Join Us

We are looking for motivated enthusiasts for the team who are willing to take challenges at the interface of chemistry and biology. A background in Biochemistry is desirable but not essential. Please contact us with a copy of your CV and motivation letter if you are interested.


  • April 2018

    Saeed defends his MS thesis.

    Welcome Akshaya and Indhu! Akshaya will carry out her iPhD project and Indhu will work on her BS/MS final year project.

Research Projects

  • image

    Engineering Proteins for Light Harvesting

    Currently there is growing need of renewable or alternative sources of energy as the sources of fossil fuels are depleting rapidly. Solar energy is available in abundance and if utilized appropriately holds tremendous potential to solve the issue of energy crisis. Recent progress in photovoltaics is promising but the technology is limited by poor quantum yields. Our approach in this direction is to engineer proteins for light harvesting and storing the solar energy in the chemical bond - the primary source of energy. We do so by attaching photoredox catalysts in the vicinity of enzyme active site so that there is no transfer of electron between the photocatalyst and enzyme active site in the ground state but upon excitation with visible light, electrons can flow from the photocatalyst to the enzyme active site which can utilize the same for its normal function.

  • image

    Development of Hybrid Photocalysts

    Photoredox catalysis has sought much attention in the past decade due to its inherent selectivity and lower energy requirements for a myriad of organic transformations. Most of the small molecule photoredox catalysts fall into the category of transition metal complexes of Ru, Ir, Re, etc which have long lived triplet states. There is another class of organic photoredox catalysts gaining popularity containing lumincescent organic molecules where the properties like HOMO-LUMO band gap, (excited-state)redox potentials can be tuned very easily. However, both these family of photocatalysts lack stability during irradiation and get poisoned or photobleach after short durations. Yet another class of photocatalysts are being explored now which utilize semiconducting nanoparticles of tunable bandgap. However, functionalizing these nanoparticles for covalent attachment to other catalysts is challenging. We are developing hybrid catalysts which utilize the photophysical properties of nanoparticles and (bio)chemical properties of a protein shell like ferritin which provide them additional stability and a handle to connect with other (bio)molecules.

Principal Investigator

  • image

    Ankur Gupta

    Assistant Professor: IISER Bhopal, India (12/2015-present)

    Postdoc: University of Oxford, UK (10/2014-09/2015)

    Postdoc: Leiden University, Netherlands (05/2014-09/2014)

    PhD (Molecular Biophysics): Leiden University, Netherlands (10/2009-04/2014)

    MA (Chemistry): Johns Hopkins University, USA (08/2006-06/2008)

    MSc integrated (Chemistry): IIT Bombay, India (08/2001-06/2006)

    : +91-755-269-1329


PhD Students

  • image

    Ashima Negi

    About me: I am from Uttarakhand, a place nested in the loop of Himalayas, having spectacular scenic landscapes. I completed B.Sc.- M.Sc. from H.N.B.Garhwal University Uttarakhand in 2015. After qualifying GATE and LS-NET exam in 2016, I have joined Biocatalysis and Bioenergetics lab in December 2016 to work on my disseration leading to a PhD degree. My research interest lies in Protein engineering and Photobiocatalysis. Outside the lab, I am interested in playing games, watching movies and reading books.

    : +91-755-269-1330

  • image

    Rachna Sharma

    About me: I am from Panipat, “the city of weavers” also known for its historical battles, land of textiles in Haryana. I completed my B.Sc. from S.D. PG College, Panipat and M.Sc. from Indian Institute of Technology, Jodhpur. After qualifying GATE in 2018, I moved to IISER Bhopal to pursue my PhD. My research interest lies in the designing of artificial enzymes by introducing novel electron-transfer pathways otherwise absent in natural systems. Besides research, I have passion for cooking, painting and playing basketball.

    : +91-755-269-1330

  • image

    Bharti Paliwal

    About me: I am from Jodhpur, heart of heritage and handloom in Rajasthan. I completed my B.Sc. from Ramjas College, University of Delhi in 2015 and M.Sc. from Panjab University, Chandigarh. After qualifying the GATE in 2017, pursuing my interest in Protein Chemistry I joined the Biocatalysis and Bioenergetics Lab at IISER Bhopal for my PhD. I am interested in studying enzyme mechanisms with a particular focus on water oxidation by rationally engineered enzymes. Besides academia, I am involved in Art and Music.

    : +91-755-269-1330



  • Ovender Singh - Postdoc, Dec 18-Dec19 - currently pursuing postdoc in South Korea

    Sudipta Dash - Intern, summer-2019

    Ananthu Vasudev - Intern, summer-2019

    Amar Raj - Intern, summer-2019

    Subhashini M - Intern, summer-2019

    Akshaya Ann John - iPhD, 2018/19

    Indhu M. Nair - BS/MS, 2018/19 - currently pursuing PhD at IISER Pune

    Nishanth Thomas - Project, 2017/18 - currently pursuing PhD in Ireland

    Saeed Shareef - BS/MS, 2017/18 - currently pursuing PhD at ICIQ, Spain

    Kashish Sethi - Intern, summer-2018

    Monojit Batabyal - Project, 2016/17 - currently pursuing PhD at IISER Bhopal

9. Gold-Nanorod-Enhanced Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy of Fluorophores with High Quantum Yield in Lipid Bilayers

Pradhan, B; Khatua, S; Gupta, A; Aartsma T.J.; Canters, G.W.; Orrit, M.
J. Phys. Chem. C, 2016, 140, 25996.

8. Tracking electrons in biological macromolecules: from ensemble to single molecule

Tabares, L.C.; Gupta, A.; Aartsma, T.J.; Canters, G.W.
Molecules, 2014, 19, 11660.

7. Resonant Plasmonic Enhancement of Single-Molecule Fluorescence by Individual Gold Nanorods

Khatua, S; Paulo, P.M.R.; Yuan, H.; Gupta, A.; Zijlstra, P.; Orrit, M.
ACS Nano, 2014, 8, 4440.

6. One at a Time: Intramolecular Electron-Transfer Kinetics in Small Laccase Observed during Turnover

Gupta, A.; Aartsma, T.J.; Canters, G.W.
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 2707.

5. Hot spot Residues in the Cytochrome P450cam-Putidaredoxin Binding Interface

Hiruma, Y.; Gupta, A.; Kloosterman, A.; Olijve, C.; Ölmez, B.; Hass, M.A.S.; Ubbink, M.
ChemBioChem 2014, 15, 80 (Featured on the journal cover).

4. Involvement of Tyr108 in the Enzyme Mechanism of the Small Laccase from Streptomyces coelicolor

Gupta, A.; Nederlof, I.; Sottini, S.; Tepper, A.W.J.W.; Groenen, E.J.J.; Thomassen, E.A.J.; Canters, G.W.
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012, 134, 18213.

3. Evidence for Protein Radical-Mediated Nuclear Tunneling in Fatty Acid α-Oxygenase

Gupta, A.; Mukherjee, A.; Matsui, K.; Roth, J.P.
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2008, 130, 11274.
  • Jan-Apr 2020

    Instructor, Sustainable Chemistry (CHM 306) IISERB.

  • Aug-Nov 2019

    Instructor, Bioinorganic Chemistry (CHM 605) IISERB.

  • Jan-Apr 2019

    Instructor, Chemistry of Transition Metals (CHM 302) IISERB.

  • Aug-Nov 2018

    Instructor, Chemistry Laboratory II (CHM 223) IISERB.

    Teaching Assistant, General Chemistry (CHM 101) IISERB.

  • Jan-Apr 2018

    Instructor, Sustainable Chemistry (CHM 306) IISERB.

  • Aug-Nov 2017

    Instructor, Bioinorganic Chemistry (CHM 605) IISERB.

    Teaching Assistant, General Chemistry (CHM 101) IISERB.

  • Jan-Apr 2017

    Instructor, Basic Inorganic Chemistry (CHM 102) IISERB.

  • Aug-Nov 2016

    Instructor, Symmetry and Group Theory (CHM 301/641) IISERB.

  • Jan-Apr 2016

    Teaching Assistant, Basic Inorganic Chemistry (CHM 102) IISERB.

  • April, 2018

    Saeed defends his MS thesis.

    Welcome Akshaya and Indhu! Akshaya will carry out her iPhD project and Indhu will work on her BS/MS final year project.