School Seminar: A/Prof. Ankona Datta, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research – School of Chemistry School Seminar: A/Prof. Ankona Datta, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research – School of Chemistry

School Seminar: A/Prof. Ankona Datta, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research

Monday, 24 July 4:00pm – 5:00pm

This seminar will be delivered in Chemistry Lecture Theatre 2 and Online (Zoom) Please email for zoom link and password.

Speaker: A/Prof. Ankona Datta, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research

Host: Prof. Elizabeth New

Title: Lighting up Bio-Molecules with Fluorescent Chemical Tools

Abstract: Regulated temporal changes in localization and levels of bio-molecules mediate key decision-making life processes like cell-signaling. Hence, tracking bio-molecules in living systems can provide a handle into molecular mechanisms of life. Fluctuations in molecular distribution in ms-min timescale are implicated in signaling processes. Two major requirements for tracking biological signals are: 1. A non-invasive imaging modality with appropriate spatial and temporal resolutions; 2. Identifying spectroscopic features that can be used to specifically track a molecule of interest. Advances in fluorescence imaging provide us with numerous choices of optical microscopy platforms for tracking bio-molecules with requisite resolutions. However, we cannot visualize non-fluorescent molecules in an optical imaging platform and many bio-molecules are either not fluorescent or do not emit in an appropriate wavelength range suitable for non-invasive detection within living systems. In this context, fluorescent chemo-sensors that can interact selectively with a specific molecule and afford an intensity change or a shift in emission wavelength can be valuable tools for visualizing molecules. Our group has developed cell-permeable chemo-sensors that can track biologically relevant metal ions,1, 2 lipids,3, 4 and proton gradients5 in living cells and in multicellular organisms. In this talk, I will present our forays in to bio-molecular detection and also discuss open-challenges in sensor development.

  1. Das, S.; Khatua, K.;  Rakshit, A.;  Carmona, A.;  Sarkar, A.;  Bakthavatsalam, S.;  Ortega, R.; Datta, A., Emerging chemical tools and techniques for tracking biological manganese. Dalton Transactions 2019, 48 (21), 7047-7061.
  2. Das, S.; Carmona, A.;  Khatua, K.;  Porcaro, F.;  Somogyi, A.;  Ortega, R.; Datta, A., Manganese Mapping Using a Fluorescent Mn2+ Sensor and Nanosynchrotron X-ray Fluorescence Reveals the Role of the Golgi Apparatus as a Manganese Storage Site. Inorganic Chemistry 2019, 8 (20), 13724-13732.
  3. Chandra, A.; Datta, A., A Peptide-Based Fluorescent Sensor for Anionic Phospholipids. ACS Omega 2022, 7 (12), 10347-10354.
  4. Mondal, S.; Rakshit, A.;  Pal, S.; Datta, A., Cell Permeable Ratiometric Fluorescent Sensors for Imaging Phosphoinositides. ACS Chemical Biology 2016, 11 (7), 1834-43.
  5. Das, S.; Kapadia, A.;  Pal, S.; Datta, A., Spatio-Temporal Autophagy Tracking with a Cell-Permeable, Water-Soluble, Peptide-Based, Autophagic Vesicle-Targeted Sensor. ACS Sensors 2021, 6 (6), 2252-2260.

Bio: Ankona received her B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur in 2000. She did her graduate work on chiral water-soluble porphyrins for catalysis and recognition with Prof. John T. Groves at Princeton University (Ph.D., 2006). After graduating from Princeton, she joined as a postdoctoral scholar in the laboratory of Prof. Ken Raymond at the University of California, Berkeley, where she worked on macromolecular MRI contrast agents.

Since 2010 she is a faculty in the Department of Chemical Sciences at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, India. Her current research interests are in the fields of Chemical Biology and Molecular Imaging.



Jul 24 2023


4:00 pm - 5:00 pm


Chemistry Lecture Theatre 2

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