Research activities in the Department of Biotechnology are wide-ranging, reflecting the diversity of modern biotechnology. The Department provides an ideal milieu for inter-disciplinary and collaborative research. The research activities of faculty members are well funded through extra-mural research funding from government agencies such as CSIR, DAE, DBT, DST, etc. Funding received from the DBT includes a Program support grant to establish a state-of-the-art research facility in Cancer Biology and for setting up of a Bioinformatics Infrastructure Facility. The Department has also received funding from DST to set up the National Imaging Facility, which will house Laser Real Time Confocal Microscope and Atomic Force Microscope.
Faculty members hold several patents and are also involved in active industrial consultancy. Several collaborative and technology transfer projects are currently running with numerous industries such as Reliance Life Science Pvt. Limited, Orchid Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals, Dr. Reddys Laboratories, Shantha Biotech and Nagarjuna Chemicals and Fertilizers, to name a few. The department also has collaborative research projects with hospitals such as Apollo, Dr. Mohans Diabetes Specialty Center, Madras Medical Mission, and Frontier Life line.

The research interests in the department can be organized into four major thrust areas

  • Bioprocess Engineering
  • Chemical Biology
  • Computational Biology
  • Medical Biotechnology


Bioprocess Engineering

  • Applied Microbiology and Industrial Biotechnology
    o Development of microbial strains and processes for the production of commercially important biologicals
    o Microbial interactions involving biofilm formation, degradation of polymers and detoxification of heavy metals in water
  • Cellular Engineering for Enhanced Bioprocess Productivity
    o Investigation of microbial physiology and bioprocess productivity under stress
    o Engineering and analysis of metabolic networks
    o Analysis of genetic networks
  • Bioreaction Engineering
    o Bioreactor modelling and simulation
    o Bioreactor state estimation and control
    o Development of bioreactor strategies and scale-up
    o Photo-bioreactor for algal biomass cultivation
Chemical Biology
  • Bioorganic Chemistry
    o Biocatalytic preparation of enantiomerically pure active pharmaceutical ingredients
    o Green chemistry: employing enzymes in organic transformations
    o Development of novel biosensors
  • Biomaterials
    o Surface modification of polymers for biomedical applications.
    o Polymer therapeutics for infectious diseases
    o In-situ forming hydrogels for wound dressings
  • siRNAs delivery and chemical genetics
    o Conferring drug like properties on siRNAs through conjugating peptide mini vectors
    o Diversity oriented synthesis of marine natural products
  • Drug Design
    o Design and synthesis of novel non-hydroxamic acid HDAC inhibitors
    o Synthesis of chalcones and pyrozolines for novel antibacterials
    o Synergy between Antibiotics eugenol combination
  • Molecular enzymology
    o Structure and function studies of hydrolases of industrial importance
Computational Biology
  • Molecular computation
    o Structural bioinformatics of enzymes
    o Comparative genomics of G-protein coupled receptors
    o Molecular modelling of enzyme-substrate / enzyme-inhibitor interactions
    o Generalization of phenomenology of Protein folding and unfolding
    o Computational biophysics and green chemistry
    o Systems biology
    o Statistical physics of biological systems
    o Structure-based drug discovery
    o Quantitative Structure Activity Relationships (QSAR)
  • Computational Neuroscience
    o Modelling Basal Ganglia and Parkinsons decease
    o Computational Cardiology: Networks, Adaptation, Oscillations in Cardiovascular System
Medical Biotechnology
  • Cancer biology
    o Understanding of SMAD independent signal transduction pathway in human cancer
    o Role of select Micro-RNAs in cervical cancer
    o Designing potentialy novel inhibitors as anti-cancer drugs
    o Understanding the role of GTPases in ribosome biogenesis in relation to cancer
    o Signalling mechanisms in cancer cells
  • Cardiovascular genetics
    o Identification and characterization of candidate genes and genotypes underlying pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases.
  • Vascular biology
    o Immuno therapeutic Neovascularization
    o Endothelial Dysfunction
    o Endothelial Barrier Function
    o Atherosclerosis
  • Molecular virology
    o Mechanism of HIV Pre-Integration Complex (PIC) nuclear import
    o Signals in PICs that regulate its nuclear import
    o Role of MAPK/ERK-2 on HIV pathogenesis
    o Developing rapid assay for diagnosis of nascent HIV infections
  • Stem cells proliferation
    o Role of Hematopoietic permissive and inductive microenvironment in bone marrow in context to proliferation of stem cells
    o Role of osteoblast in the proliferation of stem cell
  • Signal Transduction and Protein Structure-Function
    o Mechanism of signal transduction by novel GPCRs.
    o Studying signal transduction by understanding protein-protein interaction.
    o Calcium binding proteins and role in signal transduction
    o Congenital Heart defects
  • Ion channels: Structure and function
    o Probing the structural and functional domains of the acid sensing ion channel
    o Role of gap junctions in Ischemic heart disease
  • Biomedical Engineering Biomechanics / Ergonomics
    o Biomechanical modelling
    o Bone re-modelling
    o Occupational biomechanics (Sports, Army)
    o Human system interface

Major Facilities for Research

The department has modern cutting edge facility for biotechnology research. Some of the major equipments include:

  • Fourier Transform Infrared Analyser
  • Fluorescent Microscope
  • HPLC (High Pressure Liquid Chromatography)
  • FPLC (Fast Protein Liquid Chromatography)
  • Gas Chromatograph
  • Micro plate Spectrophotometers
  • UV - Visible Spectrophotometers
  • Bioreactors
  • Gas Analyser
  • Lyophilizer
  • Gel Documentation System
  • High speed and Ultra Centrifuges
  • Atomic Force Microscope
  • Cell Counters
  • Real-time PCR
  • Electric Cell Impedance System (ECIS)
  • Live Cell Imaging
  • Freezers, Cold rooms

The Centralized Departmental facilities include:

  • Tissue Culture Labs
  • Patch Clamp facility
  • Tissue Processing Lab
  • Auto radiographic facility
  • Dark Room
  • Fly Lab
  • Department Computational Facility
  • Autoclave Facility
  • Confocal Live Cell Imaging Facility
  • National Centre for Cellular Dynamics
  • Cancer Biology Facility
  • Biosafety Level 2 Facility
  • Bioinformatics Infrastructure Facility
  • Millipore Water Purification Facility

For more details visit our department homepage: http://www.biotech.iitm.ac.in