Carnegie Mellon University

photoSushil Khetan

Institute for Green Oxidation Chemistry

How we manage our natural resources will determine our future well-being. The big questions of sustainability concern how man can learn to exist within nature to the benefit of all life in the face of present and upcoming challenges. Industrialization and the power it has given us have been accompanied by the massive scale consumption of nonrenewable resources, by species extinctions, by loss of arable land, by an increase in pollution, and by planet-wide changes in systems such as the climate that are critical for sustaining life as we know it. I work in the general area of sustainability science, which aimed as resolving these challenges. Of particular interest, our civilization has placed its fresh water especially at risk. Water contamination by pesticides, countless other industrial chemicals, and now even once seemingly innocuous medicines is undermining the healthy development of living things, especially by corrupting the normal function of endocrine systems. Rapid population growth and inadequate sanitation has compounded the situation by increasing the burdens of pathogenic microbes. Clean water, a most basic human need, is becoming scarce and inaccessible to a large segment of humanity. An essential element of a sustainable civilization is that the people who comprise it should have access to a safe and adequate water supply. I am working with Fe-TAML activators in the Institute for Green Oxidation Chemistry. Fe-TAML activators are catalytic oxidant activators that are providing breakthrough approaches for cleaning water of recalcitrant pollutants and robust pathogenic organisms. My second area of works concerns oxidative stress which, as a general consequence of toxicity and pathogenicity, threatens our well-being and longevity. I am working toward the development of a broad-based solution to various life-threatening conditions arising out of oxidative stress which should be attainable by adoption of green approaches that align with nature and also by developing catalytic anti-oxidants to relieve oxidative stress via prophylactic measures.