Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, known to most as " Venki" was born in Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, India in the year 1952. He is a structural biologist at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England. He received the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his pioneering work on ribosome, a cellular machine that makes proteins.
He moved to Baroda (Vadodara) in Gujarat state at the age of three, where he had his schooling. He completed B.Sc in Physics from Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda,Gujarat. He wrote entrance exam for getting admission to IIT . But unfortunately he failed to get admission.
Immediately after graduation he moved to the U.S.A., where he obtained his Ph.D. 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 MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England. He has authored several important papers in academic journals.
In the August 26, 2000 issue of Nature, Ramakrishnan and his co-workers published the structure of the small ribosomal subunit of Thermus thermophilus, a heat-stable bacterium related to one found in the Yellowstone hot springs.
With this 5.5 Angstrom-resolution structure, Ramakrishnan's group
identified key portions of the RNA and, using previously determined structures,
positioned seven of the subunit's proteins.
Ramakrishnan is a
Fellow of the Royal Society,
a member of
EMBO and the U.S.
National Academy of Sciences
and a Fellow of
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 University of Frankfurt. In 2009, Ramakrishnan
was awarded the
Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Thomas A. Steitz
Ada Yonath for his
pioneering work on ribosome, a cellular machine that makes proteins.