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Subha Das - Carnegie Mellon University. Pittsburgh, PA, US

Subha Das

Associate Professor | Carnegie Mellon University


Subha Das has helped developed conditions for click-chemistry for the rapid modification and functionalization of DNA and RNA.


Projects in the Das Lab are centered on nucleic acids chemistry. Subhja Das has helped developed conditions for click-chemistry for the rapid modification and functionalization of DNA and RNA. With these he can rapidly get branched nucleic acids. Branched RNAs are mimics and probes for biologically important regulatory RNAs and branched DNAs are opening up new avenues in nanotechnology. Additionally the Das Lab is exploring nucleic acid polymer hybrids as novel materials and delivery agents for RNA based therapeutics.

Projects in the Das lab are multi-disciplinary and reflect collaborative efforts with the labs of Mark Macbeth (Carnegie Mellon University, Biological Sciences), Linda Peteanu, Bruce Armitage, Krzysztof Matyjaszewski (Carnegie Mellon University, Chemistry) and Vamsi Yadavalli (Virginia Commonwealth University, Chemical and Life Science Engineering).

Areas of Expertise (6)


RNA Biochemistry

Organic Synthesis

Future of Science

Nucleic Acids Chemistry

RNA-Protein Recognition

Media Appearances (5)

Chemistry Outreach Catalyzes CMU Students To Share STEM Joy

Carnegie Mellon University News  online


Subha Das(opens in new window), an associate professor of chemistry who manages the department's outreach programs(opens in new window), agreed. "It's very important for students to learn about science communication," Das said. "Once you start trying to explain concepts of science to others it helps you think about the work in new ways."

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Carnegie Mellon Exosome Engineering Tech Licensed to Coya Therapeutics

Carnegie Mellon University News  online


Sushil Lathwal, then a doctoral candidate in the Mellon College of Science(opens in new window)'s Department of Chemistry(opens in new window), and Saigopalakrishna (Sai) Yerneni, then a doctoral candidate in the College of Engineering(opens in new window)'s Department of Biomedical Engineering(opens in new window), came up with an idea to surmount these obstacles. They worked alongside researchers in the laboratories of Subha R. Das(opens in new window), associate professor of chemistry; Krzysztof Matyjaszewski(opens in new window), professor of natural sciences; and Phil Campbell(opens in new window), research professor of biomedical engineering, to create a method that engineers exosomes with a DNA-cholesterol tether. The synthetic single-stranded DNA on the tether can bind with a complementary strand of DNA linked to a bioactive agent.

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Re-creating the flavor of soy sauce, and squeezing guacamole to keep it fresh

C&EN  online


When produce is cut—or smashed—its damaged cells release phenolic compounds that are polymerized with the help of PPO into bitter-tasting, brown pigments. It’s like the crud synthetic chemists often see at the bottom of their reaction flask, explains Subha Das, a chemist and food enthusiast at Carnegie Mellon University.

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Students receive STEM awards

The Tartan  online


Jaycox is a junior biological sciences major. She conducts research with Sarah Gaffen, an immunology professor at the University of Pittsburgh who studies the immune response to bloodstream fungal infections. Jaycox also designs DNA nanoparticles made of backbone-branched DNA with Subha R. Das, an associate professor of chemistry at Carnegie Mellon.

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Chemistry in the Kitchen

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette  online


Subha Ranjan Das has been an assistant chemistry professor at CMU since 2006. He is interested in all things science and is also an accomplished home cook.

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MG Boys Make Powdered Nutella with Dr  Das at CMU


Industry Expertise (3)




Education (1)

Auburn University: Ph.D 2000

Patents (2)

Nucleic acid-polymer conjugates for bright fluorescent tags



A composition includes a polymer including extending chains, side chains, or branches. One (or more) of a plurality of a first strand of nucleic acid is attached to each of a plurality of the side chains. One (or more) of a plurality of a second strand of nucleic acid, which is complementary to the first strand of nucleic acid, is complexed to each of the plurality of the first strand of nucleic acid to form a double strand of nucleic acid on each of the plurality of the side chains. At least one fluorescent compound is associated with the double strand of nucleic acid on each of the plurality of the side chains.

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Extracellular Vesicle Functionalization Using Oligonucleotide Tethers



Provided herein are tethered extracellular vesicles and methods of making tethered extracellular vesicles.

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Articles (5)

Visible-Light-Mediated Controlled Radical Branching Polymerization in Water

Angewandte Chemie International Edition

2023 A water-soluble inibramer, sodium 2-bromoacrylate, triggered branching during photoinduced atom transfer radical polymerization of methacrylate monomers in the open air. As a result, well-defined branched polymers with controlled molecular weights, degrees of branching, and low dispersity values were obtained in water. The radical branching polymerization also exhibited spatial control and enabled the synthesis of branched polymer bioconjugates.

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Engineering exosome polymer hybrids by atom transfer radical polymerization

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

2020 Exosomes are biological nanocarriers that offer several advantages over existing drug delivery vehicles because of their specialized abilities in intercellular communication. Attempts are being made to mimic and harness exosomes for exogenous drug delivery. However, exosomes have several inherent limitations that hinder their application as universal drug carriers. In this work, exosome polymer hybrids were prepared by precisely engineering the exosome surface with different synthetic polymers. These polymers can be easily tuned and modified to enhance the physicochemical profile of exosomes and overcome the existing limitations associated with ex vivo and in vivo stability and activity.

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Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization for Biorelated Hybrid Materials


2019 Proteins, nucleic acids, lipid vesicles, and carbohydrates are the major classes of biomacromolecules that function to sustain life. Biology also uses post-translation modification to increase the diversity and functionality of these materials, which has inspired attaching various other types of polymers to biomacromolecules. These polymers can be naturally (carbohydrates and biomimetic polymers) or synthetically derived and have unique properties with tunable architectures.

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Controlled Release of Exosomes Using Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization-Based Hydrogels


2022 Exosomes are 30–200 nm sized extracellular vesicles that are increasingly recognized as potential drug delivery vehicles. However, exogenous exosomes are rapidly cleared from the blood upon intravenous delivery, which limits their therapeutic potential. Here, we report bioactive exosome-tethered poly(ethylene oxide)-based hydrogels for the localized delivery of therapeutic exosomes. Using cholesterol-modified DNA tethers, the lipid membrane of exosomes was functionalized with initiators to graft polymers in the presence of additional initiators and crosslinker using photoinduced atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP).

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Biocatalytic “Oxygen-Fueled” Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization

Angewandte Chemie International Edition

2018 Oxygen keeps polymerization alive: An oxygen-dependent atom transfer radical polymerization was accomplished through the biocatalytic mediation of radicals by a glucose oxidase/horseradish peroxidase system “orchestrated” by a Cu/tris(2-pyridylmethyl)amine (TPMA) catalyst (see picture; ACAC=acetylacetonate). This system provides polymers with high molecular weights and low dispersities, and is compatible with biologically relevant environments.

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