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The Department's buildings are currently open for wet laboratory work only. We have carried out a comprehensive COVID-19 risk assessment process and have introduced a number of new measures to ensure the safety of our staff, including reduced building occupancy, strict social distancing, 'family'-based working, and increased cleaning and hygiene regimes. All staff who can work remotely will do so for the foreseeable future. Please continue to contact us by email until further notice.

Department of Biochemistry


Madhuri Hande


I was awarded master’s degree in Organic Chemistry from DES’s Fergusson College, Pune, India (University of Pune) in 2014. During my post-graduate studies, I had an opportunity to work with Dr. Anjali P. Likhite at Council of Scientific & Industrial Research-National Chemical Laboratory (CSIR-NCL), Pune, India. I worked for a project entitled “Synthesis of Hydroxy Ketones, Oximes, Oxime ethers & 1, 2, 3 Triazoles by Click Reaction”. I was introduced to basic laboratory techniques in such interdisciplinary research environment that created a curiosity about chemistry in me. I received a fundamental knowledge in chemistry. I synthesized small organic molecules, purification, and characterization using various spectroscopic techniques.
In October 2014, I joined as a Project Assistant at Central Instrumentation Facility, Savitribai Phule Pune University. I gained analytical expertise while working for instruments like NMR spectrometer, confocal laser scanning microscope, electron microscope and single crystal x-ray diffractometer. Concurrently to further enhance my laboratory skills I started my research with Dr. Anupa Kumbhar at the Department of Chemistry, University of Pune.  I synthesized organometallic compounds to develop fluorescent sensors for detection of metal ions. I improved myself as an organic chemist as well as an analytical expert while at the University of Pune.

Training and Transferable Skills:

  • Organic Synthesis (Organometallic chemistry & Methodology)
  • NMR Spectroscopy
  • Confocal Microscopy: FRAP, FRET, FLIM, FLIP, real time imaging etc.
  • Electron microscopy
  • Imaging polymers, zeolites, ceramics, metal nanoparticles, biological samples viz. unicellular organisms, cells, tissues, membranes etc.

Research Projects:
Metal ion mediated base pairing can greatly increase the thermal stability of nucleic acid duplexes. Our research aims at synthesizing metalated oligonucleotides with superior affinity to natural nucleic acids. Oligonucleotides incorporating organopalladium residues appear particularly attractive owing to the stability of the covalent C-Pd bond. The relatively fast ligand exchange kinetics of Pd(II) (compared to Pt(II)) should allow the palladated oligonucleotides to reach their designated targets without being trapped by non-specific binding.
Base pairing preferences of metalated residues will first be studied by conventional melting temperature experiments on heteroduplexes of metalated and natural oligonucleotides. The ultimate goal is to demonstrate the applicability of metalated oligonucleotides as therapeutic agents by PET imaging. For this purpose, the oligonucleotides will be equipped with an appropriate conjugate group to allow enrichment in the target organ as well as a PET label.