Distinguished Lectures / Invited Talks

  1. Dr. Andreas Toupadakis, Department of Chemistry, One Shields Ave, University of California delivered a lecture on "Success without Stress" with our Students (MSc. and Int. MSc.), Faculty and Staff of Department of Chemistry, organized by School of Chemistry, on 12th September 2018.

    Related articles by Andreas Toupadakis, Ph.D.

    1. Student Mental Health Crisis – How Campuses Have Become Mental War Zones for Our Youth
    2. Creating Your Future – Arise Great Warrior, Arise!
    3. Awaken Students! Education is for Self-Awareness and Inner Growth

    About the Author

    Born on the beautiful island of Crete in Rethymno, Greece, Andreas Toupadakis received his primary education while living in the mountainous village of Argiroupoli near the coast. After receiving his B.S. in Chemistry from the Aristotelian University in Thessaloniki, he began graduate school in the U.S. He has lived in the U.S. since 1978, and he received his Ph.D. degree in Chemistry from the University of Michigan in 1990. Since 2005, Dr. Toupadakis has been teaching at UCDavis as a lecturer at the Department of Chemistry. The courses he teaches include the General Chemistry 2ABC series for first-year students majoring in science and engineering, the 4 Organic Chemistry 118ABC series and the Organic Chemistry 8AB series for second-year students, and the Physical Chemistry for Life Sciences 107AB series for third- and fourth-year students. His scientific interests are in better teaching methods and chemistry book writing and reviewing. His lectures are tuned toward conceptual learning via the Socratic dialogue method. He is the author of three chemistry study guides, CHEMISTRY READER 2A, CHEMISTRY READER 2B, and CHEMISTRY READER 2C and their corresponding solutions manuals, which have been received with great enthusiasm by students taking the CHEMISTRY 2ABC series, his teaching assistants, and colleagues.
    Andreas also teaches two popular freshman seminars at UC Davis every quarter entitled, “From Self-Awareness to Personal Growth for True Success in and After College” and “World Music as a Means to Embrace Diversity and Reach Self-Discovery”. Besides teaching chemistry at UC Davis, he has also taught chemistry at several other colleges and universities in the U.S. and in Greece, including the University of Crete in Iraklion, and the Nutrition College at the Technology Education Institute in Sitia, Crete. Dr. Toupadakis has also worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and in industry at Dow Corning.
      In addition, Dr. Toupadakis has given lectures and written articles on life planning through wise career choice, on career change and career satisfaction, and on sustainable living across campuses in the U.S., Greece, Japan and recently in India. His writings have appeared in a number of newspapers and electronic magazines. Andreas often reminds his students of Gandhi’s words, “Be the change you want to see in the world”; of Socrates’, “Know your Self”; of Einstein’s, “Imagination is more important than knowledge” and of Amma’s, “Where there is love there is no effort”.
      Dr. Toupadakis has being tirelessly lecturing on environmental issues and peaceful solutions at universities and colleges, including MIT, Tufts University, the University of Notre Dame, San Francisco State University, U.C. Berkeley and Waseda University in Tokyo. In January 2000, Dr. Toupadakis resigned his position at LLNL and took his story public. His landmark resignation is a rare and inspiring case in which a scientist has left a weapons program to actively contribute the peace movement. Among other recognitions, Dr. Toupadakis was awarded the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA) Certificate of Honor in May 2000, for moral integrity of the highest order in refusing to work on nuclear weapons research and encouraging his colleagues to renounce this work as well. He spoke both times as a keynote speaker at the 2000 World Conference against A H Bombs in Hiroshima and at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference at the United Nations in New York on May 3, 2000.
      Dr. Toupadakis, together with his friends and students, has started to establish in Greece, two hours from Athens, “NECTAR,” (next to NOOSFERA) a place for living in and with nature. In NECTAR, community members will be connecting with the land while pondering and practicing the teachings of great teachers such as Socrates, Pythagoras and Apollonius of Tyana. His personal web site, is devoted to student success during and after college. Dr. Toupadakis spends a great deal of his free time with his students at his organic garden plot, which is provided by the Experimental College Community Garden of UC Davis. He also encourages his students to have their own garden plots. The Department of chemistry of UCDAVIS in 2011 nominated him for the Academic Federation Award for Excellence in Teaching. He is the winner of the 7th annual ASUCD Excellence in Education Award as the overall educator of the year 2009 at UC Davis. You can contact Dr. Toupadakis via email here.


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  2. A series of lectures for post graduate students was organized and conducted by the Department of Chemistry on September 17-19, 2018. The lectures were organized to give our students an opportunity to hear from and interact with experts in different areas of chemistry. The resource persons were Dr. Salahuddin Kunju and Dr. Krishnan who were former faculty members in the University College, Trivandrum. The inauguration of the lecture series was done by Dr. Mangalam Ramanathan, Chairperson, Department of Chemistry. The principal of Amrita School of Arts and Sciences Dr. Nandakumaran, offered felicitations to the lecture series. Dr. M Padmanabhan, Senior faculty member of the department also spoke on the necessity of organizing such lectures frequently for the students. The lectures were organized into four sessions. Various topics in group theory like elements of symmetry, determination of point groups of molecules, character table, applications of group theory to electronic spectra etc were discussed in an elaborate manner. The topics covered in coordination chemistry include crystal field theory, ligand field theory, spectral and magnetic properties of complexes. The lectures were quite enlightening for the students and they thoroughly enjoyed all the sessions. The most interesting part of the programme was the brainstorming discussion between the resource persons and the students. The students interacted in an explicit manner and cleared their doubts on the contemporary research areas of the topics. Thus the lecture series turned out to be a successful one and we were able to bridge the gap between academics and research in the aforementioned topics
  3. Dr. Olga Iranzo, Institute of Molecular Sciences of Marseille, Chargé de mission INC CNRS. Aix - Marseille Université France delivered an invited talk on "Designed Peptide Platforms: from Concepts to Biotechnological Applications" organized by School of Chemistry, on 16th January 2017.

    Designed Peptidic Platforms: from Concepts to Biotechnological Applications


    The design of novel peptides/proteins with tailor-made properties and functionalities is a growing research discipline in the fields of chemistry, bioengineering and biomedicine. This is a multidisciplinary endeavor that requires the expertise of scientists from different areas. Chemists and bioengineers can play a critical role in this effort developing innovative computational and chemical strategies to produce robust scaffolds where one can have a precise control over the location of crucial elements, such as functional groups for target recognition or metal ion binding. These structures can therefore render new, cheaper and more stable alternatives for therapeutic, chemical, and biotechnological applications.
    In this communication we will present two sets of peptidic scaffolds. On one hand, we have developed a family of bioinspired pre-organized small peptides capable of binding Cu(II) as catalysts for environmentally friendly chemical transformations. They contain multiple His and backbones with different degrees of conformational constrain. Spectroscopic and pH potentiometric data revealed the formation of similar major Cu(II) species at close to neutral pH value where Cu(II) is coordinated to the His. Nonetheless, due to the distinct flexible nature of their scaffolds different stability constants as well as Cu(II) exchange rates and redox potentials (Cu(II)/Cu(I)) were observed. All the complexes were able to oxidize sulfides in aqueous solution and at room temperature but different catalytic behaviours were observed reflecting their intrinsic properties. On the other hand, peptidic scaffolds based on WW domains were developed as affinity ligands for bioseparations in proteomics/phosphoproteomics. WW domains have been found in at least 200 multidomain proteins and are usually localized in the recognition region known to mediate protein-protein interactions. Two WW domains were selected for our purpose: the Human Pin1 (hPin1_WW) that recognizes peptide ligands with Pro-rich sequences containing pSer/pThr-Pro, and the Human YAP65 (hYAP65_WW) that recognizes Pro-rich peptide sequences with Tyr. Small versions of both WW domains were chemically synthesized, immobilized in a solid support through Sulfo-SMCC chemistry, and tested for the affinity purification of their targets. The immobilized hPin1_WW domain was able to separate phosphorylated peptides/proteins and the solid support immobilized with the hYAP65_WW domain was employed in the purification of proline rich targets. In both cases, binding and elution were achieved using mild conditions.


    Dr Olga Iranzo obtained her doctorate in Chemistry at the University of Buffalo – SUNY in 2003 working on the design of artificial ribonucleases based on Zn(II) and Cu(II) complexes. In May 2004 she moved to the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, USA) as a postdoctoral researcher to work on the field of De Novo designed metallopeptides. She developed three stranded coiled coil peptides capable of selectively binding different transition metal ions. Important insights into the characteristics of biological relevant metal ion binding sites were obtained that contributed to the understanding of how protein scaffolds attained their superb fine-tuning of metal ion properties. In 2008 she became the group leader of the Bioinorganic and Peptide Design group at the Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica (Oeiras, Portugal). In 2013 she joined the Institut des Sciences Moléculaires de Marseille (UMR CNRS 7313 - Aix-Marseille Université) as CNRS CR1 researcher. Her research is focused in the design of bioinspired peptide-based platforms for biotechnological/biomedical applications as well as for the development of novel catalysts for environmentally friendly chemical transformations. Her interdisciplinary and highly collaborative research program involves chemical synthesis, bioinorganic chemistry, medicinal inorganic chemistry, biochemistry, biophysics, computational chemistry, and chemical engineering.


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  4. Dr. Marius Reglier, Prof. of Chemistry, Faculty of Sciences Aix - Marseille Université France delivered an invited talk on "Bioinorganic Chemistry approach in the development of tyrosinase inhibitors" organized by School of Chemistry, on 18th January 2017.

    Bioinorganic chemistry approach in the development of tyrosinase inhibitors.


    Tyrosinases are ubiquitous Cu-containing enzymes belonging to the type-3 or “coupled binuclear” family (Fig. 1). Ty’s catalyze the two-step oxidation of phenolic compounds into the corresponding catechols (monophenolase activity) and ortho-quinones (catecholase activity). In mammals, their biological function is to convert L-tyrosine into dopaquinone, which is the key product for melanin pigment biosynthesis. Melanin-related disorders are known to cause serious skin lesions, Parkinson’s disease and melanoma. In addition, Ty’s are responsible for the browning of plant foods, which creates an important economic problem in the field of nutrition. Ty inhibition is a well-established approach for controlling in vivo melanin production and food browning, so the development of Ty inhibitors has a huge economical and industrial impact. To control the Ty activity, the best strategy is to target the Ty binuclear copper active site by transition state analogues, which have structural analogies to catechol but are not oxidizable.
    Recently, we reported on HOPNO as TS analogues featuring competitive inhibition constants below to 1 M (Fig. 2).1 In this communication, we will describe our strategy to develop efficient Ty inhibitors derived from HPNO and aurones. Our approach includes synthetic chemistry and enzymology as well as structure-function studies using structural and functional models (Fig. 3) of the Ty active site.2-9

    Figure 1. Structure of the active site of the met2 Ty.

    Figure 2. HOPNO and aurones (1-2).

    Figure 3. Ty structural model in interaction with HOPNO.


    1. E. Peyroux, W. Ghattas, R. Hardré, M. Giorgi, B. Faure, A. J. Simaan, C. Belle, M. Réglier Inorg. Chem. 2009, 48, 10874.
    2. M. Orio, C. Bochot, C. Dubois, G. Gellon, R. Hardré, H. Jamet, D. Luneau, C. Philouze, M. Réglier, G. Serratrice, C. Belle Chem. Eur. J. 2011, 17, 13482.
    3. C. Dubois, R. Haudecoeur, M. Orio, C. Belle, C. Bochot, A. Boumendjel, R. Hardré, H. Jamet, M. Réglier ChemBioChem 2012, 13, 559.
    4. C. Bochot, E. Favre, C. Dubois, B. Baptiste, L. Bubacco, P.-A. Carrupt, G. Gellon, R. Hardré, D. Luneau, Y. Moreau, A. Nurisso, M. Réglier, G. Serratrice, C. Belle, H. Jamet Chem. Eur. J. 2013, 19, 3655.
    5. C. Bochot, A. Gouron, L. Bubacco, A. Milet, C. Philouze, M. Réglier, G. Serratrice, H. Jamet and C. Belle. Chem. Commun. 2014, 50, 308.
    6. R. Haudecoeur, A. Gouron, C. Dubois, H. Jamet, M. Lightbody, R. Hardré, Anne Milet, E. Bergantino, L. Bubacco, C. Belle, M. Réglier and A. Boumendjel.
    7. E. Buitrago, A. Vuillamy, A. Boumendjel, W. Yi, G. Gellon, R. Hardre, Renaud, G. Serratrice, M. Réglier, C. Belle. Inorg. Chem. 2014, 12848.
    8. C. Justino Nunes, B. Essenfelder Borges, L. Sumie Nakao, E. Peyroux, R. Hardré, B. Faure, M. Réglier, M. Giorgi, M. Pietro Bach, C. Columbano de Oliveira and A. M. Da Costa Ferreira. J. Inorg. Biochem. 2015, 149, 49.
    9. E. Buitrago, R. Hardré, R. Haudecoeur, H. Jamet, C. Belle, A. Boumendjel, L. Bubacco and M. Réglier. Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry. 2015, under press.

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  5. Prof. W. S. Sampath delivered an invited talk on "CdTe Photovoltaics for Sustainable Electricity Generation" organized by School of Chemistry, on 22nd August 2016.


  6. Dr. Murali Rangarajan, Associate Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Coimbatore delivered an invited talk on "Graphene-based Electrochemical Sensors" organized by School of Chemistry, on 18th September 2015.


  7. Dr. S. Kapilan, Professor, Department of Chemistry, Annamalai University, Chidambaram delivered an invited talk on "Cheminformatics and Drug designing" organized by School of Chemistry, on 4th November 2015.


  8. Dr. Petrus Notten, Full Professor in the Departments of Chemical Engineering, & Chemistry and Electrical Engineering, TU Eindhoven, Netherlands delivered a lecture on "Rechargeable Batteries Enabling Electric Mobility" organized by School of Chemistry, on 7th February 2015.

    Rechargeable batteries enabling electric mobility


    There is nowadays general consensus that due to global warming electricity generation will, in the future, take place in a decentralized rather than centralized way in large power plants. Obviously, solar, wind and bio-mass will contribute significantly to decentralized electricity generation in the near future. Due to the unpredictable nature of these fluctuating energy sources it has been identified that local electricity storage will play a dominant role. Rechargeable batteries will indispensably take up this role. Interestingly new battery materials have recently been discovered, making a new generation of rechargeable batteries very attractive with respect to energy density, power density and materials availability. However, the cost aspect still plays a dominant role and currently forms a limiting factor for wide-spread domestic storage.
    Simultaneously, another interesting development takes place in the transportation sector, inducing the transformation from rather inefficient internal combustion engines to much more efficient electrical engines. Considering the overall efficiencies of both systems, electrical transportation appears to be at least two times more efficient and has many more additional advantages, such as no local pollution or even absent pollution when electricity is generated in a sustainable way, silent driving, etc. This high performance is, among other things, related to the extremely high efficiency of electrochemical conversion in rechargeable batteries, which do not suffer from the inefficient Carnot cycle. In contrast to domestic storage, mobile storage is more cost-effective.

    Obviously, in order to charge electrical cars, these have to be connected to the electric grid. Charging will mainly take place overnight at low rates but it has been shown that this can also occur rapidly within 20 minutes using fast-charging equipment currently under development for automotive applications. It is clear that when many cars are connected to the grid these create an interesting buffer for electrical energy, which can also be used to deliver electricity back to local buildings and/or the grid in periods of serious shortage. Assuming that the management of the various distributed energy flows takes place in a coordinated and controlled way, the building environment and electrical vehicles will become connected to the future, so-called, smart grid. The efficiency chain of electric transport will be compared to that of conventional driving. The new materials developments and the impact on rechargeable batteries will also be addressed.  


    Peter H.L. Notten (Eindhoven University of Technology) was born in The Netherlands in 1952, was educated in analytical chemistry and joined Philips Research in 1975. While working at these laboratories on the electrochemistry of etching of III-V semiconductors he received his PhD from the Eindhoven University of Technology in 1989. Since then his activities have been focusing on the research of hydride-forming (electrode) materials for application in rechargeable NiMH batteries, switchable optical mirrors and gas phase storage, and Lithium-based rechargeable battery systems. Since 2000 he has been appointed as (part-time) professor at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in the faculty Chemical Engineering and Chemistry where he is heading the group Energy Materials and Devices. His main interest includes the development of (i) advanced battery and hydrogen storage materials, (ii) new battery technologies, (iii) modelling of energy storage materials and complete rechargeable battery (NiMH and Li-ion) systems and (iv) the development of sophisticated Battery Management Systems (BMS). Since 2010 he was appointed full-professor at TU/e. He is member of the Editorial Board of Advanced Energy Materials and International Journal of Electrochemical Science. He has published as (co)author about 200 scientific papers and contributions to scientific books and owns about 30 patents.


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  9. Dr. Smitha Chandran S. delivered lecture on “VALUE @Virtual Labs” at the St. Xaviers College for Women , Aluva as part of Walk with a Scholar Programme on 7th July, 2017 organized by the Department of Physics
  10. Dr. Smitha Chandran S. delivered lecture on “Global Environmental Crisis” at the NSS Hindu College Changanecherry as part of their Environment Awareness Day Campaign on 15th June, 2017 organized by the Post-graduate department of Mathematics.
  11. Dr. M. Padmanabhan chaired the Valedictory Session in “Fifth National Conference on Advanced Functional Materials and Applications” held at Kalasalingam University, March 30-31, 2017.
  12. Dr. M. Padmanabhan delivered Lecture on “ A very facile Green Route to Novel Functional Materials” in “5th National Conference on Advanced Functional Materials and Applications” held at Kalasalingam University, March 30-31, 2017.
  13. Dr. M. Padmanabhan delivered an Inaugural Lecture in “Two-Day Workshop on Research Methodology, Writing Practice and Soft Skills” organized by S N College, Kollam (sponsored by Kerala State Council for Science and Technology) on March 27, 2017
  14. Dr. Gopal. K delivered an invited talk in RSC symposium on ‘ Inorganic Chemical Biology ’ organized by School of Chemistry , Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai , Tamil Nadu during March 17-18, 2017
  15. Dr. Smitha Chandran.S delivered lecture on “Wetland conservation and Management” as part of Student Wetland Congress-2017 organized by the Asoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment (ATREE) at the Community Environmental Resource Centre, Alappuzha on 21st February, 2017.
  16. Dr. M. Padmanabhan delivered. Talk on the topic "Inorganic-organic hybrid nanomaterials with unique functional properties at the" Fourth International Conference on Nano-structured materials on February 10-12, 2017 at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam.
  17. Dr. M. Padmanabhan delivered distinguished Lecture on the topic "Metal-Cluster MOF materials from metallogels and their versatile functional properties" as Endowment Lecture in the National Seminar on Current Trends in Chemistry held at CUSAT, Kochi on February 4, 2017.

Conferences Attended 

A National Summit was organized by AYUDH (AYUDH = Amrita Yuva Dharma Dhara (AMRITAPURI CHAPTER)) in the Amritapuri Campus during 24-27th December 2017 to motivate youth from different parts of India to imbibe Indian Culture and values among Youth. Dr. Naveen V. Kulkarni and Dr. (Mrs.) Mangalam Ramanathan of Department of Chemistry participated in the AYUDH Leaders Training Summit – ALTS’17 held at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amritapuri from 24th December to 27th December. They were the team leaders for the team ‘Yamuna’.

On 20th January 2018, Dr. Chandra Bala (Head of Alternative Medicines, Vivekananda Polyclinic and Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow & Chairperson of Prasanna Trust, Lucknow, India) had a Interactive session on "Healthy Mind" with our students (MSc. and Int. MSc.), Faculty and Staff of Department of Chemistry.

On 5th January 2019, Department of Chemistry, Amritapuri Campus organized the Chemistry Alumni Meet. Total 29 alumni of our department from various programs of different batches were participated and their feedback is vital for the development of our department in particular.

Associations and Events Conducted 


  • CONFLUENCE : The Association of Chemistry students. The association conducts invited lectures by experts from other Universities, Research Institutes, and industries from India and abroad.
  • SCIENCE CLUB: The club conducts invited talks every year on science day, active participation in Tech fests like VIDYUT. 
  • ECO CLUB: The club conducts photo exhibitions, contexts, quiz programs, etc.
  • AMRITA CHEMISTRY ALUMNI (ACA): The Association of the Alumni
  • RESEARCH FORUM: Under the auspicious of research forum at the Chemistry department, mini projects are assigned to post graduate students starting from the first semester, each group is assigned under each faculty and the general areas of project works included, polymer composites, organic synthesis and characterization, nano technology, analytical sensor development, co-ordination chemistry, catalysis, metal organic frame works, waste management and ecorestoration of contaminated landfills.

Webinar on JMP Statistical Discovery Tool

Department of Chemistry, Amrita School of Arts & Sciences, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amritapuri will conduct a Webinar on JMP Statistical Discovery Tool on August 24, 2020.

International Conference on Advances in Material Science and Chemistry (ICAMSC – 2020)

The Department of Chemistry, Amrita School of Arts and Sciences, Amritapuri Campus is organizing an “International Conference on Advances in Material Science and Chemistry (ICAMSC – 2020)” from August 10 -12, 2020

Talk on Designed Peptidic Platforms: From Concepts to Biotechnological Applications

The Department of Chemistry, School of Arts and Sciences, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amritapuri campus, organized an invited talk on "Designed Peptide Platforms: from Concepts to Biotechnological Applications" on January 16, 2017. 

JIGNASA –The National Science Day Celebrations

All Science departments on the Amritapuri Campus came together in enthusiastic celebrations of National Science Day on March 5th and 6th, 2019.  Educational institutions all over India commemorate this anniversary of the discovery in physics that won India its first-ever Nobel Prize in Sciences, some eight decades ago.

Chem-Fest 2019

The association of the Department of Chemistry, School of Arts and Sciencs, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amritapuri campus, Rasatantra, has organized a two-day program Chem-Fest 2019 with the theme of ‘Food Science’. The event was held on 25th and 26th February 2019 in our beautiful campus of Amrita Vishwa Viyapeetham, Amritapuri, Kerala.

Talk on Quest for Foundational Understanding of Quantum Mechanics

Abstract :  Quantum mechanics (QM) is a fundamental framework theory, which potentially can explain many aspects of modern science from sub-atomic particles to astronomical events. Still, one finds it counter intuitive and wonders: “What is the main message of QM? What is it telling about Nature’s nature?”. Recent developments in quantum foundations, in tandem with concomitant developments in quantum information theory and quantum computation, has given us new insights and tools to potentially answer these questions. 

Lecture on Success without Stress

On September 12, 2018, Dr. Andreas Toupadakis (Department of Chemistry, One Shields Ave, University of California) delivered a lecture on “Success without Stress’ to the students (MSc. and Int. MSc.), Faculty and Staff of Department of Chemistry, School of Arts and Sciences, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amritapuri.

Seminar on Interpretation/Understanding of Quantum Mechanics and the Role of the Observer

A Seminar on Interpretation/Understanding of Quantum Mechanics and the Role of the Observer was held at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amritapuri campus, on September 7, 2018. The resource person was Prof. M. V. Sathyanarayana, Professor of Physics, IIT Madras.

Colloquium on Evaluation of Light-trapping Performance in Silicon Thin-film Solar Cells

A Colloquium on Evaluation of Light-trapping Performance in Silicon Thin-film Solar Cells was conducted at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amritapuri campus, on February 27, 2018. Dr. Sanjay Ram was the resource person.


Interactive Session on “Healthy Mind”

On January 20, 2018, Dr. Chandra Bala (Head of Alternative Medicines, Vivekananda Polyclinic and Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow & Chairperson of Prasanna Trust, Lucknow, India) conducted an interactive session on “Healthy Mind’ to the students (MSc. and Int. MSc.), Faculty and Staff of Department of Chemistry, School of Arts and Sciences, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amritapuri.