It is of great fundamental interest to develop experimental model systems to reconstruct design principles underlying formation of living cells and shed light on how life emerged on Earth and possibly elsewhere. An ambitious strategy is the bottom-up approach, which aims to systematically control the assembly of basic building blocks with defined functionality to construct a life-like entity or artificial cells. Dr. Bhattacharya explored the roles of miscellaneous lipid assemblies as building blocks of artificial cellular compartments. Dr. Bhattacharya demonstrated minimal biochemical routes to lipid membrane synthesis and their growth and division. Dr. Bhattacharya has further developed model systems that mimic membrane-rich intracellular organelles such as the endoplasmic reticulum.
Ahanjit Bhattacharya is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Steven Boxer at Stanford University. At Stanford, he is also pursuing a teaching certificate. Ahanjit carried out his doctoral research in the lab of Neal Devaraj at the University of California, San Diego. Prior to this, he completed his Bachelors and Masters in Chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur in 2014. His research interests include bottom-up synthetic biology, origins of life, lipid materials, and bioconjugate chemistry. His major accomplishments are development of novel lipid compartments as programmable synthetic cells and organelles, and development of minimal biochemical strategies for synthesis of membrane-forming lipids. He is the recipient of several honors and awards such as membership of the global Reaxys PhD Prize Club (2020), Luna Fung Scholarship (2019), Teddy Traylor Award (2018), Prime Minister of India Gold Medal (2014), and Indian National Biology Olympiad Gold Medal (2009). Ahanjit is passionate about communicating science and making it a transformational force for betterment of society and humanity.