(Mrs.) Villoo Morawala Patell print  
Dr. Villoo Morawala-Patell started her professional career at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (“ICRISAT”) at Hyderabad, in 1978. She worked on projects on the biochemistry of nitrogen fixation in Legumes, standardizing a screening technique for drought tolerance and on cytoplasmic male sterility in Millet and Sorghum, amongst other projects.

In 1989 Dr. Patell embarked on a PhD program in plant molecular biology at University Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, France. Upon completing her PhD program in 1993, Dr. Patell moved back to India, only to return back to Europe soon afterwards in early 1994. She started on a post-doctoral program at the University of Gent, Belgium, at the labs of Prof. Marc van Montagu, in whose labs the technology of genetic engineering of plants was first developed.

Afterwards she established herself as independent scientist and principal investigator working from the National Center for Biological Sciences (“NCBS”) and subsequently at the University of Agricultural Sciences (”UAS”) in Bangalore. She raised funds from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Indo-French Center for the Promotion of Advanced and the UK Department for International Development (“DFID”). She founded Avesthagen in April 1998 as a public-private Company to promote a sustainable innovation platform for the Nation, operating out of the labs of the UAS, before moving to ITPL in 2000.