Ambika Bhagi-Damodaran

portrait of Ambika Bhagi-Damodaran

Ambika Bhagi-Damodaran

Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry


Kolthoff Hall
Room 468B
225 Pleasant Street Se
Minneapolis, MN 55455


B.S. St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi, 2009

M.S. Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, 2011 (Siddharth Pandey)

Ph.D. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2016 (Yi Lu)

Post Doctorate  Schlumberger Foundation FFTF Postdoctoral Fellow (Michelle Arkin)

Research Interests

Chemical Biology: metalloenzymes, small-molecule discovery, protein engineering

Inorganic & Organometallic Chemistry: spectroscopy, catalysis


Metalloenzymes are at the heart of numerous biological processes ranging from respiration and photosynthesis to natural product biosynthesis. Research in the Bhagi-Damodaran lab focuses on investigating structure, function and reaction mechanisms of metalloenzymes, and developing rational approaches to modulate their biological activities. Drawing from the core disciplines of biological, inorganic, medicinal, and computational chemistry, our group utilizes protein engineering and small molecule discovery strategies to address pressing health and energy related challenges. Specific research projects in the Bhagi-Damodaran Lab focus on rewiring metalloenzyme-dependent redox signal transduction pathways for next-generation tuberculosis and cancer therapeutics. We are also working towards re-programing non-heme iron enzymes for modular, versatile, and sustainable C-H bond halogenation biocatalysis. Our Lab is affiliated with the Center for Bioinorganic Chemistry (CBIC) and the Chemical Biology Initiative Group (CBIG) at the University of Minnesota. 

Honors and Awards

NSF CAREER Award, 2021-26

NIH Maximizing Investigator's Research Award (MIRA), 2020-25

3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award, 2020

American Chemical Society (ACS) Division of Inorganic Chemistry Young Investigator Award, 2017

NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2018 (declined)

Schlumberger Foundation Faculty for the Future Fellowship, 2016-18

Excellence in Teaching Award, School of Chemical Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), 2014-2015

ACS Chemical Biology Travel Award, 2015

Eastman Travel Award, Department of Chemistry, UIUC, 2015

Harry S. Drickamer Fellowship, Department of Chemistry, UIUC, 2014

University Fellowship, Department of Chemistry, UIUC, 2013-14

Virginia Bartow Fellowship, Department of Chemistry, UIUC, 2011-12

Highest GPA Award, Department of Chemistry, IIT, Delhi, 2011

DFG fellowship to attend Lindau Nobel Laureate Conference, 2009

Project Oriented Chemical Education Fellowship, JNCASR, Bangalore, 2007-09

Young Science Fellowship, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, 2007-08 (declined)

The Sumitomo-St. Stephen’s College Scholarship, St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, 2006-09

Mailing Address

Ambika Bhagi-Damodaran
University of Minnesota
Department of Chemistry
A-7, 139 Smith Hall
207 Pleasant St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455-0431