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Sitamaran Krishnan

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At Clarkson’s Coulter School of Engineering, performing cutting edge research that has a positive impact on the human race is more than just ordinary; it’s the School’s motto ‐ “Technology serving humanity.” And faculty at Clarkson are more than willing to take on the challenge that the motto presents.

Take Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Sitaraman Krishnan for example. Krishnan and his team are currently working on two projects whose outcomes will no doubt impact humanity. “I like being able to work in exciting areas of modern chemical engineering such as materials for energy, medicine and environmental health,” he says.

Krishnan’s first research project involves designing new materials for renewable energy and clean energy technologies. The project aims at lowering the costs associated with solar cell, lithium ion battery, and hydrogen fuel cell production by developing non‐volatile polymer electrolytes.

“Many of the present‐day devices are made with volatile and flammable solvents that restrict operating temperatures below their boiling points,” he explains. “Take water, for example. We know that there are several advantages of operating hydrogen fuel cells above the 100 degree Celsius boiling point of water, so we are trying to find an alternative to water using non‐volatile materials and polymers that can operate at greater temperatures.”

According to Krishnan, advances in materials design and synthesis will make products that use energy conversion and storage devices much more affordable for the end consumers. In turn, he hopes that more consumers will invest in these products over products that are not energy efficient, such as fuel cell and hydrogen vehicles as an alternative to gas‐powered vehicles.

In his second project, Krishnan and his team are collaborating with NewWorld Pharmaceuticals to develop stimulus responsive polymer particles for the sustained oral delivery of bioactives. For oral medications, the substance must pass through the stomach, where conditions are harsh. Krishnan is designing particles to release drugs or nutrients in the small intestine of humans, where most of the uptake into the bloodstream occurs, instead of the stomach, allowing for a better and prolonged absorption.

“The formulations we have developed have been tested on human subjects and seem promising for commercialization,” he says. “This project has the potential to improve the method of administering nutrients and therapeutics, which will hopefully be beneficial to patients, the biomedical community, and the food processing industry alike.”

Originally from Mumbai, India, Krishnan came to Clarkson in 2007 after receiving his Ph.D. from Lehigh University. He teaches courses in chemical reaction engineering and thermodynamics. He has also taught mass transfer, biomaterials and polymer materials. Outside the classroom and lab, Krishnan stays involved in the Clarkson community as a member of the Coulter School of Engineering Undergraduate Research Committee and as the faculty advisor to the Clarkson University Delta Chapter of the Omega Chi Epsilon, the honor society for chemical engineering students.

For him, spending time with Clarkson students is easy. “Our undergraduate and graduate students are bright and motivated. It is a pleasure to teach and mentor them. It’s one of the best aspects of my job."
sitamaran krishnan

Chemical Engineering Faculty Member Sitaraman Krishnan