Venkatraman Ramakrishnan Biography
Also Known As: Venkatraman Venki Ramakrishnan
Born Country: India
Born in: Chidambaram,Tamilnadu India
Famous as: Structural biologist
Spouse/Ex-: Vera Rosenberry (m. 1975)
father: C. V. Ramakrishnan
mother: Rajalakshmi Ramakrishnan
siblings: Lalita Ramakrishnan (younger sister)
Notable Alumni: University Of California, Davis (UC Davis)
education: Convent of Jesus and Mary, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Ohio University, University of California, San Diego
Venkatraman Ramakrishnan is a British-American structural biologist of Indian origin. He is currently serving as the President of the Royal Society. He is also serving as a team leader at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB), UK, where he holds the position of the Deputy Director as well. Known for his study and research on ribosomes, Ramakrishnan has received several awards and honors till date. In 2009 he was awarded the ‘Nobel Prize’ in Chemistry along with Ada Yonath and Thomas A. Steitz. He has also received the ‘Padma Vibhushan’—India's second highest civilian honor. Besides these, the structural biologist has been awarded with the Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine as well as Medal of the Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS). Ramakrishnan was also honored with the Heatley Medal of the British Biochemical Society. Well, his achievements don’t end here! The British-American biologist is an elected member of European Molecular Biology Organization, Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) as well as U.S. National Academy of Sciences.
- Venkatraman Ramakrishnan started work on ribosomes at the Yale University as a postdoctoral fellow. From 1983-95, he served as a staff scientist at the Brookhaven National Laboratory. After this, he started serving as a Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Utah.
- Then in 1999, he moved to Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, UK. That year, Ramakrishnan's lab published a 5.5 Angstrom resolution structure of 30S subunit of the ribosome. This was followed by the determination of the complete molecular structure of 30S subunit.
- Soon after this, Ramakrishnan's lab offered structural insights into the mechanism that ensures fidelity of protein biosynthesis. Then in the year 2007, the lab determined the atomic structure of the entire ribosome in complex with its mRNA and tRNA ligands. In 2009, Ramakrishnan won a share of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry "for studies of the structure and function of the ribosome."
- Ramakrishnan, who is also known for his past work on chromatin and histone structure, has supervised many PhD students as well as postdoctoral researchers. The structural biologist’s most cited papers have been published in many journals including ‘Science,’ ‘Cell,’ and ‘Nature.’
- Venkatraman Ramakrishnan was born in 1952, in Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, India. Both of his parents, C. V. Ramakrishnan and Rajalakshmi Ramakrishnan, were scientists. He has a younger sister, Lalita, who is a professor of immunology and infectious diseases at the University of Cambridge as well as a member of National Academy of Sciences.
- Ramakrishnan did his schooling at Vadodara’s Convent of Jesus and Mary. Then after his pre-science education at Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, he completed his undergraduate studies in the same university, later on obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics in 1971. Following graduation, Ramakrishnan moved to the USA, where he attended the Ohio University, obtaining his PhD degree in Physics in 1976. He then studied biology at the University of California, San Diego.
- Coming to his love life, the structural biologist married author Vera Rosenberry in 1975. Currently, Ramakrishnan’s son Raman is a New York-based cellist and his stepdaughter Tanya is a doctor in Oregon.
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