Meet CTC: Indrani Choudhuri

Indrani lab

November 29, 2019 -- Indrani Choudhuri joined the Truhlar group as a postdoctoral researcher in June 2018. Earlier that year, Indrani received her Ph.D. in theoretical and computational chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology Indore. Her current research interests include photocatalysis with metal-organic frameworks and nanoparticle composites, the performance of newly developed functionals for structural and electronic properties of complex materials, and the use of density functional theory to study electronic, magnetic, and optical properties of complex systems. 

Indrani is currently working on two different projects. For one project, she is studying photocatalytic water splitting using metal-organic frameworks and nanoparticle composites using visible lights. Photocatalytic water splitting is a prospective solution for energy and environment-related problems in the future. Her other project focuses on evaluating the performances of newly developed exchange-correlation functionals in hopes of making them more accurate and efficient. Indrani uses supercomputing facilities provided by the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute for her research. High Performance Computing systems are designed with high-speed networks, high-performance storage, and large amounts of memory. 

In her spare time, Indrani enjoys cooking. Her favorite food to cook is Indian, but she also enjoys Italian.

Indrani outside

How did you become interested in studying chemistry?

I started taking interest in chemistry because it provides insights into a variety of physical and biological phenomena that are happening in our surroundings.

My specific field is theoretical and computational chemistry. The exciting part of my field is that it unites principles and concepts common to all branches of chemistry. Experiments are sometimes difficult to conduct because of their physical properties, but simulations have the ability to show how these reactions would proceed. Computational and theoretical chemists can model things that experimental chemists can’t physically do. 

Why did you choose the University of Minnesota, and what led you to join the Truhlar group?

Prof. Truhlar is a renowned theoretical and computational chemist. He is also well-known for his work with chemical physics, with a special emphasis on quantum mechanics and chemical dynamics. The postdoctoral associate position in the Truhlar group gives me the perfect opportunity to gain more experience in my field of interest.

What do you enjoy most about your research?

I enjoy modeling different materials and studying their properties for catalytic and photocatalytic application to problems related to clean energy. I also like to study the different reaction mechanisms that we can witness in our daily life.

Indrani lake

What drives you to be a better scientist and what advice do you have for aspiring scientists?

I am driven by my curiosity towards different problems and the urge to find their solutions. I advise aspiring scientists to have this same curiosity, always finish their projects, and manage their time well.

What is your favorite part about living in the Twin Cities and Minnesota?

My favorite part about living in the Twin Cities is its natural beauties and outdoors. The best part of Minnesota, in my opinion, is the North Shore of Lake Superior.