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Free and open to the public


Harris Corporation Engineering Center, Room 101A


The study of the synthesis, exotic properties, assembly/packaging and potential commercial application of nanomaterials is an extremely important topic of research that is expected to have far-reaching global impact. The focus of my talk will be on an emerging branch of nanotechnology that derives its inspiration from biology. Recognizing that some of the most exquisite and highly functional nanomaterials are grown by biological systems (examples include silica by diatoms and magnetic nanoparticles by magnetotactic bacteria , many researchers have focused attention on understanding how inorganic materials are made by biological systems and attempting to replicate such processes in the lab. In my laboratory, we have investigated the use of plant organisms such as fungi in the synthesis of nanomaterials over a range of chemical compositions that include metals, metal sulfides and oxides. An exciting development is the use of plant extracts in nanoparticle synthesis wherein large concentrations of gold nanotriangles have been obtained that have potential application in cancer hyperthermia. Organisms such as fungi are not normally exposed to metal precursor stresses – that they should be capable of a broad range of biochemical transformations to negate these stresses is useful in materials chemistry and throws up exciting possibilities. Recently, we have also shown that bacteria may be 'trained' to synthesize magnetite when challenged with suitable iron complexes under aerobic conditions.

'An introduction to the Tata Group and Tata Chemicals': In India, the name 'Tata' is synonymous with trust and India's economic development and globalization. In this talk, I will briefly describe the evolution of the Tata Group, and in particular, Tata Chemicals. Tata Chemicals views innovation as being a critical ingredient of its growth and has set up an Innovation Centre to identify business opportunities in nanotechnology and biotechnology. I will briefly outline the roadmap for the company and the research activities of the Innovation Center.

Professional details:
M.Sc. and Ph.D. (thin film technology) in Physics from IIT Madras (now Chennai, 1987). Postdoctoral Fellow, International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste Italy (1988-1991); Visiting Faculty at CNRS, Orsay (France, 2001-2003) and University of Maryland at College Park (USA, 1998-99) and Federation Fellow at RMIT Melbourne.

Experience and contributions:
Dr. Sastry is counted among the world's top 10 nanobiotechnologists and brings with him close to 25 years research experience in the field of materials chemistry with a focus on nanotechnology. An interdisciplinary scientist, he moved to TATA Chemicals as Chief Scientist at the Innovation Centre from Sept. 2005 after creating a Centre for Nanotechnology funded by the Department of Science and Technology at NCL Pune. Author of over 350 international publications, 10 chapters in books and inventor in 15 Indian and US patents, Dr. Sastry has a number of national and international awards to his credit including India's most prestigious award in science, the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize in Chemistry (2003). He serves on the International Advisory Board of 7 leading chemistry journals and has served at various times on Advisory Boards for the Department of Biotechnology, Department of Science and Technology, Presidential Nanotechnology Committee and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Government of India. He currently India's representative to the UNIDO Committee on "Nanotechnology, Sustainability and Developing Economies in the 21st Century"

Dr. Sastry's current research interests include interfacing biologicals with inorganic nanomaterials; understanding biological process at nanodimensions; developing new industrially relevant renewable materials and green processes and ethical issues in application of nanomaterials.

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