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I got my PhD in Biochemistry from the National Institute of Immunology at New Delhi (India). My thesis was about delineating the biochemical properties of sickle cell haemoglobin in a specific context. Subsequently, I joined the Fink lab at University of California in Santa Cruz (UCSC, USA) as a postdoctoral fellow where we were characterizing α-synluclein’s role in Parkinson’s disease. An unplanned set of events led me to my current field of Astrobiology. My love for this field was nurtured at the Deamer lab in UCSC. I finished my postdoctoral stint with a post doc at the FAS Center for Systems Biology at Harvard (Cambridge, USA) prior to joining IISER Pune in 2012. In our lab, we are working to help discern the series of events that might have led to the origin and evolution of early life on prebiotic Earth.

Principal Investigator

Prof. Sudha Rajamani

Current Lab Members

Anupam Sawant

Anupam Sawant

Postdoctoral fellow

I completed my doctoral studies in chemical biology from the IISER Pune in 2016. My doctoral research was aimed at the development of robust and modular labeling methods to study RNA function in vitro and in cells. I joined the COoL lab at Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune as a postdoctoral fellow in September 2016 where we are working on the synthesis and characterization of putative ribonucleoside precursors that are potential ancestors to modern nucleobase analogs.

Raya Roy

Raya Roy

Graduate student

For PhD, IISER Pune seemed the best fit for me and thus have joined the COoL lab as a PhD grad student in Jan 2021. I am primarily interested in understanding the role amino acids and peptides might have played in the early evolution of life. In this regard, I am currently trying to understand how amino acid and nucleotides might have reacted in a one pot experiment and how this could have led to the modern-day emergent properties such as translation.

Abhishek Barua

Abhishek Barua

Graduate student

Hobbies includes Painting and Badminton.

Souradeep Das

Souradeep Das

Graduate student

I completed my bachelors from University of Calcutta and masters from Maulana Azad College, under University of Calcutta, both degrees are in zoology. Now, I became a member of COoL Lab family at IISER, Pune in the new year of 2020. I am interested in understanding, functionalization and evolution of protocell membranes, towards transition from non-living to living chemical systems.

Udita Bandyopadhyay

Udita Bandyopadhyay

Graduate student

I have completed my Master’s in Zoology from Maulana Azad College, affiliated to The University Of Calcutta. I joined the COoL lab in January 2023. I am very enthusiastic about the translational approach of prebiotic chemistry towards synthetic biology. I am trying to understand how non-enzymatic template-directed replication may have happened in the prebiotic milieu. Apart from academics, I love trekking, listening to music, singing, and maybe cooking!!!

Pallavi Dutta

Pallavi Dutta

Graduate student

I completed my M.Sc. in biotechnology from JNU, New Delhi and I did my dissertation in Organic chemistry. My interest in astrobiology began at a young age when I saw the movie "Martian". I joined COoL lab in January 2024 and I am excited to find out how chemistry transitioned to biology on Earth. I am also eager to know whether there are self-replicating systems analogous to cells in the extraterrestrial world. 

Gauri Patki

Gauri Patki

Graduate student

I have completed my M.Sc. in Biochemistry from M.S. University, Baroda. Being a beginner in the field of Chemical Origin of Life, I am excited by the question of how the transition from chemistry to biology happened. In particular, I am intrigued by the idea of nonenzymatic template-directed replication under early Earth conditions. Besides doing science, I love origami, playing badminton, and writing biological science for a general non-biology audience.

Nishant Kulshreshtha

Nishant Kulshreshtha

BS-MS Undergraduate

I joined the COoL lab in December 2022 in my 3rd year of Integrated BS-MS. Currently, I work on studying the physicochemical properties of vesicles formed by modified lipids in a prebiotic scenario.


Dr. Niraja Bapat

Current position: DST-WOSA, University of Hyderabad.


Dr. Manesh Prakash Joshi

Currently NASA Postdoctoral fellow at Pennsylvania State University


Dr. Chaitanya Mungi

Current position: Project Coordinator, STEM Ready Project, SAC, IISER Pune.


Dr. Sikha


Currently Post-doc at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


Dr. Susovan Sarkar

Currently Post-doc at University of Texas at Austin.

Undergraduate students

Shivam Tikoo

Sahil Mulewar

Anuraag Aithal

Ajay Verma

Anuja Raorane

Kshitij Deshpande

Kushan Lahiri

Vruta Gupte

Anupam Bhoi

Meher Kantroo

Rajareswari S.

Aparna PK

Gaurav Arya

Prasenjeet Kawale

Yovhan Landage

Summer interns/ Project Students

Vanthanaa Sridhar

Ruchira Pal

Dhruvi Shah

Tanisha Mehta

 Sudipta Biswas

Vraj Patel

Sruja Iyer

Eric Macwan

Rudrarup Bose

Kavita Matange

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