Our People

M S Unnikrishnan: CEO

Before joining the IITB-Monash Research Academy, M S Unnikrishnan has been the CEO of one of India’s foremost energy and environmental solutions companies, Thermax from 2007-2020. His passion for the evolution of technology from science spearheaded Thermax’s conception and creation of a unique Research Technology and Innovation Centre, with six Centres of Excellence deploying highly-qualified research scientists and creating more than 260 patents. The Centre conducts coordinated research with leading institutes of technology and scientific laboratories of India and with international institutions, including Fraunhofer (Germany), Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands, University of Florida and Georgia Institute of Technology.

Mr. Unnikrishnan is highly engaged with academia and government. He is co-chairperson of India’s Apex Council which implements the Prime Minister’s Fellowship Scheme for Doctoral Research, and has chaired the National Committee for Capital Goods and Engineering for Confederation of Indian Industry.

He graduated in mechanical engineering at Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology (VNIT Nagpur) and has completed the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Programme. He is also a Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering (FNAE).

Kuheli Banerjee: Senior Manager (Operations)


By education, Kuheli is an IT engineer. She is associated with the Academy since 2010. After performing several roles since the inception period, she is currently serving as Senior Manager (Operations). She is in charge of the overall financial and HR oversight and the Academy operations.

Kiran More: Head (Finance & Legal Affairs)

Kiran is in charge of Finance and Legal Affairs of the Academy. He is the sole point of contact for the students and supervisors to enquire about their research budget.

Beena Pillai: Admissions Manager

Beena is in charge of the Admissions process in the Academy. The Academy has two student intakes in a year. Beena organises the interviews for both the intakes and is the point of contact for any issues regarding the student admissions.

Laya Vijayan: Examinations & Social Media Manager

Laya handles the Examination process for the Academy students. Once the student completes his/her Pre-synopsis, the student should contact her to know about thesis submission and further steps. She will communicate with the External Examiner and rest of the panel and assist the student and supervisor in arranging the defense. She also manages the Academy’s Twitter handle, Facebook page and LinkedIn page and the content for the Academy website.

Jayasree T: Candidature Manager

Jayasree is in charge of the student candidature from the time they get admitted till they complete their Pre-synopsis. She is the point of contact for the students in case of any issues they face during their candidature and Monash stay extension. She handles the student scholarship and booking of the Academy Video conference rooms.

Nancy Sowho: EA & Head (Administration)

Nancy is the Executive Assistant (EA) to the CEO. She is in charge of the Academy Administration. She also handles the student enrolments’ (once they get admitted) and their Monash travel.

Karan Singh: Assistant (Administration) & Maintenance In-charge

Karan Singh is the Assistant Administration & Maintenance In-charge . He is responsible for maintaining safety in the laboratories and ensuring smooth functioning of the Academy building.

Uttam Khot: Lab Assistant 

Uttam Khot is a Lab Assistant. He is responsible for providing support to the students and staff working in the Bio Lab, Material Characterisation Lab, Chemistry Lab and Earth Sciences Lab at the Academy.

Support Staff:

Rahul Ingle

Bharat Ingle

Chhaya Sonawane