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Dr. Nisha Varghese

Lecturer of Chemistry Fundamentals of Chemistry I and II, Biochemistry Labs


  • Ph.D. Syracuse University, 2014
  • M.S. University of Mumbai, India, 2008
  • B.S. University of Mumbai, India, 2006

Teaching Areas

  • CHE 111: General Chemistry Lecture I
  • CHE 111/107: General Chemistry Laboratory I
  • CHE 112: General Chemistry Lecture II
  • CHE 112 Lab: General Chemistry Lecture II
  • CHE 371 Lab: Biochemistry Chemistry Laboratory II

Research Areas

  • Emulsion, self-assembly; liquid crystals; odd-even effect of self-assembled structures; non-covalent interactions; bioinert surfaces; self-assembled monolayer; adhesion of microbes.
  • Research Focus: The study of noncovalent interactions and surface forces that exist at the interfaces of various interacting moieties (small molecules or microbes), and its relevance to systems present in colloidal and material chemistry. The key event (adhesion) precedes infections caused by many eukaryotic microbes. Adhesion of microbes to a surface is a complex process and is governed by nonspecific attachment and specific multiple ligand-receptor interactions. Study of specific multiple ligand-receptor interactions used by microbes for adherence to a surface can be individually studied using synthesized self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) decorated with minimal motif of specific ligands. The SAMs can be chemically designed on surfaces which can be used to differentiate between the surface specific interactions of different morphological forms of eukaryotic species. Controlled surface chemistry formed by hydrophobic and hydrophilic molecules decorated on surfaces of different topography facilitates study of biofilm formed by eukaryotes ad helps to develop surfaces that can eventually resist formation of biofilms. Study of non-covalent interactions on self-assembly structures formed in emulsion system that enables surfactants to sequester and encapsulate certain water-soluble organic salts leading to the formation of vesicles in water. The water-soluble organic salt in the system are emulsified by surfactants in water to form stable liquid crystal droplets. The work provides an exception to the rule of geometric packing factor that dictates formation of micelles by the surfactants in water. Also, the odd or even number of carbon atoms present in the aliphatic chain of surfactants affect the ability of surfactants to emulsify aqueous-based liquid crystals. Such odd-even effect is frequently observed for solid state properties like melting point, heat of fusion and refractive index but is rarely observed for molecules present in solution.
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Contact her at: [email protected]

Awards and Honors

  • Discretionary Salary Award, SUNY Cortland, 2015–2014
  • Graduate Travel Award, Chemistry Department, Syracuse University, 2013–2014
  • National Merit Scholarship Award, Government of India, 2006


  • Varghese, N., Yang, S., Sejwal, P., & Luk, Y.-Y. (2013). Surface control of blastospore attachment and ligand-mediated hyphae adhesion of Candida albicans. Chemical Communications, 49(88), 10418–10420.
  • Varghese, N., Shetye, G. S., Wilkens, S., Smith, R. P., & Luk, Y.-Y. (2013). The ability of single-chain surfactants to emulsify an aqueous-based liquid crystal oscillates with odd–even parity of alkyl-chain length. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 412, 95–99.
  • Varghese, N., Shetye, G. S., Bandyopadhyay, D., Gobalasingham, N., Seo, J., Wang, J.-H., … Luk, Y.-Y. (2012). Emulsion of aqueous-based Nonspherical droplets in aqueous solutions by single-chain surfactants: Templated assembly by Nonamphiphilic Lyotropic liquid crystals in water. Langmuir, 28(29), 10797–10807.
  • Simon, K. A., Sejwal, P., Falcone, E. R., Burton, E. A., Yang, S., Prashar, D., Bandyopadhyay, D., Narasimhan, S. K., Varghese, N., Gobalasingham, N. S., Luk, Y.-Y. (2010). Noncovalent polymerization and assembly in water promoted by thermodynamic incompatibility. The Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 114(32), 10357–10367.
  • Simon, K. A., Burton, E. A., Cheng, F., Varghese, N., Falcone, E. R., Wu, L., & Luk, Y.-Y. (2010). Controlling thread assemblies of pharmaceutical compounds in liquid crystal phase by using Functionalized Nanotopography. Chemistry of Materials, 22(8), 2434–2441.

Conference Presentations

  • Varghese, N. & Luk, Y.-Y.* Bioinert surfaces distinguish morphological transitions and identify specific ligand binding by Candida albicans. Abstracts of Paper, 245th ACS National Meeting & Exposition, New Orleans, LA, United States. April 7–11, 2013. (Poster)
  • Varghese, N., Shetye, G. S., Bandyopadhyay, D., Smith, R. P., Wilkens, S. & Luk, Y.-Y.* Emulsification of aqueous-based liquid crystals by single-chain surfactants and effect of odd-even parity of alkyl-chain on droplet formation.
  • Varghese, N. Abstracts of Paper, 245th ACS National Meeting & Exposition, New Orleans, LA, United States. April 7–11, 2013. (Oral)
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