New Faculty Profile: Assistant Professor Arnab Mukherjee

Friday, May 26, 2017

UCSB Chemical Engineering is excited to welcome Assistant Professor Arnab Mukherjee to the department, starting this summer!

Professor Mukherjee's research will pursue fundamental advances at the intersection of molecular biology, biomedical imaging, and biophysics to discover and repurpose new classes of biomolecules into genetic reporters for studying cell function under low-oxygen conditions and inside deep tissues. Specifically, the group will explore biomolecular materials with interesting properties such as paramagnetism, photoreception, and water diffusion. Using advanced protein engineering techniques such as directed evolution, the Mukherjee lab will turn these proteins into “molecular spies” that can transduce biochemical signals inside a cell into an oxygen-independent optical readout (for fluorescence imaging) or a deep tissue-penetrant magnetic resonance signal (for magnetic resonance imaging). The biomolecular agents developed in the Mukherjee lab will be useful for studying a wide range of problems encompassing cancer, neurobiology, degenerative diseases, infections, biomechanics, anaerobic microbiology, and immunotherapy.

As molecular imaging is an inherently multidisciplinary field, Professor Mukherjee is most excited about leveraging UCSB’s rich culture of interdisciplinary science, through collaborations with the Center for Bioengineering (CBE), Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Biology (MCDB), and Psychology & Brain Sciences with the goal of identifying new and challenging avenues of application for anaerobic and deep-tissue imaging biomolecular reporters. In addition to teaching fundamentals of chemical engineering, Professor Mukherjee is passionate about training students to think creatively, collectively, and laterally to engineer new frontiers in biomolecular engineering and molecular imaging.   

Professor Mukherjee comes to UCSB from Mikhail Shapiro’s group at the California Institute of Technology where he was the James G. Boswell Postdoctoral Fellow. Prior to that, he received his PhD in Chemical Engineering under Charles Schroeder at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a B.S./M.S. in Biotechnology from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.

For more information about Professor Mukherjee's research, please feel free to email him at arnabm@caltech.edu