Raman spectroscopy- an emerging analytical technique in biopharmaceuticals

Nitika’s interview with Bio Patrika hosting “Vigyan Patrika”, a series of author interviews. Nitika is a Ph.D. scholar in the Chemical engineering department of IIT-Delhi. Her research interest lies in the continuous downstream processing of therapeutic proteins and analytical techniques to detect critical quality attributes of the process. Nitika has done her B.Tech. in Biotechnology (2012-2016) from University School of Biotechnology, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, New Delhi. After which, she did her M.S. (Research) from the Department of Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology, IIT Delhi, during 2016-2018. In 2018 she joined IIT-Delhi’s Chemical Engineering Department for Ph.D. under the guidance of Prof. Anurag S. Rathore. She cleared GATE (Biotechnology) in 2016 with AIR 37, DBT-JRF (2018), CSIR-JRF (June 2018 and Dec 2018). Here, Nitika talks about her work titled ”Raman spectroscopy for in situ, real time monitoring of protein aggregation in lyophilized biotherapeutic products” published as the first author in International Journal of Biological Macromolecules (2021).

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How would you explain your paper’s key results to the non-scientific community?

In a tropical country like India with scorching summers, any irregularities in cold chain transportation can lead to significant product degradation. A degraded therapeutic protein can have adverse effects, and performing quality checks post-product shipping is thus essential. To detect the quality of biotherapeutic drugs, we have proposed an alternate technique that is fast and accurate compared to the traditional methods that may take a longer time.

Figure 1. Workflow for percentage protein prediction through Raman spectroscopy.

“…research provides a case study on Raman spectroscopy’s potential in biotherapeutic product analysis”

What are the possible consequences of these findings for your research area?

Multivariate Data Analysis (MVDA) in recent times has widened the scope of biotherapeutic research. MVDA, when combined with Raman spectroscopy, can be a powerful technique, as Raman spectroscopy can detect structural changes very precisely while MVDA helps in quantifying those changes. This research provides a case study on Raman spectroscopy’s potential in biotherapeutic product analysis.

What was the exciting moment (eureka moment) during your research?

A eureka moment came when the whole idea worked; the model developed for aggregate prediction through Raman spectroscopy predicted test samples are within range.

What do you hope to do next?

The next step would be to study quality attributes for other biotherapeutic products and correlate them with other already established analytical techniques like circular dichroism and fluorescence.

Where do you seek scientific inspiration?

Most of the scientific inspiration comes from my supervisor Prof. Anurag S. Rathore, who encourages independent thinking and provides freedom to pursue those projects. Apart from Prof. Rathore, my lab mates are also a great source of scientific motivation. The continuous discussion of the world-wide latest research over tea provides a broader perspective and opens the mind to new ideas.

How do you intend to help Indian science improve?

In my opinion, Indian science is going at an excellent pace. However, there is a gap between research and its implementation. There is a need for a better translational research to improve the industry-research gap. We in Prof. Rathore’s lab are trying to reduce the gap by doing industry-oriented research.


Nitika N, Chhabra H, Rathore AS. Raman spectroscopy for in situ, real time monitoring of protein aggregation in lyophilized biotherapeutic products. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules. 2021 Mar;179:309-313. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2021.02.214.

Email: nsnitika081@gmail.com

Prof. Anurag Rathore: http://www.biotechcmz.com/

Edited by: Manveen K Sethi (Volunteer Copy editor, Biopatrika)

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