Drinking water contamination with heavy metals, particularly arsenic, cadmium, lead, chromium, mercury,  is a persistent problem worldwide. Their high toxicity and various human health issues put them among the greatest concern. Our research basically focuses on synthesis of metal oxide nanocomposites, metal organic frameworks (MOFs) and core shell metal oxide@MOFs, and their application in removal of these toxic heavy metals (quickly and economically) from water.

Biocomposites and Tissue Engineering

From the last two decades, there has been an extensive use of polymers in biomedical applications like biosensors, drug delivery and many others. Tissue re-engineering is one of them that has been studied extensively because it provides a better solution for tissue loss and organ failure. Our research basically focuses on the synthesis of the polymers composites which are having nanoparticles as a filler material in a polymer main matrix and their application in tissue re-engineering.

Nanoparticles Labeling

Metal-containing engineered nanoparticles (MENPs) have drawn considerable attention as they are being extensively produced and used in various sectors such as consumer products, health care and energy. During their production, use and disposal the MENPs release into the environment emerging as contaminants. Hence, to know their environmental fate and distribution in the organisms from the background concentrations of metallic components, labelled MENPs are used, which essentially have the same chemical composition and surface chemistry. My research in our lab focuses on the synthesis of MENPs, labelling the MENPs with fluorescent probes and stable isotopic labelling of the nanoparticles; and further understanding the behaviour of the labelled MENPs in a suitable biological model.

Lifecycle assessment of Bio-implants

A biomedical implant/prosthetic implanted in human body is a complex biological system. A biomedical implant can fail at any point of time after implantation. The mode of failure can be surface failure because of corrosion and poor osseointegration or bulk failure due to stress involved or a synergistic effect of both. Our research is focusing on detection of these failures prior to their occurrence. The detection is done by embedding traceable nano-particles in complex biological systems. Embedding traceable nano-particles will allow monitoring the health of these implants and allow remedial measures prior to implant failure. Embedding traceable nano-particles will also help us understand the fate of nano-materials in the environment.

Dissolution of Nanoparticles

Dissolution of nanoparticles (NPs) is an important property that alters their abundance and is often a critical step in determining safety of nanoparticles. The dissolution status of the NPs in exposure media (i.e. whether they remain in particulate form or dissolve — and to what extent), strongly affects the uptake pathway, toxicity mechanisms and the environmental compartment in which NPs will have the highest potential impact. A review of available dissolution data on NPs demonstrates there is a range of potential outcomes depending on the NPs and the exposure media. For example two nominally identical nanoparticles, in terms of size and composition, could have totally different dissolution behaviours, subject to different surface modifications. Therefore, it is imperative that toxicological studies are conducted in conjunction with dissolution of NPs to establish the true biological effect of NPs and hence, assist in their regulation.

Targeted Drug delivery

Magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) have become a very attractive platform in biomedical applications such as contrast enhancement, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) magnetic hyperthermia and targeted drug delivery, due to their properties like biocompatibility, easy functionalization and superparamagnetism. These properties can be very useful for diseases like cancer.  Our research goal is to use these superparamagnetic magnetic nanoparticles for dual-mode application i.e. targeting cancer cells by delivery of anti-cancer drug and use of hyperthermia for an effective treatment against cancer cells. 

Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar, India

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© 2018 by Swaroop Chakraborty

Bio-Nanomaterial Group, IIT Gandhinagar