Award Name : Padma Vibhushan
Year of Award : 2010
Award for : Science and Engineering
Location : Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, India
Venkatraman Ramakrishnan is an Indian-born American and British structural biologist. He was born in 1952 in Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, India. After graduation he moved to the U.S.A., where he obtained his PhD degree in Physics from Ohio University in 1976 for research into the ferroelectric phase transition of Potassium Dihydrogen Phosphate (KDP) supervised by Tomoyasu Tanaka. 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. Venkataraman Ramakrishnan began his career as a postdoctoral fellow with Peter Moore at Yale University, where he worked on ribosomes. After completing this research, he applied to nearly 50 universities in the U.S. for a faculty position. But he was unsuccessful. As a result of this, Venkataraman continued to work on ribosomes from 1983 to 1995 in Brookhaven National Laboratory. In 1995, he got an offer from University of Utah to work as a professor of Biochemistry. He worked here for almost four years and then moved to England where he started working in Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology. Here, he began a detailed research on ribosomes. In 1999, along with his fellow mates, he published a 5.5 angstrom resolution structure of 30s subunit of ribosome. In the subsequent year, Venkataraman submitted a complete structure of 30s subunit of ribosome and it created a sensation in structural biology. Following this, he conducted several studies on these cell organelles and its mechanism. Recently, he determined the complete structure of ribosomes along with the tRNA and mRNa.
Venkataraman earned a fellowship from the
Trinity College, Cambridge and the Royal Society. He is also an honorary member
of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. In 2007, he was awarded with the
Louis-Jeantet Prize for his contribution to Medicine. In 2008, he was presented
with Heatley Medal of British Biochemistry Society. In 2009, Venkataraman
Ramakrishnan, along with two other scientists were awarded with the Nobel Prize
for their major breakthrough made in the area of ribosomes. For his contribution
to Science, he was conferred with India's second highest civilian award, the
Padma Vibhushan in 2010.