Ram Karan, Ph.D.

Research Scientists

Research Scientist

Research Interests

Study the structure-function relationship of extremophilic proteins, cellular-adaptation mechanisms of stress-encountered microbes and proteins, cloning, over-expression, purification, functional and structural characterization, bioinformatics analysis, bioengineering of proteins and microbes, and biotechnological and industrial applications of extremophiles and extremozymes. 

Selected Publications

  • Microneedle-assisted skin permeation by non-toxic bioengineerable gas vesicle nanoparticles. 
    A.U. Andar∞, R. Karan∞ (contributed equally), W.T. Pecher, P. DasSarma, W.D. Hedrich, A.L....
    ACS Mol Pharm 14 (3), 953958 , (2017)
  • Bioengineering radioresistance by overproduction of RPA, a mammalian-type single-stranded DNA-binding protein, in a... 
    R. Karan, P. DasSarma, E. Balcer-Kubiczek, R.R. Weng, C. Liao, W.V. Ng, S. DasSarma 
    Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 98(4), 1737-1747, (2014)
  • Cloning, overexpression, purification, and characterization of a polyextremophilic β-galactosidase from the Antarct... 
    R. Karan, M.D. Capes, P. DasSarma, S. DasSarma 
    BMC Biotechnol. 13:3, (2013)
  • Gene identification and molecular characterization of solvent stable protease from a moderately haloalkaliphilic ba... 
    R. Karan, R.K.M. Singh, S. Kapoor, S.K. Khare 
    J Microbiol Biotechnol. 21, 129-135, (2011)
  • A novel organic solvent tolerant protease from a newly isolated Geomicrobium sp. EMB2 (MTCC 10310): Production opti... 
    R. Karan, S.P. Singh, S. Kapoor, S.K. Khare
    N Biotechnol. 28, 136-145 , (2011)
  • Stability of haloalkaliphilic Geomicrobium sp. protease modulated by salt 
    R. Karan and S.K. Khare 
    Biochemistry, 76 (6) 686-693 , (2010)
  • Identification and experimental characterization of an extremophilic brine pool alcohol dehydrogenase from single a... 
    S.W. Grötzinger, R Karan, E. Strillinger, S. Bader, A. Frank, I.S. Al Rowaihi, A. L. Akal,...
    ACS Chem. Biol. 13(1): 161-170. , (2017)
  • Key amino acid residues conferring enhanced enzyme activity at cold temperatures in an Antarctic polyextremophilic ... 
    V.J Laye, R Karan, J.M. Kim, W.T. Pecher, P. DasSarma, S. DasSarma 
    Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A, 114(47):12530-12535 , (2017)
  • Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) production in an integrated electromicrobial setup: Investigation under stress-inducing con... 
    I.S. Al-Rowaihi, A. Paillier, S. Rasul, R. Karan, R. Laamarti, S.W. Grötzinger, K. Takanab...
    PLoS One. 13(4): e0196079 (2018), (2018)
  • A polyextremophilic alcohol dehydrogenase from the Atlantis II Deep Red Sea brine pool 
    A.L. Akal, R. Karan, A. Hohl, I. Alam, M. Vogler, S.W. Grötzinger, J. Eppinger, M. Rueping...
    FEBS Open Bio. 9, 2 (2019), (2019)


  • Ph.D., Biochemistry, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi, India, 2011

  • Master of Science, Bioorganic Chemistry, Meerut University, Meerut, UP India, 2005

  • Master of Science, Physical Chemistry, Meerut University, Meerut,India, 2003

  • Bachelor of Science, Bio-Chemistry, Meerut University, Meerut, India, 2001

Professional Profile

  • 2018-present: Research Scientist, KAUST, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia

  • 2015-2018: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, KAUST, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia

  • 2014-2015: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, USUHS, Bethesda, Maryland, USA

  • 2011-2014: ASM and Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET), University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD, USA 

Scientific and Professional Membership

  • Biotech Research Society of India (BRSI)

  • American Society of Microbiology (ASM), USA

  • Asian Federation of Biotechnology (AFOB) 


  • Best paper and best presentation award by International Society of Extremophiles (ISE) and Springer in “Extremophiles 2018” Naples, Italy

  • American Society for Microbiology (ASM) International Fellowship for Asia, 2011

  • International travel award, 2010 by CSIR, Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Department of Science and Technology (DST) Government of India

  • Award of Senior and Junior Research National Fellowship from CSIR, India

  • Award for publishing high impact factor research paper by IIT, Delhi, India

  • Reviewer of various international journals, Extremophiles, Process Biochemistry, International Journal of Applied Sciences and Biotechnology, Preparative Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Enzyme Engineering, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Academy Science Letters, Basic Microbiology 

KAUST Affiliations

  • ​KAUST catalysis Center (KCC)

  • Division of Physical Science and Engineering (PSE)

Research Interests Keywords

Extremophiles extremozymes halo-adaptation bioengineering biotechnological applications production of bioplastics single amplified genomes crystal structures gas vesicle nanoparticles