Shrikrishnan Sankaran | AIChE

Shrikrishnan Sankaran

Research Group Leader
Leibniz Institute for New Materials

Shrikrishnan Sankaran is a research group leader at the Leibniz Institute for New Materials, INM in Germany. He heads the Bioprogrammable Materials group that explores a young multidisciplinary field combining synthetic biology and biomaterials. It focuses on the development of materials with genetically programmed functionalities capable of biosensing, stimuli-responsive long-term drug release, and manipulation of cell behavior. Synthetic biology tools are used to program proteins and probiotic bacteria to perform smart and beneficial functions. These engineered biological entities are then incorporated in appropriately developed polymeric matrices, resulting in composite materials with highly versatile functionalities, a wide range of tunability, and in situ controllability.

Shrikrishnan did his PhD at the University of Twente in the Netherlands in the lab of Prof. Pascal Jonkheim. There he combined protein and bacterial engineering with supramolecular chemistry to create dynamic and stimuli-responsive biointerfaces. He followed this up with a Post-doctoral stint the in group of Prof. Aranzazu del Campo at the Leibniz Institute for New Materials, where he integrated engineered bacteria with hydrogels to create light-responsive living drug delivery constructs. Through this work, he established his independent junior research group in 2020 focusing on the engineering of probiotic bacteria with therapeutic capabilities. Along these lines, he is the Scientific Coordinator of a regional Leibniz Science Campus consortium working towards the development of Living Therapeutic Materials. He has also been co-organizing the international conference on Engineered Living Materials since 2020, which is conducted almost every year. His work has been widely published in both Synthetic Biology and Materials science oriented journals and his research is largely funded by the Leibniz Association and the German Science Foundation.