Pushpamalar Janarthanan

Senior Lecturer
School of Science

+603 5514 6173
Room 4-8-09

After graduating from University of Putra Malaysia in 1999 in polymer science, Dr Pushpamalar joined Monash University Sunway Campus as a Lecturer that same year. Upon completing Graduate Certificate in Higher Education in 2002, she pursued a part-time PhD with a Monash University staff scholarship. Juggling being a part-time PhD student, lecturer and mother of two toddlers fine-tuned her time management skills. In 2010, she completed my PhD in “Applied Green Polymer Chemistry” and in 2015 was promoted to Senior Lecturer within the School of Science.

Her research interests are varied, with a theme of using biopolymers derived from waste materials to the value-added product to the industry. The research team and she have been producing Green Biodegradable Polymers as drug delivery systems, biomaterial for tissue engineering and wound healing, packaging materials, adsorbents in wastewater treatment and fertilizer carriers cum super-absorbents for the agricultural industry.  More recently, her group has been developing diagnostics kits for sexually transmitted disease detection. The only reason for looking into formulating biodegradable polymers is that it could disintegrate into smaller fragments that are non-toxic remnant after use. She is experienced in producing carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) from plant waste and with incorporating other polysaccharides to prepare hydrogels in forms of beads, disks, microcapsules, and membranes with different properties using various crosslinking methods. It can act as a carrier for active ingredients. It can be used in control release of drug delivery in the medical area and slow release of fertilizer in agriculture. These polymer carriers are also could be utilized to improve wastewater treatment and solid waste management. Different methods could be used to combine different polymers to produce different biodegradable polymers. Silver and ferrous nanoparticles syntheses from various methods using plant sources are also being explored and further incorporated them into the wound healing biomaterial, drug carrier and adsorbent. Graphene oxide is synthesized from graphite and incorporated into the biomaterial for scaffold are also being studied. She has been fortunate to have funding from MOSTI and MOE and collaborate widely including with researchers at UPM, USM, Malaysian Nuclear Agency, A*STAR's Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE), Monash University Australia, Tamilnadu Veterinary And Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS), India. In 2012, she was awarded the Pro-Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research and in 2015, the TienTe Lee Biomedical Foundation awarded her research the Excellent Scientific Paper Award for 2014.  In 2016, her research was further recognized with a Gold Medal at the International Invention and Innovation Exhibition organized by Malaysian Innovation Design Society, under the auspices of MOSTI.  Currently, Dr Pushpamalar supervises 10 PhD students and one Masters student by research.

She is the Deputy Director for Monash-Industry Palm Oil Education and Research Platform for the Palm Oil Industry (MIPO) which will serve as a platform for university-industry-government cooperation to improve the competitiveness and sustainability of the palm oil industry in the country. She has a strong interest in helping the next generation of scientists through the organization of several workshops for secondary school students and her appointment as a Panel Judge for the National Science Fair for Young Children 2012. Also guest/editorial board member of EnPress, Hindwai and JResLit Publishers and reviewer for research articles for several renowned international publishers.


  • Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Green Polymer Chemistry, Monash University, 2010
  • Graduate Certificate in Higher Education, Monash University, 2002
  • Master of Science (Polymer Science), Universiti Putra Malaysia, 1999
  • Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Pure Chemistry, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 1996


  • Polymer Chemistry
  • Organic and Analytical Chemistry
  • Nanotechnology
  • Biotechnology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Environmental Science

Research Interests

Research interest is in developing new biodegradable polymers using plant waste and currently focusing on preparing cross-linked CMC hydrogel to be used as control release device for anticancer drug and slow release device for application of fertilizer. CMC and other polysaccharides are also incorporated to prepare drug delivery vehicles and loaded with drugs via physical or chemical methods. There are other active ingredients such as flavors, fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and natural supplements can be loaded to the polymeric material and study the release pattern. Carboxymethyl cellulose and chitosan also used to prepare halloysite nanotubes for application in electronic packaging and automotive industry. Incorporate two different polysaccharides with different properties and prepare desired biodegradable plastics by blending, grafting and other methods. And also research is being done on carboxymethyl cellulose cross-linked with chitosan to prepare hydrogel beads for encapsulating activated sludge from wastewater treatment plant to degrade p-nitrophenol. Silver nanoparticles are prepared from various methods including using plant sources, CMC and cellulose. These silver nanoparticles are incorporated to polysaccharides to form hydrogel and used for wound dressing.

Currently, looking into preparing the biodegradable biomaterials as scaffold for tissue engineering, skin tissue grafting, electroactive cues for neural tissues. This natural polymer containing biomaterial tend to biocompatible with body and reduces or eliminates the toxicity issue that arises when using a synthetic materials.


  • CHM1052 (Chemistry II advanced)
  • CHM2911 (Synthetic chemistry)
  • CHM3922 (Advanced organic chemistry)

Book chapters

P.Janarthanan, A.K. Veeramchineni, X.J.Loh  (2017), “Biodegradable Polysaccharides”, Reference Module in Materials Science and Materials Engineering, from Polymer Science: A Comprehensive Reference, edited by Krzysztof Matyjaszewski and Martin Möller, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 2017, Pages 1-12, ISBN: 978-0-12-803581-8. (Invited book chapter)

Scholarly Journals

Thenapakiam Sathasivam, Anand Kumar Veeramachineni, Saravanan Muniyandy, Pushpamalar Janarthanan2 and Lay Hong Chuah-"Spray Dried Solid Dispersions of Piroxicam in Carboxymethyl Sago Cellulose using Aqueous Solvents: A Simple, Novel and Green Approach to Produce Enteric Microparticles with Enhanced Dissolution" , Drying Technology, 2018 in press

Jillian Jin Lyn Heng, Jia Hao Teng, Muniyandy Saravanan and Janarthanan Pushpamalar. “Influence of ispaghula and zein coating on ibuprofen loaded alginate beads prepared by vibration technology: Physicochemical characterization and release studies, Scientia Pharmaceutica, 86, 24, 2018.

Nuraina Anisa Dahlan,Lee Lee Wei, Pushpamalar Janarthanan, Ng Si Ling, “Adsorption of methylene blue onto carboxymethyl sago pulp-immobilized sago waste hydrogel  beads” International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology in press 2018

Pushpamalar J., Thenapakiam Sathasivam, Saravanan Muniyandy, Lay Hong Chuah, “Encapsulation of red palm oil in carboxymethyl sago cellulose beads by emulsification and vibration technology: Physicochemical characterization and in vitro digestion”, Journal of Food Engineering, 231, 10-21, 2018

J. Pushpamalar; Zakiah Holling; Thenapakiam Sathasivam; Saravanan Muniyandy, “Radiation Sterilized and Cross-Linked Carboxymethyl Sago Pulp Discs for Ophthalmic Drug Delivery: Ciprofloxacin Uptake and Physicochemical Characterization”,  Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science, 2018-in press

Dahlan NA, Pushpamalar J, Veeramachineni AK, Muniyandy S "Smart Hydrogel of Carboxymethyl Cellulose Grafted Carboxymethyl Polyvinyl Alcohol and Properties Studied for Future Material Applications",  Journal of Polymers and the Environment, 26(5), 2018, 2061-2071

Thivyah Munisparan, Evyan Yang Chia Yan, Ragul Paramasivam, Nuraina Anisa Dahlan, Janarthanan Pushpamalar, “Optimisation of preparation conditions for titanium nanowires and suitability as an antibacterial material”, IET Nanobiotechnology, 2017-in press

Malgorzata Karolina Pierchala, Maziyar Makaremi, Hui Li Tan, Pushpamalar Janarthanan, Saravanan Muniyandy, Atefeh Solouk, Sui Mae Lee, Pooria Pasbakhsh, “Nanotubes in nanofibers: Antibacterial multilayered polylactic acid/ halloysite/gentamicin membranes for bone regeneration application, Applied Clay Science, 2017, in press

Janarthanan Pushpamalar; Zakiah Holling; Thenapakiam Sathasivam; Saravanan Muniyandy, “Radiation Sterilized and Cross-Linked Carboxymethyl Sago Pulp Discs for Ophthalmic Drug Delivery: Ciprofloxacin Uptake and Physicochemical Characterization”,  Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science, 2017 – in press

Janarthanan Pushpamalar, Steven James Langford, Mansor Bin Ahmad, Yau Yan Lim & Kamaruddin Hashim “Eco-friendly smart hydrogels for soil conditioning and sustain release fertilizer”, International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, 2017, pg 1-11

Dahlan Nuraina Anisa, Pushpamalar Janarthanan, Veeramachineni Anand Kumar, Muniyandy Saravanan "Smart Hydrogel of Carboxymethyl Cellulose Grafted Carboxymethyl Polyvinyl Alcohol and Properties Studied for Future Material Applications", Journal of Polymers and the Environment, 2017, 1-11

Dahlan Nuraina Anisa, Veeramachineni Anand Kumar, Langford Steven James, Pushpamalar Janarthanan"Developing of a magnetite film of carboxymethyl cellulose grafted carboxymethyl polyvinyl alcohol (CMC-g-CMPVA) for copper removal", Carbohydrate Polymers, 2017, 173:619-630

Nuraina Anisa Dahlan, Si Ling Ng, Janarthanan Pushpamalar, “Adsorption of methylene blue onto powdered activated carbon immobilized in a carboxymethyl sago pulp hydrogel”, Journal of Applied Polymer Science, 2017, 134(4), 44271

Pushpamalar Janarthanan, Anand Kumar Veeramachineni, Cally Owh and Xian Jun Loh. "Biodegradable Polysaccharides for Controlled Drug Delivery." ChemPlusChem, 2016, Vol 81, 1-12.

Veeramachineni, Anand Kumar, Thenapakiam Sathasivam, Saravanan Muniyandy, Pushpamalar Janarthanan, Steven Langford and Lim Yan. "Optimizing Extraction of Cellulose and Synthesizing Pharmaceutical Grade Carboxymethyl Sago Cellulose from Malaysian Sago Pulp." Applied Sciences, no. 6 (2016): 170.

Tan, Hui Li, Li Shan Tan, Yeon Yin Wong, Saravanan Muniyandy, Kamaruddin Hashim and Janarthanan Pushpamalar. "Dual Crosslinked Carboxymethyl Sago Pulp/Pectin Hydrogel Beads as Potential Carrier for Colon‐Targeted Drug Delivery." Journal of Applied Polymer Science 133, no. 19 (2016).

Tan, Hui Li, Yeon Yin Wong, Saravanan Muniyandy, Kamaruddin Hashim and Janarthanan Pushpamalar. "Carboxymethyl Sago Pulp/Carboxymethyl Sago Starch Hydrogel: Effect of Polymer Mixing Ratio and Study of Controlled Drug Release." Journal of Applied Polymer Science 133, no. 28 (2016), 43652.

Karthik, Deekonda, Muniyandy Saravanan, Lim Yau Yan and Janarthanan Pushpamalar. "Electron Beam Radiation Mediated Green Synthesis of Silver Nanoparticles Using Carboxymethyl Sago Pulp Obtained from Sago Waste." Polymer, 2016, Vol 86, pg 147-156.

Huei, Gwendolen Ong Sze, Saravanan Muniyandy, Thenapakiam Sathasivam, Anand Kumar Veeramachineni and Pushpamalar Janarthanan. "Iron Cross-Linked Carboxymethyl Cellulose–Gelatin Complex Coacervate Beads for Sustained Drug Delivery." Chemical Papers 70, no. 2 (2016): 243-252.

Muniyandy, Saravanan, Thenapakiam Sathasivam, Anand Kumar Veeramachineni and Pushpamalar Janarthanan. "Dual Cross-Linked Carboxymethyl Sago Pulp-Gelatine Complex Coacervates for Sustained Drug Delivery." Polymers 7, no. 6 (2015): 1088-1105.

Lam, Yi Lyn, Saravanan Muniyandy, Hashim Kamaruddin, Ahmad Mansor and Pushpamalar Janarthanan. "Radiation Cross-Linked Carboxymethyl Sago Pulp Hydrogels Loaded with Ciprofloxacin: Influence of Irradiation on Gel Fraction, Entrapped Drug and in Vitro Release." Radiation Physics and Chemistry 106, (2015): 213-222.

Govindasamy, Kavitha, Muhammad Hafiz Ramli, Pooria Pasbakhsh, Vengidesh Pushpamalar and Babak Salamatinia. "Chitosan/Cellulose/Halloysite Membranes Produced Using Solvent Casting Method." Polymers & Polymer Composites 23, no. 5 (2015): 325.

Pushpamalar Vengidesh, Steven James Langford, Mansor Ahmad, Kamaruddin Hashim and Yau Yan Lim. "Absorption Characterization of Ca2+, Na+, and K+ on Irradiation Crosslinked Carboxymethyl Sago Pulp Hydrogel." Journal of Applied Polymer Science 128, no. 3 (2013): 1828-1833.

Pushpamalar Vengidesh, Steven James Langford, Mansor Ahmad, Kamaruddin Hashim and Yau Yan Lim. "Preparation of Carboxymethyl Sago Pulp Hydrogel from Sago Waste by Electron Beam Irradiation and Swelling Behavior in Water and Various pH Media." Journal of Applied Polymer Science 128, no. 1 (2013): 451-459.

Thenapakiam, Sathasivam, Devakumar Ganesh Kumar, Janarthanan Pushpamalar and Muniyandy Saravanan. "Aluminum and Radiation Cross-Linked Carboxymethyl Sago Pulp Beads for Colon Targeted Delivery." Carbohydrate Polymers 94, no. 1 (2013): 356-363.

Pushpamalar Vengidesh. "Preparation and Characterisation of Carboxymethyl Cellulose and Carboxymethyl Cellulose Hydrogel from Sago Waste." Monash University Australia, 2010.

Pushpamalar Vengidesh, Steven James Langford, M Ahmad, and Yau Yan Lim. "Optimization of Reaction Conditions for Preparing Carboxymethyl Cellulose from Sago Waste." Carbohydrate Polymers 64, no. 2 (2006): 312-318.

Janarthanan Pushpamalar, Wan Md Yunus, Zin Wan and Mansor Bin Ahmad. "Thermal Behavior and Surface Morphology Studies on Polystyrene Grafted Sago Starch." Journal of Applied Polymer Science 90, no. 8 (2003): 2053-2058.

Research Grants

Dr Pushpamalar and Prof Phil Andrews, 2018, Bismuth-containing sulfonated-carboxymethylcellulose as antibacterial hydrogels for future biomaterial applications, Faculty of Science Cross-campus initiative, Monash University Australia, AUD10k

Dr Pushpamalar and Assoc. Professor Antonio Patti, 2017, Smart hydrogel for arsenic removal from waterways, Faculty of Science Cross-campus initiative, Monash University Australia, AUD10k

Dr. Pushpamalar Janarthanan, 2013, Optimization of reaction conditions for preparing novel polymeric hydrogel using mixture of carboxymethyl sago pulp from sago waste and carboxymethyl sago starch for making drug delivery vehicles, MOHE, RM60k

Dr. Pushpamalar Janarthanan, 2012, Developing biodegradable, low cross-link carboxymethylcellulose hydrogels from sago waste for control release of anti-cancer drug, MOSTI, RM155k

Dr. Pushpamalar Janarthanan, 2012, The controlled release of doxifluridine, a prodrug of 5-fluorouracil used to treat colorectal cancer, using sago waste-derived carboxymethyl cellulose hydrogels, MOE, RM50k

Dr Pushpamalar /Professor Steven Langford, 2008, Preparation and characterisation of carboxymethyl cellulose hydrogels from sago waste, School of Chemistry, Monash University Australia, AUD4k

Dr Pushpamalar / Professor Steven Langford, 2005, Preparation and Characterisation of Carboxymethyl Cellulose from Sago Waste, Centre for Green Chemistry, Monash University Australia, AUD5k

Postdoctoral students (Present)

  1. Thenapakiam Sathasivam

PhD Students (Present)

  1. Jahid Md. Mahabub Islam
  2. Nuraina Dahlan
  3. Karthik Deekonda
  4. Ragul Paramasivam
  5. Tan Hui Li
  6. Ahsanul Kaiser (Co-supervision)
  7. Thenapakiam Sathasivam (Co-supervision)
  8. Wong Chew Ee (Co-supervision)
  9. Vishalini Ghobe (Co-supervision)

PhD Students (Completed)

  1. Anand Kumar Veeramachineni
  2. Wong Siu Kuin - Co-supervisor
  3. Karthik Deekonda
  4. Thenapakiam Sathsivam (Co-supervision)

Masters Students (Completed)

  1. Thenapakiam Sathasivam (Co-supervision)

Honours Students (Completed)

  1. Nuraina Dahlan
  2. Wong Yeon Yin
  3. Tan Hui Li
  4. Tan Li Shan
  5. Kimberley Je Teeng Lo
  6. Kevin Yong Jenn Ling (Co-supervision)
  7. Ganesh Devakumar
  8. Clarina Chua Wyn Yi (co-supervision)
  9. Chai Zern Bang (co-supervision)
  10. Ng Hong Yi (co-supervision)
  11. Muhamad Hafiz Ramli (co-supervision)

3rd Year Project (Completed)

  1. Rim Jelassi
  2. Sophie Salama
  3. Anne-Kirsten Verwoerd

Professional Association

Membership in Academic Editorial Committees

  • Editorial board member, Material Physics and Chemistry, 2017 to present
  • Conference research paper reviewer, Global Conference on Polymer and Composite Materials 2014, 2017 and 2018

Research paper reviewer

  • Journal of Material Science
  • Journal of Drug Delivery Science and Technology
  • Carbohydrate Polymers
  • Journal of Water Process Engineering
  • Coloration Technology
  • Current Nanoscience
  • Journal of Macromolecular Science, Part A: Pure and Applied Chemistry
  • Polymer Bulletin
  • Journal of Applied Polymer Science
  • Iranian Polymer Journal
  • Polymers for Advanced Technologies
  • Clay Minerals - Journal of Fine Particle Science
  • Chemical Educator Journal

Advisory member - International Conference on environmental and Biomedical Nanotechnology (ICEBN 2018), New Delhi, since 2017

Engagement with premier Public Universities

  • University of Wollongong, PhD thesis examiner, 2014

Member of Professional Bodies

  • Associate member of Malaysian Institute of Chemistry, 2000-2018
  • Invited ENVIRONMENT AND GREEN CHEMISTRY (EGC) SECTION 2018/2019 Committee, by Malaysia Institute of Chemistry
  • Member of Monash University Malaysia Academic Staff Association (MUMASA) - Member (2000-2018), treasurer (2012), secretary (2013), school representative (2014)
  • Monash Postgraduate Association, member 2013-2010

Academic/Corporate Community Engagements

Local Presentations

Panel Judge for National Science Fair for Young Children 2012 by Malaysian Indian Science Intellectual, 2012



  • ITEX GOLD MEDAL, Malaysian Invention and Design Society & MOSTI, Biodegradable Polymers for Drug Delivery and Waste Water Treatment


  • Excellent Scientific Paper Award 2014, Tiente Lee Biomedical Foundation


  • PVC award for Excellence in Research, Round 1, Monash University Malaysia