Dr. C.T. Aravindakumar
Senior Professor, School of Environmental Sciences;
Hon. Director, Inter University Instrumentation Centre (A Govt of Kerala Initiative)
Head, Sophisticated Analytical Instrument Facility (SAIF): A National Facility from
DST, New Delhi)
Hon.Director, International Centre for Polar Studies
Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam 686560, Kerala, India
Prof. C.T. Aravindakumar received B.Sc. degree in chemistry from University of Kerala in 1986 (D.B. College, Sasthamcotta). A national level fellowship (NCL-Pune University) brought him to University of Pune for doing M.Sc. in 1986. He completed M.Sc. in 1988 and joined for Ph.D. at the same year. The Ph.D. thesis work with the title, Radiation Chemical Studies of Some DNA Model Systems, is an interdisciplinary topic which has relevance in chemistry, biology and environment (under the guidance of Prof.B.S.M. Rao). This involved extensive use of Pulse Radiolysis. The programme was completed in collaboration with the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai (with Padma Shri Prof.J.P. Mittal and Dr.Harimohan) and the Max-Planck-Institute (MPI) fuer Strahlenchemie, Muelheim a.d. Ruhr, Germany (with Prof.von Sonntag). He was the recipient of ICSC-World Laboratory (Switzerland) fellowship to work at the MPI, Germany, as part of the Ph.D programme. During this tenure, he also collaborated with Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, for experiments on Laser-EPR for radical detection. Immediately after his Ph.D. from University of Pune, he joined as a Lecturer at the School of Chemical Sciences of Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, in 1993. He established a research group mainly working on the free radical induced degradation of DNA model systems, and of organic water pollutants, using Fenton, photochemical and radiation chemical techniques.
Later he joined the Division of Biochemistry of Katholieke Universities Leuven, Belgium for post-doctoral research in 1997 to work on a two year programme on nitric oxide – protein interaction (with Prof. Mark DeLey and Prof.Coulemans). The selected protein was metallothionein extracted from human foetal liver. Another post-doctoral fellowship from Max-Planck-Society brought him back to Max-Plank-Institute f. Strahlenchemie in 2000 (with Prof. Von Sonntag). He also worked as a Visiting Faculty for one year at the Department of Biophysics of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands in 2001 (with Prof. Rienk van Grundelle and Prof. Herbert van Amerongen). During this period he worked in the field of Laser (femtosecond) spectroscopy related to charge transport in DNA. He also established several collaborative research and made research visits in international laboratories such as at the Environmental Engineering Division of the California Institute of Technology, USA (with Prof. M. Hoffmann), Department of Chemistry of Pohang University of Science and Technology, South Korea (with Prof. T. Joo), Radiation Biology Division of GSF-National Research Centre for Environment and Health, Germany (with Prof. Eckard Schupp), University of Paris (S) (with Prof. J. Belloni), Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway (with Prof. May-Britt-Haag), Duke University (with Prof Mark Wiesner), Brown University and Plymouth State University, USA, Russian Academy of Science (TIPS-RAS), Moskow (with Prof. Teplyakov), St.Petersburg University, Russia, Technical University of Denmark (with Prof. Andreas Kaiser), Faculty of Engineering, Hokkaido University, Japan etc. He was selected as a Visiting Professor (full professorship) at the Laboratory of Geology & Environment, University of Paris-Est Marne-la-Valee, France in 2013 & 2015. Nearly 30 of his selected invited talks outside India are in various Universities and Research Organizations in Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, France, USA, Japan, Thailand, Hong-Kong, Vietnam, Brazil, Russia, Slovakya and Korea. He joined as a Professor at the School of Environmental Sciences of Mahatma Gandhi University in 2010. He was the Dean of Faculty of Environmental and Atmospheric Sciences of Mahatma Gandhi University twice (2012-14 & 2016-18). He also acted as the Director of the School of Environmental Sciences during 2012-2017. He was the Pro Vice-Chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi University during 2019-2023. Currently he is acting as the Vice-Chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi University (since 2023 June).
He was instrumental in building three major centres in Mahatma Gandhi University campus, the Inter University Instrumentation Centre (IUIC) which is a Government of Kerala Initiative, the Sophisticated Analytical Instrument Facility (SAIF), a National Facility from the Department of Science & Technology (DST), New Delhi, and the International Centre for Polar Research. He was the Coordinator of the Project Implementation of Group of the PURSE-I Programme from DST in Mahatma Gandhi University in 2011. He was also the Team Leader of the Indian Arctic Expedition in July 2017. He established several research collaborations (past & present) with reputed centres such as Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Bombay, Nuclear Science Centre, New Delhi, Rubber Research Institute of India, Kottayam, Kerala, National Centre for Ultrafast Process, Madras, National Centre for Free Radical Research Pune, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, USA, GSF-National Research Centre, Munich, Germany, Pohang University of Science & Technology (Dept of Chemistry & Dept of Environmental Science), South Korea, University of Sherbrooke, Canada, University of Paris (south), France, University of Paris-Est-Marne-la-Vallee, Duke University, USA, Technical University of Denmark, Denmark, University of Leicester and University of Sheffield (UK), South Kazakhstan University (Kazakhstan), Tashkent University (Uzbekistan) and Norwegion University of Life Sciences, Norway. Other recognitions include ERASMUS Fellow (Europe, 2019), Fulbright Fellow (Indo-USA, 2023), LEAP (MHRD, 2019), Chairman, Examination Reform Commission (Govt of Kerala, 2021) and Chairman, National Advisory committee on Antarctic Environmental Impact Assessment (to Study and Antarctic Environmental Governance, NCPOR, Ministry of Earth Science, Govt of India (2022-)
His research interests in the last two decades have been in radiation chemistry, environmental chemistry, radiation biology, photochemistry and Polar environment. More specifically, these include Advanced Oxidation Process for the degradation of Environmental Pollutants (Emerging Pollutants: pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs), pesticides, halobenzenes, toluenes etc), Membrane technology for water purification, Ultrasound and Cloud mimic reactions in pollutant degradation, air pollution, Radiation and Photo- induced modifications of DNA and related compounds, Nitric oxide-Protein/amino acid interaction, and Computer based theoretical calculations for free radical reactions (DFT). Polyelectrolyte multilayer membrane for biological and environmental applications (including energy), polar research, Screening of emerging pollutants in South Indian water bodies and Arabian Sea, and photo catalysis are other additions in the research interests. His publications in the last two decades appeared in Environmental science, Chemistry, Physics and Biomedical related journals, such as in Journal of Hazardous Materials, Water Research, Desalination, Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, Chemical Physical Letters, Chemical Physics, Journal of Membrane Science, Chemical Communication, Journal of Physical Chemistry, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Free Radicals in Biology and Medicine, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, Nitric oxide-Biology and Chemistry, Biophysical Journal , Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry, Journal of American Chemical Society, Biophysical Chemistry, Biochemical Journal, International Journal of Radiation Biology etc. He is also a constant reviewer of many international journals in environmental science, Chemistry and biology, and acted as Guest Editor of the international journals, Environmental Science and Pollution Research, Environmental Chemistry, Molecule, Symmetry and Chemosphere.
He completed thirteen national and eight international major research projects besides several ongoing projects. Research funding is mainly from DST, BRNS, ICTP, KSCSTE, and University of Paris (S) (under Indo-French Arcus programme), UGC, MHRD etc. One of the major international programmes includes the Singh-Obama 21st Century Knowledge Initiative with Duke University, USA (with Prof.Mark Wiesner at the Centre for Environmental Impact of Nanotechnology). 32 Ph.Ds and 15 MPhil degrees were awarded under his guidance. Presently, the group has 8 Ph.D students, 2 Post-docs, 2 project fellows and 4 technical assistants.
Besides his research activities, he has interest in environmental education, environmental policies and governance.