Sambuddah Banerjee Lab
Biochemistry and Inorganic Chemistry
- University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada (2013-2015): Postdoctoral Research
- Duke University, Durham, USA (2010-2013): Postdoctoral Research
- Jadavpur University, Calcutta, India (2006-2010): Ph.D.
- Presidency College, Calcutta University, Calcutta, India (2003-2005): M.Sc.
- Maulana Azad College, Calcutta University, Calcutta, India (2000-2003): B. Sc.
For current information from Dr. Banerjee’s lab visit this link.
By training, Dr. Banerjee is an inorganic chemist and his research focuses on the inorganic chemistry of life processes. Dr. Banerjee is specifically interested in the transport and transfer of the transition metal ion iron across the biological membranes. For millennia, iron has been one of the most abundant elements present in the earth’s crust, and not surprisingly, early life on earth used this raw material for various biological activities. However, as the concentration of dioxygen increased in the atmosphere as a result of photosynthesis, the iron redox chemistry shifted more towards the insoluble Fe3+ state, making it biologically unavailable due to precipitation and rust formation. Further, in the presence of oxygen, iron participates in redox reactions that generates toxic reactive oxygen species (ROS). Although toxic, due to its usefulness biological systems continue to utilize iron for essential life processes, sequestering it with proteins/small molecules/peptides which slows down its harmful effects. Interestingly, viability and virulence of pathogenic bacteria often depend on their ability to sequester this metal from the host environment. Dr. Banerjee’s lab uses biophysical techniques, such as, isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), cyclic voltammetry (CV), circular dichroism, UV-visible spectroscopy etc., exploring various mechanisms of iron transport (Fe3+ and Fe2+) from host environment to bacterial systems.
Other than biochemistry research, members of Banerjee lab absolutely enjoy talking about social justice, the intersection of science, class, race, gender, and all fun stuff.
Current research projects:
- Small molecule project: Organic synthesis of siderophore-drug conjugates and their utilization in a Trojan Horse approach by multi-drug resistant bacteria.
- Protein project: Characterizing the proposed Fet3p-Ftr1p type Fe2+ uptake system in Gram negative bacteria.
- Synthesis and characterization of the active site mimics of methanol dehydrogenase from certain extremophiles that require early lanthanides as metal cofactor. enzymatic
Past research projects:
- Ferric-binding protein projects: Characterizing various ferric binding proteins and their ligand promiscuity.
- Hemoglobin projects: Determination of reduction potentials of cell-free hemoglobin and its complexes using spectroelectrochemistry.
- Small molecule projects: Synthesis and characterization of transition metal complexes with anti-bacterial and anti-cancer activity.
Lab Student News
- We welcome Thekra N. Hindi, a junior majoring in Mathematics. She is new to ECU and Greenville. She has just started working with us and she will be synthesizing bacterial MDH mimic with early lanthanide metals.
- We welcome Emily Stewart, a senior majoring in biology and is in the board of OStem at ECU. She will be working on characterizing periplasmic FatB protein from Brucella spp.
- Congratulations to Mina and Cruz! They will be travelling to Savannah, GA to present their research findings in undergraduate poster session at SERMACS.
- Mina will be presenting a poster titled: The predicted functions of FtrA and FtrB protein from the four-component uptake system, FtrABCD, in Brucella spp
- Congratulations to Cruz for being awarded the undergraduate travel grant to go and present his work at SERMACS in Savannah, GA, by ECU Undergraduate Research Office.
- Congrats to Yasemene and Jacob for receiving the departmental CURE awards.
- Congrats to Mina for getting an URCA award for doing research on FtrA.
- Mina got selected for a diversity award for presenting her work at SERMACS in Augusta, GA, 2018.
- We are very pleased with the work Sidney did with us during the Summer 2019 term.
Past Undergraduate Lab Members
Yasmene is currently a medical student at the Brody School of Medicine and graduated from ECU in 2018 with a double major in biology and chemistry. During her undergrad, she worked with Dr. Banerjee to conduct research on non-heme ferrous iron transport in Brucella, using experimental ITC and DSC. Yasmene was Dr. Banerjee’s first undergraduate research assistant.
Jacob J. Negron-Olivo is currently working at Thermo Fisher (no photo).
Summer 2019 Undergraduate Lab Member
Sidney Stamey is a rising senior studying at Pfeiffer University, NC, majoring in General Biology and a minor in mathematics. At Pfeiffer, Sidney works on research with her mentor Dr. McCallum on bacteriophage studies. Sidney is spending the summer of 2019 at ECU working in Dr. Banerjee’s lab through the Summer Biomedical Research Program (SBRP) and researching on thermodynamic and electrochemical properties of siderophore-drug conjugates.
Current Undergraduate Lab Members
Mina N. Chanakira (working on the protein project)
Mina is a rising junior majoring in biochemistry with a concentration in chemistry and pre-dental student at ECU. As a pre-dental student, she considers research an integral factor in giving her a more in-depth perspective on the medical field. Mina’s research involves chemistry, biology, and medicine so through her research she is able to understand the practical use of the material that she learns in class. This allows the material to feel more personable, which makes it easier for her to understand the material. She is also able to utilize the professors in the departments of biology and chemistry during her research, giving her a wider network of scientists to refer to whenever she needs help in classes.
She has been working with Dr. Banerjee for two years now on projects that involve the four-component protein pathway, FtrABCD of the Gram-negative bacteria, Brucella spp. She has particularly looked into the protein-metal interactions of the FtrA and FtrB proteins of the pathway. While working on these projects, she has received research grants from the university and awards from the American Chemical Society after presenting at regional conferences out of the state. These experiences have opened up many opportunities that she would not have had without research. Through her research and eventual dental practice, she hope to create more equitable spaces and opportunities for disadvantaged groups in science and medicine.
Remington Cruz Eakes (Cruz) (working on the small molecule project)
Cruz is an undergraduate majoring in chemistry and minoring in biology at ECU. In Dr. Banerjee’s lab, he is conducting organic synthesis and purification of siderophore-drug conjugates. Cruz enjoys running, spending time with his friends and family and dog (exactly in that order), and riding roller-coasters.