Wirulda (Nik) Pootakham
Researcher at Genomic Research Lab at the National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC)
Wirulda (Nik) Pootakham studied Plant Molecular Biology at Cornell University and graduated summa cum laude in 2002. She went on to pursue a PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology at Stanford University, studying a signal transduction pathway that regulates nutrient starvation responses in Chlamydomonas, a single-cell green alga. After obtaining a doctorate degree, she returned to her home country of Thailand and joined the Genomic Research Lab at the National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC) with a determination to help drive agricultural sciences in Thailand forward. Her work focuses primarily on applying next-generation sequencing technologies to help identify molecular markers that are linked to important agronomic traits in a number of Thailand’s economic species (rice, cassava, oil palm, rubber tree and sugarcane). Nik also has been involved in projects that address environmental issues of coral bleaching in the Gulf of Thailand and Andaman Sea. She received a Young Technologist Award from the Foundation for the Promotion of Science and Technology under the Patronage of His Majesty the King in 2017, the UNESCO-L’Oréal For Women in Science Fellowship in 2018, and was elected to serve as a Young Affiliate for The World Academy of Science (TWAS) from 2017 to 2022.