Venkatraman Ramakrishnan

Venkatraman Ramakrishnan

2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

American and British structural biologist of Indian origin. He was elected President of the Royal Society in November 2015. In 2009 he shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Thomas Steitz and Ada Yonath, "for studies of the structure and function of the ribosome".

Education and Work Experience
    • 1976, Ph.D. in Physics, Ohio University, USA
    • 1983-1995, Research Assistant of Department of Biology, Brookhaven National Laboratory, USA
    • 1999-Present, Group leader at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB), Cambridge, UK
    • 2015-Present, President of the Royal Society, UK
Honors and Awards
    • 2002, Member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO)
    • 2003, Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS)
    • 2004, Member of the United States National Academy of Sciences
    • 2009, Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Major Academic Achievements

Ramakrishnan 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. In 2007, his laboratory determined the atomic structure of the whole ribosome in complex with its tRNA and mRNA ligands. In another research paper, Ramakrishnan investigated the relationship of the ribosomal subunit to various antibiotic agents. Many antibiotic substances dock at the ribosomes of bacteria, thereby blocking them. However, some substances have ceased to be effective, and the increasing rate of antibiotic resistance presents a challenge for medicine. Ramakrishnan and his colleagues hope that their research can be used to develop a new generation of antibiotic agents. The goal is to find substances that inhibit the protein synthesis of bacterial ribosomes in a more targeted way, that put pathogens out of commission, and that lead to fewer cases of resistance.