Dr. Keshav Dahal

Image Keshav Dahal
Research Scientist
  • Crop Stress Physiology
  • Adaptattion/Acclimation to Environmental Stresses
  • Dought and Heat Stress under increasing CO2., 
  • High-Throughput Phenomics

Current research and/or projects

  • High-Throughput Phenotyping of Potatoes for Drought Tolerance: More Crop per Drop 
  • Physiology of Verticillium Wilt Resistance in Potatoes.   
  • Potatoes under Increasing CO2 and Drought 

Research and/or project statements

  • Identification and characterization of potato genotypes that exhibit enhanced capacity for drought tolerance and tuber yield.
  • Identification of drought- related physiological and biochemical traits in potatoes.
  • Application of hyperspectral reflectance as a high-throuput phenotyping tool for proxy estimation of leaf physiological and biochemical traits.
  • Unraveling the physiological mechanism of Verticillium wilt resistance in potato plants.
  • Understanding the effects of elevated CO2 on potato plant growth and tuber yield.

Professional activities / interests

  • Adaptation/acclimation to environmental stresses such as drought, heat, nutrient stresses.
  • High-Throughput Phenotyping of leaf physiological and biochemical traits. 
  • Remote sensing of crop health and yield prediction using Hyperspectral Imaging.
  • Improving light utilization efficiency in to biomass and crop yield.


Education and awards


  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Toronto, 2017
  • PhD in Plant Biology, Western University, London, 2012
  • M. Sc. Ag. University of Bonn, Germany, 2004
  • B.Sc.Ag. Tribhuwan University, Nepal


  • George Duff Travel Bursaries  Canada, 2015 and 2016.
  • Western Graduate Research Scholarship, Western University, London, 2007-2012.
  • Dr. Irene Uchida Fellowship in Life sciences, Western University, London, 2011.
  • Green Crop Network Travel Award, Canada, 2007-2011.
  • German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Award, Germany, 2006.
  • Europe-Asia Link Award, 2005-2006.
  • Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Fellowship, 2005 (declined).
  • Ministry of Agriculture, Government of Egypt Fellowship, 2005 (declined). 
  • German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) scholarship, Germany, 2002-2004.
  • University Merit Scholarships while pursuing B.Sc.Ag. in Nepal.

International experience and/or work

  • Agriculture Officer, Ministry of Agriculture, Nepal, 2006
  • Project Cycle Management, Humbold University, Germany. 2006.
  • Basic Soil Parameters, University of Kiel, Germany, 2005

Key publications

For a complete list of publications, please visit: AAFC Online

Peer - Review Journal Articles

  • Dahal K, Li XQ, Tai H, Creelman A, Bizimungu B (2019) Improving potato stress tolerance and tuber yield under climate change scenario – a current overview. Front. Plant Sci. 10:563. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2019.00563
  • Dahal K, Vanlerberghe GC (2018) Growth at elevated CO2 requires acclimation of the respiratory chain to support photosynthesis. Plant Physiol 178:82-100.
  • Dahal K, Vanlerberghe GC (2018) Improved chloroplast energy balance during water deficit enhances plant growth: more crop per drop. J Exp Bot 69:1183-1197.
  • Dahal K, Vanlerberghe GC (2017) Alternative oxidase respiration maintains both mitochondrial and chloroplast function during drought. New Phytol 213:560-571.
  • Dahal K, Martyn GD, Alber NA,Vanlerberghe GC (2017) Coordinated regulation of photosynthetic and respiratory components necessary to maintain chloroplast energy balance in varied growth conditions. J Exp Bot 68:657-671.
  • Hüner NPA, Dahal K, Bode R, Kurepin LV, Ivanov AG (2016) Photosynthetic Acclimation, Vernalization, Crop Productivity and ‘the Grand Design of Photosynthesis. J  Plant Physiol 203:29-43.
  • Vanlerberghe GC, Martyn GD, Dahal K (2016) Alternative oxidase: a respiratory electron transport chain pathway essential formaintaining photosynthetic performance during drought stress. Physiol Plant 157:322-337.
  • Dahal K, Martyn GD,VanlerbergheGC (2015) Improved photosynthetic performance during severe drought in Nicotianatabacum overexpressing a non-energy conserving respiratory electron sink. New Phytol 208:382-395.
  • Dahal K, Wang J, Martyn G, Rahimy F,Vanlerberghe GC (2014) Mitochondrial alternative oxidase maintains respiration and preserves photosynthetic capacity during moderate drought in Nicotianatabacum.Plant Physiol 166:1560-1574.
  • Dahal K, Weraduwage SM, Kane K, Rauf SA, Gadapati W, Savitch LV, Singh J, Marillia EF, Taylor, DC, Micallef MC, Knowles V, Plaxton W,  BarronJ,  Sarhan F,  Hüner NPA, Grodzinski B,Micallef BJ (2014) Enhancing biomass production and yield by maintaining enhanced capacity for CO2 uptake in response to elevated CO2. Can J Plant Sci 94: 1075-1083.
  • Cvetkovska M, Dahal K, Jin C, Alber NA, Cheung M,Vanlerberghe GC (2014) Knockdown of mitochondrial alternative oxidase induces the “stress state” of signaling molecule pools in Nicotianatabacum, with implications for stomatal function. New Phytol 203: 449-61.
  • Hüner NPA, Dahal K, Kurepin LV, Savitch L, Singh J, Ivanov AG, Kane K,Sarhan F (2014) Potential for Increased Photosynthetic Performance and Crop Productivity in Response to Climate Change: role of CBFs and Gibberellic Acid. Front.Chem 2:18.
  • Dahal K, Knowles VL, Plaxton WC, Hüner NPA (2013) Enhancement of photosynthetic performance, water use efficiency and grain yield during long-term growth under elevated CO2 in wheat and rye is growth temperature and cultivar dependent. Env Exp Bot 106:207-220.
  • Kane K, Dahal K, Houde M, Badawi M, HünerNPA,Sarhan F (2013) Long-term Growth under elevated CO2 suppresses biotic stress genes in non-acclimated, but not cold-acclimated winter wheat. Plant Cell Physiol 54: 1751–1768.
  • Hüner NPA, Bode R, Dahal K, Busch F, Possmayer M, Szyszka E, Rosso D, Ensminger I, Krol M, Ivanov AG, Maxwell DP (2013) Shedding some light on cold acclimation, cold adaptation and phenotypic plasticity. Botany 91: 127-136.
  • Kurepin L, Dahal K, Savitch L, Singh J, Bode R, Ivanov A, Hurry V, Huner N (2013) Role of CBFs as integrators of chloroplast redox, phytochrome and plant hormone signaling during cold acclimation. Intern J Mol Sci 14: 12729-12763.
  • Dahal K, Gadapati W, SavitchLV, Singh J, Hüner NPA (2012) Cold acclimation and BNCBF17-over-expression enhance photosynthetic performance and energy conversion efficiency during long-term growth of Brassica napus under elevated CO2 conditions. Planta. 236:1639-1652.
  • Dahal K, Kane K, Gadapati W, Webb E, Savitch LV, Singh J, Sharma P, Sarhan F, Longstaffe FJ, Grodzinski B, Hüner NPA (2012) The effects of phenotypic plasticity on photosynthetic performance in winter rye, winter wheat and Brassica napus. Physiol Plant 144: 169-188.
  • Dahal K, Kane K, Sarhan F, Grodzinski B, Hüner NPA (2012) Cold acclimation inhibits CO2-dependent stimulation of photosynthesis in spring wheat and spring rye. Botany 90: 433-444.
  • Hüner NPA, Bode R, Dahal K, Hollis L, Rosso D (2012) Chloroplast redox imbalance governs phenotypic plasticity: the “grand design of photosynthesis” revisited. Front. Plant Sci. 3:255.

Invited Book Chapters

  • Vanlerberghe GCWang JCvetkovska M, Dahal K (2015) Modes of electron transport chain function during stress: does alternative oxidase respiration aid in balancing cellular energy metabolism during drought stress and recovery? In: Gupta KJMur LAJNeelwarne B (eds) Alternative Respiratory Pathways in Higher Plants. Wiley Blackwell, Hoboken, NJ, USA, pp 157183.
  • Dahal K, Kane K, Sarhan F,Savitch LV, Singh J, Grodzinski B,Hüner NPA (2014) CBFs (C-repeat Binding Factors) Transcription factors as targets for the maintenance of crop yield under sub-optimal growth conditions. in Passarakli, M. (ed.) - Handbook of Plant and Crop Physiology, 3rd Edition, CRC Press, pp. 313-332.
  • Kurepin L, Dahal K , Zaman M, Pharis RP (2013) Interplay between environmental signals and endogenous salicylic acid concentration. In:  Hayat S and Ahmad A (eds) Salicylic Acid – A Plant Hormone. Springer, pp 61-82.

Selected Conference/Seminar Oral Presentations (Total : 40)

  • Dahal K,Creelman A, Tai H, Bizimungu B. High-Throughput Phenotyping of Potato Plants to Screen Drought Tolerance: More Crop per Drop. Northeast Potato Technology Forum. Charlottetown, Canada. March 20-21, 2019.
  • Dahal K, Creelman A, Davidson C, Tai H. Effects of Verticillium dahliae on Photosynthetic Performance and Water Use Efficiency of Potato. Potato Association of America Meeting, Boise, Idaho, USA. July 22-26, 2018.
  • Dahal K, Huner NPA, Vanlerberghe GC. Potential for Improved Crop Productivity in Response to Climate Change. Invited speaker, Biological Seminar Series, Department of Biology, University of New Brunswick, NB, Canada, Feb 02, 2018.
  • Dahal K, Vanlerberghe GC. Alternative oxidase respiration: a mitochondrial approach to improve photosynthetic performance and water use efficiency during drought stress. A joint meeting of the Canadian Society of Plant Biologists and Canadian Association for Plant Biotechnology, Kingston, ON Canada.June 19-21, 2016.
  • Dahal K, Martyn GD,Vanlerberghe GC.Improved photosynthetic performance during severe drought in Nicotiana tabacum overexpressing a non-energy conserving respiratory electron sink. A joint meeting of the Canadian Society of Plant Biologists and Botany USA. Edmonton, Canada.July 25-29, 2015.
  • Dahal K, Bajracharya RM.The effects of land use and management and roles of organic matters on structural stability of soil in different agro-ecosystems of Nepal. University of Kiel, Germany. December 04, 2005.

Selected Poster Presentations (Total : 18)

  • Dahal K. Effects of global warming on potato yield and quality. Open House, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Fredericton, NB, Canada.August 19, 2017.
  • Dahal K, Gadapati W, Savitch LV, Singh J, Sharma P, Grodzinski B, Hüner NPA. The effects of phenotypic plasticity on photosynthetic performance and water use efficiency of Brassica napus at elevated CO2: The role of CBFTranscription Factors. Green Crop Network 5th Annual Meeting, Montreal, Canada.May 3-6, 2011
  • Dahal K, Kane K, Sharma P, Sarhan F, Grodzinski B, Huner NPA. Cold acclimated winter cereals exhibit an enhanced CO2 assimilation under long-term growth at elevated CO2. Joint meeting of the American Society of Plant Biologists and Canadian Society of Plant Physiologists, Montreal, Canada.July 31 - August 4, 2010.
  • Dahal K, Das US, Asch F. Effects of salinity on tiller and leaf number, leaf appearance rate, and leaf duration in irrigated rice. Proceedings of DeutscherTropentag. Technological and Institutional Innovations for Sustainable Rural Development, University of Göttingen, Germany.October 8 - 10, 2003.

Other articles or Websites featuring Dr. Dahal’s Research:

  • PREPARING FOR THE POTATO’S FUTURE: Laying the groundwork to identify traits that will help potato crops face the impacts of climate change, SpudSmart Magazine http://spud smart.com/preparing-potatos-future/
  • Drought-resistant potatoes? This Fredericton research team is on it. Agriculture Today, Spring 2018: 59-60.


  • Adjunct Professor at the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB, Canada
  • Member, Canadian Society of Plant Biologists
  • Member, Canadian Society of Plant Biotechnology
  • Review Editor for the Frontiers in Plant Science 
  • Associate Editor for the Canadian Journal of Plant Science