Dr. Rajesh Viswanathan


Associate Professor

Departments of Chemistry and Biology

Email: rajesh [AT] iisertirupati.ac.in

Phone: +91 877 2500 921

Group Webpage


Research Interests:

Broadly, my research group is interested in chemical biology of natural products and their bioactive derivatives. We are interested specifically in:

  • Chemo-enzymatic synthesis of alkaloid natural products and their derivatives.
  • Synthetic biology strategies for accessing novel chemical diversity in alkaloids, peptides and polyketides.
  • Development of medicinal chemistry platforms for discovery of anti-cancer, anti-virulent and anti-malarial lead compounds.

Educational and Professional Career:

  • B. Sc. Chemistry,   1994-'97 The New College, University of Madras, Chennai, India.
  • M. Sc. Chemistry,   1997-'99 Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, India. Thesis work with Prof. Javed Iqbal.
  • Ph. D. in Organic Chemistry of Natural Products, 1999-2005 Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, USA. Graduate research with Prof. Jeffrey N. Johnston.
  • Post-Doctoral Research in Chemical Biology, 2005-'08 University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA. Research with Prof. C. Dale Poulter.
  • Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Case Western Reserve Univ. Cleveland, OH. 2008-'15
  • Frank Hovorka Assistant Professor of Chemistry, CWRU Cleveland, OH.    2015-'18

Honours and Awards (selected):

  • 2016 – Present: Reviewer for National Science Foundation, CBET Division, Protein Engineering, Biocatalysis and Related Topics.
  • 2017 – Present: National Science Foundation grant awardee. Title: “Biosynthesis of Diketopiperazine Natural Products from Aminoacyl-tRNAs”.
  • 2010 – 2011: Reviewer for American Association for the Advancement of Science and India-US Science and Technology Forum (AAAS-IUSSTF) collaborative proposals.
  • 2012 – 2014: Reviewer: Center for Translational Science Collaborative (CTSC), School of Medicine, CWRU.
  • 2015 – Present: Scientific Oversight Board Member, Small Molecule Drug Discovery Core, CWRU, Cleveland, OH.
  • 2016 – Present: Consultant for Chemical Operations, Ginkgo Bioworks; Boston, MA.
  • 2014:  Faculty Excellence Award –  Case Western Reserve University.
  • 2008 – 2010: Co-investigator, NIH-National Institute of Aging program project grant. Director for Synthesis and Analytical Chemistry Core.
  • 2003:  Lubrizol Foundation Graduate Fellowship, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, USA. (1 award per year) (established by William Monroe LeSuer, Ph. D. 1948, President and Director of Research, Lubrizol)
  • 2002:  Bernard Berk Fellowship in Organic Chemistry, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, USA. (1 award per year) (awards a student studying organic chemistry who shows great promise as a chemist)

Publications (selected):

  • Sarah E. Huff, Md. Faiz Ahmad, Mu Yang, P. Agarwal; John J. Pink; Michael E. Harris; Chris G. Dealwis* and Rajesh Viswanathan* J. Med. Chem. 2018, 61, 666-680.
  • Intekhab Alam, Md. Faiz Ahmad, Sarah E. Huff, Rajesh Viswanathan, Michael E. Harris, Chris G. Dealwis* et al. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A., 2017, 114, 8241-8246.
  • Elle D. James, Bryan A. Knuckley, Norah Alqahtani, Suheel K. Porwal, Jon. A. Karty, Rajesh Viswanathan* and Amy L. Lane* ACS Synthetic Biology, 2016, 5, 547–553.
  • Karthikeyan Thandavamurthy, Deepti Sharma, Suheel K. Porwal, Dale Ray, Rajesh Viswanathan* J. Org. Chem. 2014, 79, 10049-10067.
  • Norah Alqahtani, Suheel K. Porwal, Elle D. James, Dana M. Bis, Jonathan A. Karty, Amy L. Lane and Rajesh Viswanathan* Org. & Biomol. Chem., 2015, 13, 7177–7192.
  • Viswanathan, R., Mutnick, D., Johnston J. N.* “The first azacyclopentenyl carbinyl radical isomerizations (ACCRI): Independent use of steric and electronic (polarization) effects as gating elements” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2003, 125, 7266-7271.
  • Viswanathan, R.; Prabhakaran, E. N.; Plotkin, M. A.; Johnston, J. N.* “Free radical-mediated aryl amination and its use in a convergent [3+2] strategy for enantioselective indoline α-amino acid synthesis” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2003, 125, 163-168.

Teaching at IISER Tirupati:

Monsoon (Fall)

CHM 412: Medicinal Chemistry
CHM 212: Chemistry Lab - II  

CHM 422: Advanced Organic Chemistry
CHM 426: Forensic Science

Open Positions

Please check the group website for currently available positions.


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  Last Modified : 12 December 2020 UTC 11:53am