Dr. Dipankar Das

Current professional background:

Before I came to Siegen, I was a Postdoctoral Research Scientist at the Seoul National University of Science and Technology, South Korea. Afterwards, I became an Alexander von Humboldt scholar. I came to Siegen for two years to work on a new research project.

Field of research:

My research field is polymer chemistry, specifically the fabrication of biopolymer-based crosslinked networks. By chemical modification of biopolymers, we can develop interesting kinds of materials called hydrogels or nanogels. These gels possess outstanding properties like 3D structure, porosity, swelling behaviour, cyto-compatibility etc. These kinds of properties enable them to be used in biomedical applications, such as drug delivery, tissue engineering, bio-sensing etc.

Purpose of your last research visit:

One reason why I came to Siegen was to learn and develop a new methodology for the fabrication of biopolymeric nanogels. Nanogels are physically or chemically crosslinked networks of natural or synthetic polymers with at least one dimension at the nanoscale (<100 nm), hydrophilic or amphiphilic, and can be ionic or non-ionic. Apart from conventional methods of nanogel synthesis like self-assembly, emulsion, and lithography, we are attempting to see whether chemically crosslinked biopolymeric nanogels can be synthesised through a new method called “extrusion”. This alternative method may afford the synthesis of biopolymer-based elongated nanogel fibres with high aspect ratio. Having spent more than 1 year, now I can say that we have been successful. I am now examining how we can use this kind of nanogel fibres for biomedical applications like drug delivery or bio-sensing (bacterial detection in wounds or drinking water).

Relation to the University of Siegen and to the local host:

I came to know about Prof. Holger Schönherr from my Ph.D. supervisor, who undertook a research visit to the University of Siegen, while I was studying my PhD. I was inspired to come to Prof. Schönherr´s lab in Germany to work with him. After the finishing my Ph.D., I applied for a postdoctoral position in Prof. Schönherr’s lab. He suggested me to apply for an `Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellowship`. As it takes a bit time to prepare all the necessary documents for the AvH Fellowship, I went to South Korea and worked there as a Postdoctoral Fellow. I was in a regular contact with Prof. Schönherr by mail and still hoped to one day come to Germany. My successful research proposal submitted to the Alexander von Humboldt foundation allowed me to come and work in Prof. Schönherr´s lab, University of Siegen, Germany.

Future projects / Activities:

After the completion of my research in Siegen, I will first apply for an academic position in India. My future goal of research is work with natural materials in a social context for broad field of applications.

Impressions of Siegen:

I admire how much German society values education rather than money. I enjoy Siegen very much; I have everything I need here. The only problems are how much it rains, and having to walk up the many hills. Although it is good exercise. I am truly grateful to the AvH Foundation, the German Government, Prof. Schönherr, and the University of Siegen for giving me the best opportunity in my life. Thank you, Thank you very much all.