Hi I'm Rishi! I'm a plant scientist an Executive at LeafWorks Inc. a plant genetics startup in Northern California. At LeafWorks we operate in the Cannabis and Herbal markets, using genetic testing to help clients know what they are buying, selling, and consuming. Given the nature of a startup I have many roles at LeafWorks predominantly: Director of Bioinformatics, Director of Communications, Head of Academic Partnerships, and Head of IT and Digital Assets. Additionally, I am heavily involved in all R&D projects and LeafWorks products. 

My previous dissertation work focused on identifying candidate genes involved in drought resistant using cultivated sunflower as a model system. Broadly, I have a strong interest in science communication, outreach, and policy particularly conveying to the lay audience the necessity of plant research and what role that plays in global water scarcity and food security. 

Science Communication:

Since 2013 I have dedicated a portion of my time to improving science education and science outreach. Currently, my role as Director of Communications is heavily involved in science communication, from training sales staff, to writing press releases, or developing marketing assets. I draft and craft most of the outward facing language for LeafWorks Inc. 

During my graduate school days, I was known as a science communication specialist both in the city of Athens, GA as well as at the University of Georgia. Many of the organizations I was a part of (or helped co-found) have graduate student participation from the plant sciences. Further, I have started many organizations, most notably I have co-founded the Athens Science Café and the Athens Science Observer


Click here for more videos from Rishi. These include interviews with plant scientists, science communication, and workshop videos. 

Career Status:
Industry Scientist- fewer than 50 total employees

Research Areas:
Abiotic Interactions, Applied Plant Biology, Ecophysiology, Education and Outreach, Food Security, Genetics, Genomics, Phenomics, Policy, Systems Biology


A list of publications can be found on my website:

Volunteer Activities

Executive at LeafWorks Inc. | Advisor to the Canndor Herbarium |  Athens Science Café, co-founder | Athens Science Observer, co-founder | Science Athens, co-founder | ASPB Grad. Ambassador | ASPB, Grad. member Plantae steering committee | SPEAR at UGA, co-founder | STEMzone at UGA, co-creator | SciPod: The science podcast, cofounder & cohost | Plant Biology Graduate Student Assoc.Peer Development Mentor | Georgia State and Engineering Fair Judge (annual)

Current Affiliations
Experience & Education