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N Sukumar
Dept. of Chemistry
Sunanda Sukumar
Associate Professor
Dept. of Chemistry
Chemistry Department - Students and Faculty Members
Chemistry Lab
Chemistry forms the link between the fundamental principles governing the nature of the universe and the science of life. Chemistry education at SNU provides focus on a variety of inter-disciplinary areas, spanning different scientific disciplines as well as non-traditional areas in the arts and humanities, e.g. a Major in Chemistry can be combined with a Minor in Bioinformatics at SNU. Or you can pursue a Major in Chemistry with a specialization in either Chemical Physics or Chemical Biology.

Our research programs reach across the campus and beyond, linking together departments, schools, inter-disciplinary centers and internship opportunities in the chemical industry and national labs. University-wide elective courses in the curriculum allow students unprecedented freedom to explore subjects outside their chosen major, in some depth. This flexible and broad curriculum prepares students not just for a career in chemistry upon graduation, but for a leadership role in the world as well.

The Undergraduate Chemistry Experience

The chemistry curriculum at SNU provides both a broad background in chemical principles and in-depth study of chemistry or chemistry-related areas that build on this background. The chemistry curriculum is divided into three categories: introductory general chemistry, foundation courses providing breadth across sub-disciplines, and rigorous in-depth courses that build upon these foundations and develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Since chemistry is an experimental science, substantial laboratory work is an integral part of almost all our courses. The introductory general chemistry course provides a common grounding in basic chemical concepts for students with diverse backgrounds, develops basic mathematical and laboratory skills, and prepares students for the foundation courses. Foundation courses in analytical chemistry, biochemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, and physical chemistry provide breadth and lay the groundwork for more in-depth course work. Certified majors must have instruction equivalent to a one-semester course of at least three semester credit hours in each of the five major areas of chemistry.

The chemistry laboratory experience at SNU includes synthesis of molecules; measurement of chemical properties, structures, and phenomena; hands-on experience with modern analytical instrumentation; and computational data analysis and modeling. All laboratory programs are conducted in a safe environment that includes adherence to national and state regulations regarding hazardous waste management and laboratory safety including, facilities for chemical waste disposal,  safety information and reference materials, and personal protective equipment available to all students and faculty.

Undergraduate research at SNU allows students to integrate and reinforce chemistry principles learned from formal course work, as well as develop scientific and professional skills. As part of the SNU experience, students will be expected to develop the ability to define problems, develop testable hypotheses, design and execute experiments, analyze data using statistical methods, and draw appropriate conclusions. The chemistry curriculum provides ample opportunities for developing both written and oral communication skills, as well as team skills.

Careers in Chemistry

Chemistry forms the scientific basis for a wide variety of career options, ranging from traditional areas such as pharmaceuticals, chemical analysis and synthesis, quality control and quality assurance, to inter-disciplinary fields such as molecular biology, materials science and biophysics, and non-traditional areas such as medicine, patent or environmental law, forensic science, technical writing, art conserva­tion, environmental studies, etc.

Research in Chemistry

Research activities form the core of any Ph.D. program. The award of a PhD. Degree by the University is in recognition of high scholastic achievements and independent research. Creative and productive enquiry is the basic concept underlying research work. The Ph.D. program in chemistry at SNU consists of a rigorous regimen of both broad-based and in-depth course work, development of project proposals, research and literature seminars, in-depth dissertation research under the supervision of a research advisor, and a public thesis defense.

The Chemistry Department faculty at SNU has been trained at top institutions in India and abroad with prestigious awards to their credit, such as the Alexander von Humboldt fellowship, DBT Ramalingaswami Fellowship, Max Planck fellowship, DST Young Scientist award, Marie Curie International Incoming Fellowship, Prof. R. P. Mitra Gold Medal, Thorndike Award, Frankfurt American Women's Club Award, best teacher/tutor awards, and have held positions such as Chair of an American Chemical Society section, Vice- President and President of Iota Sigma Pi (honor society for women chemists), and science reviewer of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Neutron Sciences Directorate.

Research in chemistry at SNU is currently ongoing or under active development in the following broad research areas:


Chemical Biology


Chemistry of nanomaterials

Computational quantum chemistry

Coordination Chemistry

Green chemistry

Medicinal chemistry

Molecular Toxicology

Polymer chemistry

Structural Chemistry and Crystallography

Supramolecular Chemistry

Synthetic Organic Chemistry

Infrastructure Facilities

All chemistry labs are equipped with fume-hoods, Schlenk lines, eyewash stations and safety showers. Synthetic lab facilities include LCMS-qToF, 400 MHz NMR spectrometer, HPLC, UV-visible and Infrared spectrophotometers, single crystal and powder XRD, flash chromatography, fluorimeter, glove box, bio-safety cabinets, CO2 Incubators, shaker incubators, flow cytometry, inverted microscope, plate reader, cell counter, fluorescent microscope, electroporator, PCR, RT-PCR, etc. Advanced analytical instrumentation such as CHN analyzer, DSC, TGA, DLS, rheometer, SEM, AFM and Raman spectrometer are in the process of being acquired.

Computational facilities at SNS include a high performance IBM cluster (“Magus”) consisting of 63 compute nodes (plus two nodes with GPU processors) 1008 cores with a total capacity of 30 TF of Theoretical Peak Performance, plus 8 nodes with high-end CPUs. Additionally, several Linux workstations are used for teaching as well as research purposes. Software for bioinformatics and cheminformatics, molecular modeling, molecular dynamics, quantum chemistry, data analysis and statistical learning are also available.

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