Dr. Mukherjee received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign following which he completed postdoctoral studies at the California Institute of Technology. Dr. Mukherjee joined UCSB as an assistant professor of Chemical Engineering in the summer of 2017. Dr. Mukherjee's research has been recognized with a James G. Boswell fellowship in molecular engineering and magnetic resonance imaging (2014), a NARSAD Young Investigator Award (2018), 2019 NIH Maximizing Investigators' Research Award (MIRA), and a Discovery Award from the Department of Defense (PRMRP, 2019).
Research in our group focuses on developing genetically encoded biomolecular reporters to study cell physiology. Our work is inspired by the transformative impact that the green fluorescent protein (GFP) has had on our understanding of cellular biology. However, we are interested in developing genetic reporters that can be used to study biological systems where GFP and derivative reporters cannot be used. Specifically, we are interested in solving two challenges: 1) fluorescence imaging in anaerobic environments where GFP is inactive owing to its oxygen-dependent mechanism of fluorescence and 2) molecular imaging in opaque animal models where optical reporters do not work well owing to the limited penetration of light through scattering tissue. To study these systems, our lab engineers various classes of proteins to develop oxygen-independent fluorescent reporters (for anaerobic studies) and magnetically visible MRI reporters (for opaque animal imaging). While our core focus is on technology development, we actively pursue cross-disciplinary collaborations to apply these technologies as well as refine the biomolecular tools based on end-user feedback.