Dr Siddharth Mitra-Ghosh

PhD in Physics, MPhil in Mechanical Engineering, and BEng in Biotechnology.

At OAR: Director and Cofounder, Project Leader and Web admin.

Research interests: Light-matter interactions, Atomic-scale Mechanics and Fluidics, Computational Quantum Chemistry, Biomolecular interactions, Statistical Mechanics, and Nanolithography.


Sid is a German Research Foundation/DFG Fellow at the Maxwell Centre and Centre for Misfolding Diseases, University of Cambridge. He is also a St John's College Research Associate by Fellow at the University of Cambridge and a Visiting Researcher at the Leiden Institute of Physics and High Field Magnetic Lab, Nijmegen. He was a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Leiden Institute of Physics. During his postdoctoral stay at Utrecht in the Debye Institute for Nanomaterials Science OAR was conceived. He strongly believes on a quote from Walter Lewin 'Teachers who make Physics boring are criminals'. He understands this problem not only because he has encountered uncountable bad teachers but also for getting an opportunity to grow up in a school which was made with Tagore's philosophy of learning from the nature where hardly any competitive exams existed. He met some great teachers at school and some outstanding ones at the university level. These made him to love teaching instead of considering it as a daily boring task. He had supervised undergraduate theses which were considered to be the excellent at the university level. During his PhD, he had co-founded the 'Third Infinity: A Conference on Complex Systems' which was co-organised two times by him and continued to be a biennial conference organised by the next generation of PhD students in Goettingen, Germany. He was also a student representative for more than 450 PhD students which enables him to be a part of the board members of the graduate school. He published his first peer-reviewed article immediately after his undergraduate study. He has been reading and trying to understand Rabindranath since his unconventional Tagorian schooling at Patha Bhavan, which has been deeply motivated him to start Open Academic Research.

Dr Moumita Ghosh

PhD in Nanoengineering for Integrated Systems and BEng in Instrumentation and Electronics.

At OAR: Director and Cofounder, Project Leader and Treasury.

Research Interest: Nanoscale ferroelectricity and piezoelectricity, Charge transports, Atomic defects in nanocrystals, Nanomechanics, Nanocrystal growth, Energy harvesting, Control systems, Analog/digital electronic systems design, and Firmware programming.


Moumita is a Research Scientist at the Advanced Technology Group of FEI Electron Optics, Thermo Fischer Scientific, Eindhoven (earlier Philips Electron Optics). She has a rare and exceptional position of independently designing advanced scientific research at the interface of Thermo Fischer Scientific and the Ernst Ruska-Centre for Microscopy and Spectroscopy with Electrons, Jülich. She was a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Utrecht University. She was a Research Scientist in the University of Goettingen. She received her PhD in Nano-engineering for Integrated Systems from the Instrumentation and Applied Physics Department in the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, immediately after her BEng in Instrumentation and Electronics. Her expertise and exposure to interdisciplinary scientific research motivate her to encourage the young minds to bridge between the academic course works and their applications in the research and developments. She is an open minded engineer as well as scientists. She always considers engineering and science with great care instead of neglecting or ignoring one from other.

Dr Abhilash Asok

PhD and MSc in Physics.

At OAR: Cofounder, Project Leader and General Secretary.

Research interests: Light-matter interactions, Plasmonics, Nano-optics, Optical imaging, Imaging through scattering media.



Abhilash is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Twente. He was a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Debye Institute for Nanomaterials Science, Utrecht University, The Netherlands. He obtained his PhD in Physics from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras in 2016. During PhD, he worked as a teaching assistant for BTech, MTech and MSc students of the Indian Institute of Technology Madras. In the past, he has also taught high school students for six years and this helped him identify the flaws of the current curriculum. He has given coaching for national level entrance exams (like JEE and AIEEE). He is an active member of the Optical Society of America's student chapter in Utrecht. He is also an active organizer of CREATE Gurukula project.

Pritam Pai

MSc Physics

At OAR: Cofounder, Project Leader and Location Manager.

Research Interest: Complex photonics and Imaging Through Scattering Media.


Pritam is a Physics PhD candidate at the Debye Institute for Nanomaterials Science, Utrecht University, The Netherlands. He is a co-founder and the Vice President of the Optical Society of America's student chapter in Utrecht. Pritam was brought up in an exceptional academic system (Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, Pondicherry, India) where conventional examination schemes did not exist to evaluate a student. He has a strong interest in physical fitness and different sports. Sports enable him to perform everyday at the fullest. Pritam is also good at magic tricks.

Jaishankar Hebballi

MSc in Computer Science.

At OAR: Project leader and IT admin.

OAR Wild Card Member and Entrepreneur


Jaishankar had a wild card entry in OAR. He is one of the key intellectual contributors in the OAR 2017-18. His primary and undergraduate schooling was together with Pritam Pai at the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, Pondicherry. He went to Symbiosis for his masters in computer science. He has co-founded a startup business.

Jintu K James

M.S in Aerospace Engineering

At OAR: Location manager and Public Communicator

Research interests: High-speed aerodynamics, Wind tunnel testing, Experimental gas dynamics, Wind turbines, and Wind energy.


Jintu is a Ph.D. candidate at Andong National University, Andong, Republic of Korea. He received his MS in Aerospace engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. During and after his masters he has worked as the project associate in ICSR, IITM in the projects funded by ARDB and ISRO. He is also a graduate member of The Aeronautical Society of India. He is open to gain and share knowledge from everywhere and enjoys the research activities at its most.

Dr Vijeesh Vijayan

PhD in Metallurgical Materials Engineering

At OAR: Project leader and Location manager

Research Interests: Welding metallurgy, Advanced high strength steels, Thermal analysis, Solidification studies.

He is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Dong-Eui University in Busan, South Korea. He received his PhD and MTech from National Institute of Technology Karnataka, Surathkal, India. He also has experience working as Assistant Professor in leading private colleges of Kerala, India. His other areas of interest are Cosmology, Historical Science and Religious Cosmology.

Dr Harish Sasikumar

MS in Electrical engineering, PhD in Nano Science and Engineering

At OAR: Postdoctoral Research Fellow/Project leader and instrumentation support.

Research Interests: Electronics, Optics and Bio-sensing.


Harish is received his PhD from the Centre Nano Science and Engineering, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. His area of work includes thin film and optical diffraction-grating based sensors for the detection of chemicals & proteins. He received his B.Tech. degree in Electronics & Communication Engineering and M.S degree in Electrical Engineering from University of Calicut & IIT Madras respectively. In 2013 he worked for John F. Welch Technology Center, GE Global Research as a consultant for Tunable Diode Laser Absorption Spectroscopy & FPGA implementation of lock-in systems.

Alok Shankar

MS in Medical Physics

At OAR: Project leader and Recruiter.

Research Interests: X-Ray Radiography, Fluoroscopy and Computed Tomography.

Alok is a doctoral candidate at Toshiba Stroke & Vascular Research Center, University at Buffalo, SUNY working in the area of Medical Imaging Physics, where he also earned a Masters in Medical Physics. At TSVRC he works on development and characterization of photon counting detectors for X-Ray Radiography, Fluoroscopy and Computed Tomography. Quantitative metrics for image quality assessment with various observer models and algorithms for 3D image reconstruction are also part of his research. Prior to this, Alok worked at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge working on observation of Magnetocaloric effect in hybrid Heusler alloys at room temperature for his Masters thesis. Alok also has been a TA at LSU for 2.5 years, instructed general physics courses for undergrads and served as a tutor. When not "re-searching", he does weight lifting, plays badminton, goes on treks or reads Saramago/Murakami (or the likes).

Dr Balasubrahmaniyam M

PhD in Physics

Research Interests: Emergent phenomenon

I did my PhD from IIT Madras and am currently a post-doctoral researcher at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai.

Mostly I have worked on states of light mixed with matter, specifically on 1) on transport of these hybrid states of light and matter 2) how light get localised ( get stuck) in these systems.

I have also taught bachelor and master students of the Indian Institute of Technology Madras. I have co-guided masters and PhD students in their research project. I have also been an active organizer of CREATE Gurukula project conducted by Prof. Jagadeesh madera.

I love finding and solving problems discussing, especially asgroup with young fresh minds.

Mukulika Jana Chatterjee

MSc in Physics

Research Interests: Astronomy and astrophysics, Nanotechnology for green energy.

At OAR: In sabbatical

Other interest: Adventure sports, Photography, Music and Playing with my son

I am a PhD research scholar in the department of physics, Indian Institute of Engineering, Science and Technology, Shibpur, West Bengal, India. My current research topic is 'Carbon nanotube based conducting polymer composites for device applications'. I feel very much privileged to get chance to be in touch with science everyday. So I enjoy my research and always keen to know and let know others about various scientific innovations and discoveries.

Dr Lasitha P

PhD in Chemistry

At OAR: Project leader

Research interest: Study of the self-assembly of fluorescent organic molecules, sensing, host-guest chemistry, and organic electronics.

Lasitha obtained her PhD in Physical Chemistry from the Department of Chemistry, Indian Institute of Technology Madras. Her PhD Thesis was based on the synthesis, self-assembly and emission behaviour of a few selected perylene and naphthalene diimides. Besides research, she is also interested in learning different languages and culture. She believes that everyone has to work towards bringing a positive change in society and every small step towards it has to be appreciated.

Dr Anjana SS

PhD in Chemistry

At OAR: Project leader

Research Interests: Bioinorganic chemistry, Coordination chemistry, Spectroscopy, and Single crystal X-ray diffraction.

Anjana is a postdoctoral fellow at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. She received her PhD in Chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras in July 2017. Her research work includes the structural and spectral studies of bioinspired coordination complexes. During PhD, she worked as a TA for BTech and MSc students for four semesters. As a researcher who is interested in academics, she feels that the science students lack fundamental understanding of the subject and expects that an initiative like OAR can bring a positive change.

Dr Kasthuri Kannan

PhD in Computer Science, MS in Mathematics, MSc in Mathematics, and BSc in Mathematics

At OAR: Project leader

Research Interest: Genomics, Computational biology, Tumor evolution and Developing algorithms.

Kasthuri is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology at New York University, School of Medicine. He has strong views on the current academic setting in India. He actively interacts with young scientists in several public forums where he has proposed several solutions to improve the research and academia in India. His science interest is diverse and includes cancer biology, formal logic, physical theories, computing, and mathematics. Currently he is directing two courses, one in data science and the other in biomedical informatics. His page can be accessed here:

Dr Tathagata Banerjee

PhD in Mathematics

At OAR: Project leader

Research Interests: My main interests lie in noncommutative spaces, which are encoded by the Gelfand Naimark theorem via C*-algebras. What I have worked upon is the notion of coarse geometry (or large scale geometry) for such spaces. The motivation came from Physics, where Quantum Mechanics approaches classical Physics at large scales, commonly termed as the classical limit. Notions about large scale geometry started with finitely generated groups, where choosing a different generating set do not change the large scale aspects of the word length metric though the metrics themselves are different. The generalization of large scale geometry to that for topological spaces was started mainly by John Roe and the language of coarse geometry is designed mainly to study the large scale aspects of the underlying topological structure. We encode coarse geometry for noncommutative spaces via unitizations of the given non-unital C*-algebra and my current research is mainly focussed at understanding the gap in our theory when restricted to commutative C*-algebras corresponding to some locally compact Hausdorff topological space.

Dr KL Eswar Rao

At OAR: Associate Fellow Member

Interest: Thin films, Plasma processing, Li-Ion batteries

Eswar has received a PhD in Instrumentation and Applied Physics from the Indian Institute of Science Bangalore. He teaches physics at the Vignan's Institute of Information Technology. He has developed several advanced plasma systems and currently working in OAR for developing India's first liquid-phase electron microscopy setup in collaboration with the University of Goettingen. Eswar has successfully worked with Indian research fundings, and he is a next generation plasma physicist carrying forward the knowledge of the pioneering work in ultra-high vacuum by the plasma processing lab in IISc.

Dr Samit Chakrabarty

At OAR: Fellow Member

Interest: Neurophysiology and frugal innovations.

Samit is an Assistant Professor at the University of Leeds. He has a PhD in Neurophysiology from the University of Cambridge. He has researched in Columbia University, University of Copenhagen, University of Manitoba, and Auroville Pondicherry.

OAR's end-goal of improving the scientific culture of natural curiousness and innovation amongst fellow Indians, while also bringing socio-economic benefits via citizen science is a common goal so better join forces to achieve that than to strive independently.

Awnish Kumar, MBA

At OAR: Associate Fellow Member, Department of Ways of Working

Interest: People's leadership

Over 7 years of Product Design & Development experience of working with global cross-functional teams, with expertise in solving problems using six sigma approach. Scout the biggest problem statement which can be solved with a product in realm of education or healthcare. It could something as simple as cardboard based desk, podcast on a unique frequency of radio, a capsule of Vitamin B12, Heaptisis B cure.

Worked as Visionet Systems Limited as Director of Client Success and Cummins Turbo Technologies as Senior Product Engineer.

Won NASA Systems Engineering Award, first time ever by an Indian team SAE Aero design West, March 2011, Texas for system engineering while designing and fabricating two Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. Mergers and Acquisitions: Evaluated the various aspect of Atos-Syntel Mergers, using Monte Carlo analysis for multiple scenarios. Performance Management System: Designed a performance management system to cater to the dynamic needs of Ithaka, a travel-based startup. Doing Business in China (Guanghua School of Management, Peking University): Devised strategy for introducing Edelweiss in China.

MBA from Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and B.Tech (Hons.) in Mechanical Engineering from National Institute of Technology Jamshedpur.

Dr Varsha Pavithran

At OAR: Biostatistic and Public Health, Department of Science

Interest: Oral health

Master in Public Health [Specialization: Dental and Oral Health] and Bachelor in Dental Surgery from Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Bangalore. Dr Pavithran has been working as an Assistant Professor, Department of Public Health Dentistry, RMDCH, Annamalai University, India as well as Freelance Researcher and Biostatistician (Health Sciences).

Sumantra Sen, MBA

At OAR: Operational Management

Interest: Impact Fund Generation

Sumantra Sen is a senior management executive, with over 25 years of progressive experience in managing global client portfolios and leading strategic transition of investment programs while working with financial organizations such as ABN AMRO and Bank of America. He is a specialist in Responsible Finance, with expertise in harnessing innovation and partnerships for managing complex investment scenarios. In his current roles, he engages with development institutions, government agencies, investors and businesses in advancing best practices in ESG and Impact Investing.

Note: The members are listed in chronological order of joining. Last updated on 19 Jan 2021.
Source: Header photo by Siddharth Ghosh