Driven by curiosity to understand Nature's ingenuity in creation, starting from simple atoms to the generation of molecules, assemblies and their controlled interaction culminating at continuously evolving creatures appears to be a never ending endeavor. We at the Biological Sciences division are striving to play our part towards this journey. We have faculty working in frontier areas such as mycology, protein chemistry, structure based drug design, structural biology of immune receptors and other molecules of medicinal and biological importance.

Areas of Research:

  1. Structural and functional characterization of key enzymes from pathogenic bacteria.
  2. Rational modification of molecules involved in immune check-point-blockade to create lead molecules for immunotherapy.
  3. Endophytic fungi from medicinal plants and their secondary metabolites, bioactive compounds and enzymes.
  4. Chemical modification of therapeutic proteins and drugs using linkers and polyethylene glycol to enhance their activity and half-life.

The biological science division has research facility with more than 6000 sq. ft of lab space.  Molecular biology facility for the cloning, recombinant expression, purification of proteins, characterization and crystallization of key biomolecules at ambient temperature and at 4°C. The department is also equipped with facilities such as microbial isolation, identification of microorganisms, biochemical studies like anti-microbial and anti-oxidant assay systems, plant and microbial secondary metabolites extraction systems.

Established in May 2010 by the present Director, Prof.   A. B. Halgeri, with the assistance of Prof.  K. J.  Rao,  then  Chair,  Executive  Committee of AMEF,  the  department now consists of a core of five faculty  members  hailing  from diverse  background  as chemistry,  industrial chemistry and biochemistry. A new materials synthesis laboratory, with several sophisticated equipment, has been established in the group.   Bright students passionate for research were interviewed and inducted into Doctoral Programme in the Department.

Mission of the department:

1.  To forge a fruitful academia-industry partnership by innovating, designing and developing novel multifunctional materials that have wide-ranging applications, in catalysis, nanotechnology, new materials design etc.

2.  To develop a strong doctoral programme to train students by fostering excellence and original thinking.

The department engages with other national academic institutions through collaborations, education training and outreach activities.

Broad  areas  of the  research:  (1) Heterogeneous catalysis  (2)  Novel micro/mesoporous materials  for green  chemical  processes  (3) Biomass  conversion  to  value  added  products  (4)  X-ray  crystallographic studies (5)  Functional nanomaterials (6) Photocatalytic and photoluminescent materials (7) Mesoporous Polymers (8) Metal organic frameworks

Academic and sponsored research Highlights:

Catalysis Group:

Catalysis is one of the important fields of research in the area of applied chemistry. Catalysts play a vital role in providing society fuels, commodity and fine chemicals, pharmaceuticals, polymers and means for protecting the environment. At PPISR, two research groups are working in the area of heterogeneous catalysis.

Dr. Ganapati Shanbhag and his group are working on frontier areas of research such as design of novel catalysts for green chemical processes such as catalytic conversion of CO2 into value-added chemicals, conversion of biomass byproducts like glycerol and furfural to value-added chemicals, pore engineering of microporous materials for shape selective catalysis etc. The work on mesoporous metal oxides as the novel solid acid catalyst for alcoholysis of furural alcohol and glycerol reaction is under progress. Till 2016, the group has published 20 research articles in internationally reputed journals. A project on “Chemical fixation of CO2 by converting into useful chemicals using modified nanoporous catalysts” sponsored by VGST, Govt. of Karnataka has successfully completed one year with a research publication in ChemCatChem (Wiley) journal. 3 students obtained their PhD degree under Dr. Shanbhag.

Dr. Sanjeev Maradur and his group are working on novel mesoporous polymers, supported metal oxides, mesoporous zeolites for catalytic applications. His project on conversion of waste plastic to fuels sponsored by Thermax industries, Pune is successfully completed. A new project sponsored by HP Green R & D Centre on design and development of polymeric materials for catalytic applications was initiated in February 2016 with Dr. Sanjeev Maradur as PI and Dr. Shanbhag as Co-PI.

Currently, 4 sponsored projects are conducted by the Catalysis Group. A new project on “Design and development of a catalyst and process for the conversion of C1-C3 paraffins to value added hydrocarbons” sponsored by PW Technology Inc, USA was initiated in January 2016. The previous industrial project sponsored by GTC Technology Inc USA successfully completed in November 2015 with the toluene methylation technology in the process of commercialization. A project sponsored by HPCL R & D Centre, Bengaluru on “Catalytic valorization of hydrocarbons to value-added chemicals’ is currently underway with Dr. Shanbhag as the PI and Dr. Maradur as Co-PI.

Functional Energy Nanomaterials Group:

The group works extensively in key energy areas such as photocatalysis, Photoluminescence, Gas sensing and Ferroelectrics. Research in the group is focussed on the structure-property relationship of functional materials. The group primarily employs low temperature, versatile, simple methods of nanoparticle synthesis coupled with X-ray and Neutron diffraction as tools to envisage a knowledge based design of materials. Current projects include, design of new bismuth based materials for visible light photocatalysis, rare earth complex photoluminescent oxides for theronastic applications, perovskite nanomaterials for low concentration gas sensing at low temperatures and Lead free materials for relaxor ferroelectric and magnetoelectric applications.  In the last few years, the group has established many collaborations with various scientists working in many prestigious international as well as national institutes and laboratories such as ORNL, U.S.A, ANSTO, Austrailia, IISc and JNCASR, India.  Currently three doctoral students are working in different areas  and three sponsored projects are being implemented.  The group also has published more than 10 publications in peer reviewed journals and the students have obtained awards in international and national conferences and workshops.

Materials design group:

Dr. Suresh and his co-workers are involved in the designing of metal organic frameworks (MOFs) and boron nanomaterials for catalytic applications. A new DST-sponsored project titled “Design and development of stable metal organic frameworks with multifunctional sites for catalysis” has been initiated. The project aims at harnessing the superior tunability of MOFs to co-assemble different catalytic units (more than two) in a well-defined way for cooperative/tandem catalysis with the objective of forming high-value added products. One Ph.D student is working in this project. 

The division works in the board fields of many-body and mesoscopic physics, nanoscience, quantum information theory, quantum communication, quantum cryptography, the foundations of quantum mechanics, astronomy and astrophysics.

Mission & Goals

  • Study of entanglement in condensed matter and noisy quantum systems.
  • Study and application of quantum cryptography and quantum communication.
  • Understanding physics from a computational and informational standpoint.
  • Understanding philosophical issues (like individuation, identity and free will) from a physics standpoint.
  • Research and E/PO in astronomy and astrophysics

Glimpses of Current Research

  • Dynamics of entanglement: in spin chains, disspative and non-dissipative noisy channels.
  • Classification of quantum cryptographic protocols in quantum mechanics and generalized probability theories.
  • Quantum spin pumping and superconducting quantum dots.
  • Axiomatic approach to quantum mechanics from computation/information theoretic perspective.
  • Quantum mechanical formulation of free will.
  • Bell-Kochen-Specker theorem for identity in quantum mechanics.
  • Contextuality and nonlocality in quantum mechanics.
  • Multi wavelength studies of Gamma-ray bursts, UV Astronomy, Optical spectroscopy of hard X-ray sources, CVs.
  • Fractal and time-series analysis of Solar supergranulation.