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Three IIT Gandhinagar professors receive Ramanujan Fellowship 2015


Three IITGN professors have been awarded the prestigious Ramanujan Fellowship by Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India. Prof Arnab Dutta and Prof Saumyakanti Khatua of Chemistry and Prof Virupakshi Soppina of Biological Engineering have been selected for the award of Ramanujan Fellowship 2015.

Each professor will receive a fellowship of Rs.85000 per month and in addition a Research Grant of Rs.7 Lakh per annum. The duration of Ramanujan Fellowship is 5 years.

Prof Soppina is engaged in the study of fascinating and important nanoscale protein machines called Molecular motors. His study focuses on understanding how molecular motors transport large cargo molecules over a long distance inside brain neurons and how defects in such transport system relates to various neurodegenerative diseases.

Prof Dutta is developing enzyme-inspired artificial electrocatalysts which will be essential for frugal utilization of environment friendly renewable energy resources in near future. Prof Dutta said, “For proper utilization of the renewable energy resources on the current scale of fossil fuel, we need to efficiently store these intermittent energy resources and properly extract that stored energy for future usage. Activation of Hydrogen and Oxygen can be employed for this energy transformation process but this requires an electrocatalyst to facilitate their transformations. We are developing this necessary enzyme-inspired artificial electrocatalysts in our lab.”

Prof Khatua is working on synthesis and applications of gold nanoparticles and their assemblies. A gold nanoparticle can act as an antenna for visible light by confining light into a tiny area near the nanoparticle’s surface. Confinement of light leads to enhanced electric field at the nanoparticle’s surface. This property is even prominent at the nanogaps between adjacent nanoparticles. These nano gaps are called also hotspots. Prof Khatua is working on using these hotspots to detect single molecules which are either non-fluorescent or weakly fluorescent and therefore remain untraceable in conventional single-molecule fluorescence method.

– DeshGujarat