The Cellulose Group @ IITH

Group Lead:

Dr. Mudrika Khandelwal

Associate professor

Department of Materials Science and Metallurgical Engineering, IIT Hyderabad

Ph.D. University of Cambridge, UK (2013)

M.Tech, B.Tech, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (2009)

Research Focus:

Relatively young (established in 2013), our group has aimed on finding solutions to some of the technologically and scientifically challenging societal concerns through materials intervention, with a special emphasis on sustainability. The interdisciplinary work carried out by our group is enabled by knowledge of multiple disciplines, materials at different length scales (nano, micro) and inspirations from nature. The primary focus areas (but not limited to) are highlighted below.

Glimpse of Recent Projects

Funded Projects


SERB Core research grant on ‘Bacterial cellulose derived nanostructured carbon materials with tunable porosity as high performance anode for lithium ion battery’ 2019-2022.
Collaborator: Dr. Chandra Shekhar Sharma (Chemical Engineering, IITH)


1. DST-UKIERI Project on 'Polymer and Carbon based Three Dimensional Micropatterned Nanofabric with Enhanced Wettability Contrast’ 2015-2017
Collaborators -
Dr. Chandra Shekhar Sharma (Chemical Engineering, IITH)
Prof. Stephen Eichhorn (Head, Engineering,Chair in Materials Science within the College of Engineering, Maths and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter)

2. SERB Fast Track for Young Scientists/Start-Up Research Grant (Young Scientists) titled ‘Novel low cost antifouling materials for healthcare and food packaging industry.’ 2015-2018

Sponsored and Consultancy Projects:

  1. LDS Pvt. Ltd. - antimicrobial food packaging
  2. Malai Biomaterials Pvt. Ltd. - artificial leather
  3. Eaton Pvt. Ltd. - depth filters

CSR grant by AT&T incorporation for 'Herbal antimicrobial pantyliners for mitigation of vaginal candidiasis'




  1. Mahanta U, Khandelwal M, Deshpande AS, Antimicrobial surfaces: a review of synthetic approaches, applicability and outlook.
    Journal of Materials Science 2021 (accepted)
  2. S Adepu, M Khandelwal. Drug release behaviour and mechanism from unmodified and in situ modified bacterial cellulose.
    Proceedings of the Indian National Science Academy. 2021
  3. MP Illa, CS Sharma, M Khandelwal*. Catalytic graphitization of bacterial cellulose-derived carbon nanofibers for stable and enhanced anodic performance of lithium-ion batteries.
    Materials Today Chemistry. 2021; 20; 100439
  4. S Adepu, P Kalyani, M Khandelwal*. Bacterial Cellulose-Based Drug Delivery System for Dual Mode Drug Release.
    Transactions of the Indian National Academy of Engineering; 2021:1-7
  5. Raghavan, SC, PV, A, Khandelwal, M*. Hierarchical amphiphilic high‐efficiency oil-water separation membranes from fermentation derived cellulose and recycled polystyrene.
    J Appl Polym Sci. 2021; 138:e50123
  6. Adepu S, Khandelwal M*. Ex-situ modification of bacterial cellulose for immediate and sustained drug release with insights into release mechanism.
    Carbohydrate Polymers. 2020:116816
  7. Mani Pujitha Illa, Anil D Pathak, Chandra S. Sharma, and Mudrika Khandelwal. Bacterial Cellulose-Polyaniline Composite Derived Hierarchical Nitrogen-Doped Porous Carbon Nanofibers as Anode for High-Rate Lithium-Ion Batteries.
    ACS Applied Energy Materials 2020 3 (9), 8676-8687
  8. Anju P, Khandelwal M*, Subahan MP, Kalle AM, Mathaparthi S. In situ synthesized hydro-lipophilic nano and micro fibrous bacterial cellulose: polystyrene composites for tissue scaffolds.
    Journal of Materials Science. 2020:1-10.
  9. Adepu S, Khandelwal M*. Bacterial cellulose with microencapsulated antifungal essential oils: a novel double barrier release system.
    Materialia. 2020:100585.
  10. Yadav S, Mattaparthi S, Sreenivasulu K, Khandelwal M, Majumdar S, Sharma CS. Recycling of thermoplastic polystyrene waste using citrus peel extract for oil spill remediation.
    Journal of Applied Polymer Science. 2019;136(33):47886.
  11. Mahanta U, Khandelwal M, Deshpande AS. Wetting Transition from Lotus Leaf to Rose Petal using Modified Fly Ash.
    ChemistrySelect. 2019;4(27):7936-42.
  12. Illa MP, Sharma CS, Khandelwal M*. Tuning the physiochemical properties of bacterial cellulose: effect of drying conditions.
    Journal of Materials Science. 2019;54(18):12024-35.
  13. Illa MP, Khandelwal M, Sharma CS. Modulated Dehydration for Enhanced Anodic Performance of Bacterial Cellulose derived Carbon Nanofibers.
    ChemistrySelect. 2019;4(21):6642-50.
  14. Illa MP, Khandelwal M, Sharma CS. Bacterial cellulose-derived carbon nanofibers as anode for lithium-ion batteries.
    Emergent Materials. 2018;1(3-4):105-20.
  15. Gaydhane MK, Mahanta U, Sharma CS, Khandelwal M, Ramakrishna S. Cultured meat: state of the art and future.
    Biomanufacturing Reviews. 2018;3(1):1.
  16. Adepu S, Khandelwal M*. Broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity of bacterial cellulose silver nanocomposites with sustained release.
    Journal of Materials Science. 2018;53(3):1596-609.
  17. Kakunuri M, Wanasekara ND, Sharma CS, Khandelwal M, Eichhorn SJ. Three‐dimensional electrospun micropatterned cellulose acetate nanofiber surfaces with tunable wettability.
    Journal of Applied Polymer Science. 2017;134(15).
  18. Kakunuri M, Khandelwal M, Sharma CS, Eichhorn SJ. Fabrication of bio-inspired hydrophobic self-assembled electrospun nanofiber based hierarchical structures.
    Materials Letters. 2017;196:339-42.
  19. Kakunuri M, Araga R, Khandelwal M, Sharma CS. Cellulose Acetate Derived Free-Standing Electrospun Carbon Nanofibrous Mat as Anode Material for Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery.
    ECS Transactions. 2017;80(10):419.
  20. Adepu S, Gaydhane MK, Kakunuri M, Sharma CS, Khandelwal M*, Eichhorn SJ. Effect of micropatterning induced surface hydrophobicity on drug release from electrospun cellulose acetate nanofibers.
    Applied Surface Science. 2017;426:755-62.
  21. Adepu S, Dhiman N, Laha A, Sharma CS, Ramakrishna S, Khandelwal M*. Three-dimensional bioprinting for bone tissue regeneration.
    Current Opinion in Biomedical Engineering. 2017;2:22-8.
  22. Maity PC, Khandelwal M*. Synthesis time and temperature effect on polyaniline morphology and conductivity.
    American Journal of Materials Synthesis and Processing. 2016;1(4):37.
  23. Khandelwal M*, Windle AH, Hessler N. In situ tunability of bacteria produced cellulose by additives in the culture media.
    Journal of materials science. 2016;51(10):4839-44.
  24. Khandelwal M*, Windle AH. Small angle X-ray study of cellulose macromolecules produced by tunicates and bacteria.
    International journal of biological macromolecules. 2014;68:215-7.
  25. Khandelwal M*, Windle A. Origin of chiral interactions in cellulose supra-molecular microfibrils.
    Carbohydrate polymers. 2014;106:128-31.
  26. Khandelwal, M. and K. Aggarwal, Contextualising engineering education to 21st century-MBA style education for engineering.
    Journal of Engineering Education Transformations, 2016
  27. Ramakrishna, P.S. and M. Khandelwal, Attributes of engineers and engineering education for the 21st century world.
    Journal of Engineering Education Transformations, 2014. 27(4): p. 17-28.

Other Papers

  1. Khandelwal M, Windle AH. Hierarchical Organisation in the Most Abundant Biopolymer-Cellulose. MRS Online Proceedings Library Archive. 2013;1504.
  2. Khandelwal M, Windle AH. Self-assembly of bacterial and tunicate cellulose nanowhiskers. Polymer. 2013;54(19):5199-206.
  3. Khandelwal M, Hessler N, Windle AH. Effect of modification in cellulose microstructure on liquid crystallinity. MRS Online Proceedings Library Archive. 2013; 1498:221-6.
  4. Khandelwal M, Windle AH. Structure and Low Concentration Self Assembly of Food Grade Bacterial Cellulose Nano-Whiskers. MRS Online Proceedings Library Archive. 2012;1420.
  5. Khandelwal M, Venkatasubramanian A, Prasanna T, Gopalan P. Correlation between microstructure and electrical conductivity in composite electrolytes containing Gd-doped ceria and Gd-doped barium cerate. Journal of the European Ceramic Society. 2011;31(4):559-68.



  1. Mudrika Khandelwal received Platinum Jubilee Young Scientist Award National Academy of Sciences India 2021
  2. Mudrika Khandelwal received Young Engineer Award from Indian National Academy of Engineers 2020
  3. Shivakalyani Adepu received INYAS Excellence in Nano Innovation Award 2020
  4. Divya Anand bagged the GYTI (Gandhian Young Technological Innovation) award for conducting composites, in the year 2016.
  5. Shivakalyani Adepu received BIRAC BIG grant 14th call, 2019
  6. Shivakalyani secured "Excellence in Research award" during Ph.D at IIT Hyderabad in 2018
  7. Shivakalyani secured GYTI (Gandhian Young Technological Innovation) award for developing a novel drug delivery coating for cardiac stent, in the year 2016.

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Lab in news


Post-Doctoral Fellows

Dr. Siju C. R.

PhD: BITS Pilani

Depth filters and conducting composites for actuation

Dr. Shiva kalyani Adepu

PhD: IIT Hyderabad

Drug delivery and antimicrobial materials


Aszad Aslam

Actuated drug delivery systems

IITH-SUT joint doctoral student

Co-supervisor: Prof. Stevan Langford

Peddapappanagari Kalyani

Bacterial cellulose composites and in situ modifications for food packaging and drug delivery

Sponsored by Waycool Pvt. Ltd

Samuel Kaki

Tunable Nanofibrous depth filters: design and application in air and liquid filtration

Interdisciplinary joint student

Co-supervisor: Dr. Seetha N.

Sukesh Kumar

Conducting polymer-based actuators and sensors

IITH-SUT joint doctoral student

Co-supervisor: Prof. Stevan Langford

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Najathulla Bc

Conducting composites for actuator, drug delivery

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Urbashi Mahanta

Wettability tuning, Hydrophobic coatings, antimicrobial surfaces

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Bacterial Cellulose derived carbon for energy storage


Aditya Burla

Antifouling materials based on high entropy alloys

Co-supervisor: Dr. Mayur Vaidya

Apurva Anjan

Bacterial cellulose-based batteries

Co-supervisor: Dr. Chandra S. Sharma

Mukul Choudhary

Microfluidic devices based on bacterial cellulose

Co-supervisor: Dr. Suhanya Duraiswamy


Dr. Illa Mani Pujitha

Contribution to group: Ph.D (Bacterial cellulose based carbon anode for lithium ion batteries)
Current Affiliation: Institute Post-doctoral Fellow, IIT Bombay

Pintu Maity

Contribution to group: M.Tech (conducting polymer based monolithic actuators)
Current Affiliation: Doctoral candidate, IIT Kharagpur

Dr. Shivakalyani Adepu

Contribution to group: Ph.D (Drug delivery, antimicrobial materials)
Current Affiliation: Project Investigator, BIRAC Biotechnological Ignition Grant Incubated i-TIC, IIT Hyderabad

Dr. Divya Anand

Contribution to group: M.Tech (conducting composites)
Current Affiliation: Technological Environment Maintenance Specialist, Nippon Paint Holdings Co Ltd, Japan

Dr. Manohar Kakunuri

Contribution to group: Post-Doc Fellow (electrospun materials for energy, health & environment)
Current Affiliation: Assistant Professor, Dept of Chemical Engineering National Institute of Technology, Warangal

Mr. Palash Chandra Maity

Contribution to group: M.Tech (conducting composites)
Current Affiliation: Pursuing PhD at IIT Roorkee

Mr. Debabrata Palai

Contribution to group: M.Tech (depth filters)
Current Affiliation: Pursuing PhD at Tokyo Institute of Technology

Ms. Anju P. V.

Contribution to group: M.Tech (in situ composites for scaffolds, packaging, filtration)
Current Affiliation: Offered PhD at Hokkaido University


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Dr. Atul S. Deshpande

Associate Professor, Dept. of Materials science and Metallurgical Engineering
IIT Hyderabad

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Dr. Chandra Shekhar Sharma

Associate Professor, Dept. of Chemical Engineering
IIT Hyderabad

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Dr. Arunasree M. Kalle

Associate Professor, School of Life Sciences
University of Hyderabad

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Prof. Stephen Eichhorn

Bristol, Composites Institute
University of Bristol, UK

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Dr. Bharat B. Panigrahi

Associate Professor, Dept. of Materials Science And Metallurgical Engineering
IIT Hyderabad

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Prof. Seeram Ramakrishna

Dept. of Mechanical Engineering
National University of Singapore

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Prof. Peter Kingshott

Professor of Surface Engineering
Swinburne University, Australia

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Prof. Stevan Langford

Professor of Chemistry
Associate Dean Research
School of Science, Computing and Engineering Technologies
Swinburne University of Technology

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Dr. Seetha N

Associate Professor
Department of Civil Engineering
IIT Hyderabad

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Dr. Suhanya Duraiswamy

Assistant Professor
Department of Chemical Engineering
IIT Hyderabad

Industry Collaborators


Our lab is equippied with the following

  • Autoclave
  • Biosafety Cabinet
  • Drug release Franz diffusion setup
  • Freeze Dryer
  • Hot air oven
  • Incubator maintained at 25 ℃ and 37 ℃
  • Stability Chamber
  • UV-vis spectrophotometer
  • Vortexer
  • Weighing balance


Course Credits Suitable for
Science and Engineering of Materials 1 credit UG
Polymers 1 credit
3 credit
Structural and functional polymers 1 credit
3 credit
Soft matter science 1 credit
3 credit
Nature inspired materials engineering 1 credit
2 credit
Hierarchical and Supramolecular materials 1 credit UG, PG
Antifouling and antimicrobial materials (TBI) 1 credit UG, PG
Life cycle assessment (TBI) 1 credit UG, PG


If you believe ‘materials enable better life’
We invite you to apply with us @ Cellulose Group

We can work together through

  1. Internships
  2. e-Internships (especially during this pandemic)
  3. External bachelor and master projects
  4. PhD
  5. Post-Doctoral Fellow
  6. Project Staff

You may reach us at