Centre for Nanosciences
Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences,
Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham
AIMS Ponekkara P. O., Kochi, Kerala - 682 041, India.

0484 285 8750


Dr. Girish C M completed PhD in Nanomedical Sciences from Amrita Centre for Nanosciences & Molecular Medicine, 2015 and he joined back as a faculty in the same year. Soon after, Dr Girish received the prestigious INSPIRE Faculty Award from the Department of Science & Technology, Govt of India. Dr. Girish has completed his MTech in Nanomedical Sciences from Amrita Centre for Nanosciences & Molecular Medicine and BTech in Biomedical Engineering from Bharath University, Chennai. He has extensive experience in developing Raman spectroscopy as a cancer detection tool. He has used this technique on several head and neck cancer patient samples sucessfully. His main research focus is in the translation of portable Raman systems for cancer detection. In addition, Dr. Girish has extensive hands-on expereince in synthesising various nanomaterial systems, exploring surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy in biological detection and expertise in advanced nano-imaging tools like atomic force microscope. He is also working on mass spectrometry-based approachs for molecular diagnosis of cancer and methods for detecting circulating tumor cells.

Currently, Dr. Girish’s lab is working on the clinical translation of Raman spectroscopy for cancer diagnosis. Raman spectroscopy is a well-established tool for the characterization of materials based on the vibrational signatures. It is also well studied in characterising cell and tissues based on the biochemical variations related to pathological changes on course of disease progression. However, no major clinical translation has been witnessed. This is mainly due to the weak nature of Raman signals and complexity in spectral data analysis. Here, Dr. Girish’s lab has developed a novel surface enhanced Raman spectroscopic substrate (SERS) which can enhance the signals from the samples thereby improve the classification accuracy. In the initial phase of the study, malignant, pre-malignant and healthy oral tissues were classified with an overall accuracy of 97%. The lab is also pursuing an integrated approach of combining Raman spectroscopy and mass spectrometry to have molecular diagnosis of cancers.

  • Manu Krishnan K- PhD Scholar – Clinical translation of portable Raman spectrometer for oral cancer diagnosis
  • Arun Podhuval- Research Fellow- Application of Mass spectrometry in molecular diagnosis of cancers
  • Sri Amrutha S- MTech Nanomedical Sciences – Detection of circulating tumor cells
  • Raveena N- MTech Nanomedical Sciences- Detection of circulating tumor cells


Publication Type: Journal Article

Year of Publication Title


Girish C. M., Nagareddy, R., Ramkumar, A., Krishnan, M., Harish, V., Anusha Ashokan, Shantikumar V. Nair, and Koyakutty, M., “Label-free Raman Signatures of Immune Cells: A New Tool for Artificial Intelligence in Immunotherapy”, Cancer Immunology Research, vol. 7, no. 2, p. B028, 2019.


Girish C. M., Dr. Subramania Iyer K., Dr. Krishnakumar T., GS, G., Dr. Manzoor K., and Shantikumar V Nair, “A Novel Surface Enhanced Raman Catheter for Rapid Detection, Classification, and Grading of Oral Cancer”, Advanced Healthcare Materials, vol. 8, no. 13:e1801557, 2019.[Abstract]

Fabrication and testing of a novel nanostructured surface-enhanced Raman catheter device is reported for rapid detection, classification, and grading of normal, premalignant, and malignant tissues with high sensitivity and accuracy. The sensor part of catheter is formed by a surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) substrate made up of leaf-like TiO2 nanostructures decorated with 30 nm sized Ag nanoparticles. The device is tested using a total of 37 patient samples wherein SERS signatures of oral tissues consisting of malignant oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC), verrucous carcinoma, premalignant leukoplakia, and disease-free conditions are detected and classified with an accuracy of 97.24% within a short detection-cum-processing time of nearly 25-30 min per patient. Neoplastic grade changes detected using this device correlate strongly with conventional pathological data, enabling correct classification of tumors into three grades with an accuracy of 97.84% in OSCC. Thus, the potential of a SERS catheter device as a point-of-care pathological tool is shown for the rapid and accurate detection, classification, and grading of solid tumors.

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Abhilash Sasidharan, Siddharth Swaroop, Chaitanya K. Koduri, Girish C. M., Parwathy Chandran, L.S. Panchakarla, Vijay H. Somasundaram, Genekehal S. Gowd, Shantikumar V Nair, and Dr. Manzoor K., “Comparative in Vivo Toxicity, Organ Biodistribution and Immune Response of Pristine, Carboxylated and PEGylated Few-layer Graphene Sheets in Swiss Albino Mice: A three month study”, Carbon, vol. 95, pp. 511 - 524, 2015.[Abstract]

We present a comprehensive 3 month report on the acute and chronic toxicity of intravenously administered (20 mg kg−1) few-layer graphene (FLG) and, its carboxylated (FLG-COOH) and PEGylated (FLG-PEG) derivatives in Swiss albino mice. Whole-animal in vivo tracking studies revealed that irrespective of surface modifications, graphene predominantly accumulated in lungs over a period of 24 h. Histological assessment and ex vivo confocal Raman spectral mapping revealed highest uptake and retention in lung tissue, followed by spleen, liver and kidney, with no accumulation in brain, heart or testis. FLG and FLG-COOH accumulated within organs induced significant cellular and structural damages to lungs, liver, spleen, and kidney, ranging from mild congestion to necrosis, fibrosis and glomerular filtration dysfunction, without appreciable clearance. Serum biochemistry analysis revealed that both FLG and FLG-COOH induced elevated levels of hepatic and renal injury markers. Quantitative RT-PCR studies conducted on 23 critical inflammation and immune response markers showed major alterations in gene expression profile by FLG, FLG-COOH and FLG-PEG treated animals. FLG-PEG in spite of its persistance within liver and spleen tissue for 3 months, did not induce any noticeable toxicity or organ damage, and displayed significant changes in Raman spectra, indicative of their biodegradation potential.

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Dr. Manzoor K., D, B., Girish C. M., A, S., and S, N., “Transferrin-Conjugated Biodegradable Graphene for Targeted Radiofrequency Ablation of Hepatocellular Carcinoma”, ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering, vol. 1, no. 12, pp. 1211-9, 2015.[Abstract]

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a clinically established therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, because of poor radio-thermal conductivity of liver tissues, RFA is less efficient against relatively larger (>5 cm) liver tumors. Recently, nanoparticle-enabled RFA has emerged as a better strategy. On the basis of our recent understanding on biodegradability and novel electrothermal properties of graphene, herein, we report development of transferrin conjugated, biodegradable graphene (TfG) for RFA therapy. Cellular uptake studies using confocal microscopy and Raman imaging revealed significantly higher TfG uptake by HCC cells compared to bare graphene. TfG-treated cancer cells upon 5 min exposure to 100 W, 13.5 MHz RF showed >85% cell death, which was 4 times greater than bare graphene. Further evaluation in 3D (3 Dimensional) HCC culture system as well as in vivo rat models demonstrated uniform destruction of tumor cells throughout the 3D microenvironment. This study reveals the potential of molecularly targeted graphene for augmented RFA therapy of liver tumor.

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Girish C. M., Iyer, S., Thankappan, K., Rani, V. V. D., Gowd, G. S., Menon, D., Nair, S., and Dr. Manzoor K., “Rapid Detection of Oral Cancer using Ag-TiO2 Nanostructured Surface-enhanced Raman Spectroscopic Substrates”, Journal of Materials Chemistry B, vol. 2, pp. 989-998, 2014.[Abstract]

The unique vibrational signatures of the biochemical changes in tissue samples may enable the Raman spectroscopic detection of diseases, like cancer. However, the Raman scattering cross-section of tissues is relatively low and hence the clinical translation of such methods faces serious challenges. In this study, we report a simple and efficient surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) substrate, for the rapid and label-free detection of oral cancer. Raman active silver (Ag) surfaces were created on three distinct titania (TiO 2) hierarchical nanostructures (needular, bipyramidal and leaf-like) by a process involving a hydrothermal reaction, followed by the sputter deposition of Ag nanoparticles (average size: 30 nm). The resulting SERS substrate efficiencies, measured using crystal violet (CV) as an analyte molecule, showed a highest analytical enhancement factor of ∼106, a detection limit ∼1 nM and a relative standard deviation of the Raman peak maximum of ∼13% for the nano-leafy structure. This substrate was used to analyze tissue sections of 8 oral cancer patients (squamous cell carcinoma of tongue) comprising a total of 24 normal and 32 tumor tissue sections and the recorded spectra were analyzed by principal component analysis and discriminant analysis. The tissue spectra were correctly classified into tumor and normal groups, with a diagnostic sensitivity of 100%, a specificity of 95.83% and the average processing time per patient of 15-20 min. This indicates the potential translation of the SERS method for the rapid and accurate detection of cancer. © 2014 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

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A. Sasidharan, Girish C. M., Gowd, G. S., Nair, S., and Dr. Manzoor K., “Confocal Raman Imaging Study Showing Macrophage Mediated Biodegradation of Graphene in Vivo”, Advanced Healthcare Materials, vol. 2, pp. 1489-1500, 2013.[Abstract]

This study is focused on the crucial issue of biodegradability of graphene under in vivo conditions. Characteristic Raman signatures of graphene are used to three dimensionally (3D) image its localization in lung, liver, kidney and spleen of mouse and identified gradual development of structural disorder, happening over a period of 3 months, as indicated by the formation of defect-related D'band, line broadening of D and G bands, increase in ID/IG ratio and overall intensity reduction. Prior to injection, the carboxyl functionalized graphene of lateral size ∼200 nm is well dispersed in aqueous medium, but 24 hours post injection, larger aggregates of size up to 10 μm are detected in various organs. Using Raman cluster imaging method, temporal development of disorder is detected from day 8 onwards, which begins from the edges and grows inwards over a period of 3 months. The biodegradation is found prominent in graphene phagocytosed by tissue-bound macrophages and the gene expression studies of pro-inflammatory cytokines indicated the possibility of phagocytic immune response. In addition, in vitro studies conducted on macrophage cell lines also show development of structural disorder in the engulfed graphene, reiterating the role of macrophages in biodegradation. This is the first report providing clear evidence of in vivo biodegradation of graphene and these results may radically change the perspective on potential biomedical applications of graphene. © 2013 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

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R. Prasanth, Nair, G., and Girish C. M., “Enhanced Endocytosis of Nano-curcumin in Nasopharyngeal Cancer Cells: An Atomic Force Microscopy Study”, Applied Physics Letters, vol. 99, 2011.[Abstract]

Recent studies in drug development have shown that curcumin can be a good competent due to its improved anticancer, antioxidant, anti-proliferative, and anti-inflammatory activities. A detailed real time characterization of drug (curcumin)-cell interaction is carried out in human nasopharyngeal cancer cells using atomic force microscopy. Nanocurcumin shows an enhanced uptake over micron sized drugs attributed to the receptor mediated route. Cell membrane stiffness plays a critical role in the drug endocytosis in nasopharyngeal cancer cells.

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K. T. Shalumon, Anulekha, K. H., Girish C. M., Prasanth, R., Shantikumar V. Nair, and Dr. Jayakumar Rangasamy, “Single Step Electrospinning of Chitosan/poly(caprolactone) Nanofibers using Formic Acid/Acetone Solvent Mixture”, Carbohydrate Polymers, vol. 80, pp. 414-420, 2010.[Abstract]

A fibrous scaffold comprising of chitosan (CS) and poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) was electrospun from a novel solvent mixture consisting of formic acid and acetone. CS concentration was varied from 0.5% to 2% by fixing PCL concentration as a constant (6%). Selected CS concentration (1%) was further blended with 4-10% PCL to obtain fine nanofibers. The composition of mixing was selected as 25:75 (1:3), 50:50 (1:1) and 75:25 (3:1) of CS and PCL. Lower concentrations of PCL resulted in beaded fibers where as 8% and 10% of PCL in lower compositions of chitosan resulted in fine nanofibers. Viscosity and conductivity measurements revealed the optimum values for the spinnability of the polymer solutions. Optimized combination of CS and PCL (1% CS and 8% PCL) in 1:3 compositions was further characterized using SEM, FTIR, AFM and TG-DTA. The developed electrospun CS/PCL scaffold would be an excellent matrix for biomedical applications.

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Girish C. M., Binulal, N. S., Anitha, V. C., Nair, S., Dr. Ullas Mony, and Prasanth, R., “Atomic Force Microscopic Study of Folate Receptors in Live Cells with Functionalized Tips”, Applied Physics Letters, vol. 95, 2009.[Abstract]

Membrane associated folate receptors (FR) is gaining importance in cancer research. Understanding the FR density, distribution, and the strength of its interaction with ligands is crucial in cancer diagnostics and therapeutics. Here we reported the enhanced phase contrast image of FR by scanning with properly functionalized atomic force microscope (AFM) tips over live cell lines. The choice of the ligand was made for better interaction of tip with FR, expressed in the cell lines. The selectively enhanced force of interaction at the receptor molecule produced a considerable enhancement in the phase contrast between a receptor site and a nonreceptor site. © 2009 American Institute of Physics.

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Dr. Girish C. M.
Asst. Professor, Nanosciences,
Center for Nanosciences, Kochi