Parag R. Chitnis

Deputy Director
3359 Waterfront Centre
Phone Number:
(202) 401-5024
Fax Number:
(202) 401-1782
As Deputy Director at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) of USDA, leads NIFA’s Institute of Food Production and Sustainability (IFPS), which supports research and extension activities in plant, animal, and agricultural systems. IFPS manages a budget of about $660 M for competitive and capacity grants. Prior to joining NIFA, he was a research administrator at the National Science Foundation (NSF) – Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, where he served as division director, deputy division director, and program director. As the division director, he was responsible for an annual budget of approximately $125 million in research grants. In addition to leading the division, he managed many inter-directorate programs at NSF, developed collaborations with agencies in other countries, and represented NSF in several interagency activities, such as National Science Advisory Board on Biosecurity and the Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology Subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council.

Prior to joining NSF, he was a professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology at Iowa State University, and was an assistant professor in the Division of Biology at Kansas State University. As a researcher at these universities, he received more than $4 million in research grants from federal and private sources including funding from NIFA, NSF, and NIH. Chitnis authored over 100 peer-reviewed or invited publications in the areas of plant biochemistry, photosynthesis and proteomics. He has mentored over 50 undergraduate students, MS and PhD students, post-doctoral fellows, and AAAS fellows.

Chitnis has a B.S. in botany/plant breeding from the Konkan Agricultural University in India, an M.S. in genetics/biochemistry from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, and Ph.D. in biology from the University of California at Los Angeles
Topic Expertise:
Plant Breeding