Pramod P Wangikar

Personal Information
Full Name: Pramod P Wangikar
Room No: 136, Chemical Engineering
+91 (22) 2576 7232 (o)
+91 (22) 2572 6895 (Fax)
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Detailed Information / Research Group Web-Page


  • B. Chem. Eng. (University of Bombay, 1991)
  • Ph. D. (University of Iowa, 1995)


  • DBT-Pan IIT Center for Bioenergy, IIT Bombay
  • Wadhwani Research Center for Bioengineering (WRCB), IIT Bombay

Awards & Fellowships

  • National Bioscience Award for Career Development, 2006 (DBT, Government of India).
  • INAE Young Engineer Award, 2005
  • G. R. Manudhane Excellence in Research Award (IIT Bombay), 2005
  • BOYSCAST fellowship (DST, Govt of India), 2003
  • DAE Young Scientist Award (Dept. of Atomic Energy, Govt. of India), 1997.
  • AICTE Career Award for Young Teachers, 1998.


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R&D Areas/Projects

  • Algal CO2 capture and utilization (CCU):  Atmospheric CO2 levels have been rising at alarming rates over the last two centuries, and are projected to reach 700-1000 ppm (parts per million) by year 2100.  Carbon and energy accounting reveals that a typical microalgal CCU is far from being net carbon negative or net energy positive, primarily because of high operational energy requirements. Our group works towards design of algal strains and processes to improve the aerial productivity. Our strain selection criteria include: (i) volumetric and aerial productivity, (ii) biomass concentration at the end of batch, (iii) tolerance to local climatic conditions, (iv) tolerance to CO2 and other flue gas components, and (v) ability to synthesize storage molecules.  Algal strains isolated from the plant site fulfill many of these requirements and now ready to be tested for CO2 capture at the plant site.  Apart from this, we also work on metabolic engineering of cyanobacteria for photoautotrophic production of high value compounds. This includes physiological characterization, genome sequencing, metabolic model construction, and flux analysis.   We have performed 13C flux analysis on model strains and have identified a number of cyanobacterial promoters that are under the control of an internal circadian clock.


  • Enzyme Engineering for Biotransformation: Deployment of enzymes in industrial production of chemicals requires development on three fronts: (i) Design of enzymes with desired characteristics of activity, selectivity, stability, substrate tolerance, etc., (ii) Cost effective production of the enzyme and (iii) Development of biotransformation process.  Our current efforts are on all three fronts with focus on developing processes for chiral synthesis using two classes of enzymes; nitrilase and alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH).  Design of enzymes is initiated with experimental testing of unexplored sequences of putative enzymes followed by directed evolution of promising candidates.  Currently, our group has designed novel ADH enzymes that show >99% stereoselectivity and > 100 units activity / ml of fermentation broth.  We envisage the use of whole cell biocatalyst for cost effective reactions. We have also designed a cofactor recycle system with a recycle ratio of 1:2,000.  These parameters need to be improved for commercial viability.


PhD TA Topics

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