Venkatraman "Venki" Ramakrishnan (born: 1952) is an Indian-born American and British structural biologist, who shared the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Thomas A. Steitz and Ada E. Yonath, "for studies of the structure and function of the ribosome". He currently works at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England.
1 Early life,
4 Personal life,
6 See also,
8 External links,
Ramakrishnan was born in Chidambaram in Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu, India to C. V. Ramakrishnan and Rajalakshmi. Both his parents were scientists and taught biochemistry at the Maharaja Sayajirao University in Baroda. He moved to Vadodara (previously also known as Baroda) in Gujarat at the age of three, where he had his schooling at Convent of Jesus and Mary, except for spending 1960-61 in Adelaide, Australia. Following his Pre-Science at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, he did his undergraduate studies in the same university on a National Science Talent Scholarship, graduating with a BSc degree in Physics in 1971.
In a January 2010 lecture at the Indian Institute of Science, he revealed that he failed to get admitted to any of the Indian Institutes of Technology or the Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu.
Immediately after graduation he moved to the U.S.A., where he obtained his PhD degree in Physics from Ohio University in 1976. He then spent two years studying biology as a graduate student at the University of California, San Diego while making a transition from theoretical physics to biology.
Ramakrishnan began work on ribosomes as a postdoctoral fellow with Peter Moore at Yale University. After his post-doctoral fellowship, he initially could not find a faculty position even though he had applied to about 50 universities in the U.S.
He continued to work on ribosomes from 1983-95 as a staff scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory. In 1995 he moved to the University of Utah as a Professor of Biochemistry, and in 1999, he moved to his current position at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England, where he had also been a sabbatical visitor during 1991-92.
In 1999, Ramakrishnan's laboratory published a 5.5 Angstrom resolution structure of the 30S subunit. The following year, his laboratory determined the complete molecular structure of the 30S subunit of the ribosome and its complexes with several antibiotics. This was followed by studies that provided structural insights into the mechanism that ensures the fidelity of protein biosynthesis. More recently, his laboratory has determined the atomic structure of the whole ribosome in complex with its tRNA and mRNA ligands. Ramakrishnan is also known for his past work on histone and chromatin structure.
Ramakrishnan is a Fellow of the Royal Society, a member of EMBO and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. He was awarded the 2007 Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine, the 2008 Heatley Medal of the British Biochemical Society and the 2009 Rolf-Sammet Professorship at the Goethe University Frankfurt. In 2009, Ramakrishnan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry along with Thomas A. Steitz and Ada Yonath. He received India's second highest civilian honor, the Padma Vibhushan, in 2010.
Ramakrishnan was knighted in the 2012 New Year Honours for services to Molecular Biology, but does not generally use the title.
Ramakrishnan is married to Vera Rosenberry, an author and illustrator of children's books. His stepdaughter Tanya Kapka is a doctor in Oregon, and his son Raman Ramakrishnan is a cellist based in New York.
A full list of publications can be found here.
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