12, 2010, Amy Bishop, a faculty member in Podila's department, allegedly drew a handgun during a staff meeting and shot six people. Podila and two other faculty members were killed. Bishop was taken into custody outside the building and charged with capital murder. If Bishop is convicted, she may face the death penalty per state laws.[13]



  1. ^ According to Zabasearch
  2. ^ "Indian-American professor among 3 killed in US university shooting". Times of India. February 13, 2010. Retrieved 13 February 2010. 
  3. ^ "Dr. G. K. Podila, Chair, Department of Biological Sciences". University of Alabama in Huntsville. Archived from the original on 2008-06-13. 
  4. ^ Trees And Grass May Be Able To Produce Ethanol Without Poisoning The Oceans. Energy Daily, January 22, 2008. Accessed February 13, 2010
  5. ^ The Genome of an Important Symbiotic Fungus Has Been Sequenced. The first mycorrhizal fungal genome project was a success. Softpedia, August 9, 2006. Accessed February 13, 2006
  6. ^ a b Handbook of molecular and cellular methods in biology and medicine. Taylor and Francis, 2002. ISBN 0849308151
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ Editorial Board, Symbiosis. Accessed February 13, 2010
  9. ^ Editorial Board, New Phytologist. Accessed February 13, 2010
  10. ^ Editorial Board, Physiology and Molecular Biology of Plants, Springer-Verlag. Accessed February 13, 2010
  11. ^ Editorial Board, Journal of Plant Interactions. Accessed February 13, 2010
  12. ^ About ISS. International Symbiosis Society. Accessed February 13, 2010
  13. ^ Dewan, Shaila (February 13, 2010). "Professor Is Charged After 3 Are Killed in Alabama". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 February 2010. 

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