The Center for Biotechnology was established in 1987 in Anna University with a financial support from Department of Biotechnology, Delhi, University Grants Commission, Delhi and Anna University with an objective:
a. to provide educational and training facilities in different areas of Biotechnology
b. to carry out fundamental research in the frontier areas of Biotechnology
c. to promote research and consultancy activities in the development of various areas of Biotechnology

The centre has a well defined independent building of about 1000 sq. meters at Taramani Campus with facilities for carrying out research in various areas of biotechnology, housing modern infrastructure to conduct work in Bio process Technology, Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Immunology, etc. The Administrative building is located in the Main Campus, besides to it a separate Academic Complex is situated exclusively to offer teaching programme for the B.Tech. Industrial Biotechnology and M.Tech Biotechnology.
Department Library
The Computerised Departmental Library of the Center for Biotechnology subscribes nearly 40 journals specialized in the filed of Biotechnology at National and International level. It has a collection of more than 2000 volumes on various topics. E-mail, CD-ROM and Audio-Visual facilities are also available.
Academic Programme

Branch Name
Part Time
Full Time
1 Industrial Biotechnology
2 Biotechnology

(a) Biotechnology Information Sources(BTIS)
The centre is one of the sub-distributed information centres(Sub-DIC) set up by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India. The Sub-DIC has 3 Pentium Servers with 486 nodes. This is meant for providing information service to users in the city as well as to train students in Bioinformatics. The centre has software on Bioprocess modeling, Symbolic Manipulation, Molecular modeling, MATLAB. It also provides Internet facility to students. It is connected via fibre optic cable to the Campus network.
(b) Technology Business Incubator(TBI)
Centre for Biotechnology, Anna University has started Technology Business Incubator with the support of Department of Science and Technology, India and UNAPCTT. TBI will provide infrastructure on demand to the industries/entrepreneurs to evaluate the techno-economic feasibility of the project. TBI Part is located at Taramani Campus with an objective:

  • To encourage entrepreneurs to develop their technological initiatives to commercial viability
  • To provide sufficient infrastructure for these entrepreneurs so that minimal loss of time can be ensured, before the work commences
  • To provide linkages with the technical expertise available in Anna University and the experimental facilities available at various laboratories elsewhere
    A well - established facility has been developed at Taramani; companies can utilize this facility to develop products of interest. Specific MOU's will be signed between the Company and University, detailing out the cost and the time frame of operations. The TBI is well is well equipped with high-end infrastructure, lab space. The support of technical knowledge from CBT is also available.

(c) Foundation of Advancement of Pharmaceutics(FAP)
The foundation (FAP) is a Chennai based Scientific Research Organization signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Anna University on July 3, 2002. Strategic intent behind the Industry and Academia is to integrate resources and to do much more than has been itherto doable.FAP was set up with an objective of investigating molecular entities and pharmaceutical substances, with particular emphasis on those having ethanobotanical provenance. Biotechnologically derived therapeutics, vaccines, and diagnostics also come within its ambit.

Funded by National and International Agencies
a.Tissue Culture and Drug Discovery:
The focus of current research has been in the direction of understanding the mechanisms of pathogenesis in two major tropical infections. In addition, mm interest has also been in the interplay between traditional medicine and the modern tools of biotechnology, aimed towards the development of new drugs for the treatment of diabetes and cancer.
b.Tropical Pulmonary eosinophilia:
Circulating filarial proteins elicit strong immunological reactions in humans leading to the chronic manifestations in human lymphatic filariasis such as lymphatic occulusion, fibrosis, oedema and in some cases tropical pulmonary eosinophilia(TPE). Our focus has been to investigate the molecular switches that control the regulation of cell growth and apoptpsis during a pathogenic state. We have investigated various key molecules in this pathogenic cascade in detail.
c. Pathogenesis of EPEC diarrhoea:
EPEC is a heterogeneous group of organisms, traditionally considered to comprise 12 O serogroups that cause symptoms ranging from acute self-limiting gastroenteritis to persistent life threatening diarrhoea, especially among the very yound. Extensive studies over several years on the interaction of EPEC with cultured cells have led to the generation of a three-stage model of pathogenesis.
d. Bioscreening and isolation of medicinal properties from plant sources towards new drug development: Medicinal plants have been used for the treatment of different diseases in traditional medicines for several generations. Our goal has been to establish interplay between traditional medicine practiced. in South India and modern tools of biotechnology, to determine the specific bioactivities of the medicinal plants using invitro techniques. The DBT, Government of India has funded several projects in drug discovery.

a. WHO-sponsored Filarial Genome project:
His group was involved in sequencing a total of 17, 000 ESTs comprising of 7000 genes of B.malayi. Functional genomic analysis revealed that 30% of the genes were unique for filarial parasite, 27% being structural genes and 20% being enzymes.

b. Immuno diagnosis of human lymphatic filariasis:
Prof Kaliraj's group has identified WbSXP-1 as a promising and a more reliable candidate for the identification of active infections in both bancroftian and brugian filariasis. Simple and rapid qualitative Immunodiagnostic test kits for the identification of antigen(monoclonal antibody to WbSXP-1 based) and antibody (recombinant filarial antigen WbSXP-1 based) from individuals with W.banicrofti / B.malayi / mixed infections.

a. Immunopathology of Filariasis:
(i) T cell and macrophage function in filarial patients: T cells and macrophages are purified from the blood of patients with bancroftian filariasis. Purified filarial recombinant proteins and crude parasite antigens are allowed to interact with these cells and functional status like lymphoproliferation, cytosine production and other biological mediators release is assessed.

(ii) Wolbachia genes: Wolbachia is an endosymbiont bacteria that resides in the live filarial worms of either sex or microfilaria. We have identified new genes from wolbachia of W.bancrofti and extended these studies to the cattle filarial parasite Setaria digitata. These genes are being cloned, expressed, purified and used for immunological studies in filarial patients.

(iii) Identification of new genes from W.bancrofit: Lymphodema is a severe clinical condition in filarial patients with chronic pathology. At the present time there is no reliable test available to distinguish between the lymphodema of filarial or non-filarial origin.

b. Production of recombinant proteins to White Spot Syndrome Virus in Shrimps:
White Spot Syndrome Virus(WSSV) infects a sizable population of shrimps and crabs. Our lab has recently developed an immunodiagnostic assay to detect WSSV in shrimps and its possible commercialization is being explored.

c. Spermicidal effects of neem oil and its fractions:
Neem oil fractions have various biological functions and therapeutic uses. This is a collaborative project between the Centre for Biotechnology and TTK LIG limited. Chennai to screen neem oil fractions for spermicidal action on human sperms.

a. Lipase Secretion & Optimization:
We have been using the Candida rugosa (culture from DSM, Germany), for optimizing production of lipases. We have shown that vegetable oils given as a carbon source increase the yield of lipases. We have developed both quantitative and qualitative assays for lipases. We are currently studying a related organism Schizophyllum commune for production of lipases and oxidizing enzymes for bioremediation.

b. Bioleaching and Bioremediation:
We have developed new analytical methods for following the oxidation of Fe3+by Thiobacillus ferrooxidans. A new solid matrix for growth of Thiobacillus ferrooxidans has been designed in the laboratory. The use of Thiobacillus ferrooxidans in the removal of iron and inorganic sulphur from lignite for cleaner burning is being investigated.

c. Computational Biology & Bioinformatics:
Our group has been carrying molecular dynamics simulation of lipases and metal containing enzymes. We have built a 16 node cluster for doing parallel computation. In collaboration with Prof. Ramesh Anishetty, Institute of Mathematical Sciences, we have developed a knoweledge-based method to understand protein folding.

a. Bacterial Lipid Modification-novel protein engineering applications:
From ELISA to Biosensors, many applications require hydrophilic proteins to be attached to hydrophobic man-made surfaces like plastic overcoming coatability and binding problems. Pioneering work done by Dr. Sankaran in association with Prof. Henry C. Wu, USA showed in E.coli and other bacteria that a three enzyme pathway attaches a lipid adapter to the N-terminus of hydrophilic proteins. This work was partly funded by AICTE, India.

b. Molecular pathogenesis and early diagnosis of Diarrhoeal pathogens:
Nearly 50% of infantile mortality, malnutrition and poor physical and low IQ are due to bloody and persistent diarrhoea caused by Shigella and E.coli. Availability of simple, rapid and low-cost but sensitive early diagnostic methods designed for peripheral clinical labs operating with minimum facility will drastically reduce this burden in bulk of the affected population living in poor sanitary conditions.

a. In vitro Evolution of Lipase Genes:
In vitro molecular evolution is a powerful technique of producing proteins with vastly improved activity parameters in a non-targeted manner. This method, also referred to as gene shuffling, has been used to generate enzymes over a thousand-fold more active than the original enzyme. Lipase is a hydrolytic enzyme that is widely used in various industries.

b. Investigation of the Pharmacologic effects of Stevioside, a natural sweetener:
Stevia is a perennial herb whose leaves are used as a natural sweetener in several Asian countries. The sweetening effect is attributed to two glycosidic compounds-stevioside and rebaudioside - which are several times sweeter than sucrose.

a. Recombinant protein production:
Therapeutic proteins, Prophylactic protenis, Diagnostic proteins, Industrial enzymes and Food preservatives form an important group of high-value-low-volume products in biotechnology industries. Isolation of these protenis from the respective natural sources is often insufficient and economically not viable.

b. Bio-transformation:
The group is actively involving in the strain improvement and the biotransformation studies for the production of organic acids. Conventional mutation studies involving physical and chemical mutagens as well as molecular biological approaches are being applied to increase the efficiency of biotransformation.

c. Generation of viral resistant transgenic shrimps:
White spot disease is one of the important viral diseases. By considering the detrimental effect of this disease in shrimp population this virus has been characterized as a deadly one. Our research focus on identification of novel genes involved in the pathogenesis of white spot syndrome towards the development of transgenic viral resistant shrimp.

a. Large Scale Production of Recombinant SXP1 Protein:
The production of recombinant proteins involves, several steps, which include genetic manipulation of the host organism, optimization of parameters for high yield, high level expression and down stream processing of the desired product. The work is in progress is mainly on the optimization of process parameters, designing the media, design of feed flow patterns for various mode of reactors, mathematical modeling and simulation of the recombinant protein production based on mechanism of induction involved.

b. Extractive Fermentation of Lipase Using Aqueous Two-Phase System:
Aqueous two-phase has already been established as an excellent tool in the field of biomolecules separation and purification, especially for proteins. We are trying to utilize this wonderful system for purification and extractive fermentation of lipase enzyme from Candida rugosa.

Research Activities:

  • Production and Purification of r-DNA derived industrially important proteins under different metabolic control system
  • Process Control and Modeling of biological systems & development of Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System
  • Experimental, theoretical and control aspects of bioreactors operating under batch or continuous conditions
  • High productivity fermentations using Fed Batch cultivation and Total cell retention culture
  • Development of online analytical system for monitoring the growth, substrate utilization and product formation
  • Isolation of novell strains for the biodegradation and bioconversion studies