Dr. Deepak Bhatnagar is a Senior Research Geneticist (GS-15) with the USDA, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in New Orleans, Louisiana. He received his B. S. (Agriculture) degree from the University of Udaipur, and M.S. and Ph.D. (Agricultural Physics) degrees from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute in India.
After postdoctoral research work at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, India, and Purdue University and Louisiana State University Medical Center, he joined the USDA in 1985. As a research scientist, Dr. Bhatnagar has conducted extensive research in the area of bioregulatory mechanisms of several biological systems with emphasis on molecular aspects of biochemical reactions, the physiology of plant growth and development, and the characterization of genetic regulation of aflatoxin formation in fungi. He has achieved high international recognition and received numerous awards for his scientific accomplishments and is considered a leading international authority in elucidation of molecular regulation of aflatoxin biosynthesis, and in the application of biotechnology to produce novel solutions to problems associated with toxin contamination of food and feed.
Dr. Bhatnagar’s research productivity has resulted in over 150 publications in prominent scientific journals. He has edited six scientific books, is invited all over the world to discuss his scientific findings, and is a member of the editorial board of several prominent journals in mycotoxicology. For his research accomplishments the American Academy of Microbiology has elected him to its fellowship, and ARS recognized him with its prestigious “Outstanding Scientist of the Year” award in 1999. The SRRC Director recently (2003) presented him with a Special Service Award.
In addition to managing a very prolific research program, Dr. Bhatnagar finds time to not only participate in various equal opportunity and cultural diversity programs, but also to take leadership roles in demonstrating how these programs can be efficiently and successfully implemented. Dr. Bhatnagar also realizes that strength in a diverse workforce is derived by interculturally competent communicators who have integrated a wide array of culture-general knowledge into their behavioral repertoires, and are able to apply that knowledge to the specific cultures with which they interact. This typically comes from intercultural experiences and learning the ability to adjust to alternative patterns of thinking and behaving.
He has used his membership in various committees such as the SRRC Human Relations Committee and as Chair of ARS/Mid South Area Workforce Diversity Committee (MSAWDC) to institute programs to enhance intercultural assimilation. He has been invited all over ARS to present his vision on utilizing the strengths of a culturally diverse workforce. Deepak’s recruitment practices exemplify a reflection of the available culturally diverse workforce.
To truly institute a cultural change, Dr. Bhatnagar feels that skills of cooperation must be taught early on; team endeavors need to become a part of the learning experiences in schools and colleges. He has, therefore, been an exemplary mentor to several students and coworkers and has participated in many outreach programs. He also encourages all his coworkers to achieve to the best of their abilities.
For his efforts, he has received several acclaims including the New Orleans Federal Executive Board’s Outstanding Federal Supervisor Award; and most significantly the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Dan Glickman, recognized him with the Department’s Honor Award for Equal Employment Opportunity (1995). The MSAWD Committee he chairs has received the USDA Secretary’s Honor Award for promoting an efficient and discrimination free organization, as well as the ARS Administrator’s Award for EEO (both in 2003).
Regarding community activities, Dr. Bhatnagar has served as Chairman of the Combined Federal Campaign Program at SRRC where he initiated novel procedures to enhance employee participation and achieve record donations. He also led the efforts to raise $110,000 from the Americans of Indian Origin in the Greater New Orleans Area, for the welfare of the victims of "September 11" events in New York City.
Dr. Bhatnagar was born on August 5, 1949 in the Rajasthan Province of India. He is married to Dr. Madhu Kohli Bhatnagar a Senior Staff Geophysicist with Shell Oil Company in New Orleans. They have one child Deepa, who is currently a senior at Rice University in Houston, TX.