Ganesh Anand joins Department of Chemistry as associate professor

Maria Landschoot
November 09, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Ganesh Anand will be joining the Eberly College of Science this November as an associate professor of chemistry.

“We couldn’t be happier to have Ganesh joining our faculty,” noted Phil Bevilacqua, head of the Department of Chemistry. “His research program on virus dynamics is unique and insightful, and his focus on SARS CoV-2 and immunology is exceptionally timely. His leadership of the mass spectrometry core is sorely needed and will enhance research within our department and indeed the entire college and University.”

Anand at desk

Ganesh Anand, associate professor of chemistry.

IMAGE: Provided

Anand earned his doctoral degree at Rutgers and completed his undergraduate work at the Birla Institute of Technology and Science in Pilani, India. He also served as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute postdoctoral fellow at the University of California San Diego. He comes to Penn State from the National University of Singapore, where he was an associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences.

Anand said he looks forward to making the transition to the Penn State science community. “I have been familiar with Penn State’s reputation for excellence in biochemistry since my time at Rutgers as a graduate student. I am very attracted to University Park’s scientific excellence, tight-knit community spirit, and its tranquil small-town atmosphere with extraordinary natural beauty," he said.

The Anand group’s research focuses on the inner workings of living cells, which are mediated by biomolecules that gather into large assemblies to perform highly specialized functions. The group studies the dynamics of these large biomolecular complexes to uncover what drives their assembly, regulation and function.

The group is especially interested in how large macromolecular complexes relay long-range cues from one component to another. They primarily use a technique called mass spectrometry, which lies at the interface between chemistry and biology. Using precise molecular mass measurements, the group can accurately identify biomolecules, map their interaction partners, interaction interfaces, and their function.

“Studying macromolecular assemblies is fundamental to the molecular sciences,” explained Anand. “One model class we are focusing on are viruses, which are large macromolecular complexes that are highly coordinated and capable of self-replication. Understanding these complexes provides deeper insights into life’s molecular processes and may help develop therapies for improving human lives.”

Anand said he looks forward to continuing this important work at Penn State. He plans to develop a world-class structural mass spectrometry core at Penn State through the Department of Chemistry and the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences. He also plans to partner with the University's Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics.

“My biggest passion is molecular virology research and integrating virus dynamics with immunology and epidemiology for advanced pandemic preparedness,” said Anand. “While the ongoing SARS CoV-2 pandemic makes this an imperative, this has been an ongoing passion of mine for the last five years. I have begun research on the dynamics of an important SARS-CoV-2 protein called the Spike protein, and mapping interactions of antibodies. I hope to continue in the near-term in this important area.”

Aside from research, Anand said he also looks forward to working with the next generation of aspiring chemists. “I am passionate about mentoring young individuals in their teens and early 20s,” he adds. “I particularly enjoy mentoring late bloomers and find it highly rewarding to see students blossom into expert leaders.”

Last Updated November 22, 2020