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DDas Research Group
                         ... the systems chemistry lab​

An exciting structural and functional overlap of the tools of synthetic organic chemistry with nanoscience, physical chemistry and biophysics is being witnessed in our lab. The interdisciplinary concepts and tools help us contribute towards the emerging field of systems chemistry where networks of chemical reactions with interacting building blocks are discovered for emergent properties with the potential of creating living matter-like materials. 

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Catalytic Amyloids

How modern enzymes evolved as complex catalytic machineries to facilitate diverse chemical transformations is an open question for the emerging field of systems chemistry. Based on their catalytic proficiencies reported recently, these amyloid assemblies have been argued as the earliest protein folds. The successful utilization of self-assembled cross-β amyloid systems has been shown to generate catalytic sites that promote an impressive set of advanced biochemical transformations. In our lab, we want to explore the exclusive features of cross-β amyloid microphases to score for their remarkable catalytic diversity through the generation of active site as seen in primitive enzymes.


Dynamic Self-Assembly

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Living matter is sustained under non-equilibrium conditions via continuous consumption and dissipation of energy which is coordinated by complex organized events. Spatiotemporal control over exquisite functions arises from chemical complexity at far from equilibrium conditions with an added dimension of time. We aim to take a ‘systems approach’ to use simple building blocks towards the construction of chemical reaction networks that can integrate catalysis, compartment, and replication within the realms of non-equilibrium dynamics.

Representative Works


Minimal Metabolic Networks

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Bioenergetics played an essential role in fuelling complex metabolic reaction networks and constructing materials from the informational context required for the evolutionary journey. Recent phylogenetic analyses of cellular metabolism have supported the presence of conserved enzymes that likely promoted an ancestral form of extant metabolic cycles. How complex yet synchronized chemical transformations, leading to cascade catalysis by minimal catalytic nano scaffolds play the critical roles they might have played in early metabolism is still an open question. The vision of our group also lies in unravelling the remarkable catalytic potential of short peptide-based assemblies that can demonstrate catalytic promiscuity to facilitate metabolically relevant orthogonal chemical transformations (e.g., C−C and C−O bond cleavage, C=N bond condensation). Further, we are interested in designing minimal metabolic networks utilizing such organized chemical reactions that benefit the connected reaction pathway.

Representative Works


Cross β Amyloid Nanotubes Demonstrate Promiscuous Catalysis in a Chemical Reaction Network via Co-option

Soumili Roy, Ayan Chatterjee, Subhajit Bal, and Dibyendu Das*

Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2022

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