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Prof. Suman Chakraborty

In 2005, Prof. Chakraborty had already been at FAU. Now he returned to the university to conduct research in microfluidics at the Chair for System Simulation. (Image: Chakraborty)

In 2005, Prof. Chakraborty had already been at FAU as a Humboldt Research Fellow. Now he returned to the university to conduct research in microfluidics at the Chair for System Simulation. (Image: Chakraborty)

Prof. Suman Chakraborty was born and raised in India. Currently, he is professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Kharagpur, India.

Academic Career

It is not an exaggeration to say that Prof. Chakraborty´s career has been characterized by excellence. As a pupil and university student, he achieved outstanding exam and graduation results. Prof. Chakraborty completed his Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering at Jadavpur University, Calcutta, with 84,4 per cent out of 100 per cent (1st Class Honours, Rank 2nd) and the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE), one of the most competitive examinations in India, with 99,99 % (All India Rank 1st). He also earned a CGPA of 7.9 out of 8.0 (1st Class with Distinction, Rank 1st) for his Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.

Prizes and Distinctions

Several awards and Fellowships have recognized Prof. Chakraborty´s excellent work. In 2002, he was the recipient of the Best Thesis Award from the Mechanical Engineering Department and Division of Mechanical Sciences at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, and of the prestigious “Best International CFD Thesis Award”, based on a worldwide competition. Furthermore, Prof. Chakraborty received the Anil Kumar Bose Memorial Award, given by the National Science Academy (INSA), in 2007 and the Scopus Young Scientist Award in Engineering (Elsevier) in 2008. In 2013, he was awarded the Santi Swaroop Bhatnagar Prize by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) of the Government of India for his notable and outstanding research.

Prof. Chakraborty is Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK), the American Physical Society, the Indian National Science Academy (INSA), the Indian Academy of Science (IAS) and the American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME). In 2014, he was selected as Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE) Chair Professor. He is also National Coordinator of the IMPRINT Healthcare programme at the Ministry of Human Resources Development, Govt. of India, and incubated a start-up company, namely Focus R&D at STEP IIT Kharagpur to commercialize self-innovated products in the domain of medical technology in general, and medical diagnostics in particular.

His research interests are microfluidics and microscale transport processes.

From May to June 2018, Prof. Chakraborty is a visiting scientist at the Chair of Computer Science 10 (System Simulation), led by Prof. Dr. Ulrich Rüde.

FAU provides me with an excellent collaborative research environment, connecting several other research groups working with a common vision.

What is your field of research and what initially sparked your interest in this field of research?

My field of research is microfluidics, which is all about flow of fluids through tiny passages. The end applications could range from using one drop of blood for performing large number of medical tests to using tiny droplets for cooling of miniaturized electronic gadgets. The global relevance of many of these applications as well as the deep science that is still involved along with several unresolved scientific challenges that have motivated me in pursuing this area.

Your first stay at FAU was in the frame of a Humboldt Fellowship in 2005. What made you come to FAU at that time?

My host at that time, Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Franz Durst at the Institute of Fluid Mechanics (LSTM), is a researcher of great International repute. It is primarily because of his influence that I was motivated to choose FAU for my first stay within the frame of the Humboldt Fellowship.

What was the focus of your research at FAU back then?

My focus of research at that time was studying solid to liquid and liquid to solid phase transition processes and their connections with fluid dynamics.

Could you please give us a short description of how your career as a scientist and your research progressed since your first stay at FAU?

After returning from Germany, I transformed into a more mature International researcher with always having a global focus on what is going on around. Also, I started developing a more interdisciplinary outlook for research. Eventually, I started collaborating with the medical world, with a vision of solving outstanding research problems in the domain of medical technology.

What were the reasons that made you return to FAU?

I have been having close interactions with Professor Ulrich Ruede from the days of my first visit to the University. I have been aware that his group has being doing excellent work in the domain of computational sciences. With that as a background, the complementary expertise of physical insight and experimentation based support from my group may be combined to produce wonders in terms of breakthroughs in microfluidics and nanofluidic research. This kind of agglomeration of complementary expertise has triggered our interest in writing a seed grant proposal to the DFG for fostering more intense collaborations and submitting more elaborate research proposals on globally relevant themes.

Could you please summarize what you are working on during your current stay?

I am currently working on computer simulations towards better understanding of how charged particles move under the action of electric field in a narrow passage. This could open up new possibilities of understanding how flexible charged entities move through microchannels or how ions move through nanochannels. Numerous biomedical or other applications can be built up around this initiative.

What role did or still does FAU play in your development as a scientist?

FAU provides me with an excellent collaborative research environment, connecting several other research groups working with a common vision.

Furthermore, the Indo-German Winter Academy played a vital role in strengthening ties between Indian and German researchers. The Indo-German Winter Academy has been a concept that has been historically tying up a strong link between the traditional Indian Institutes of Technology and FAU. This has led to the organization of Winter Schools in India, where faculty members and students from Europe, primarily from FAU, and their counterparts from India have participated in weeklong scientific interactions, deliberations, and beyond. This has eventually fertilized many useful collaborations, internship prospects, research initiatives and so on. I have been jointly coordinating one of the themes of the Academy, which was related to Scientific computing, together with Professor Rüdede, over the years. This has intensified our interactions considerably. Unfortunately, this Winter Academy has now been discontinued, but this could otherwise act as an ideal platform towards fostering collaborations between the FAU and premier Institutes in India.

Do you have a favourite place at FAU and Erlangen or Nuremberg?

The central part of the city, in general, is my favourite place.

Thank you for the interview, Prof. Chakraborty.