Department of Chemistry
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Research Areas

SENSORS & NANOTECHNOLOGY
Observation has always been the key component in scientific discoveries and advancements. In the previous century, discoveries were limited to the micro scale on account of the non-availability of electron microscopy and other tools to explore smaller dimensions. The modern era has seen nano-world applications embrace man’s life in different forms, starting from mobile phone technology to cancer treatment. In this context, sensors help us in observing the changes of a particular parameter of a system. In other words, sensors translate the message from science to a common language. In this broad framework, we intend to explore the possibilities of next generation sensors.
The department has the following sub-focus areas under Sensors & Nanotechnology:
PLASMONIC SENSORS
RESEARCH SUMMARY
  • The ongoing research in the department is in the broad field of template assisted nanoparticle assembly. Research is directed towards the well-defined assembly of nanoparticle clusters with control over the aggregation number and aggregate structure. This is being done in order to exploit the interesting optical properties that metal nanoparticle clusters exhibit like plasmonic enhancements and hybridized resonances as predicted by theory and other experiments. The use of such nanoclusters in the development of plasmonic nanosensors based on surface plasmon resonance and surface plasmon-coupled emission is envisaged. Currently, the department working on applications related to biomedical diagnostics and point-of-care devices. A new ‘Plasmonics Lab’ has been established to augment future research in nanoplasmonic applications.
MAJOR RESEARCH ACTIVITIES
Research Projects
  • Regiospecific functionalization of anisotropic nanoparticles and implications towards generation of plasmonic metal nanoclusters
  • Application of plasmonic technologies and microbes-fortified biosorbents for a low-cost integrated approach to water treatment
Collaborations
  • Dr. Indira Hewlett, CBER/FDA, USA
  • Prof. Govind Rao, University of Maryland Baltimore County
  • Prof. Appa Rao, Clemson University
  • Dr. Shivakiran Bhaktha BN, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
  • Dr. Dinesh Jagadeesan, National Chemical Laboratory, Pune
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BIOSENSORS
RESEARCH SUMMARY
  • Despite significant advances in medical and surgical therapies, morbidity and mortality due to coronary artery disease (CAD) remains high. In India, the burden of CAD is particularly severe, as the disease occurs 1-2 decades earlier and has a 2-4 fold increased mortality rate compared to more European and North American populations. Early onset of CAD (< age 45 years) is particularly common within the Indian population and carries considerable morbidity and economic costs. Lipoprotein associated phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2, a pro inflammatory marker) is a potent pro-inflammatory mediator which plays an important role in the development of coronary atherosclerosis. Lp-PLA2 has significant potential to become an important marker for the early onset of atherosclerosis in Indians. The department’s hypothesis is that the elevated levels of Lp-PLA2 are associated with the early onset CAD in Asian Indians and that evaluating Lp-PLA2 levels will add incremental value to contemporary CAD risk assessment, particularly for the early onset of the disease. This work is in its final phase and the results are being communicated to international peer reviewed journals and conferences.
MAJOR RESEARCH ACTIVITIES
Research Projects
  • Development and validation of an indigenous assay for Lp-PLA2 for early detection of heart disease in young Indians
Collaborations
  • Dr. Vijayalakshmi V, National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad
  • Dr. Srikanth Sola, SSSIHMS, Whitefield, Bangalore
  • Dr. Carani B Sanjeevi, Karolinska Institute, Sweden
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ELECTROCHEMICAL SENSORS
RESEARCH SUMMARY
  • Nanomaterials are widely used in the design and fabrication of sensors because of their facile synthesis, sensitivity, specificity and multiplexing capability. They also exhibit excellent conducting behaviour that makes them potential candidates for electrochemical detection and fuel cell application. Electrochemical deposition of nanoparticles is the predominant synthetic approach apart from various other routes such as pulsed laser ablation and bottom up solution synthesis. In the recent past, the department has synthesized Gold, Platinum and Palladium nanoparticles over graphene and carbon nanotube frameworks. These materials exhibit enhanced electrochemical behaviour in terms of electrocatalysis of alcohols and selective determination of the neurotransmitter dopamine. The department is also working towards the development of a rapid, low-cost electrochemical assay for quantification of HIV p24 levels in clinical specimens by sensitive detection of the HIV p-24 antigen.
MAJOR RESEARCH ACTIVITIES
Collaborations
  • Prof. Lakshminarayanan, Raman Research Institute, Bangalore
  • Prof. S Mitra, New Jersey Institute of Technology, USA
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ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING
RESEARCH SUMMARY
  • Analytical sampling and upcoming laboratory analyses of biological and chemical analytes of interest are the gold standard for environmental and biological monitoring. However, unabated demand for more data and faster acquisition at lower cost, size, and power continue to drive research in all major classes of biological and chemical sensors in environmental monitoring applications. Unlike many sensor arenas, where a dominant technology has taken hold for decades, the best choice for chemical and biological environmental monitoring remains unclear. As a result, research continues across a broad range of sensor classes to find footholds in application-specific tasks.
MAJOR RESEARCH ACTIVITIES
Collaborations
  • Dr. J S Bhargav, Geological Survey of India, Hyderabad
  • Prof. Ram Prabhu, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai
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PHOTONICS
RESEARCH SUMMARY
  • The development of NLO molecules has attracted the spotlight of modern research in view of their impending applications in photonic technologies. Chalcones, a class of organic materials, are attractive for their large second harmonic generation (SHG) efficiencies. The research focuses on the synthesis, characterization, SHG and third order non-linear properties of chalcone and bis-chalcone derivatives for varied photonic applications.
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ENHANCED ENERGY STORAGE DEVICES
RESEARCH SUMMARY
  • Self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) on metal oxide nanoparticles like titania (TiO2) aids in the reduction of surface conductivity of nanoparticles and allows reliable dielectric characterization like dielectric permittivity determination of nanoparticles. Impedance characterization results using slurry methodology in host liquid, butoxyethanol (BOE) illustrates the differences in the electrical resistances of nanoTiO2 with and without SAMs. Various organophosphates (MDDP – monododecyl phosphate; PP – phenyl phosphate; NP – Naphthyl phosphate) are employed for obtaining SAMs on nanoTiO2. The SAM treated nanoparticles will be dispersed in polymer matrix for designing high energy density polymer nanocomposite dielectrics.
MAJOR RESEARCH ACTIVITIES
research Projects
  • Develop Interfacial Chemistry Based Structure-Property Relationship in Nanodielectric Composites for Enhanced Energy Storage Applications
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BIO-INSPIRED APPLICATIONS
The dawn and progress of human civilization across ages was deeply inspired by the interplay of living systems in nature. In particular, the role that biomolecules played in the evolution of various organisms with increasing complexities is something that needs to be studied and applied for a sustainable world. Our concentrated and integrated focus is to study at a fundamental level, the generation of these biomolecules via living systems and understand the mechanisms using modelling and structured design and find applications in health, chemical, fuels and polymer industries.
The department has the following sub-focus areas under Bio-inspired Applications:
BIOPROCESSING
RESEARCH SUMMARY
  • Extensive utilization of definite fossil fuels and associated environmental problems, such as air, land and water pollution and global warming, has paved the way for research and development on renewable fuels. The department’s current research has been focused on the replacement of the non-renewable fossil fuels such as gasoline and diesel, with biofuels and bio-based products. Towards this direction, the research on biofuels production has been governed by the choice of microbes, substrate and the technique, that play an important role in the biological conversion of lignocellulosic biomass (LCBs). An innovative and first of its kind study has focused towards enriched cellulolytic enzyme production using a combination of endophytic, epiphytic, micro and macro fungal cultures. A novel optical quantification technique to measure fungal growth on agar plates has also been developed. A new Molecular Bioprocessing Lab has been established to boost future research in integrated bioprocessing and bio-based materials.
MAJOR RESEARCH ACTIVITIES
Research Projects
  • Application of plasmonic technologies and microbes-fortified biosorbents for efficient integrated bioprocessing
Collaborations
  • Dr. Praveen V Vadlani, Kansas State University, USA
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BIOCOMPOSITE BASED TISSUE ENGINEERING
RESEARCH SUMMARY
  • Polymeric scaffolds using biopolymers have been synthesized by the department for tissue engineering applications. We have synthesized cross-linked homogeneous blends by employing Alginate (Alg) and Chitosan (CS) (6:1). The scaffolds are being investigated for use in chondrocyte cell culture. Effect of chondrocyte cell culture on the biopolymers with and without curcumin is also under investigation.
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BIOACTIVE MOLECULES
RESEARCH SUMMARY
  • Many of the modern drugs being used at present are derived from natural sources. Identification of bioactive molecules from natural sources involve the steps of extraction, separation, purification, evaluation of their medicinal efficacy and structural characterization. The search for new drugs, especially from natural sources such as plants, algae, fungi and also semi-synthetic ones are being explored.
MAJOR RESEARCH ACTIVITIES
Collaborations
  • Dr. Nanduri Srinivas, National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, Hyderabad
  • Dr. Meera Pandey, Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, Bangalore
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MOLECULAR MODELLING & DRUG DESIGN
RESEARCH SUMMARY
  • The increased potential of advanced computational technology helps the development of drug design. Exploiting the quantized fundamental parameterization of atomic/molecular properties, this modern area of research has optimized the economy of time, effort and resources. The department’s research effectively and innovatively explores this tool unto in silico drug design of various synthetic and semi-synthetic analogs of medicinal extracts. Further, this tool is also used to understand the thermodynamics and kinetics of various reactions therein.
MAJOR RESEARCH ACTIVITIES
Collaborations
  • Dr. Sreedhara R Voleti, INDRAS Pvt. Ltd., Hyderabad
  • Dr. Ramesh Sistla, Syngene International Ltd, Bangalore
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