Rajeev Azad | BioDiscovery Institute

Rajeev Azad

Rajeev K. Azad
Associate Professor

Rajeev Azad, PhD. has research interests in the area of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, particularly developing and applying mathematical and statistical tools to decipher structural and functional features in genomes and elucidate their relationships in the context of evolution. He has developed novel computational methodologies for gene discovery, alien gene identification and genome comparison. Many of these methods and algorithms are based on probabilistic models that provide a rigorous theoretical framework for studying nucleotide ordering patterns within genomes and have proved powerful tools for biological sequence analysis. He has extensive training and experiences in computational genomics and transcriptomics, including differential gene regulation and genome evolution.


  • Microbial genome plasticity: Evolution of bacterial virulence and drug resistance
  • Differential gene regulation: Whole transcriptome profiling and analysis
  • Assessment of statistical methods for genome sequence analysis
  • Gene / Gene family discovery; Gene network analysis
  • Sex chromosome evolution


  • National Institutes of Health. Zebrafish Thrombopoiesis Funding (Co-Investigator). $418,979. 07/01/2018 - 06/30/2021.
  • National Science Foundation. NSF/MCB-BSF: Integrating ROS, redox and cell metabolism across plant and animal cells (Co-Principal Investigator). 08/01/2016 - 07/31/2020. $854,62
  • National Science Foundation. Biosynthesis, Regulation and Engineering of C-Lignin (Co-PI). $833,722. 8/1/15-7/31/19.
  • National Institutes of Health. Molecular Consequences of Glucose Diet and Altered Ceramide Species Impacting Oxygen Deprivation Responses. (PI). $445,343. 4/1/16-3/31/20.


  1. Enzymatic basis for C-lignin monomer biosynthesis in the seed coat of Cleome hassleriana. Zhuo C, Rao X, Azad R, Pandey R, Xiao X, Harkelroad A, Wang X, Chen F, Dixon RA. Plant J. 2019 Apr 19. doi: 10.1111/tpj.14340.
  2. Tissue-specific differences in metabolites and transcripts contribute to the heterogeneity of ricinoleic acid accumulation in Ricinus communis L. (castor) seeds. Sturtevant D, Romsdahl TB, Yu XH, Burks DJ, Azad RK, Shanklin J, Chapman KD. Metabolomics. 2019 Jan 3;15(1):6. doi: 10.1007/s11306-018-1464-3.
  3. Identification and characterization of a core set of ROS wave-associated transcripts involved in the systemic acquired acclimation response of Arabidopsis to excess light. Zandalinas SI, Sengupta S, Burks D, Azad RK, Mittler R. Plant J. 2019 Apr;98(1):126-141. doi: 10.1111/tpj.14205.
  4. Phylogenetic analysis of the CDGSH iron-sulfur binding domain reveals its ancient origin. Sengupta S, Nechushtai R, Jennings PA, Onuchic JN, Padilla PA, Azad RK, Mittler R. Sci Rep. 2018 Mar 19;8(1):4840. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-23305-6.
  5. Deciphering pathogenicity and antibiotic resistance islands in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus genomes. Jani M, Sengupta S, Hu K, Azad RK. Open Biol. 2017 Dec;7(12). pii: 170094. doi: 10.1098/rsob.170094
  6. Identification and Network-Enabled Characterization of Auxin Response Factor Genes in Medicago truncatula. Burks DJ, Azad RK. Front Plant Sci. 2016 Dec 9;7:1857. doi: 10.3389/fpls.20101857
  7. Using complementary approaches to identify trans-domain nuclear gene transfers in the extremophile Galdieria sulphuraria (Rhodophyta). Pandey RS, Saxena G, Bhattacharya D, Qiu H, Azad RK. J Phycol. 2017 Feb;53(1):7-11. doi: 10.1111/jpy.12466.
  8. Deciphering evolutionary strata on plant sex chromosomes and fungal mating-type chromosomes through compositional segmentation. Pandey RS, Azad RK. Plant Mol Biol. 2016 Mar;90(4-5):359-73. doi: 10.1007/s11103-015-0422-y.
  9. Glucose induces sensitivity to oxygen deprivation and modulates insulin/IGF-1 signaling and lipid biosynthesis in Caenorhabditis elegans. Garcia AM, Ladage ML, Dumesnil DR, Zaman K, Shulaev V, Azad RK, Padilla PA. Genetics. 2015 May;200(1):167-84. doi: 10.1534/genetics.115.174631.
  10. Generalization of entropy based divergence measures for symbolic sequence analysis. Ré MA, Azad RK. PLoS One. 2014 Apr 11;9(4):e93532. doi: 1371/journal.pone.0093532.
  11. Detecting evolutionary strata on the human x chromosome in the absence of gametologous y-linked sequences. Pandey RS, Wilson Sayres MA, Azad RK. Genome Biol Evol. 2013;5(10):1863-71. doi: 10.1093/gbe/evt139.
  12. Interpreting genomic data via entropic dissection. Azad RK, Li J. Nucleic Acids Res. 2013 Jan 7;41(1):e23. doi: 10.1093/nar/gks917.
  13. Towards more robust methods of alien gene detection. Azad RK, Lawrence JG. Nucleic Acids Res. 2011 May;39(9):e56. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkr059.
  14. Detection of genomic islands via segmental genome heterogeneity. Arvey AJ, Azad RK, Raval A, Lawrence JG. Nucleic Acids Res. 2009 Sep;37(16):5255-66. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkp576.

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