Accelerating Plant Breeding

Chawade Lab is led by Dr. Aakash Chawade at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Sweden

We are sowing the seeds of innovation to feed a growing world and nourish sustainable prosperity

resistance breeding in cereals

Biotic & abiotic stresses

Understanding how plants respond to various abiotic and biotic stresses by combining genetics, genomics and phenomics. Unravelling molecular mechanisms underlying plant stress and identifying genes and genetic markers for breeding

High-throghput phenotyping with drones

Method development

Our work spans across various crops for developing innovative plant breeding methods that are affordable, reliable and automated. These include low-cost genomic selection methods, automated phenotyping techniques, protocols and genetic markers



In collaboration with national & international partners, we’re not just advancing science but also creating practical solutions for a sustainable agricultural future. Our results are continually implemented in various breeding programs

our impact

through collaboration

We collaborate closely with the plant breeders to identify current and future challenges in agriculture and work towards solutions that are affordable and implementable. Germplasm, genetic markers and breeding tools developed by our team have evolved into indispensable components of local breeding programs.

Projects in highlight

Some of the ongoing projects in the group

Resistance breeding

We develop protocols for infection and evaluation of fungal diseases in wheat and barley. Pathogen isolates are obtained from the target regions. In wheat we have extensively worked with the diseases Septoria tritici blotch and Fusarium head blight. While in barley work is ongoing on the diseases scald and net blotch. 

High-throughput phenotyping

Our core competence is in developing automated phenotyping methods that are reliable and affordable for implementation in breeding programs. Examples include fully automated inhouse gantry system called Phenocave, drone imaging and analysis for large field trials and deep learning for complex traits.   

GWAS & Genomic selection

We evaluate different ways to improve accuracy of genomic selection (GS) using multiple GS algorithms, number of SNP, GxE and GWAS as covariates etc. By working with germplasm from both the breeding programs and genebanks we strive to improve the genetic diversity in the breeding programs.

Forages for drought

In the project “Forages for Drought” we are evaluating various forage species for drought tolerance and water use efficiency. The results are expected to identify material from Lantmännen’s forage breeding program better suited to the changing climate. By including drought tolerant forage genotypes in the forage mixes along with efficient irrigation practices under drought, farmers can achieve acceptable yields with reduced costs under drought.

Key Achievements

Examples of pioneering impactful research results from the Chawade Lab

Genetic markers we developed for disease resistance in wheat are being used in winter wheat breeding program in Sweden

Drone image analysis using machine learning & AI developed by us are being integrated in several breeding programs in the Nordics

Key contributions to variety development and releases in winter wheat (Sweden), perennial rye grass (Sweden) & spring wheat (South Asia, Bolivia)

Open-source software we contributed to is highly cited and popular (Normalyzer – 240 citations, NormalyzeDE – 136 citations, Dinosaur – 71 citations

Identified several old cultivars & landraces with better resistance to key diseases. These are introduced in the breeding programs

Our work in numbers

Total projects