Back
Physical Sciences

Prof. G. Mugesh

Professor, Department of Inorganic and Physical Chemistry, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru

The Infosys Prize 2019 in Physical Sciences is awarded to Prof. G. Mugesh for his seminal work in the chemical synthesis of small molecules and nanomaterials for biomedical applications. His work has contributed to the understanding of the role of trace elements, selenium and iodine, in thyroid hormone activation and metabolism, and this research has led to major medical advances.

Infographic:

The Sparks That Fire Life

Scope and Impact of Work

Prof. G. Mugesh is an internationally renowned chemical biologist whose work ranges from the fundamental chemical synthesis and understanding of biochemical mechanisms at the molecular level to practical medical applications. He has made pioneering contributions in the areas of Biomimetic Redox Modulators, Thyroid Hormone Metabolism, and Nanomaterials. Prof. Mugesh’s broad research encompasses artificial enzymes including nanozymes in cellular redox signaling. His work on the design and synthesis of small molecules that functionally mimic the selenoenzymes in mammalian cells has received worldwide attention.

Prof. Mugesh has made seminal contributions to our understanding of the role of trace elements, such as selenium and iodine, in human health. His group has pioneered the idea of using artificial enzymes (those not present in nature, but which can be synthesized to act as catalysts for biologically important reactions) to modulate cellular processes under oxidative stress conditions.

Recent research in Mugesh’s laboratory is aimed at the use of halogen bonding as a strategy to efficiently deliver proteins and synthetic small molecules into human cells across the plasma membrane. Cellular delivery of proteins and small molecules is a major challenge in drug discovery and biomedical research and Prof. Mugesh’s strategy to use the halogen bond-mediated cellular uptake paves the way for the efficient delivery of therapeutic proteins and small molecule drugs into human cells.

Bio

Prof. G. Mugesh is a professor in the Department of Inorganic and Physical Chemistry at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru. He obtained his B.Sc. from the University of Madras, M.Sc. from the Bharathidasan University, and Ph.D. from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.

Prof. Mugesh was a Humboldt Fellow (Institute of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry, Technical University, Braunschweig, Germany) a Visiting Fellow (Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Heinrich-Heine University, Düsseldorf, Germany); and a Skaggs Postdoctoral Fellow (Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California) before taking up his current post in Bengaluru.

Mugesh’s many recognitions include the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize (2012) and fellowships in three Indian National Academies as well as the UK’s Royal Society of Chemistry (2013). He has delivered numerous named lectures and has served on the editorial boards of many Indian and international journals.

Timeline

1990-1998

1990-1998

B.Sc.(Chemistry), University of Madras;

M.Sc.(Chemistry), Bharathidasan University; Ph.D. (Chemistry), IIT-Bombay

2001

2001

Starts work with K.C. Nicolaou at Scripps Research Institute

2002

2002

Appointed Assistant Professor, IISc, Bangalore

2005

2005

Wins IUPAC International Award for Young Chemists and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Equipment Award

2009

2009

Wins UKIERI Standard Research Award

2010

2010

Wins the Chemical Research Society of India Bronze Medal and IAP Young Scientist Award

2012

2012

Appointed Professor at IISc, Bangalore and wins the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize

2013

2013

Wins the Asian Rising Star Commemorative Plaque

2016

2016

Wins the ISCB Award

2019

2019

Wins the Infosys Prize in Physical Sciences

1990-1998
2001
2002
2005
2009
2010
2012
2013
div> 2016
2019

Jury Citation

Prof. Mugesh, a chemical biologist, has made pioneering contributions to Biomimetic Redox Modulators, Thyroid Hormone Metabolism, and Nanomaterials. He has made seminal contributions to the understanding of the importance of trace elements, such as selenium and iodine, in thyroid hormone activation and metabolism. His work on artificial enzymes (biological catalysts not present in nature but synthesized) including nanozymes that modulate the cellular redox signaling attracted worldwide attention.

Prof. Mugesh’s work ranges from the fundamental chemical synthesis and mechanisms of understanding at the molecular level to practical medical applications. The recent discovery from his laboratory that proteins and synthetic small molecules can be delivered into human cells across the plasma membrane by utilizing halogen bonding has direct applications to human health. This novel strategy can be used for the efficient delivery of proteins and small molecules for therapeutic applications.

“Congratulations Dr. Mugesh on being awarded the 2019 Infosys Prize in Physical Sciences. Your work is fundamental and also has practical applications. With your command of chemistry, you're able to synthesize chemicals such as enzymes for biological use. At the same time, you also have developed a clever technique to transport these chemicals efficiently to specific sites. The application for activating thyroid is of considerable value as an instance. Congratulations again Dr. Mugesh.”

Shrinivas Kulkarni

Jury Chair
Physical Sciences