FLAIR Research Excellence Awardees-2015


Nagendra Prabhu Ph.D

Secured Ph. D. in Biotechnology from the Cochin University of Science and Technology for the work entitled  ‘L- Glutaminase production by marine Vibrio costicola under Solid State Fermentation’, during which he developed a solid state fermentation system using polystyrene beads as inert support for enzyme production, as the first report of its kind. During Post Doctoral research at the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, University of Georgia, USA, under the BOYSCAST Fellowship (1999) of DST, Govt. of India, effective mediators for enzymatic bleaching of ligno-cellulosic materials were developed. He underwent intensive training in Biotechnology at the German Research Centre for Biotechnology, Braunschweig Germany as part of the International Training Programme in Biotechnology during the year 2000.

He developed new lab scale techniques for the production of cellulase enzyme from bacteria using the common aquatic weeds of Kerala, viz. Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) and Water Moss (Salvinia molesta) and innovative techniques for the utilization of aquatic weeds which include their use as bedding material for mushroom cultivation, biomass briquette making, multipurpose boards, coasters, handicrafts and modifed hydroponics (floating agriculture). He has guided two Ph. D theses and has successfully completed 5 externally funded research projects. He is a reviewer for several international/national journals and has several publications to his credit. He has also worked as Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Department of Biotechnology, Asian Institute of Medicine, Science & Technology, Malaysia (2003-07).

He was Member of the Expert Committee constituted by the Govt. of Kerala to suggest ways and means of controlling and utilizing water hyacinth in the backwaters of Kerala (2009) and has received many awards and fellowships at the international, national, state and regional levels. He has plans to develop and commercialize the eco-friendly technologies for the control and value addition of the problematic aquatic weeds of Kerala and to develop the Centre for Research on Aquatic Resources into a world class facility to undertake R & D, Consultancy, Extension and human resource development.

Jijimon K Thomas Ph.D, M Inst P

Has been awarded Ph.D Degree by the Mahatma Gandhi University for his research on high temperature superconducting materials and development of novel ceramic substrates for superconducting film, carried out at The National Institute of Interdisciplinary Sciences and Technology of CSIR (Formerly Regional Research Laboratory) Trivandrum. Dr. Jijimon K.Thomas has research experience in the field of Superconductivity, Electronic Ceramics Materials and Nanoscience. He has to his credit three US patents, one European patent and 2 Indian patents and has reported his invention of 9 new compounds suitable as functional ceramics for applications as electronic ceramics, in the JCPDS _le. He has published more than 110 papers in international research journals, 65 papers in national science journals, successfully completed 5 major research projects and guided many PhD students.

Dr. Jijimon has presented research papers including invited lectures in the universities in United States, Italy, Russia, United Kingdom and Singapore as well as in many Universities in India.

His major achievements include Fast Track Young Scientist Award of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India (2002), Bharat Siksh Ratna Award (2010), International award by the Institute of Solid State Physics, University of Latvia (2011). He is a member of the Institute of Physics , London. 

He has plans to establish a platform for Materials Science Research for providing research facilities to MSc, MPhil and PhD students of the state, to develop a technology transfer oriented research culture in colleges and to popularize research works through the web site of Electronic Materials Research Laboratory (EMRL) and launching a research journal of International standards.

Antony Palackal Ph.D

Secured PhD from the University of Kerala under the guidance of Prof. Jacob John Kattakayam based on the work Globalization and Shifting Identities of the Middle Class in Kerala. Dr. Palackal is the Country Coordinator and Principal Investigator in India of the World Science Project (www.worldsci.net) in the Louisiana State University, USA (2003) Louisiana, USA since 2003, has developed a three-country study on mobile telephony, which is the first systematic comparison of African and Indian mobile phone users,unfolded the gender dimension in the practice of Science and Technology in Kerala, initiated a systematic study on the ‘Land Question and the issues of Social Inclusion in Kerala’ which impacted the recent policy formulations on land issues and land struggles in Kerala and produced an academic movie (video ethnography) titled “Promised Land and the Broken promises”.

His achievements include Senior Research Fellowship from ICSSR (2011-13), Research Excellence Award from World Science Project, Louisiana State University, USA (2015), invitation from Ethnografilm Festival in Paris, organized by the International Social Science Council (ISSC) and Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S) and India Visiting Scholar of the Cleveland State University, Ohio, USA (2008).

Dr. Palackal has plans to study the effects of ICT diffusion on the developmental index and well being of the rural communities with a view to strengthening and providing policy directions and to document and study the sociological andpolicy aspects of alternate farming systems as a movement focusing on the actual growers in the impending context of agrarian crisis and food security issues.

Sajimol Augustine. M, Ph.D

Secured Ph.D from the Cochin University of Science & Technology (CUSAT) under the guidance of Dr. S. Jayalekshmi, based on the work ‘Investigations on novel polymer nanocomposites and bio-compatible manganese doped ZnS nanocrystals for photonic and bio-imaging applications’. She has filed a patent based on the interdisciplinary research work on ‘Bio-compatible ZnS:Mn nanocrystals conjugated with L-citrulline, as fluorescent probes for DNA visualization and for finger print analysis in forensic studies’.

Dr. Sajimol has published 14 papers in peer reviewed International Journals and 6 papers in National Journals apart from the 29 papers in conference proceedings. 

She has received the Best Paper Presentation Awards in two conferences and one seminar.Her research plans include the development of suitable bio – compatible nanostructured semiconducting materials for bio-nanophotonic applications specifically bio- imaging and therapeutic applications and to identify suitable nanostructured materials for bio- imaging and therapeutic applications.

Ramachandran Kotharambath Ph.D


Secured Ph.D from University of Kerala under the guidance of Prof. Oommen V.Oommen based on the work Morphological, molecular systematic and anthrozoological studies of caecilian amphibians Amphibia: Gymnophiona) of South Western Ghats. Ramachandran has to his credit the discovery of two new species of Gegeneophis (Gegeneophis primus and Gegeneophis tejaswini), rediscovery and systematics redescription of the striped caecilian species Ichthyophis longicephalus from multiple localities in the south Western Ghats and Molecular phylogenetic analysis of indotyphliid caecilians of the Western Ghats and their relationship with the Seychelles’ caecilians.

Ramachandran’s major achievements include UGC Research Fellowship (2008), Research Award from the Natural History Museum, London for training in Caecilian Systematics (2009), FLAIR Fellowship for Internship at the NCBS, Bangalore, Invitation from the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University to present paper in the World Herpetology Congress, Vancouver (2012) and Fellowships from the University of Cambridge & FLAIR Programme for research work in the Natural History Museum London (2015).

His long term research goals include 1. Thorough revision of systematic position of all the Western Ghats caecilians, 2. Molecular phylogenetic studies on caecilians of India, 3. Anatomical studies on caecilians and 3. Revision of IUCN status of the Western Ghats caecilians.