The major areas of research in the Chemistry discipline at IIT Palakkad are as follows.
Theoretical and Computational Chemistry: The research includes the theoretical study of folding mechanisms and disulfide bond making/breaking mechanisms as those in specific proteins, Calculating and simulating the mechanochemical reactions, theoretical study of various stochastic processes in biology, proposing theoretical models for dynamics and reactivity of macromolecules present in a cell at the molecular level, using the simple tools of equilibrium and non-equilibrium statistical mechanics to name a few. Also of interest are, unusual types of diffusions, and diffusions driven by active noise. Faculty: Dr. Debarati Chatterjee, Dr. Priyakumari C P (Inspire Faculty), Dr. Padmesh A
Supramolecular Material Chemistry and Inorganic Chemistry: We are interested in developing next-generation supramolecular materials with multifunctional capability and customize their functional properties for versatile applications in biomedicine to environmental remediation. This can be achieved by employing the concept of “molecular self-assembly” which underlies the formation of several complex biological structures. An overall grand challenge is to exploit the new insights obtained from this research programme to answer “as-yet-unsolved research questions” and to probe some fundamental research questions in supramolecular chemistry. We foresee that the outcome of our research interest would lead to the development of novel materials and devices to support both the existing and emerging technologies, aimed to give a positive impact on the environment and quality of life. Faculty: Dr. Shanmugaraju S
Design, Synthesis and Applications of organic materials: We are focused on the design, synthesis, and applications of novel classes of organic macromolecules. In contrast to the small molecules, macromolecules have some unique properties that make them perfect fit for various applications which are otherwise challenging to meet. Synthesis of macromolecules in its absolutely pure form is still difficult to achieve. While the current trend in this field is focused on solving this issue, the immediate next goal is how to get a hand on controlling the properties of the macromolecules which is crucial for making them an efficient candidate for a given application. The fact that properties of a macromolecule are not predictable from the properties of the building blocks adds up another dimension to the complexity of this field. We aim to work on developing novel strategies to synthesize a new class of organic macromolecules and most importantly modulate their properties by the custom synthesis of building blocks and tuning organic reactions. The novelty of our system is that we can precisely control the arrangement of multiple functional groups that leads to its structure, properties, and function. Taking together Porel group is ambitious to develop a platform for the rapid and economic production of manmade materials with tunable properties for enormous applications from material to biomedical science. Currently we are focused on developing chemo-sensors for toxic analytes and antibacterial and anticancer drugs based on the newly developed organic materials. Faculty: Dr. Mintu Porel
Materials for Environmental Sustainability: We develop new solid materials that can accelerate the rates of chemical reactions that have high relevance to a clean environment. Applications can range from finding a suitable green industrial process or a new catalyst for vehicles, to affordable food packages, air and purifiers. The bottlenecks associated with materials are our research interests. For example, minimizing the heterogeneity in sites and developing catalysts with earth abundant elements are two important material-related goals that we work on. Our approach is to understand the role of chemical synthesis in tuning the surface chemistry and its consequent effects on catalysis. Faculty: Dr. Dinesh Jagadeesan
Chemical Biology: We are interested in deciphering the role of various protein post-translational modifications (PTMs) in physiological and pathological conditions using chemical biology toolbox. To date, more than 300 different types of PTMs have been identified and almost all of them are correlated with various human diseases including cardiac diseases, diabetes, cancer, and neurodegenerative disorders. Therefore, an in-depth understanding of how and when those PTMs occur is crucial not only for gaining a perception of broad biological processes but also towards developing therapeutics for many life-threatening diseases. We integrate the aspects of chemical synthesis, enzymology, metabolomics, and proteomics along with cellular and animal models as our arsenal. Our long-term goal is to further capitalize on the findings to develop novel therapeutics (such as target-specific small molecule inhibitors) for the treatment of human diseases. Faculty: Dr. Sushabhan Sadhukhan
Biophysical Chemistry: Protein folding is a critical process and plays a crucial role in its structure and function relationship. Incorrect structure of proteins lead to a number of diseases making it even more important to study its folding dynamics from a therapeutic standpoint. We take an interdisciplinary experimental approach to study this complex mechanism of protein folding misfolding and aggregation using different state of the art single molecule techniques and thereby identify small drug-like molecules (aggregation inhibitors) to prevent protein misfolding and aggregation. Faculty: Dr. Supratik Sen Mojumdar
Research Scholars: Ms. Aarya, Mr. Ananthu S, Anna Jose, Ms. Anna Sebastian, Ms. Aparna G Nair, Ms. Bindhuja Mohan, Ms. Liya T, Mr. N Pandurangan, Ms. Nayana EC, Mr. Rajendran K, Ms. Revathy S, Ms. Roshni M
Staff: Ms. Jiji M (JTS, part time research scholar), Ms. Sukanya K (JT)
- Lecture workshop on “Computational Techniques in Chemistry”, Rs. 123100, granted July 2020, Indian Academy of Sciences.
- A Novel Chemical Proteomics Approach to Elucidate the Mechanism of Action of (-)-Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), the Major Green Tea Polyphenol Using Strategic Bioorthogonal Probe, and Improving the Bioavailability of EGCG, Approved, EMR, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), 2021-2024.
- Mapping the folding/misfolding mechanism of SOD1 using single molecule fluorescence spectroscopy, Rs. 2870000, 2020 - 2022, SERB - Start-up Research Grant (SRG)
- Chemical modifications of novel asparaginase enzymes to improve the treatment of primary and relapse childhood acute lymphatic leukemia, Rs 5570000, 2020-2023, DST-SERB Core Research Grant (CRG)
- Design and Synthesis of a Novel Class of Sequence-defined Macrocycles with Modular Post-synthetic Modification for Material and Biomedical Applications, Rs. 5364832, 2020 - 2023, SERB - Core Research Grant (CRG)
- Study of the interaction between synthetic sequence-defined macromolecules and lipid-membrane towards developing antibacterial and anticancer drug, Rs. 9968000, May 2020 - May 2023 Ministry of Human Resource Development - STARS
- Low-cost Test Kit for Fast Screening of Covid-19 Patients, Rs. 500000, 4 months (April 2020 - August 2020), Federal Bank
- Isolated Transition Metal Atoms on Defect- Engineered Graphene: Synthesis and Catalytic Oxidation of Indoor Volatile Organic Compounds, Rs. 3767070, 2020 - 2023, SERB - Core Research Grant (CRG)
- Synthesis, characterization and evaluation of TiO2 - polymer nanocomposite for photocatalytic oxidation of ethylene, Rs. 945000, 2019 - 2021, Defence Food Research Laboratory
- Identification of the Substrates of DHHC Palmitoyl Acyltransferases by Rational Design of Trifunctional Probe and Exploration of Protein S- Palmitoylation, Rs. 3674850, 2019 - 2022, SERB Early Career Research Award (ECRA)
- Reversible Diradical Mediated Self-Assembly Formation of Discrete Organic Cages for the Construction of Stimuli-Responsive Supramolecular Functional Materials, Rs. 3763000, 2019 - 2022, SERB Empowerment and Equity Opportunities for Excellence in Science (EMEQ)
- A novel class of functionally controlled macromolecules with tunable properties for material and biomedical applications, Rs. 3800000, 2018 - 2023, SERB Ramanujan Fellowship
- On the Role of Proton Transfer in Triggering Disulfide Bond Reductions in Biological Systems- A Computational Approach, Rs. 1020000, 2016 - 2019, SERB Start - Up Research Grant
- Design of heterogeneous catalysts to improve the selectivity of high-temperature, gas - phase reactions, Rs. 1365654, 2013 - 2019, SERB Ramanujan Fellowship