Professor Ambika Bhagi-Damodaran selected for McKnight Land-Grant Professorship award

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (2/14/2023) – Assistant Professor Ambika Bhagi-Damodaran has been awarded the 2023-25 McKnight Land-Grant Professorship. The award is designed to advance the careers of highly promising junior faculty members who have the potential to make significant contributions to their departments and to their scholarly fields. The professorship research award amount of $50,000 over two years will support Prof. Bhagi-Damodaran’s ongoing research into molecular engineering of iron enzymes for new therapeutics and sustainable catalysis.

From respiration to nitrogen fixation, iron enzymes enable some of the most important biological processes. Prof. Bhagi-Damodaran and her research group are developing molecular approaches to modulate biological functions of iron enzymes towards addressing long-standing challenges in health and energy. From a therapeutic perspective, the Bhagi-Damodaran lab is developing new strategies to shorten treatment time for tuberculosis and chemo-resistant cancer. From a catalysis perspective, they are finding eco-friendly alternatives to current methodologies of chemical synthesis in industries.

The McKnight Land-Grant Professorship seeks to support and recognize junior faculty members who are making an impact on their departments and in their research. The title is held for two years by each awardee. 

Before joining the Department of Chemistry faculty at the University of Minnesota, Bhagi-Damodaran was a Schlumberger Foundation FFTF Postdoctoral Fellow at UCSF and completed her Ph.D. at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The Bhagi-Damodaran group is made up of 11 researchers, graduate students, and undergraduate students. The group’s work is centered on the fundamentals of biological, inorganic, medicinal, and computational chemistry to gain insights into structure and function of metalloproteins and change their landscape in energy, catalysis, and medicine.