Next generation sequencing has created revolutions in medical discoveries. CHeST offers a unique opportunity to be exposed to this state-of-the-art technology and also to analyze the genomic, metagenomic or transcriptomic data as part of ongoing translational research projects.
Research on development and fabrication of polymer based artificial skin and implants for tissue engineering applications is focused using advanced materials and fabrication technology. Chitin or chitosan can be used to prepare biocompatible materials for artificial skin, or organs. Eelectrospun chitin nanofibers can be used as reinforcement of high performance non-toxic fibrous scaffolds. Such scaffold could be an alternate to native skin regarding substantial unique properties. 3-D bioprinted chitin can also be used for highly specific and sensitive smart skin.
A summary of the targeted research in the “Sensors & Materials Laboratory” is shown in the below diagram by mentioning the associated ongoing researches. It covered the basic research on biosensing and bioimaging through the development of 1) Fluorescent Sensors/Probes for Biosensing, and 2) Fluorescent Materials for Bioimaging. Those basic researches on sensing and imaging materials are currently using for the application oriented research towards- 3) Development of sensor device for quality control of environmental samples, and 4) Drug Delivery and Theranostics for Cancer.
In short, the research in this group is mainly focused on the development of novel fluorescent sensing materials and probes/sensors/assay kits, and their application for bio-sensing and patho-biological analysis, as well as innovation of sensor technology (in combination with electronics and IoT) for global sustainability.
An advanced and interesting research under the supervision of Dr. Prosenjit Saha is going on at JISIASR-Kolkata on the development of natural fiber based green composites those will be resistant to catch fire after applying eco-friendly surface treatment. The resistance to catch fire for such composites is expected to enhance 3-4 times compared to untreated fiber based composites. Mainly jute, sisal, coconut fibers are used for making such fire resistant composites. Natural polymers present within the above fibers are cellulose, lignins, and hemicelluloses. The surfaces of such polymers are being altered to enhance the fire resistance.
Monitoring and visualization of complex physiological or cellular processes using fluorescence probes/biosensors is the ultimate goal of fluorescence bioimaging. Herein, several fluorescence probes/biosensors have been developed for the detection and analysis of biomolecules (or biomarkers) to monitor several physiological processes and diagnose disease (Acc. Chem. Res., 2019, 52, 2571). Several probes were developed to selectively target various biologically relevant analytes such as biothiols, hydrogen sulfide, formaldehyde, hypochlorous acid, zinc, pyrophosphate and fluoride ions (Dyes and Pigments, 2013, 99, 308; Anal. Chem., 2015, 87, 1188; Chem. Commun., 2016, 52, 124; Org. Biomol. Chem., 2012, 10, 8410; Chem. Commun., 2012, 48, 10243; Chemical Society Reviews, 2015, 44, 4367) as well as disease biomarkers such as amyloid-beta (for Alzheimer’s disease; Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2015, 137, 6781) and dipicolinate (for Anthrax; Asian Journal of Organic Chemistry, 2017, 6, 1257). Each of those probes were further applied to visualize various biological processes through two-photon bioimaging. A simple fluorescence assay kit for detection of antibiotic (ciprofloxacin) in urine has been developed, which is highly promising to avoid the drug overdoses in human body and reduce the drug contamination in environment (Sensors, 2016, 16, 2065).
The research of this sensing field has been further extended towards more rigorous applications in chemical biology as well as for environmental analysis (Anal. Chem. 2017, 89, 3724; Chem. Comm., 2017, 53, 10800; J. Mater. Chem. B, 2018, 6, 4446; Sensors and Actuators B-Chemical, 2018, 277, 576; Tetrahedron Lett., 2018, 59, 49; J. Anal. Method Chem., 2018, 2654127; Sensors and Actuators B-Chemical, 2019, 279, 204) through research collaboration with several renowned research groups (Cell Metab., 2017, 25, 1320; Phy. Chem. Chem. Phy., 2017, 19, 12237; RSC Adv., 2019, 9, 35549; Chem.–European Journal, 2019, 9728; Langmuir 2019, 35, 13, 4682) from academic institutions such as Harvard University (USA), Singapore National University (Singapore), S N Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences (India), West Bengal State University (India).
**One of the developed fluorescent probes for hydrogen sulfide is also commercialized by Merck Inc., USA.
Fluorescence bioimaging combined with fluorescence microscopy technology has revolutionized human ability to study and visualize complex life phenomena at the molecular level to understand the cellular events with least ambiguity. The continuous synergistic growth of bioscience and medical science demands for better diagnostic tools/systems; resulting the introduction of two-photon fluorescence bioimaging recently based on two-photon induced excitation technology. Two-photon bioimaging is highly advantageous to provide 3D imaging of living specimens (including animal tissues) with sub-micrometer resolution down to the depth of a millimeter with high-sensitivity and reduced photo-damage using low energy near-infrared (NIR) light. The promising features of two-photon imaging in turn have inspired a quest for two-photon active fluorophores and probes.
Herein, several strategies for two-photon bioimaging has been explored to tackle the limitations of the existing bioimaging materials. This fundamental research provides essential guidelines for the development of novel two-photon materials/fluorophores with high emission intensity (Chem. Sci., 2015, 6, 4335) as well as emission at long wavelength to avoid the intrinsic autofluorescence from biomolecules (J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2015, 137, 6781; Chem. Commun., 2012, 48, 10243; Chem. Sci., 2019, 10, 9028). Accordingly, those newly developed materials act as excellent contrast agents in two-photon bioimaging.
Another team under Dr. Prosenjit Saha is working on the removal of organic halides and pesticides from drinking water using chemically / biologically trans-esterified waste biomass. Water with elevated halide content was passed through a fixed bed of treated biomass (jute, banana, water-hyacinth, elephant grass) and the halide was partly trapped within the biomass. An outlet effluent with acceptable halide content was obtained.
Flow Diagram of the Filter
Fulvic acid removal by iron-functionalized reduced graphene oxide:
Iron-functionalized reduced graphene oxide (fRGO)-coated sand was used for the adsorption of natural organic matter, such as fulvic acid (FA), from synthetic water
A novel synthesis route was achieved to prepare an fRGO nanocomposite
FTIR, optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and atomic force microscopy (AFM) were applied to investigate the morphologies and structures of fRGO
The effects of pH of the FA solution and the adsorbent dose (0.5–2.5 mg g-1 ) of fRGO were further evaluated for the determination of a possible removal mechanism.
The π– π interaction between the carbon atoms of FA and fRGO and electrostatic interaction
The present era is experiencing exponential growth of bacterial genome sequences in public databases. Three major factors seriously limit the usefulness and applicability of bacterial genomic ‘bigdata’ to the experimental research community: (i) high level of inaccuracy, non-uniformity and redundancy in genome annotations; (ii) lack of high-performance and high-throughput predictive tools to associate naturally occurring variations with virulence or (multi-)drug resistance functions; (iii) absence of an automated systematic pipeline for experimental researchers to derive potential (patho)adaptive role of a variation in the sequenced draft genome with reference to a comprehensive database. Our analysis approach will be in a composite context of sequence, diversity and functional variations in other closely related species across the enterobacterial group. The discovery is aimed at detecting, storing and visualizing clinically important bacterial strategies of changing a protein toward better fitness via natural evolution as a guide for experimental analysis.
In the field of biomolecular research, molecular modeling and molecular dynamic simulation has an imperative role to explain and/or support experimental findings at atomistic detail. The thrust areas of our research comprise of structure, function and dynamics of disease-related proteins, both ordered and intrinsically disordered, which may lead to develop novel strategies for drug discovery.
We also focus on the self-assembly of peptides. Abnormal self-assembly is common in neurodegenerative diseases, however regulated self-assembly of peptides has significant biological use, e.g. biomaterials used in drug delivery. One of our research areas focuses on the structure-function-toxicity relationship of the cancerous proteins and also the role of self-assembly in drug delivery.
The low-resolution model or the coarse grain model is highly necessary when we work on the binding/unbinding mechanism of protein complex, study of aggregation or comparatively bigger systems like lipid bilayer etc. We have started the development of force field and protein model by studying self-assembly of small peptides.