Project Proposals

List of Project Proposals for the year 2021-22 

Sl. No.

Project Code

Faculty Name

Unit

Project Title

1

BS-A

Dr. Bivas Saha

CPMU

Phase-change Materials for New Device

The project aims to develop new phase change materials for emerging devices. Intricate relationship between structural, electronic and magnetic phase transition will be investigated.

2

BS-B

Dr. Bivas Saha

CPMU

Transdimensional Plasmonics

The project aims to study the fundamental physics and materials science issues related to the transdimensional plasmonic materials. The project aims to develop new materials and devices for transdimensional plasmonic application

3

TKM-A

Prof. Tapas Kumar Maji

CPMU

Post-synthetic modifications in MOFs and porous organic polymers for photocatalytic water and CO2 reduction.

Our research work is focused on developing porous materials based on robust, efficient and cheap photocatalysts to realize visible-light-driven water and CO2 reduction reactions. We engineered pore surfaces of porous materials by grafting suitable chromophoric molecule through post-synthetic modification toward efficient photocatalytic performances.We are also involved in fabricating charge-transfer regulated coordination polymer gels wherein controlling the morphology of the self-assembled architecture are proven to be incredibly important to regulate the photocatalytic performances. Thus, in the broader picture, we are consistently looking to address a global concern of the energy crisis in an environmentally benign manner by developing novel porous materials as efficient photocatalysts.

4

TKM-B

Prof. Tapas Kumar Maji

CPMU

Electroactive porous organic polymers as bi/tri-functional electrocatalyst and as cathode materials for metal-air batteries.

We are involved in designing and developing novel redox-active porous organic polymers comprising conjugated microporous organic polymers (CMPs) and covalent organic frameworks (COFs). These materials not only displayed metal-free electrocatalytic property for oxygen reduction (ORR) as well as hydrogen /oxygen evolution reaction (HER and OER) but also found to be capable of in-situ stabilization of metal nanoparticles. The resulting composites have displayed electrocatalytic activity toward oxygen evolution reaction (OER) in addition to the ORR and HER, and thus, metal-air batteries were fabricated with them. In short, we perform a comprehensive study on designing and developing novel electroactive porous polymer materials and utilize them further to fabricate cheap and stable metal-air batteries for practical utility.

5

KSN-A

Prof. K.S. Narayan

CPMU

Interfacing Cells-Tissue-Organs with Bio-compatible Organic Electronics.

The possibility of seamlessly integrating sensory organs with device components and circuits consisting of soft electronic materials on biocompatible substrates offers useful options to the monitor-enhance-augment natural response to various stimuli. The optoelectronic properties of these tailored-materials and substrates have recently been utilized in our laboratory as active triggers for neuronal stimulation. We have pioneered the use of these novel optoelectronic features of organic semiconductors as an interface to evoke neuronal signals (from retinal ganglion cells) in a blind retina of a developing chick-embryo. This possibility of triggering neuronal signals in a blind retina has opened up a route for utilizing these (intelligent) structures as a prosthetic element. These promising initial results require a systematic deeper understanding to enable promising route for vision restoration targeted in eye disorders such as retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration. Research problems and themes around this topic are also currently being pursued. Light-triggered biophysical events, electric field changes, and recordings are a common thread in many of these activities. These range of topic are truly interdisciplinary where multiple expertise and skillsets are put to use. Students who are interested in this topic and can contribute can be from any discipline and interests such as biomedical, biophysics, cell culture and development, neuroscience, small-signal measurement and analysis, microscopy, statistical techniques are welcome.

6

KSN-B

Prof. K.S. Narayan

CPMU

Predicting the Thirty Year Performance of Solar Panels by Measurements and Modelling.

Large-scale deployment of photovoltaic (PV) panels across the world has led to a need for stringent tests and quality checks so that the PV panels can last the expected promise and performance for thirty years. Besides the economic implications, non-performing panels inundating our landscape and rooftops can become a huge potential environmental issue. A common range of methods like electroluminescence (EL), PL, high-resolution optical images, and thermography is utilized to identify the typical defects and their possible origin. We realize the inadequacy of these methods to completely sort the performance parameters with the obtained images. In this line of pursuit, we have introduced a method calledthe light-beam induced current (LBIC) scanning technique, which can be utilized at large panel-dimension scales at reasonably high speed. LBIC is inherently quantitative and well suited to identify microscopic defects since it involves measuring the photocurrent in response to a local light beam. Besides building and fabricating these imaging scanners, we develop circuit-models to realistically represent the devices. Students who are interested in this topic and can contribute can be from any discipline and interests such as solar-panel analysis and assessment, signal measurement and analysis, imaging and microscopy, (big) data analysis and handling, machine-learning skills are welcome.

7

TNCV-A

Prof. T.N.C. Vidya

EIBU

Simulations to understand male elephant social organization

8

KRS-A

Prof. K.R.Sreenivas

EMU

Experimental Fluid Mechanics and Thermal Sciences.

 

 

 

 

 

9

PS-A

Dr. Premkumar Senguttuvan

ICMS

Towards Realization of High Energy Density Phosphate Cathodes for Sodium-ion Batteries.

The pursuit on high energy density cathodes for sodium-ion battery application has become intense in order to improve the energy density overall battery system. Phosphate cathodes are preferred due to their high intercalation voltages, chemical and thermal stabilities. However, they suffer from limited storage capacities owing to electrochemical inactive phosphate units. A plausible way to improve their storage capacity is to introduce multi-electron redox centers in the framework. Herein, we will attempt to introduce multi-electron redox centers in NASICON class of materials through alio- and iso-valent chemical substitutions. These substitutions are expected to tune electronic and (local)crystal structures, thereby enhancing overall performance metrics of cathode materials. References : 1) C. Masquelier, L. Croguennec, Chem. Rev. (2013), 113, 6552. 2) S. Ghosh, N. Barman, M. Mazumder, S. K. Pati, G.Rousse, P. Senguttuvan, Adv. Energy Mater. (2019), 1902918.

10

PS-B

Dr. Premkumar Senguttuvan

ICMS

Development of Long-Life Zn Metal Anode for Rechargeable Aqueous Zinc- metal Batteries.

Zinc metal anode has several advantages including higher volumetric energy density (5854 mAh L-1) and suitable equilibrium potential of (-0.76 V vs SHE) which enables safer operation in aqueous electrolytes.1 However, its practical application faces several issues including 1) dendrite formation, 2) Zn corrosion and hydrogen evolution.2 Whilst the former issue results in lower Coulombic efficiencies and short-circuit of battery, the latter generates “dead zinc” which causes cycling instability and battery inflation/electrolyte leakage. This project will survey various classes of additives to tune the aqueous Zn2+-ion electrolyte properties, thereby enabling long cycle life Zn metal anodes. References: S. Guo, L. Qin, T. Zhang, M. Zhou, J. Zhou, G. Fang and S. Liang, Energy Storage Mater., (2021), 34, 545–562; Q. Yang, Q. Li, Z. Liu, D. Wang, Y. Guo, X. Li, Y. Tang, H. Li, B. Dong and C. Zhi, Adv. Mater., 2020, 32, 2001854.

11

HB-A

Prof. Hemalatha Balaram

MBGU

Investigating the molecular basis thermostability in an archaeal enzyme.

Proteins from thermophiles exhibit remarkable structural and functional stability even at elevated temperatures. Earlier studies from the laboratory have shown that a unique peptide backbone post-translational modification (PTM) imparts hyperthermostability to the protein, glutamine amidotransferase from the Archeon Methanocaldococcus jannaschii (Nature Communications 7, 12798 (2016)). Using the recently solved crystal structures of the enzyme, the aim of the study is to identify structural features associated with the PTM that impact hyperthermal stability. Techniques that will be used are site-specific mutagenesis, protein purification, circular dichroism, mass spectrometry, and x-ray crystallography.

12

HB-B

Prof. Hemalatha Balaram

MBGU

Characterization of transporters that mediate metabolite transfer across cytosol and mitochondrion in the malaria parasite plasmodium

Malaria caused by the protozoan parasite Plasmodium remains a major clinical burden due to the emergence of drug resistant strains. This parasite exhibits many unique features with regard to its cellular metabolism that can be exploited as new drug targets. The metabolic pathways that we have been studying have certain reactions occurring in the cytosol and others in the mitochondrion, and hence require active transport of metabolites across the two compartments. The aim of the study would be to characterize and examine the role of specific transporters in both P. berghei and P. falciparum using tools of biochemistry, reverse genetics and molecular biology.

13

AJ-A

Prof. Amitabh Joshi

EIBU

Male-female coevolution in the context of inter-locus sexual conflict

Studies of various aspects of reproductive behaviour and success in four sets of forward and reverse selected fruitfly populations wherein forward selection for rapid development to adulthood, and for early reproduction, led to the evolution of reduced sexual conflict levels. Using populations with selection reversed for either just rapid development, or for both rapid development and early reproduction, the project aims at extending our earlier studies that tried to differentiate the effects of the two selection pressures (rapid development versus early reproduction) on sexual conflict levels in the original forward selected populations.

14

AJ-B

Prof. Amitabh Joshi

EIBU

Reproductive behaviour and success in early versus late enclosing individuals from fruit fly cultures subjected to larval crowding at high food amounts

Past work in our lab has shown that eclosion from pupae is spread out over several hundred hours in fruitfly populations subjected to larval crowding at high food amounts, unlike what is seen when the crowding isexperienced at low food amounts. With such a large eclosion spread, early eclosing and late eclosing individuals experience very different ecological conditions with respect to effective competition while feeding and metabolic waste concentrations in the surface layer of food where feeding activity is concentrated. We have earlier seen differences in body size, with early eclosing individuals being larger adults than late eclosing ones. This project is a follow-up to those studies, to examine whether the differences in early and late eclosing individuals also have consequences for reproductive behaviour and success, thereby potentially contributing to differences in levels of sexual selection experienced by early versus late eclosing individuals, and whether the pattern of such effects differs between populations adapted for many generations to this form of crowding and their ancestral control populations that are routinely maintained at very moderate larval densities.

15

SV-A

Prof. Sheeba Vasu

NSU

Gap junctions in Drosophila circadian pacemaker circuitry

Drosophila circadian pacemaker neuronal circuitry is extensively studied but the role of electrical synapses composed of gap junction proteins Innexins is relatively poorly understood. Recently we have found that Innexin2 protein regulates the speed of the circadian clock (Ramakrishnan & Sheeba 2021, iScience).  The project will involve genetic, behavioural, immunohistochemical studies which are aimed towards clarifying our current understanding of the involvement of Gap junction genes – Innexin1-8.

16

SV-B

Prof. Sheeba Vasu

NSU

Fly movement patterns – computational simulations and analyses of fly tracking data

This project aims to develop a computational model to describe walking patterns of Drosophila across time based on videographic data of real fly movement in a 2D arena. Behavioural experiments will also be conducted with different fly strains to test the ability of the model to predict fly movement patterns. Familiarity with Drosophila biology is not required but basic knowledge of programming (preferably MATLAB) and a good understanding of basic statistical analyses is essential for this project.

17

JPC-A

Prof. James P.Chelliah

NSU

Investigating the dysfunction of kainite receptors in the pathophysiology of Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Kainate receptors are one of the ionotropic receptors that regulate synaptic plasticity. Activation of these receptors is necessary for accurate ability to learn and recollect learnt information. However, it is unclear how mutations in genes encoding proteins contribute to the pathophysiology of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Using the Syngap1 heterozygous mutant mouse model and electrophysiology, we will investigate whether Kainate receptors are impaired in this mutation and how it may contribute to the pathophysiology observed in these mice.

18

EM-A

Prof. M. Eswaramoorthy

CPMU

Next generation electrocatalysis: Chemical assisted hydrogen evolution.

Hydrogen is a green fuel with high energy density and zero carbon footprints. Electrochemical route for synthesis of highly pure hydrogen fuel avoids the formation of by products like CO, CO2 (produced during commercial route of steam reforming) which adversely affect the activity and stability of electrodes in the fuel cell. Further, the oxygen evolution reaction occurring at the anode during water splitting primarily contributes to the high overpotentials (extra energy) of overall process. In order to overcome the high energy usage, chemical assisted hydrogen evolution can be employed wherein hydrogen will evolve at the cathode with simultaneous production of value-added chemicals (at the anode) at very low potentials. Various noble and non-noble metal-based catalysts have been studied for synthesis of high demand value-added chemicals like benzaldehyde, glucaric acid, acetaldehyde, etc.  Considering this aspect, the major focus of this project will be designing electrocatalysts for oxidation of alcohols (aliphatic and aromatic), and biomass derived chemicals which not only show high performance towards HER but also show feasibility towards synthesis of economically viable and high demand products with high yield and selectivity.

References:

  1. H. Huang, C. Yu, X. Han, H. Huang, Q. Wei, W. Guo, Z. Wang, J. Qiu, Energy Environ. Sci., 2020, 13, 4990
  2. WJ. Liu, Z. Xu, D. Zhao, XQ. Pan, HC. Li, X. Hu, ZY. Fan, WK. Wang, GH. Zhao, S. Jin, G. W. Huber, HQ. Yu, Nat commun., 2020, 11, 265

19

EM-B

Prof. M. Eswaramoorthy

CPMU

Design of efficient electrocatalyst as cathode for Zin-air Battery

Our ever-growing energy demand has spurred the increase in development of energy storage devices.  Li-ion batteries are the leading energy storage solution but is still suffering from insufficient energy density (<350 W h kg−1), high cost ($150 kW−1 h−1) and potential safety risk. ZAB is larger theoretical energy density (1353 W h kg−1 excluding oxygen), low cost (<$100 kW−1 h−1) and inherent safety.[1] Zn–air batteries (ZAB) are arguably the only technically and economically viable solution for fast-charging Electric vehicles in the future. ZAB constitutes air cathode (electrocatalyst) where oxygen reduction (during discharging) and oxygen evolution reaction (during charging) occur. But the pursuit of electrically rechargeable ZAB pose limitation using state-of-the-art cathode electrocatalysts due to low energy efficiency on cycling under real working conditions. We plan to develop low loading of metal adhered on low-cost carbon material for a cyclable air cathode under meaningful test conditions.[2] Also, understanding of electrocatalyst during charge-discharge will be well studied via different in-situ studies. Resolving this roadblock can help us move a step closer to large-scale industrial and commercial deployment.

References:

[1]      J. Zhang, Q. Zhou, Y. Tang, L. Zhang, Y. Li, Chem. Sci. 2019, 10, 8924–8929.

[2]      X. Zhu, C. Hu, R. Amal, L. Dai, X. Lu, Energy Environ. Sci. 2020, 13, 4536–4563.

20

KB-A

Prof. Kanishka Biswas

NCU

Thermoelectrics: Converting Waste Heat to Electricity.

Nearly 65 % of utilized energy is being lost as waste heat. Thermoelectric materials can convert waste heat into electrical energy, and thus can play an important role in future energy management and energy crisis. Current challenges in the thermoelectric research include: (a) synthesis of new high performance thermoelectric materials, (b) decoupling of electronic and thermal transport, and (c) module/device development for power generation.Here, we will be designing new materials and enhancing the thermoelectric properties of inorganic solids by reducing thermal conductivity and improving the power factor, thereby increasing the dimensionless figure of merit, zT.

21

KB-B

Prof. Kanishka Biswas

NCU

Water Purification: Capturing Heavy Metal Ions from Polluted Water.

Clean water is of vital importance for humans; still, more than one billion people lack access to it. Rapid industrialization and the development of nuclear energy have led to the discharge of heavy metal ions and radionuclides into water resources.Current challenges in capturing these toxic metal ions include synthesis and design of prototype cartridge with a novel stable low-cost material which can work in wide pH range with fast kinetics, large adsorption capacity, and is capable of removing heavy metal ions selectively from water in ppb level, which is below the drinking water tolerance limits given by USA-EPA government. In this project, we will be designing new two and three-dimensional materials to capture arsenic, lead, cadmium, mercury and other toxic ions from water and study the adsorption properties in detail.

22

SJB-A

Prof. Subi J. George

NCU

Morphological control over higher hierarchical structures of supramolecular polymers through realization of secondary nucleation event

In recent years supramolecular polymers emerge as an extreme interest to the science community for their wide range of applications in optoelectronics, photovoltaics, nanotechnology and photocatalysis. For that, it requires an advance level of structural and morphological control over the polymers for tuning their desired properties. Over the last few years of our understanding on the primary and secondary nucleation events that occur during the polymerization process, reveals exceptional possibility to tune structure and morphology of supramolecular polymers, which is other way not possible to achieve. In this project we are going to have more deeper understanding on the role of primary and secondary nucleation events during the supramolecular polymerization process to get desired morphological control (such as making coaxial heterostructures, organic p-n junctions) and use them in photocatalysis, optical wave-guiding and optoelectronic materials. This project summarises the challenge of combining the design of novel molecules, synthesis and elucidating their properties in real-time applications. The students in this project will be trained in the research areas of organic synthesis and various spectroscopic (UV, PL and CD) and microscopic techniques. References: J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2021, 143, 11777–11787; J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2022, 144, 11306–11315

23

SJB-B

Prof. Subi J. George

NCU

Development of Arylene Diimide Based Phosphors for Ambient Triplet Harvesting

Organic molecules that can emit from their triplet states have received considerable attention in the recent past due to their applications in multiple fields such as OLEDs, sensors, and so on. Added advantages offered by phosphorescence imaging that outweigh the shortcomings of fluorescence imaging further augments their importance in biological realm as well. Over the last few years, we have been working in developing suitable phosphors with wide range of emissions and long-lived triplets by adopting various strategies such as crystallization, using polymers and inorganic scaffolds. In this project, we intend to develop organic phosphors based on arylene diimides by appropriate structural modifications. For further details, refer to our latest publications: Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2021, 60, 12323-12327; J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2022, 44, 10854-10861; Chem.

Sci. 2022, 13, 10011–10019. Students in this project will be trained in the synthesis of organic molecules, and their spectroscopic characterization including UV-Vis absorption and fluorescence techniques.

24

SSA-A

Dr. Sarit S. Agasti

NCU

Super-Resolution Fluorescence Imaging.

Fluorescence microscopy is a powerful tool for exploring molecules in biological system.Specifically the invention of super-resolution microscopy techniques enabled visualization of molecules beyond the diffraction limit of light. However, currently available techniques are either difficult to implement or require expensive instrumentation. We are interested in developing new super-resolution imaging strategies based on chemical probes (for example, DNA) that are easy to implement and provide high multiplexing capability. This project will deal with single molecule image acquisition and subsequent development of image processing algorithm.

25

SSA-B

Dr. Sarit S. Agasti

NCU

Selective Chemical Reactions in Living System.

Performing selective chemistries in biological systems such as in cells or in living organisms is a challenging but highly functional objective. The ability to chemically conjugate functional groups such as fluorochromes and affinity tags in a site-specific manner would allow a wide variety of biomolecules to be specifically labelled and imaged in their native cellular environment, providing an alternative to genetically encoded fluorescent protein based method.This project will be oriented towards developing new synthetic chemistry concepts for labelling and tracking specific biomolecules as they function in vivo. We will be designing these strategies based on bioorthogonal reactions; broadly refer to the chemical reactions that can be performed in living systems without interference from the biological milieu.

26 BK-A Dr. Kushagra Bansal MBGU

Regulators of genome superstructure in the immune system

The primary focus on this project is to understand the molecular basis of immune cell development and function. The molecular regulators of genome superstructure have been implicated in various immunological disorders; however, much remains unknown regarding their role in the immune system. We seek to answer this question using laboratory mouse as a model system. This project will involve experiments such as flow cytometry, imaging-based analysis of immune cell differentiation and analysis of omics data.

27

NSV-A

Prof. N.S. Vidhyadhiraja

TSU

Exploring Hubbard clusters using exact diagonalization methods.

We have been working on developing a Green's function based method for combining with density functional theory based methods to investigate strongly correlated electronic materials from first principles. In this context, one of the aspects of such a method involves the use of exact diagonalization for evaluating the exact Green's function of few-atom multi-orbital clusters with electron-electron interactions. The student will be working on developing such a method.

28

KJ-A

Prof. Kavita Jain

TSU

Traveling waves in evolutionary dynamics

Traveling wave solutions of certain partial differential equations are those that travel with some speed while maintaining the shape of the solution and arise in various contexts ranging from reaction-diffusion systems and evolving populations. The broad aim of this project is to review the known theory and its connection to experiments and extend the previous results to new situations. Specifically, we are interested in understanding how the spatial structure modifies the signatures of selection in stochastic models of evolution.

29 TGR-A Prof. T. Govindaraju NCU

Multipronged chemical biology approaches to tackle Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder and a major contributor to dementia cases worldwide. AD is clinically characterized by learning, memory, and cognitive deficits. Multipronged and holistic approaches are pertinent to understand disease pathology, targeting multiple biomarkers and targets for developing effective diagnosis and therapeutics. Drug discovery efforts targeting multifaceted toxicity involving protein aggregation, metal toxicity, oxidative stress, mitochondrial damage, and neuroinflammation among others are pursued. Our research efforts are focused on diverse but integrated strategies to understand the disease pathology, discovery of new biomarkers and drug targets, rationally design multifunctional small molecule and peptide-based modulators targeting multiple pathological factors as future diagnostic and drug development strategies.

30 TGR-B Prof. T. Govindaraju NCU

Theranostics

Theranostics essentially denote the concept of combining therapeutic and diagnostic modalities to provide a holistic solution for disease management. Theranostics is also referred to as diagnostic therapy, wherein molecular and material tools for non-invasive treatment and diagnostic imaging are strategically embedded in a single system, which facilitate disease staging, treatment planning and therapeutic efficacy. Theranostics anticipated to revolutionize the practice and adaptation of personalized medicine to tackle chronic disease conditions like cancer and neuronal disorders. Our research projects are aimed at developing small molecule-based theranostic tools.

31 RV-A Prof. Ranjani Viswanatha ICMS

Magneto-optical properties of Cu doped CdZnSe quantum dot

Magneto-optics is the use of magnetic field to influence light propagation. An understanding of the magneto-optical behaviour in quantum dots can provide specific information regarding the energetically accessible multiple spin state configurations of the semiconductor materials leading to possible spintronic applications. In this work, we plan to study the properties of Cu doped CdZnSe quantum dots. Specifically, we intend to look for effect of optical perturbation on the two spin states producing magnetically inequivalent excitonic states and their effects on spintronic applications as well as photo-induced magnetism.

32 RV-B Prof. Ranjani Viswanatha NCU

Synthesis and Optical Properties of dual doped lead free halide perovskite nanocrystals

Recently lead-free halide double perovskite nanocrystals are emerging as an alternative to lead halide-based perovskites due to lead toxicity. Amongst all lead-free halide double perovskite NCs although Cs2AgInCl6 is extensively studied. However, transition metal doping in these nanocrystals has not been explored. Transition Metal doping is known to add several properties that are otherwise unavailable, by introducing midgap states in the host material. In this project, we plan to

33 AS-A Prof. A. Sundaresan CPMU

Study of magnetically low-dimensional quantum materials

Quantum materials are vaguely described as materials that do not follow the law of classic physics, e.g., quantum spin liquids, topological materials, etc. These materials can lead to the realization of many novel technologies, such as quantum computing, quantum communications, and highly encrypted quantum information. In this project, we will focus on 4f-elements-based low-dimensional quantum materials as a reduction in the degree of freedom for magnetic interactions can provide an ideal platform to explore exotic phases of quantum materials. Furthermore, a Jeff = ½ ground state can be realized in rare-earth-based systems due to the combined effect of crystal field and spin-orbit coupling, which is a prerequisite for various new quantum states.

34 AS-B Prof. A. Sundaresan CPMU

Exploring new superconductors

Even after hundred years of discovery, understanding the physics of superconductivity remains a challenge. The huge applications of superconductors have been pushing the scientific community to understand the complex physics hidden there as well as looking for new superconductors with higher superconducting temperatures. This project offers an opportunity to synthesize new superconductors and investigate the properties of a few chalcogenides and alloys from bulk and microscopic perspective. This project includes synthesis through ARC Melting, Solid State Synthesis, High-Pressure Synthesis, bulk characterization by X-ray diffraction, magnetization, resistivity, hall effect, and specific heat capacity.

35 GUK-A Prof. G. U. Kulkarni CPMU

Building spiking circuits for AI systems

Project work involves designing and making pulsing circuitry to feed to neuromorphic devices. Shaping the pulses and output signal processing leading to prototype development will be part of the project

36 GUK-B Prof. G. U. Kulkarni CPMU

Nano soldering of circuits

Using a sophisticated instrument, circuits are to be built while drawing external connections using nano soldering techniques. Exploratory ideas of adopting self-assembly approaches are to be attempted.

37 RM-A Prof. Ravi Manjithaya MBGU

Role of mitochondria in health and disease

Mitochondria are vital double membrane enclosed organelles devoted to energy production, redox homeostasis, metabolism, innate immunity, and apoptosis among many others. There are several processes in a cell that ensure the persistence of a healthy mitochondria pool. One such process is “Mitophagy”, a selective autophagy process involved in removing damaged mitochondria. 

Mitochondrial diseases are defined as a spectrum of clinically heterogenous genetic disorders caused by mutations in genes, either nuclear or mitochondrial, that encodes mitochondrial proteins. Our aim is to understand how autosomal dominant pathogenic variants of these genes affect mitochondrial function and mitophagy.

Site-directed mutagenesis and cloning strategies will be adopted to produce the point mutations of the respective genes following which, they will be tested on cell lines.  Additionally, biochemical and fluorescence microscopy-based approaches will be used to detect the progression of mitophagy and changes in mitochondrial morphology.

38 JH-A Prof. Jayanta Haldar NCU

Development of metal-chelating small antibacterial molecules which target multi-drug resistant bacteria

The increasing prevalence of antimicrobial resistance and complicated infections has highlighted the need to explore for new therapeutic approaches. The aim of this project will be to develop metal-chelating synthetic small molecules which can target bacterial cell envelope as well as key bacterial resistance elements such as antibiotic-hydrolysing enzymes. The molecular design will incorporate features to ensure the high selectivity for bacterial killing over mammalian cells. These molecules will be synthesised through simple chemistry, purified, and characterised. Based on preliminary antibacterial activity and toxicity, lead molecule will be identified, which will then be tested for its detailed antibacterial activity against complicated infection phenotypes such as biofilms, metabolically repressed stationary phase and persister cells, intracellular bacteria, etc. The preliminary mechanism of action will also be investigated through biophysical studies.

39 JH-B Prof. Jayanta Haldar NCU

Development of antibacterial-hemostatic hydrogels to tackle deep-tissue infections

The complicated nature of deep-tissue infections, the problems arising due to blood loss and delayed healing, coupled with the possibility of infection by AMR-resistant pathogens calls for the development of multi-functional biomaterials which can be used as anti-infective coatings for the wounds. Towards this goal, this project will aim to develop synthetic biocompatible polymers with potent antimicrobial activity. Following synthesis, characterisation and preliminary antimicrobial testing, best polymers will be identified and used for preparing a wound-healing haemostatic hydrogel. The hydrogel will incorporate components which possess haemostasis and angiogenesis properties. This hydrogel will be characterised, and its mechanical and biocompatible properties will be assessed. Following this, the hydrogel will be tested for its ability to show anti-infective and haemostatic properties.

40 BKS-A Dr. Bani Kanta Sarma NCU

Understanding the stabilities of polyproline helices

The tertiary amide bond of proline (Pro) can adopt cis conformation more readily than the secondary amide bonds of other naturally occurring amino acids. Because of the facile cis-trans isomerization of the Pro amide bond, poly-Pro (poly-P) tracts can adopt either polyproline I (PPI, all cis amide) or polyproline II (PPII, all trans amide) helical conformation in solution in a solvent-dependent manner. Poly-P often forms left-handed PPII helical geometry in aqueous and other polar solvents such as trifluoroethanol but prefer a more compact right-handed PPI helical geometry in less polar and hydrophobic solvents such as n-propanol and other aliphatic alcohols. Unfortunately, unlike the α-helices and β-sheets, the origin of stabilities of PPI and PPII helices are poorly understood. We are focused on getting molecular level understanding of the conformational properties of PP helices through the design and synthesis of short poly-P tracts.

41 BKS-B Dr. Bani Kanta Sarma NCU

Rational design of synthetic collagen mimics for biomedical applications

Collagen is the most abundant protein in animals and constitute ~70 percent of the dry weight of human skin. Abnormalities in collagen structures are associated with a wide variety of human diseases including arthritis. Collagen is useful in the regeneration of damaged tissue such as nerve, bone, skin, or vascular tissues. While natural collagen has many clinical advantages for such applications including biocompatibility, the use of human and animal-derived collagen presents potential hazards, especially the transmission of infectious agents from donor to donee. Therefore, simplified peptides or peptidomimetic structures having collagen-like properties for similar clinical applications present attractive alternatives. Our group is interested in strategies to design and synthesize hyperstable artificial collagen mimics and their self-assembled hierarchical structures such as nanofibers and hydrogels with potential biomedical applications.