Pinakin Sukthankar, Ph.D., Adjunct Assistant Professor

Pinakin Sukthankar, Ph.D.

Contact information



B.S. 2004 University of Bombay
M.S. 2006 University of Bombay
Ph.D. 2014 Kansas State University
Postdoctoral Fellow 2014-19 University of Kansas

Areas of Specialty

  • Synthesis and applications of bio-inspired nanomaterials
  • Drug Delivery & Gene therapeutics
  • Biomolecular self-assembly

Living systems, though millions of years of evolution have developed complex hierarchies of biomolecular interactions that demonstrate exceptional selectivity, specificity, and adaptability. At a fundamental level, my research aims to gain insight into the biophysical architectures that govern these interactions in self-assembling systems and utilize biological first principles as guides to develop novel and adaptive technologies for biomedical, agricultural and environmental applications.

Our research sits at the interface of materials science and biotechnology. The laboratory is multidisciplinary, incorporating elements from bioorganic synthesis, protein design, molecular biology and bioengineering to facilitate transformative translational outcomes in the areas of gene vaccination, cancer therapeutics, antibiotic potentiation, bio-pesticides and cellular diagnostics. A major focus of the lab is the study and development of robust functionalizable nano-delivery systems for gene vaccines, peptide therapeutics and low bioavailability (BCS Class III+IV) small molecule drugs.

Selected Publications

Natarajan, P, Sukthankar, P, Changstrom, J, Holland, CS, Barry S, Sorensen, CM, Hunter, WD, and Tomich, JM Synthesis and Characterization of Multifunctional Branched Amphiphilic Peptide Bilayer Conjugated Gold Nanoparticles. ACS Omega (2018) 3, 11071–11083.

Avila LA, Aps LRMM, Ploscariu N, Sukthankar P, Guo R, Wilkinson KE, Games P, Szoszkiewicz R, Alves RPS, Diniz MO, Fang Y, Ferreira LCS and Tomich JM. Gene delivery and immunomodulatory effects of plasmid DNA associated with Branched Amphiphilic Peptide Capsules. J. Control Release (2016) Nov 10; 241:15-24.

Sukthankar P, Whitaker SK, Garcia M, Herrera A, Boatwright M, Prakash O, Tomich JM. Thermally induced conformational transitions in nascent branched amphiphilic peptide capsules. Langmuir (2015) Mar 17; 31(10):2946-55.

Sukthankar P, Avila LA, Whitaker SK, Iwamoto T, Morgenstern A, Apostolidis C, Liu K, Hanzlik RP, Dadachova E, Tomich JM. Branched amphiphilic peptide capsules: cellular uptake and retention of encapsulated solutes. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta – Biomembranes (2014) Sep; 1838(9):2296-305

Gudlur S, Sukthankar P, Gao J, Avila LA, Hiromasa Y, Chen J, Iwamoto T, Tomich JM. Peptide nanovesicles formed by the self-assembly of branched amphiphilic peptides. PLoS One (2012) 7(9):e45374.