Smruthi Karthikeyan studies microbial dark matter; Karthish Manthiram is working on artificial chemical synthesis
The California Institute of Technology, has recognized 13 faculty members including two Indian Americans with named professorships for early career and tenured faculty â€”the Institute’s most distinguished award.
Smruthi Karthikeyan and Karthish Manthiram have been bestowed with Early Career Professorships, according to a press release from the leading private research university in Pasadena, California.
Smruthi Karthikeyan is Gordon and Carol Treweek Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering William H. Hurt Scholar Division of Engineering and Applied Science while Karthish Manthiram is Professor of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry, William H. Hurt Scholar Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
These honors provide faculty with additional resources to advance innovative research ideas while they continue to mentor and train future generations, the release said.
READ: Cornell awards Indian American Saurabh Mehta endowed professorship (September 1, 2021)
Each named professorship brings its own legacy. Many professorships, for instance, have long-standing histories and pass a tradition of discovery and exploration from one academic generation to the next, from one colleague to another.
A professorship may also provide a faculty member with an opportunity to forge meaningful connections with the philanthropists who made the award possible.
Karthikeyan’s research interests lie at the interface of engineering, computational biology, and microbial ecology to study microbial dark matter, according to the release.
Her overarching objectives are to develop integrated wet-lab and multi-omic (DNA-, RNA-, untargeted metabolomics) approaches to provide a systems-level understanding of complex microbial communities and their interactions and how these translate to biomarkers for environmental and human health.
Understanding microbial community behavior at a mechanistic level can have applications ranging from identifying the role of human gut microbiome in health and disease to mitigating the impacts of climate change.
Karthikeyan joined the Caltech faculty in 2022.
Manthiram strives to make artificial chemical synthesis more like the metabolic processes found in plants, which extract much of what they need from water, air, and sunlight.
Manthiram’s group develops electrochemical catalysts and processes that enable removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and the oceans, using only renewable electricity, such as solar.
The carbon contained in carbon dioxide can then be converted, along with atmospheric nitrogen, into fuels, fertilizers, pharmaceutical compounds, and other important materials.
Manthiram joined the Caltech faculty in 2021.