HaseeshOur bright young minds bring fame and glory to the university from all around the world. Mr Haseesh Rahithya Nandam, from the final year of BSc (Hons) Integrative Biology, has received admission offers to MSc Infection and Immunity course, University College London (QS ranking 8) and MSc Medical and Molecular Virology, The University of Manchester (QS ranking 27).

UCL is rated the top university in the UK for research strength in the most recent Research Excellence Framework. The MSc course that Mr Haseesh has enrolled in primarily focuses on teaching concepts of infection and immunity. It contains course modules such as Molecular Virology, Evolution of Diseases, and Epidemiology.

“I am excited and happy since UCL stands in 8th rank and offers a course I dearly love to study”, says Mr Haseesh. According to him, the selection process for University College London was a piece of cake. The admission requirements were the English language proficiency test (IELTS/TOEFL) result, SoP, LoRs, CV, and Grade Card. He has also applied to Imperial College London and is waiting for the admission announcement.

SRM University-AP enables students to become the best version of themselves every single day and work towards their goals. “I am grateful for the support of my professor Dr Sutharsan Govindarajan to work in his lab. There, I got the opportunity to gain experience and learn new things”, says Mr Haseesh. He further thanked the Head of the Department, Prof Jayaseelan Murugaiyan, for his relentless guidance and support.

Mr Chandra S Bhatt, a PhD Scholar (CSIR-JRF) working under the guidance of Dr Anil K Suresh, Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, has won the Best Oral Presentation Award at the International Conference on “Novel Materials and Technologies for Energy Applications,” organised by BITS Pilani-Hyderabad, on February 18-19, 2022. Prof Ashutosh Sharma, Former DST Secretary & Institute Chair Professor, IIT Kanpur, was the Chief Guest of the Conference.

Abstract:

Mr Bhatt’s project aims to develop the best out of waste, which is practically demonstrated by synthesising gold nanostructured eggshell-based supported catalyst. Besides this novel strategy, the megacatalyst is implemented in the real-time degradations of organic and sewage dyes that are harmful to the environment and hydrogenation of nitroarenes at gram-scale (precursors for various pharmaceutical ingredients). Our rationale, naturally created, stable, reusable, hand-removable, resilient catalyst developed from left-over food waste trounces the majority of the existing challenges while utilising nano-based catalysts for heterogeneous catalysis.

With this innovation, Mr Bhatt aims to demonstrate pilot-scale (100-1000 litre) batch catalytic reactions for real-time textile sewage dye detoxification and gram scale hydrogenation of pharma-precursor for the production of acetaminophen, as a step of validation for immediate technology transfer and commercialisation for both environmental remediation and active pharmaceutical ingredients (API’s).

About the Author:

Mr Bhatt aims to continue his scientific career as a prominent scientist in the interdisciplinary area of nano-immunology for cancer theragnostics. Therefore, after the completion of his PhD, he wishes to advance his research career to contribute further to the realm of science upon postdoctoral training from a top-ranking institution abroad.

“It is indeed a moment of pride for me to be awarded the Best Oral Presentation Award in an International Conference organised by BITS Pilani, Hyderabad, winning over 30 participants across the Nation. I express my heartfelt gratitude to my supervisor Dr Anil K Suresh, for his guidance and motivation me throughout the journey,” said Mr Bhatt.

While expressing his joy, Dr Suresh emphatically said, “This was his first oral presentation in an International Conference, and he was conferred with the “Best Oral Presentation” Award. This recognition speaks for Chandra Sekhar’s dedication to his research. He has been working enthusiastically on this project, and I wish that the paper gets published in a high-impact journal which has already been communicated for Shekar’s bright scientific career.”

“Progress in Alternative Strategies to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance: Focus on Antibiotics” is a paper authored by Prof Jayaseelan Murugaiyan, Professor & Head, Department of Biological Sciences at SRM University-AP and his research scholar Ms Saranya Adukkadukkam, in Antibiotics Journal, having an impact factor of 4.639. It is a remarkable achievement that our university served as the first and the corresponding authors of this paper published in association with “Global AMR Insights Ambassadors Network”. A total of 21 co-authors from 13 countries (India, UK, France, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Ukraine, Lebanon, Egypt, Uganda, Bangladesh, and Nigeria) and six Indian universities (including SRM AP) participated in this work.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) – the ability of microorganisms to survive antimicrobials – is a global healthcare concern. AMR contributes to 1.27 million deaths among the 4.95 million deaths associated with bacterial AMR. If no control measures are taken, it is estimated that by 2050, it will claim the lives of 300 million people. The rise of these “superbug bacteria’s” – means that trivial medical interventions will soon become once again high-risk since no efficient antimicrobial chemotherapy is available. It is, therefore, crucial to understand the current situation and identify alternatives to combat the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance. This paper comprehensively discusses the alternative approaches that can be effectively utilised to combat AMR and, at the same time, without inducing further resistance among the pathogens. The paper has great social implications in making society aware of the scenario and encouraging the researchers to focus on alternative strategies to combat AMR.

Abstract of the paper: Antibiotic resistance, and, in a broader perspective, antimicrobial resistance (AMR), continues to evolve and spread beyond all boundaries. As a result, infectious diseases have become more challenging or even impossible to treat, leading to an increase in morbidity and mortality. Despite the failure of conventional, traditional antimicrobial therapy, in the past two decades, no novel class of antibiotics has been introduced. Consequently, several novel alternative strategies to combat these (multi-) drug-resistant infectious microorganisms have been identified. The purpose of this review is to gather and consider the strategies that are being applied or proposed as potential alternatives to traditional antibiotics. These strategies include combination therapy, techniques that target the enzymes or proteins responsible for antimicrobial resistance, resistant bacteria, drug delivery systems, physicochemical methods, and unconventional techniques, including the CRISPR-Cas system. These alternative strategies may have the potential to change the treatment of multi-drug-resistant pathogens in human clinical settings.

Global AMR Insight Ambassador Network: AMR Insights, an international network-based organisation interacting with professionals around the globe: in Human and Veterinary Health, Agri-food and Environment, was set up in 2017 following an in-depth feasibility study towards a new information platform on AMR. It mainly focuses on informing, educating and connecting people with the aim to curb antimicrobial resistance. Prof Jayaseelan Murugaiyan and Ms Saranya Adukkadukkam are members of the Global AMR Insights Ambassador Network.

Ms Saranya Adukkadukkam, the co-author from SRM AP says:

The guidance of Prof Jayaseelan Murugaiyan is the pillar of my research. His support and passion for research always encourage me. He gives importance to translational research and motivates me to stand unique in the field. He shows me a path where I can serve the people through research. Foreseeing my future as a scientist, he guides me to more opportunities to collaborate with international scientists. I feel proud of my mentor Prof Jayaseelan Murugaiyan for letting me fly. Also, I thank SRM University-AP for providing generous fellowship, excellent research facilities and ambience to carry out the research.

Harvard Medical SchoolRallapalli Bhavana Durga, a budding researcher from BSc Biology at SRM University-AP, earns an international internship at Harvard Medical School. The six-month internship will focus on bioengineering, cancer, and other biomedical research. The days at Harvard Medical School will impart an understanding of the development of cancer in an in-vitro model fabricated by the bioengineering approach.

The Office of International Relations and Higher Studies guided Ms Bhavana throughout the application process. Every eligible student who applies for study abroad programmes is given orientation and motivation to bridge the attainment gap. They share information about various research/internships/projects with interested students. Ms Bhavana qualified the eligibility criteria for Harvard Medical School, which focuses on Tissue engineering and other Biomedical engineering fields. After completing the screening, she received a welcome e-mail for the internship at Dr Shiladitya Sengupta & Haelin Jang’s lab in Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. During the internship period, she will be involved in i) research-related activities involving the hands-on discovery of new biological pathways in cancer metastasis and (ii) writing for publications.

“I have received a lot of support from my professors and Dr Swetha Pasupuleti, Associate Director, International Relations”, says Ms Bhavana. “From the beginning, all my professors have been very encouraging, and their suggestions and criticisms were constructive. Dr Swetha has been very supportive and reassuring during the application process, taking away my inhibitions. I feel excited about my internship”, she added.

To tackle barriers to postgraduate education, SRM University-AP has designed ambitious programmes that improve the admission of students to global institutions. International Relations and Higher Studies department ensure that all students and faculty on campus are supported and assisted in gaining access to resources in order to achieve the vision and mission of SRM University-AP in becoming a multidisciplinary global university.

anil k. sureshSRM University-AP is pleased to announce that Dr Anil K. Suresh, Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, has been awarded a DBT grant for his project entitled “Pilot-scale ultra-efficient fixative sewage dye-degradation by our ‘3D-megacatalyst’ generated using intact eggshell waste”.

About the Project:

Catalysis is widely used in various industrial and pharmaceutical processes to fasters the production of the desired end products. The use of inert matrices or frameworks is emerging as a “supported catalysts” arena with the potential for efficient reuse and recovery of the catalyst. We have recently generated a wide area supported catalyst utilising intact eggshell bio-waste, and the process is autogenic, facile, cost-efficient and entirely biodegradable. This supported megacatalyst can be effortlessly removed from the reaction by hand.

The current DBT-funding through Accelerated Translational Grant for Commercialization (ATGC) program is to support the technological reediness of our project for its commercialisation as a measure of Technology Readiness Level (TRL), an estimation technologies maturity and readiness for its utilisation in the commercial market. By demonstrating proof-of-concept laboratory studies, we are currently at TRL-6, and through this project, we will demonstrate pilot-scale studies for reaching the TRL-9 (Market/Operational level).

The main objectives of the proposal are:

1. Demonstrating large-volume degradations of sewage dyes at 500 L to 1000 Litres volume capacities in custom-built batch reactors.

2. Gram-scale hydrogenation of nitroarenes for the production of ~500 grams of pharmaceutical derivatives.

Social Implications of the project by Dr Anil K. Suresh:

Thousands of litres of harmful textile, paper sewage dyes that are corrosive and toxic to the environment and are unintendedly released can now be degraded into detoxified colourless by-products and water by using our “Au@megacatalyst”.

Pharmaceutically important precursors such as 4-aminophenol, propargyl amines can be produced in milligrams of quantities by using “Au@megacatalyst”, which otherwise are expensive and hard to synthesise. And most importantly, such precursors are currently being procured from China and other countries that can be avoided, and indigenous make-in-India can be conceptualised using our catalyst.

Dr Anil K. Suresh would be the principal investigator of this project, with a total outlay of Rs. 31 lacs over two years.

stanford scientistsDr Karthik Rajendran, and Dr Lakhveer Singh from the Department of Environmental Science and Dr Imran Pancha from the Department of Biological Sciences of SRM University-AP are enlisted on the global list of the top 2% of scientists, the data compiled by Stanford University.

Stanford University has identified Dr Imran Pancha as one of the 91 scientists who has excelled in research in the fields of biotechnology among all the universities in India. Dr Imran Pancha was recognised as one of the top 2% scientists in the world in the year 2020 also. Stanford University recognized 178 scientists who excelled in research in the field of energy, which includes Dr Karthik Rajendran and Dr Lakhveer Singh among the top 2 per cent of scientists. The quality of research work, its societal impact, number of publications, citations, are taken into consideration for this recognition.

University Vice-Chancellor Prof V S Rao and Pro-Vice-Chancellor Prof D Narayana Rao presented Certificates of Recognition to the three professors at a congratulatory function held at the university on Friday. “This is an admirable achievement that young faculty from a nascent University appear in the top 2% scientists of the world,” said Prof D Narayana Rao. Prof V S Rao Narayana Rao appreciated their talent and efforts. Prof Narayana Rao assured them that the university would provide the necessary comprehensive support for carrying out research in front-line and emerging areas. Prof Narayana Rao further said that he is very confident that many more faculty members of SRM University – AP, will receive such global recognition in the years to come.

Anil K SureshDr Anil K Suresh’s innovative research has been brought into the limelight by the revered weekly magazine Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), published by the American Chemical Society. Dr Anil K Suresh, Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, and his team from SRM University-AP recently developed a see-through transparent (with 85% above transmittance) biotemplate which they derived from the fish scale wastes to substitute the extensive usage of eco-unfriendly disposal plastic cuvettes for UV-Visible Spectroscopy measurements in the spectrum of 350-900 nm.

UV-Vis spectroscopy is a versatile analytical tool used to examine the nature of various synthetic, biological and clinical molecules for pharmaceutical and environmental applications. The team members demonstrated the practical on-biotemplate analysis of diverse analytes such as DNA, proteins, nanoparticles, organic dyes, bacteria, BSA assay and dye-degradations. Dr Anil K Suresh owns the copyrights for this pathbreaking invention by being granted an Indian patent. This work was published in the prestigious Journal “Green Chemistry” by the Royal Society of Chemistry. Read the full paper here.

Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), which is widely known to feature articles of the best professional and technical innovative research work and analysis in the fields of chemistry and chemical engineering, has acknowledged Dr Anil’s research by allowing it little room in their magazine in Volume 99, Issue 36 (Read the news here). C&EN includes information on recent news and research in chemistry and chemical engineering along with career and employment information, business and industry news, government and policy news, funding in these fields, and special reports.

“The magazine is very celebrated among researchers across the world. It is a great honour for my team and me to be featured in the magazine. This news magazine usually picks only top nature cell science publications among thousands, and My team and I are feeling great to be one of them,” said Dr Anil. Dr Anil further said that it would not be possible to carry out such prominent research work in a newly built establishment without the constant support from the management of SRM University-AP, Andhra Pradesh. He has profoundly thanked Dr P Sathyanarayanan, President; Prof V S Rao, Vice-Chancellor; Prof D Narayana Rao, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, for their kind help and cooperation.

The University Management congratulated Dr Anil K Suresh on his achievement. Dr Sathyanarayanan said, “It is indeed a proud moment for the university to be featured on C&EN. I compliment Dr Anil and his team on their tireless work.” “Dr Anil and his team have executed an extraordinary work towards a green environment which should be emphasised in international journals. The Team’s dedication towards their research is commendable,” said Prof V S Rao. Prof D Narayana Rao opined that Dr Anil K Suresh is one of the most talented young biologists in the nation. “I have personally known him for some time being and working with him for a few years. Dr Anil is devoted biologist and pride of the university,” asserted Prof D Narayana Rao.

Dr Anil K Suresh, Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, and his team from SRM University-AP recently developed a see-through transparent (with 85% above transmittance) biotemplate which they derived from the fish scale wastes to substitute the extensive usage of eco-unfriendly disposal plastic cuvettes for UV-Visible Spectroscopy measurements in the spectrum of 350-900 nm. UV-Vis spectroscopy is a versatile analytical tool used to examine the nature of various synthetic, biological and clinical molecules for pharmaceutical and environmental applications. The team members demonstrated the practical on-biotemplate analysis of diverse analytes such as DNA, proteins, nanoparticles, organic dyes, bacteria, BSA assay and dye-degradations.

Dr Anil claims that the large-scale development of the biotemplate can resolve several issues in performing sustainable research; for instance, generates huge demand for fish scales as a resource stratagem otherwise causative of foul smell and disease propagation when discarded. Second, the use of non-biodegradable plastic cuvettes can be minimized for routine analytics and third, unlike plastic cuvettes that demand 500-fold analyte our biotemplate allows the analysis at a very low 10 microlitre volumes, making it feasible to analyse expensive, rare, and high-risk analytes. Dr Anil K Suresh owns the copyrights for this pathbreaking invention by being granted an Indian patent. This work is accepted for publication in the prestigious Journal of “Green Chemistry” by the Royal Society of Chemistry. Read the full paper here.

Adding to the mechanistic, Dr Anil said, “naturally acquired droplet retaining ability for over 30 minutes against gravity while vertically positioning the biotemplate supported such ultra-low volume measurements and monitoring of chemical reactions in-situ”. Interestingly, the same ability allows the retrieval of the analytes after completion of the analysis, crucial for precious analytes. Dr Anil says the best part is that the transparent biotemplate can be discarded back into the environment post-usage without any hesitation as the biotemplate is completely biodegradable.

Further, the research group demonstrated ease in large-scale production by generating ~3000 bio templates at an affordable price. Dr Anil emphasised that this low-cost, plastic-free, use-and-throw biodegradable transparent biotemplate stemmed from food waste as a bioresource stratagem has huge potential in routine scientific and pharma UV-Vis analytics and he will very soon bring this product to the scientific community as a sustainable science solution.

Dr Anil Suresh concluded that this breakthrough conception would not have been possible without the rigorous efforts of his team and the continuous support from the university management, who are also encouraging and willing to support Dr Anil to establish his own start-up within the University. Dr Anil Suresh thanked his group members Ms Divya Parimi, Mr Chandra Bhatt, Mr Tharun Bollu and Ms Madhura, his collaborators Dr Malli and Mr Jacob. Dr Anil’s team especially thanked the management of SRM University-AP; the President Dr P. Sathyanarayanan for his generous support, Prof D Narayana Rao, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for his constant untiring encouragement, motivation and support in all his scientific endeavours, and the Vice-Chancellor Prof V S Rao for his kind support.

A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) student of the Department of Biological Sciences at SRM University-AP, Andhra Pradesh, Faraz Azeem, has been awarded a prestigious scholarship by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Manila, Philippines. The scholarship will enable Faraz to carry out a part of his PhD research under the supervision of Dr Jauhar Ali, Senior Scientist-II, Head – Hybrid Rice Development Consortium (HRDC), Leader – Hybrid Rice Breeding Cluster, Rice Breeding Platform, International Rice Research Institute, Los Banos, Philippines, for a period of one year and four months.

Faraz joined SRM University-AP, Andhra Pradesh, in January 2021 and is working on “Understanding the genetics and molecular biology of nitrogen-use efficiency in rice” under the guidance of Prof Jayaseelan Murugaiyan, HoD, Department of Biological Sciences, SRM University-AP. Dr P Sathyanarayanan, President; Prof V S Rao, Vice-Chancellor; Prof D Narayana Rao, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of SRM University-AP congratulated Faraz for this accomplishment.

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is a global agricultural research and training organisation with offices in seventeen countries and headquarters in Los Banos, Laguna, Philippines. IRRI is well-known for its role in producing rice varieties that contributed to the 1960s Green Revolution, which helped Asia avoid famine. The CGIAR Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centres, a global alliance of institutions involved in food security research, includes 15 agricultural research centres worldwide. The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is one of the Asia’s largest non-profit agricultural research facility.

SRM University-AP provides a wide array of opportunities and benefits along with its PhD Programmes. The nascent university has more than 150 PhD students to date in various departments of Engineering, Science, Liberal Arts, Business Administration and Social Sciences. SRM University-AP university has a vibrant research environment with state-of-the-art facilities along with attractive fellowship and complimentary food and accommodation at the university campus. The faculty advisers have paramount knowledge and experience in research along with international exposure. The university also provides support for journal publications, patent filing, and attending national and international conferences.

SRM University-AP further has MoUs with reputed universities abroad for Student Exchange Programme. In addition, the university is conducting research projects funded by prominent organisations, industries and the Government of India. Research projects sponsored by DST, DST-NSM, DBT, DBT-Wellcome Trust, UGC-DAE, ARBL, Titan industries etc are a few of the current ongoing projects.

Dr Imran Pancha, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, has recently published a paper titled “Deep eutectic solvents and Ionic liquid assisted hydrolysis of microalgal biomass: A promising approach towards sustainable biofuel production” in the celebrated Journal of Molecular Liquids (2021): 116264 (Impact Factor-5.065). The study was conducted in association with Akshay Kulshrestha, Sandhya Mishra, and Arvind Kumar from CSIR-CSMCRI

Microalgae is recently considered one of the promising biomasses for the production of renewable energy such as biodiesel and bioethanol. Microalgae are tiny photosynthetic organisms that utilise atmospheric CO2, water and sunlight to produce carbohydrates and lipids, which can be converted into renewable fuels. Compared to higher plants, microalgae is a good platform for bioethanol production as they do not contain any lignin in their cell composition, which makes pre-treatment for biomass hydrolysis easy. In the present study, Dr Pancha and his team explored the use of green solvents ionic liquids (ILs) and deep eutectic solvents (DESs) for microalgal hydrolysis. They observed that among the eight tested ionic liquids, ethyl ammonium nitrate (EAN) resulted in the highest saccharification yield of 95.5%. Whereas, among hydrophobic deep eutectic solvents, menthol: lactic acid (Me: LA) exhibited the highest saccharification yield of 85.7% and also did not require any additional high temperature or other pre-treatments for biomass hydrolysis, indicating as the potential solvent system for microalgal biomass hydrolysis. Overall, the present study results indicated that the identified IL and DES could be used as a green and sustainable alternative for the pre-treatment of microalgal biomass for bioethanol production.

Due to limited fossil fuel reserve as well as environmental issues like high greenhouse gas emission and other environmental problems, finding green and sustainable energy resource is of prime importance for today’s world. To solve this problem, microalgae are among the best resources for producing renewable resources due to it’s high growth rate and photosynthetic ability. Microalgae also have the ability to obtain nutrients from various wastewater, so they also do not require fresh water for cultivation. However, commercial-scale production of microalgae-based biofuels faces various problems such as cultivation cost, downstream processing for biofuel production etc. In this regard, in the present work, Dr Pancha demonstrated the use of ILs and DESs for pre-treatment of microalgal biomass for reducing sugar production, which can be further utilised to produce bioethanol.

Dr Pancha and his research group are further devoted to understanding the molecular mechanism behind the accumulation of energy reserved compounds in the microalgae and developing a sustainable biorefinery process to extract biofuels and other industrially relevant compounds from single microalgal biomass.

Read the full paper: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.molliq.2021.116264