Home > About > Faculty Profiles > Kalpalatha Melmaiee, Ph.D.

Kalpalatha Melmaiee, Ph.D.

Kalpalatha Melmaiee

Associate Professor, Department of Agriculture & Natural Resources

Campus Address: 147 Ag Annex

Emailkmelmaiee [at] desu.edu



  • Ph.D., Plant Science, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma, 2007
  • M.S., Genetics and Plant Breeding, Annamalai University, Chidambaram, India, 1995
  • B.S., Agriculture, APAU - Andhra Pradesh, India, 1993

Post-doctoral Training

  • Research Scientist, Dept. of Agriculture & Natural Resources, Delaware State University, Dover, DE, 2012 - 2016

  • Post Doctoral Associate, Dept. of Agriculture & Natural Resources, Delaware State University, Dover, DE, 2008 - 2012

  • Assistant Scientist, Department of Agronomy, Iowa State University, IA, 2007 - 2008

  • Post Doctoral Associate, Dept. of Biology, University of Northern Iowa, IA, 2006 - 2007

Research Interests

The overarching goal of Dr. Melmaiee’s research is to develop climate-resilient genotypes in crop plants. She has more than 35 years of research experience working with various crops, from sorghum, pearl millet, corn, rice, beans, blueberries, strawberries, industrial hemp, and sugar maple. She utilizes genetic variations and cutting-edge technologies available for crop improvement. Through her involvement in USAID Feed the Future Innovation Labs, she is actively collaborating with international partners in developing climate resilient crops.

Dr. Melmaiee is also very passionate about training next generation scientists, during her tenure at DSU she facilitated for more than 200 undergraduates to pursue research internships for students around the country. Currently she is training both graduate and undergraduate students in her research projects. She is also open to collaborate with industry partners in student training as well as trait discovery.

Areas of expertise

  • Plant Breeding
  • Genetics
  • Genomics
  • Plant Pathology
  • Plant Physiology

Consulation Expertise

Pre breeding and germplasm characterization, trait discovery, gene editing and graduate and undergraduate student mentoring and research advising.

Selected Publications

  • Clare, Shaun James, Mandie Driskill, Timothy R. Millar, David Chagne, Sara Montanari, Susan Thomson, Richard Victor Espley et al. “Development of a targeted genotyping platform for reproducible results within tetraploid and hexaploid blueberry.” Frontiers in Horticulture 2: 1339310 (2024). https://doi.org/10.3389/fhort.2023.1339310
  • Manzanero, Byron R., Krishnanand P. Kulkarni, Nicholi Vorsa, Umesh K. Reddy, Purushothaman Natarajan, Sathya Elavarthi, Massimo Iorizzo, and Kalpalatha Melmaiee*. “Genomic and evolutionary relationships among wild and cultivated blueberry species.” BMC Plant Biology 23, no. 1 (2023): 126.
  • Lungowe Mulozi, Amaranatha R. Vennapusa, Sathya Elavarthi*, Oluwatomi E Jacobs, Krishnanand P. Kulkarni, Purushothaman Natarajan, and Umesh K. Reddy and Melmaiee, Kalpalatha*. “Transcriptome Profiling, Physiological, and Biochemical Analyses Provide New Insights Towards Drought Stress Response in Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum Marshall) Saplings.” Frontiers in Plant Science 14 (2023): 1338. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2023.1150204
  • Sheela, H. S., Amaranatha R. Vennapusa, Kalpalatha Melmaiee, T. G. Prasad, and Chandrashekar P. Reddy. “Pyramiding of transcription factor, PgHSF4, and stress-responsive genes of p68, Pg47, and PsAKR1 impart multiple abiotic stress tolerance in rice (Oryza sativa L.).” Frontiers in Plant Science 14 (2023):14.
  • Vennapusa, Amaranatha Reddy, Subham Agarwal, Hanumanth Rao Hm, Thiagarayaselvam Aarthy, K. C. Babitha, Hirekodathakallu V. Thulasiram, Mahesh J. Kulkarni, Kalpalatha Melmaiee et al. “Stacking herbicide detoxification and resistant genes improves glyphosate tolerance and reduces phytotoxicity in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.) and rice (Oryza sativa L.).” Plant Physiology and Biochemistry 189 (2022): 126-138.
  • Bissiwu, Philip, Krishnan P Kulkarni, Kalpalatha Melmaiee*, and Sathya Elavarthi. “Physiological and Molecular Responses of Red Maple (Acer rubrum L.) Cultivars to Drought Stress.” Plant breeding and biotechnology 10, no. 1 (2022): 62-74.
  • Callwood, Jodi, Kalpalatha Melmaiee*, Krishnanand P. Kulkarni, Amaranatha R. Vennapusa, Diarra Aicha, Michael Moore, Nicholi Vorsa, Purushothaman Natarajan, Umesh K. Reddy, and Sathya Elavarthi. “Differential Morpho-Physiological and Transcriptomic Responses to Heat Stress in Two Blueberry Species.” International Journal of Molecular Sciences 22, no. 5 (2021): 2481.
  • Kulkarni, Krishnanand P., Nicholi Vorsa, Purushothaman Natarajan, Sathya Elavarthi, Massimo Iorizzo, Umesh K. Reddy, and Kalpalatha Melmaiee*. “Admixture Analysis Using Genotyping-by-Sequencing Reveals Genetic Relatedness and Parental Lineage Distribution in Highbush Blueberry Genotypes and Cross Derivatives.” International Journal of Molecular Sciences 22, no. 1 (2021): 163.
  • Anju Biswas, Kalpalatha Melmaiee*, Sathya Elavarthi, Julian Jones and Umesh Reddy. “Characterization of Strawberry (Fragaria spp.) Accessions by Genotyping and Phenotyping by Leaf Antioxidant and Trichome Analysis. Scientia Horticulturae 2019.
  • Hayford, Rita Kusi-Appiah, Ayalew Ligaba-Osena, Mayavan Subramani, Adrianne Brown, Kalpalatha Melmaiee, Khwaja Hossain, and Venu Kal Kalavacharla. “Characterization and Expression Analysis of Common Bean Histone Deacetylase 6 during Development and Cold Stress Response.” International Journal of Genomics 2017.
  • Kalpalatha Melmaiee, Michael Anderson, Sathya Elavarthi, Arron Guenzi, and Patricia Canaan. “Transcriptional Analysis of Resistance to Low Temperatures in Bermudagrass Crown Tissues.”PloS one 10, no. 9 (2015): e0136433.
  • Kalpalatha Melmaiee, Venu Kal Kalavacharla, Adrianne Brown, Antonette Todd, Yaqoob Thurston,and Sathya Elavarthi. “Quantification and Gene Expression Analysis of Histone Deacetylases in Common Bean during Rust Fungal Inoculation.” International Journal of Genomics 2015
  • Kalpalatha Melmaiee, Antonette Todd, Philip McClean, Rian Lee, Jessica Schlueter, Scott Jackson and Venu Kalavacharla. Identification of Molecular Markers Associated with the Deleted Region in Common Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) ur-3 Mutants- Australian Journal of Crop Science- (http://www.cropj.com/kalavacharla_7_3_2013_354_360.pdf).
  • Michael Anderson, Kalapaltha Melmaiee, Sathya Elivarthi and Arron Guenzi. Gene Expression in Cold Acclimating Bermudagrass Crown. Turfgrass and Environmental Research Online 11(1): 1-8.


  • USDA-NIFA, 2022-38821-37298, PI, 2022-2025, $300,000: Development and validation of single nucleotide polymorphism-based markers (KASP and CAPS) for high-temperature stress tolerance in blueberries
  • USDA-NIFA, 2023-38821-39921, Co-PI, 2023-2026, $300,000: Genetic mapping and improvement of blueberries for high-temperature stress tolerance
  • USAID, 2023-2028, DSU PI, Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Climate Resilient Cereals (CRCIL)
  • USDA-NIFA, 2022-38821-37298, Co-PI, 2022-2025, $300,000: Evaluate and understand high-temperature stress responses in hemp using omics approaches
  • USDA-NIFA, NI24MSCFRXXXG077, Co-PI, (2020-2025,$850,000: Development of Genetic and Genomic Resources in Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)- Sathya Elavarthi and Kalpalatha Melmaiee.
  • USDA-NIFA, 2020-38821-31083, PI-$ 600,000 2020-2025: Developing an integrative approach to combat gray mold in strawberries
  • USDA-NIFA, 2018-38821-27744, PI, 2018-2022, $500,000; Development of genome-wide association markers for heat stress tolerance in blueberries
  • USDA-NIFA, 2018-67014-27622, PI, 2018-2022, $150,000; Genetic Enhancement of Northern Highbush Blueberries for High Temperature Stress Tolerance