Santra Research Group


Area of research interest:

Engineered nanomaterials, Nanobioimaging and Sensing, Environmental Nanotoxicology, Cancer Nanotechnology, Nano-Agriculture.

Nanomaterial of Interest:

Nanoparticle based probes (e.g. dye-loaded nanoparticles, quantum dots, super-paramagnetic iron oxides), Multimodal/multifunctional contrast agents (e.g. fluorescent and paramagnetic contrast agents), Nanobiocides.

Research Areas

Significance of Research

Our research is focused in two major areas, “Nano-agriculture” and “Nano-medicine” which has direct positive impact on global economy, human health and the environment. We develop new materials at nano/microscale, study their fundamental properties and gain new knowledge. Such new knowledge often enable us to develop new technologies with commercial potential.

In Nano-agriculture area, we have developed several technologies for crop protection over the past seven years. In response to State of Florida’s call to save the State’s 10 billion dollar citrus industry, we have undertaken a research initiative for combating the two most devastating citrus diseases, citrus canker and citrus greening. Funded by the Citrus Research and Development Foundation, USDA and agri-industry, we have developed several new pesticide materials and demonstrated field efficacy against citrus canker and initiated a large-scale trial for Huanglingbing (also called citrus greening disease). Successful commercialization of these pesticide products will directly benefit growers worldwide for protecting a broad spectrum of crops from devastating diseases (beyond the citrus industry) and contribute directly to global food security.

In Nano-medicine area, we are actively engaged in both fundamental and applied research. Specifically, we are developing new multimodal/multifunctional nanoprobes and studying their efficacy for various bioimaging, biosensing and drug delivery applications. We took the challenge of developing a nanoprobe with integrated capabilities of delivering therapeutic cargoes inside live cancer cells in a targeted manner while confirming the release of cargoes in cytosol and quantifying the released cargo amount. This groundbreaking research has been supported by the NSF. Successful outcome of this research will have impact on cancer and stem cell therapy. Pharmaceutical industries will benefit from the knowledge gained in this research and be able to apply for delivering therapy to target tissue which could potentially save millions of lives globally every year and could improve the quality of life.

Commercial Impact


Commercial impact of our nano-agriculture research is enormously high. It could potentially make positive impact on billion dollar global pesticide industry. Successful outcome of our research will lead to technology development and introduce a new generation of pesticide products for growers. These products can be widely applied to protect all types of crops (such as fruits, vegetables, nuts). Our Copper (Cu) alternative pesticide technologies are environmentally-friendly which will introduce a new line of products. In fact, no such innovative products are currently available in the market for use in agriculture industries. Therefore, several multi-national agrichemical industries are currently evaluating commercial potential of our pesticide technologies and approached UCF for exclusive licensing.

Nano-medicine area

In this area, our quantum dot technology with bioimaging, biosensing and drug delivery attributes has strong commercial potential. UCF-ORC is actively seeking commercial partners for further technology development (including a startup option).

Swadeshmukul Santra, Ph.D., University of Central Florida  •  Email:  •  Phone: 407-697-2848  •  Fax: 407-882-2819