My broader research objectives are in utilizing the concepts of physical organic chemistry towards design, development and studies on reactive species, photoswitchable (functional) materials and drug candidates. A lot of emphasis will be given on basic research, particularly in the areas of synthetic organic chemistry, spectroscopy and photochemistry.
Matrix isolation infrared spectroscopy:
One of my major areas of interest is to understand the structure, stability and reactivity of radicals and highly reactive species. In this regard, I utilize an experimental technique called matrix isolation infrared/UV spectroscopy. At very low temperatures (4 K),gases like argon, neon and nitrogen form transparent matrices in the UV and IR regions. By controlling the dilution in such gases, molecules can indeed be isolated and trapped. If the molecules of interest are prepared with photo-labile groups, transient and unstable species can be generated in matrix isolation conditions through photolysis. Alternatively, a precursor molecule with thermo-labile group can be sublimed through a hot quartz tube at very high temperature and high vacuum so as to generate transient species. The kinetically stable products can be trapped in argon or nitrogen matrices at low temperature. Further photochemistry of such transient products can also be followed to get information about their reactivity. A detailed infrared/UV spectroscopic investigation will be performed along with computational studies in order to understand the structural information and mechanistic pathways. Studies on heterocyclic transient species, photosensitized transients and developing model systems for radical damage are part of this investigation.
Photoswitchable functional materials: Azobenzenes are robust switchable molecules with varying switching kinetics depending on the substitutions. Manipulation in the switching rate and functions can be made by changing the substitution. My research interest in this regard will be to connect multiple azobenzene moieties to a linker molecule in creating a light controlled void or confined space that can be useful for a small molecule transporter. Systematic design, synthesis, photochemistry and spectroscopic studies with respect to switching and transporting behaviour will be the major components of this project.
Drug candidates for the anti-infective therapeutic area: Antibacterial agents are one of the important drug categories that provide immense value to the health and remedy for many otherwise widely transmittable diseases. Despite their success, bacteria always try to stay one step ahead by developing resistance and transferring it. As a result, finding new ways for combating the bacterial growth through inhibiting/stopping their cellular functions is very important. Bacterial fatty acid biosynthesis (FAB) blocking agents are one of the emerging areas in this regard. Systematic design, library synthesis with different scaffolds and biological studies on various pathogens will be part of this project.
- “1, 2, 3-Tridehydrobenzene” , SugumarVenkataramani, Michael Winkler, Wolfram Sander, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.
Engl.2005, 44, 6306.;Angew. Chem.2005, 117, 6464.
- “Trifluoro-1,3,5-tridehydrobenzene” , SugumarVenkataramani, Michael Winkler, Wolfram Sander, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl.2007, 46, 4888.;Angew. Chem.2007, 119, 4974.
- “The 1,2,3-tridehydrobenzene triradical: 2B or not 2B? The answer is 2A!”, Lucas Koziol, Michael Winkler, K.N. Houk, SugumarVenkataramani, Wolfram Sander, Anna I. Krylov, J. Phys. Chem. A.2007, 111, 5071.
- “Magnetic bistability of molecules in homogeneous solution at room temperature”, SugumarVenkataramani, Umasish Jana, Marcel Dommaschk, Frank D. Soennichsen, Felix Tuczek, Rainer Herges, Science, 2011, 331, 445.