Faculty Directory

Dr. Asifkhan Shanavas


Targeted combinatorial nanomedicines, Organo-Inorganic Biomaterials for Theranostics, Plasmonic nanomaterials for Photothermal Therapy

(PhD positions are available for candidates qualified with JRF through CSIR UGC/DBT/ICMR exams. Please contact asifkhan@inst.ac.in for any query. 
Check https://inst.ac.in/careers/42 regarding next call for PhD applications)


Research Interest

  • Pranjali et al prepared a mesoporous magnetic nanohybrid functionalized with 14 wt% carbon nitride (CN) and loaded with curcumin (Cur) for combination platform for photodynamic therapy and magnetic hyperthermia. CN-Cur complexes on the nanoparticle surface facilitate fast charge separation of hole-electrons under blue LED light irradiation and subsequent singlet oxygen generation. Cur release from the nanoparticle was significant only when exposed to both lysosomal pH (pH=5.2) and an alternating current magnetic field (AMF). The mesoporous magnetic carbon nitride (MMCN) caused a 350% increase in the level of intracellular ROS as compared to the light-exposed untreated control group. The nanohybrid was non-hemolytic and found to be biocompatible with HUVEC cells at concentrations up to 360 µg/mL. A similar concentration under AMF exposure caused a localized temperature rise of 4.2 °C and resulted in a60% reduction in C6 cell viability. The cancer cell death further increased up to 80% under sequential exposure to light and AMF. The combinatorial treatment exerted significant cytoskeletal and nuclear damage in the cancer cells as assessed by confocal microscopy. The nanohybrid also exhibited relaxivity of 88 mM-1 s-1, imparting significant T2weighted contrast to the cancer cells.

    More info: Pranjali Yadav, Cheng Zhang, Andrew K. Whittaker, Kamalakannan Kailasam and Asifkhan Shanavas, Magnetic and Photocatalytic Curcumin Bound Carbon Nitride Nanohybrids for Enhanced Glioma Cell Death, ACS Biomater. Sci. Eng. 2019 (https://doi.org/10.1021/acsbiomaterials.9b01224).

  • Navneet Kaur et al studied high and low molecular weight PLGA nanoparticles with glycol chitosan and carboxymethyl chitosan coating Glycol chitosan reduced Extraneous Paclitaxel Precipitates (EPPs) during LMW PLGA nanoprecipitation for uniform intracellular drug delivery. Molecular weight wise composition of protein corona varied distinctly between glycol chitosan and carboxymethyl chitosan coatings. Glycol chitosan-coated nanoparticles fared better in terms of compatibility with RBC in its nascent form irrespective of its positive charge.

    More info: Navneet Kaur, Purvi Mathur, Pranjali Yadav, Swaroop Chakraborty, Asifkhan Shanavas, Glycol chitosan in situ coating on PLGA nanoparticle curtails extraneous paclitaxel precipitates and imparts protein corona independent hemocompatibility, Carbohydrate Polymers, 2020. (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.carbpol.2020.116170).

  • Subnanometer-sized metal nanoclusters (NCs) with diameters less than < 2 nm have emerged as promising materials in biomedical applications. Here we report the synthesis of near- infrared emitting (NIR) Au14 nanoclusters using a small therapeutic molecule D-penicillamine (DPA) as a surface stabilizing agent. We have characterized the morphology and composition of as-synthesized NCs using electron microscopy and mass spetrsometry techniques. The photophysics of the NCs was investigated using UV-Vis and photoluminescence (PL) spectroscopy. We found molecular like absorption features with three distinctive absorption bands at 390 nm, 456 nm, 590 nm, and a photoemission band at 696 nm. We found Au NCs specifically inhibited cancer cells in a dose-dependent manner through preferential uptake and imparting significant intracellular ROS. They did not show any acute toxicity in C57BL/6 mice at a dosage of 10 mg/Kg with predominant accumulation in the kidney at the end of 24 hours.

    More info: Bain et al., ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Enigneering, 2022 (https://doi.org/10.1021/acssuschemeng.2c03605)

  • Graphitic carbon nitride (also known as g-CN or g-C3N4) has the intrinsic ability to generate electron–hole pairs under visible light illumination, resulting in the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). We report g-CN quantum dots (g-CNQDs) as a standalone photodynamic transducer for imparting significant oxidative stress in glioma cells, manifested by the loss of mitochondrial membrane potential. With an optimized treatment time, visible light source, and exposure window, the photodynamic treatment with g-CNQDs could achieve 90% cancer cell death via apoptosis. The g-CNQDs, otherwise biocompatible with normal cells up to 5 mg/mL, showed 20% necrotic cancer cell death in the absence of light due to membrane damage induced by a charge shielding effect at the acidic pH prevailing in the tumor environment. Acute toxicity analysis in C57BL/6 mice with intravenously injected g-CNQDs at a 20 mg/kg dose showed no signs of inflammatory response or organ damage.

    More info: Pranjali Yadav, Mimansa, Kamalakannan Kailasam*, Asifkhan Shanavas*, ACS Applied Bio Materials, 2022 (https://doi.org/10.1021/acsabm.1c01219)

  • Disintegrable inorganic nanoclusters (GIONs) with gold seed (GS) coating of an iron oxide core with a primary nanoparticle size less than 6 nm were prepared for theranostic applications. The GIONs possessed a broad near-infrared (NIR) absorbance at 750 nm because of plasmon coupling between closely positioned GSs on the iron oxide nanoclusters (ION) surface, in addition to the 513 nm peak corresponding to the isolated GS. The NIR laser-triggered photothermal response of GIONs was found to be concentration-dependent with a temperature rise of 8.5 and 4.5 °C from physiological temperature for 0.5 and 0.25 mg/mL, respectively. The nanoclusters were nonhemolytic and showed compatibility with human umbilical vein endothelial cells up to a concentration of 0.7 mg/mL under physiological conditions. The nanoclusters completely disintegrated at a lysosomal pH of 5.2 within 1 month. With an acute increase of over 400% intracellular reactive oxygen species soon after γ-irradiation and assistance from Fenton reaction-mediated supplemental oxidative stress, GION treatment in conjunction with radiation killed 50% of PLC/PRF/5 hepatoma cells. Confocal microscopy images of these cells showed significant cytoskeletal and nuclear damage from radiosensitization with GIONs. The cell viability further decreased to 10% when they were sequentially exposed to the NIR laser followed by γ-irradiation. The magnetic and optical properties of the nanoclusters enabled GIONs to possess T2 relaxivity of 223 mM–1 s–1and a concentration-dependent strong photoacoustic signal toward magnetic resonance and optical imaging. GIONs did not incur any organ damage or evoke an acute inflammatory response in healthy C57BL/6 mice. Elemental analysis of various organs indicated differential clearance of gold and iron via both renal and hepatobiliary routes.

    More info: Pranjali Yadav, Mimansa, Rafika Munawara, Kanchan Kapoor, Shubhra Chaturvedi, Kamalakannan Kailasam, Samir Kumar Biswas, Dhirendra Bahadur, Rohit Srivastava, Anil Kumar Mishra, Asifkhan Shanavas*, ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering, 2022 (https://doi.org/10.1021/acsbiomaterials.1c01579).

  • We report drug nanocrystals stabilized with host specific serum proteins with high loading (~63% w/w). The human serum derived curcumin nanoparticles (Cur-NanoSera) showed superior in vitro anti-cancer efficiency compared to free drug with substantial hemocompatibility. The pre-adsorbed protein coating impeded further protein corona formation even with repeated serum exposures. Acute & sub-acute toxicity evaluation post single and dual injections of C57BL/6 mice derived Cur-NanoSera showed no prominent inflammatory response or organ damage in the in-bred mice. Passive accumulation of Cur-NanoSera in tumor tissue significantly suppressed its growth in a syngeneic breast tumor model in addition to controlling tumor burden associated splenomegaly.

    More info: Mimansa, Manu Jamwal, Reena Das, Asifkhan Shanavas*, Biomacromolecules, 2022 (https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.biomac.2c00907)
  • Plasmonic nanomaterials for Photothermal Therapy: Gold based anisotropic nanostructures such as nanoshells have shown a huge success in combating drug resistant tumors. Our group works on better engineering of nanoshells towards new generation of nanomedicines for effectively combating undruggable advanced cancers.
  • Organo-Inorganic Biomaterials for Theranostics: Multifunctional biomaterials offer a ‘One for All’ approach towards precise in vivo detection and subsequent treatment of solid tumors. Our group investigates organo-inorganic composite biomaterials for simultaneous therapy and imaging of cancerous tissues.

Research Highlights

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PhD Students


    Email: priyanka.ph20201@inst.ac.in

    Reg. No.: PH20201

    Working Since Aug, 2020
  • Ms.Kritika Sood

    Email: kritika.ph17227@inst.ac.in

    Reg. No.: PH17227

    Working Since Jan, 2018
  • Ms. Mimansa

    Email: mimansa.ph19207@inst.ac.in

    Reg. No.: PH19207

    Working Since Aug, 2019

PhD Students

  • Ms. Navneet Kaur

    Email: navneet.ph16215@inst.ac.in

    Reg. No.: PH16215

  • Ms. Pranjali Yadav

    Email: pranjali.ph15205@inst.ac.in

    Reg. No.: PH15205

  1. High Drug Loading Nanoparticles Stabilized with Autologous Serum Proteins Passively Inhibits Tumor Growth: Mimansa, Manu Jamwal, Reena Das, Asifkhan Shanavas, (2022) Biomacromolecules, . DOI: 10.1021/acs.biomac.2c00907

  2. Penicillamine Capped Red-Emitting Gold Nanoclusters for Therapeutic Application: Dipankar Bain, Mimansa, Aarti Devi, Subarna Maity, Asifkhan Shanavas* and Amitava Patra*, (2022) ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, . DOI: https://doi.org/10.1021/acssuschemeng.2c03605

  3. Glycol chitosan stabilized bimolecular nanoparticles for chemo photothermal killing of breast cancer cells: Navneet Kaur, Adrija Aditya, Asifkhan Shanavas, (2022) Biomedical Engineering Advances, 100040. DOI: 10.1016/j.bea.2022.100040

  4. Gold–BODIPY Nanoparticles with Luminescence and Photosensitization Properties for Photodynamic Therapy and Cell Imaging: A Rahman, PPP Kumar, P Yadav, T Goswami, A Shanavas*, HN Ghosh*, PP Neelakandan*, (2022) ACS Appl. Nano Mater., 5: 6532-6542. DOI: 10.1021/acsanm.2c00616

  5. Nontoxic In Vivo Clearable Nanoparticle Clusters for Theranostic Applications: Pranjali Yadav, Mimansa, Rafika Munawara, Kanchan Kapoor, Shubhra Chaturvedi, Kamalakannan Kailasam, Samir Kumar Biswas, Dhirendra Bahadur, Rohit Srivastava, Anil Kumar Mishra, and Asifkhan Shanavas, (2022) ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering, . DOI: 10.1021/acsbiomaterials.1c01579

  6. Biodegradable Protein-Stabilized Inorganic Nanoassemblies for Photothermal Radiotherapy of Hepatoma Cells: Pranjali Yadav , Shubhra Chaturvedi, Samir Kumar Biswas, Rohit Srivastava, Kamalakannan Kailasam, Anil Kumar Mishra, and Asifkhan Shanavas, (2022) ACS Omega, . DOI: 10.1021/acsomega.1c07324

  7. Nontoxic Metal-Free Visible Light-Responsive Carbon Nitride Quantum Dots Cause Oxidative Stress and Cancer-Specific Membrane Damage: Pranjali Yadav , Mimansa, Kamalakannan Kailasam, and Asifkhan Shanavas, (2022) ACS Applied Bio Materials, . DOI: 10.1021/acsabm.1c01219

  8. Taking leads out of nature, can nano deliver us from COVID-like pandemics?: Navneet Kaur, Priyanka Sharma, Adrija Aditya and Asifkhan Shanavas, (2022) Biomedical Physics & Engineering Express, 8: 022002. DOI: 10.1088/2057-1976/ac4ec8

  9. Natural derivatives with dual binding potential against SARS-CoV-2 main protease and human ACE2 possess low oral bioavailability: a brief computational analysis: Priyanka Sharma, Asifkhan Shanavas, (2021) Journal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics, 39: 5819-5830. DOI: 10.1080/07391102.2020.1794970

  10. Microwave mediated synthesis of dopamine functionalized copper sulphide nanoparticles: An effective catalyst for visible light driven degradation of methlyene blue dye: Deepak Rohilla, Navneet Kaur, Asifkhan Shanavas, Savita Chaudhary, (2021) Chemosphere, 277: 130202. DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2021.130202

  11. Emissive radiodense stealth plasmonic nanohybrid as X-ray contrast and photo-ablative agent of cancer cells: Jinal M Mehta, Nishant K Jain, Deepak S Chauhan, Rajendra Prasad, Mukesh K Kumawat, Mukesh Dhanka, Asifkhan Shanavas, Rohit Srivastava, (2021) Materials Today Communications, 27: 102181. DOI: 10.1016/j.mtcomm.2021.102181

  12. The Role of Gold Nanoclusters as Emerging Theranostic Agents for Cancer Management: Kritika Sood, Asifkhan Shanavas, (2021) Current Pathobiology Reports, 9: 33-42. DOI: 10.1007/s40139-021-00222-4

  13. Synthesis and Anti‐Proliferative Activity of a Triazole‐Fused Thymidine Analogue: A Rahman, P Sharma, N Kaur, A Shanavas*, and PP Neelakandan*, (2020) ChemistrySelect, 5: 5473-5478. DOI: 10.1002/slct.202001013

  14. Dopamine functionalized CuO nanoparticles: A high valued “turn on” colorimetric biosensor for detecting cysteine in human serum and urine samples: D Rohilla, S Chaudhary, N Kaur, A Shanavas, (2020) Materials Science and Engineering: C, 110: 110724. DOI: 10.1016/j.msec.2020.110724

  15. Glycol chitosan in situ coating on PLGA nanoparticle curtails extraneous paclitaxel precipitates and imparts protein corona independent hemocompatibility: N Kaur, P Mathur, P Yadav, S Chakraborty, A Shanavas, (2020) Carbohydrate Polymers, 237: 116170. DOI: 10.1016/j.carbpol.2020.116170

  16. Aggregation Enhances Luminescence and Photosensitization Properties of a Hexaiodo-BODIPY: PPP Kumar, P Yadav, A Shanavas, and PP Neelakandan*, (2020) Mater. Chem. Front., 4: 965-972. DOI: 10.1039/D0QM00010H

  17. Nanomolar Detection of Biothiols via Turn-ON Fluorescent Indicator Displacement: PPP Kumar, N Kaur, A Shanavas, and PP Neelakandan*, (2020) Analyst, 145: 851-857. DOI: 10.1039/C9AN02222H

  18. Magnetic and photocatalytic curcumin bound carbon nitride nanohybrids for enhanced glioma cell death: Yadav, Pranjali; Zhang, Cheng; Whittaker, Andrew; Kailasam, Kamalakannan, (2019) ACS Biomaterials Sciences and Engineering, 5: 6590. DOI: 10.1021/acsbiomaterials.9b01224

  19. A polymeric core-shell combinatorial nanomedicine for synergistic anticancer therapy: Shanavas, Asifkhan; Jain, Nishant; Kaur, Navneet; Thummuri, Dinesh; Prasanna, Maruthi; Prasad, Rajendra; Naidu, Vegi; Bahadur, Dhirendra; Srivastava, Rohit, (2019) ACS Omega, Just accepted manuscript. DOI: 10.1021/acsomega.9b02167

  20. A Three-Component Supramolecular Nanocomposite as a Heavy-Atom-Free Photosensitizer: PPP Kumar, P Yadav, A Shanavas, S Thurakkal, J Joseph, and PP Neelakandan*, (2019) Chem. Commun., 55: 5623-5626. DOI: 10.1039/C9CC02480H

  21. Metal-free visible light photocatalytic carbon nitride quantum dots as efficient antibacterial agents: An insight study: P Yadav, N S Thangaraj, B Purohit, A Shanavas, K Kailasam, (2019) Carbon, 152: 587. DOI: 10.1016/j.carbon.2019.06.045

  22. Synthesis and characterizations of luminescent copper oxide nanoparticles: Toxicological profiling and sensing applications: S Chaudhary, D Rohilla, A Umar, N Kaur, A Shanavas, (2019) Ceramics International, 45, 12,: 15025.. DOI: 10.1016/j.ceramint.2019.04.239

  23. Glycol chitosan assisted in situ reduction of gold on polymeric template for anti-cancer theranostics: A Shanavas, A K Rengan, D Chauhan, L George, M Vats, N Kaur, P Yadav, P Mathur, S Chakraborty, A Tejaswini, A De, R Srivastava, (2018) Int. J. Biol. Macromol, 110: 392-398. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2017.11.127

  24. Enhanced EPR directed and Imaging-guided Photothermal Therapy using Vitamin E Modified Toco-Photoxil: D S Chauhan, A B Bukhari, G Ravichandran, R Gupta, L George, R Poojari, A Ingle, A K Rengan, A Shanavas, R Srivastava, A De, (2018) Scientific Reports, 8: . DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-34898-3

  25. Supramolecular confinement within chitosan nanocomposites enhance singlet oxygen generation: K Naim, S T Nair, P Yadav,A Shanavas, P P Neelakandan, (2018) ChemPlusChem, 83: 418 –422.. DOI: /10.1002/cplu.201800041

  26. Gold laced bio-macromolecules for theranostic application: P Yadav, S P Singh, A K Rengan, R Srivastava,A Shanavas, (2018) Int. J. Biol. Macromol, 110: 39-53. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2017.10.124

  27. Magnetic core-shell hybrid nanoparticles for receptor targeted anti-cancer therapy and magnetic resonance imaging: A Shanavas, S Sasidharan,D Bahadur,R Srivastava, (2017) Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 486: 112-120. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcis.2016.09.060

  28. Biocompatible Amphiphilic Pentablock Copolymeric Nanoparticles for Anti-Cancer Drug delivery,: K Byagari, A K Rengan, G C Kundu and R Srivastava, (2014) Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology, 10: 1-11. DOI: 10.1166/jbn.2014.1791

  29. Magnetic polycaprolactone nanoparticles for anticancer drug delivery: R Patel, A Shanavas,M Aslam,D Bahadur,R Srivastava, (2013) Journal of Nanoscience Letters, 3: 8.

  30. Polyelectrolyte Coated Polymeric Nanoparticles for Controlled Release of Docetaxel: R Agrawal, S Yadav, M Aslam, D Bahadur, and R Srivastava, (2012) Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology, 8: 1-10. DOI: 10.1166/jbn.2012.1355

  31. Core or/and Surface modified Nanomedicines for Controlled Release of Drug: Dhirendra Bahadur, Rohit Srivastava, (2012) Nanotechnology, .

  1. Gold Nanoclusters as Emerging Theranostic Interventions for Biomedical Applications: Kritika Sood, Asifkhan Shanavas, (2021) Springer, Singapore, 1-31. DOI: 10.1007/978-981-16-2782-8_1

  1. One-pot process for preparation of metallic semi shells: Kritika Sood,Purvi Mathur, Pranjali Yadav,Navneet Kaur,Rohit Srivastava,Abhijit De,Asifkhan Shanavas, (2021) Indian patent application number:: 202111016843, .

  2. A hydrogel composition, process of preparation and application thereof: Asifkhan Shanavas,Prakash Pandisala Neelakandan,Panangattukara Prabhakaran Praveen Kumar,Navneet Kaur, (2021) Indian patent application number: 202111001281, .

  3. TPGS COMPRISED GOLD COATED POLY -(LACTIC-CO-GLYCOLIC ACID) NANOSTRUCTURES AND PROCESS FOR ITS PREPARATION: Rohit Srivastava, Deepak Singh Chauhan, Radhika Poojari, Aravind Kumar Rengan, Abhijit De, Amirali Bakarali Bukhari, Asifkhan Shanavas, (2020) Application number: 4082/MUM/2015, Indian Patent Number: 354678, Date of filing: 28 October 2015, Date of grant & recordation in the register of patent: 29 December 2020, .

  4. Multi-layer Nanocomposite: Rohit Srivastava, Dhirendra Bahadur,Mohammed Aslam,Sonara Dineshkumar Keshavlal, Asifkhan Shanavas, (2016) Application number: 811/MUM/2011, Indian Patent Number: 271416, Date of filing: 21st March 2011, Date of grant & recordation in the register of patent: 19th Feb 2016, .

  1. Systems Oncology conference: Cochin, Kerala., (2017) .

  2. Invited Talk at 3rd Annual Personalized Nanomedicine Symposium: Florida International University, Miami, USA, (2016) .

  3. International Symposium on Nanotechnology and Cancer Theranostics (ISNACT): IIT Bombay., (2015) .

  4. Invited talk: at ICMR sponsored National Conference on Nanotechnology in Drug Delivery Research: Innovations, Challenges and Opportunities, SPPSPTM, NMIMS, Mumbai., (2015) .

  5. Indo-Australian conference on Tissue Engineering, Drug Delivery System and Regenerative Medicine (BiTERM): Anna University, (2015) .

  6. 4th Annual Meeting of American Society for Nanomedicine: Maryland, USA., (2014) .

  7. 3rd NanoToday Conference: Singapore, (2013) .

  8. 4th Bangalore Nano conference: Bangalore, India., (2011) .

  9. XIX International Conference on Bioencapsulation: Amboise, France., (2011) .


  • Reconstitutable lyophilized plasmonic semishells as near infra red photothermal nano-transducers for cancer treatment 2017-2020, DBT (NanoBio)
    Funding Amount: 35.896
    PI: Dr. Asifkhan Shanavas
  • Gold capsuled combination nanomedicine for target specific therapy of chemoresistant breast tumors 2017-2020, SERB (CRG)
    Funding Amount: 38.272
    PI: Dr. Asifkhan Shanavas
  • Dynamic Self-assembled Nucleic Acid Analogues 3 years, DBT
    Funding Amount: -
    Role PI: Dr. Prakash P. Neelakandan Role Co-PI: Dr. Asifkhan Shanavas

  • 2015

    Ph.D in Biomedical Engineering

    Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, India.

  • 2010

    M.Tech Nanomedical Sciences

    Amrita Centre for NanoSciences, Kochi, India.

  • 2007

    M.Sc Biochemistry

    PSG College of Arts and Sciences, Coimbatore, India.

  • 2005

    B.Sc Biochemistry (specialized in Biotechnology)

    PSG College of Arts and Sciences, Coimbatore, India

  • Visiting Scientist/Academic:Australian Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia (October 2017 to July 2018 )

  • Scientist-D:Institute of Nano Science & Technology, Mohali, Punjab (January 2022 to Present till date )

  • Scientist-C:Institute of Nano Science & Technology, Mohali, Punjab (January 2018 to December 2021 )

  • Scientist-B:Institute of Nano Science & Technology, Mohali, Punjab (June 2014 to December 2017 )

Awards & Honours

  • 2022: BRICS Young Innovator

  • 2016- 2017: DBT Indo-Australian Career Boosting Gold Fellowship

  • 2010- 2014: MHRD Institute Teaching Assistantship, IIT Bombay

  • 2013: DST Travel Grant

  • 2011: Bioencapsulation Research Group Travel Grant

  • 2008-2010: DST fellowship, MTech Nanomedical Sciences, ACNS

  • 2006: JNCASR summer research fellowship

Professional Recognitions

  • Member of American Chemical Society

  • Indian Association for Cancer Research

  • American Society for Nanomedicine

  •  Indian Society of Nano Medicine