Our Mission

Our mission is to apply basic principles of chemistry to solve important problems in biology. There are three primary foci for our research.

DNA-based Light Harvesting Complexes - We are making artificial complexes of proteins and DNA by chemically modifying proteins with small organic molecules.  These protein/DNA complexes are showing amazing ability for solar light harvesting.

Biophilic Graphene Oxide - We are developing novel protein-glues that can pacify the hydrophobic regions of graphene oxide and convert it into a biophilic material for the adsorption of biomolecules.  The biophilic graphene oxide is becoming an exciting nanomaterial for applications in biofuel cell applications and biocatalysis. 

BionanoMaterials - Our hypothesis is that enzymes can be stabilized by placing them reduced dimensional space.  That is, enzymes in one dimensional space will be more stable than in two dimensional space, and they will be more stable in two dimensional space than in three dimensional space.

    To test this hypothesis, we encapsulate enzymes in the tw-dimensional space of inorganic layered materials and testing their stability.  Our encapsulated enzymes catalyze reactions near the boiling point of water. This is very unusual, but exciting.

Protein-Polymer Conjugates - in collaboration with the Kasi group, we are designing polymers to wrap individual enzyme molecules.  These conjugates enhance the stability of the enzymes well beyond boiling point of water, at normal pressure.  These are providing exciting new applications in biocatalysis, biosensing and biofuel cells.

Our Motto: Teaching is an Investment in ‘OUR Future’


Challa V. Kumar, PhD

Professor of Biological and Physical Chemistry

University of Connecticut

Storrs CT 06269-3060

Ph. 860-486-3213

Fax 860-486-2981


Total # of Publications:168

Total # of Citations: ~5300

h-Index: 30.2

Publication List

Grad Students


Favorite Links

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  2. http://ichem.uconn.edu

  3. http://jasmin.chem.uconn.edu

The Kumar Group

Biological Materials

Nanoparticles made from ordinary protein, serum albumin, were labeled with specific fluorescent dyes so that each particle emits white light when excited with UV or visible light. These are one of a kind in the world because quantum dots can not produce white emission, under ordinary conditions.  Because QD emission color depends on their size, a single size can not produce red, green and blue colors, simultaneously.  Hence, GlowDots are unique white-emitting particles with a tight control over their size. Know more about the GlowDots visit:

  1. B.S. Stromer, C. V. Kumar, Adv. Funct. Mater. 2017, 27, 1603874. Click here!