WHEN A POLYMER SCIENTIST MEETS BIOLOGISTS
Professor Bhuvanesh Gupta, Bioengineering Laboratory, Department of Textile Technology, Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi
Polymeric materials have generated considerable interest as biomaterials in human healthcare. Biomaterials, it is widely recognised, represent the most innovative domain of medical science and technology. Professor Gupta’s bioengineering group has been working in four domains: sutures, wound dressings, tissue engineering and nanobiotechnology with precise functionalisation for each domain. Although drug delivery based on graft co-polymers remains a focused route in healthcare systems, tissue engineering involving hydrogels has been the focus of many recent innovations.
The possibilities for innovation in the world of healthcare are enormous. A classic example of current-day healthcare is the wound care systems which require very precise and fast healing. Accelerated healing may be achieved by using wound dressings with innovative features of exudate absorption, bio-compatibility and infection control.
Professor Gupta’s group has been working on wound dressings based on chitosan, dextran, chitosan and polyvinyl alcohol hydrogels to achieve faster healing along with minimum scarring. The advantage of biopolymers, evidently, is that they are biodegradable and non-immunogenic. Another key issue is global efforts against infection. This becomes particularly interesting when polymers are used as implants and very precise biomaterial fabrication is needed to control infection at the site. A proper combination of the material designing in combination with the proper choice of a bioactive agent remains the focus of biomaterial development.
Dr. Bhuvanesh Gupta is Professor of Polymers at Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi and is the President of three international bodies; Asian Polymer Association, Society of Biomaterials Artificial Organs India (Delhi), and the Indo-Italian Forum on Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering. Dr. Gupta did his PhD from IIT Delhi and spent a couple of years on post-doctoral work in Paris. Subsequently, Dr. Gupta worked for eight years in France, Sweden and Switzerland in different capacities at several laboratories. Dr. Gupta initiated a research career in the field of polymer functionalisation, biomaterials and tissue engineering and has worked in collaboration with the University of Uppsala, Sweden and INSERM Paris, France. Dr. Gupta had a brief assignment as Director (Research) at Sikkim Manipal University Gangtok before returning to the IIT system as professor of polymers and biomaterials.
Dr. Gupta has been awarded medals at university level and has been granted several Visiting Fellowships around the world, including in Sweden, Switzerland and France. He has been a member of the DBT task force of Government of India. He is on the editorial board of several journals. Dr. Gupta has about 180 publications in International journals and more than 300 conference presentations in India and abroad, along with 25 patents to his credit. Dr. Gupta has written eight books published by international publishers and is a regular speaker at laboratories around the world. 14 PhD students have been awarded their degrees, and 4 PhD students working on different areas of biomedical technology are currently in his group.