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Research Activities


Molecular cloning and purification of CFP-10 the potential antigen of M. tuberculosis (Prof. Stephen Raj M. L.)

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by M. tuberculosis. BCG is a TB vaccine developed from live attenuated strain of mycobacterium. Despite being the most widely used vaccine in human, BCG has a limitation of not being an ideal vaccine against pulmonary TB in adults. Emergence of the multidrug resistance TB strain and poor efficacy of the BCG vaccine calls for a vaccine with the ability to provide a strong and long protective immune response. The coat protein (CP) of Johnson grass Mosaic Virus (JGMV) has an ability to form PVLP when expressed in E. coli. Expressing the immunodominant antigen of M. tuberculosis (CFP10) along with CP at its termini is used as a strategy to modify the immunogenicity of the antigenic peptide. The recombinant proteins and the fusion protein expressed in E. coli were purified through ultra-centrifugation and chromatographic techniques such as gel filtration, metal affinity chromatography and anion exchange chromatography using FPLC system. SDS-PAGE was performed to confirm the presence of protein. The purified proteins were intramuscularly injected into mice in order to raise antibody.

Investigation of various serotypes of Leptospira using rnpB gene (Prof. Stephen Raj M. L.)

We have employed the RNase P RNA (RPR) gene, which is present as single copy in chromosome I of Leptospira spp. to investigate the phylogeny of structural domains present in the RNA subunit of the tRNA processing enzyme, RNase P. Sequence variations in the RPR gene, across 8 reference strains and 150 pre-sequenced strains, impacted on the configuration of loops, stems and bulges found in the RPR highlighting species and strain specific structural motifs. In vitro transcribed leptospiral RPR ribozymes are demonstrated to process pre-tRNA into mature tRNA in consonance with the positioning of Leptospira in the taxonomic domain of bacteria. RPR sequence datasets used to construct a phylogenetic tree exemplified the segregation of strains into their respective lineages with a (re)speciation of strain SH 9 to L. borgpetersenii, strains Fiocruz LV 3954 and Fiocruz LV 4135 to L. santarosai, strain CBC 613 to L. kirschneri and strain HAI 1536 to L. noguchii. Furthermore, it allowed characterization of an isolate P2653, presumptively characterized as either serovar Hebdomadis, Kremastos or Longnan to L. weilii, serovar Longnan.

Research Areas (Dr. Karthikeyan R.)

  • Chemical reactor Design, Fermentation, biochemical, bioreactor engineering and biocalorimetry
  • Biotechnology process and Bio-Process Analytical Technology (synthesis of recombinant proteins and value-added bioproducts)
  • Real-time monitoring and control of bioprocess systems (Fermenter, Biocalorimetry and Exhaust Gas Analyzer)
  • Mathematical modeling of process and bioprocess systems, optimization and control technique
  • Monitoring and control of environmental process and bioprocess systems leading to value-added products
  • Synthesis and characterization of bio polymeric nanoparticle for therapeutic applications.
  • Extraction and evaluation of medicinally important Phytochemicals from Indigenous Plants

Control of Medical Device associated infection by nanotechnology (Dr. R. Mala)

Medical devices are an essential component of modern healthcare. Colonization of medical devices by multi drug resistant pathogens is the major cause of morbidity and mortality. Current work is focused to study the control of biofilm in medical devices by functionalization with nanomaterials. We are also assessing the toxicity of nano materials in zebra fish model.

Nanotechnology based hybrid wound dressings for healing chronic wounds (Dr. R. Mala)

Chronic wounds represent a major burden to health care and in many cases it leads to amputation. Hence work is aimed to develop a active nano dressing with a battery of natural and synthetic compounds active at all stages of wound healing cascade. We are fabricating nano sponges and fiber for the healing of chronic wounds.

Nanofertilizers for improving soil sustainability and productivity (Dr. R. Mala)

The profound and intense use of chemical fertilizers leads to pollution and throttles the productivity of land. attempt Current research is focused to fabricate and evaluate the impact of a neem cake based nano structured slow release fertilizer to improve soil fertility.

Mutational and gene silencing studies in p21-activated kinase (PAK) isoforms (Dr. Kannapiran P)

PAKs are rho-related GTPase (Rac/Cdc42) effectors involved in multiple signal transduction pathways affecting the cell motility, neurogenesis, angiogenesis and cancer metastasis. PAKs are also involved in cellular actin remodeling which is being exploited during HIV pathogenesis by interaction of HIV accessory proteins like nef and tat. The invitro mutation and gene silencing studies can aid in understanding the role of PAKs (α-PAK and γ-PAK) in chronic and infectious diesases. The research in our lab will thus involve the gene cloning, gene mutants and knock-down vector construction for molecular understanding of PAKs in various cellular functions. The aim of the lab is in identifying novel targets in the course of understanding function of PAKs to effectively suppress disease progress.

Tissue culture of banana varieties and use of molecular markers for germplasm screening.(Dr. Kannapiran P) The available tissue culture regeneration protocols are suitable only for specific banana varieties grown in most parts of the world. These protocols are not reproducible with respect to efficient regeneration of popular local varieties grown in the region. Hence we concentrate in optimizing the regeneration protocol in one end while developing molecular markers for identification of disease resistance phenotypes on the other end. Thus the generated knowledge can be utilized directly for the efficient screening and aid in propagation of disease-free plantlets for the larger farming community.

Cloning and characterization of disease resistant genes from plants.(Dr. Sripriya R)

The tremendous loss in agricultural production has been estimated at 37% of the total production worldwide mainly due to pests and diseases. The overuse of chemical compounds like insecticides over the last few decades has led to a harmful effect especially towards the non-target organisms and to the environment. There are many plant proteins that have insecticidal activity. Lectins are well documented for their potential effects against the insect pests and for transgenic based pest control strategies. Our lab works on cloning and characterization of monocot mannose binding lectins from plants like Allium ascalonicum and Allium cepa and exploits them for generating insect resistant transgenic plant.

Genetic Engineering of plants for biotic and abiotic stress resistance.(Dr. Sripriya R)

Our lab is currently working on generation of transgenic plants (rice, tomato) for disease (fungal, and insect) resistance and drought resistance. We are focusing on generation of insect resistant transgenic plants with lectin gene which target the sap sucking pests, fungal resistant transgenic plants with chitinase and glucanase genes and drought resistant transgenic plants with the osmotin gene. Our work also focuses on generation of marker-free plants by Agrobacterium-mediated transformation.

Department of Biotechnology is approved Research Centre under Anna University, Chennai since August 2012. The following students are undergoing research under the supervision of the Department faculty. The research questions are concisely narrated below.

Graduate Research Activities

Full-time Scholars

Name: R. Vigneshwaran (1414589101/PhD/AR8)

Title of Research

Phylogenetic differentiation of various leptospiral serovars using gene markers

Supervisor name: Dr. M. L. Stephen Raj


The genus Leptospira encompasses 20 recognized species diverging into pathogenic, intermediate and saprophytic organisms. Evolution of these environmental organisms into an infectious agent is mostly due to its ability to adapt rapidly to their changing environment and host. We have employed the RNase P RNA (RPR) gene, which is present as single copy in chromosome I of Leptospira spp. to investigate the phylogeny of structural domains present in the RNA subunit of the tRNA processing enzyme, RNase P.

Name: VigneshKumar.S (1512589708/PhD/AR9)

Title of Research

In vitro and in vivo evaluation of chitosan nanoparticles carrying Hemostyptic plant extract on its Hemostatic efficacy for the application of topical Hemostatic agent

Supervisor name: Dr. R. Karthikeyan


Unrestrained hemorrhage had always been a vital issue in prior hospital trauma deaths caused by accidents and warfare. Topical hemostats were developed to overcome this problem to save lives. This study focuses on identification of the compounds (alkaloids in specific) in the plant extract that influence on the haemostyptic property and their mediated effects on the coagulation system, haemostasis and their pathophysiological changes in exposure of these engineered Chitosan nanoparticles and Coated chitosan nanoparticles topically. The study aims at developing an organic plant based development of a Topical Hemostatic agent.

Name: Sugumari. V

Title of Research

Screening, Identification, Extraction of Phytochemicals from Indigenous Medicinal Plants and their Characterization for Anticancer Therapy

Supervisor name: Dr. R. Karthikeyan


This research emphasizing on evaluation and characterization of various plant constituent against cancer, based on their traditional claims of the plants given Siddha and Ayurveda. Focus on screening anti-cancer plant components from several of indigenous Indian plants, purifying the active component and characterization. High throughput data generation across the bioscience and bioinformatics, Insilco tools could be used to screen various active compounds that are against the cancerous cells. These Insilco confirmations would narrow us to the plants that would contain these active components, for further research. Standardization of extraction procedure would eliminate unwanted materials and purest of the target component can be obtained. Finally, these components would be subjected to in-vitro and in-vivo anti-cancerous study for its efficacy for cancer therapy.

Department of Biotechnology is approved Research Centre under Anna University, Chennai since August 2012.

Supervisor No. of Ph.D Scholars
Part time Full time
Dr. M. L. Stephen Raj 1 1
Dr. R. Karthikeyan 4 2
Dr. R. Mala -- 3
Total 5 6
  • IBSC (Institute Biosafety Committee) is recognized by Department of Biotechnology (DBT), New Delhi, Govt. of India.
  • Radioactive laboratory is established with the approvals of Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai, Approved to use radioactive materials for Research and Teaching.
  • Institutional Animal Ethical Committee (IAEC) is established and approval from committee for the purpose of control and supervision of Experiments on Animals (CPCEA), Ministry of Environment and Forest, Govt. of India is awaited.