Venkatraman Ramakrishnan keynote speaker

British-American structural biologist.
2009 Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry and current President of the Royal Society.
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TOPICS
  • Histone and chromatin structure
  • Molecular biology
  • Mutual impact of ribosomes and antibiotics
  • Ribosome structures
  • Science and Brexit
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ABOUT SPEAKER

Venkatraman „Venki” Ramakrishnan is a British-American structural biologist who is the current President of the Royal Society.

In 2009, he shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Thomas A. Steitz and Ada Yonath, „for studies of the structure and function of the ribosome”. He was elected President of the Royal Society for a term of five years starting in 2015.

Since 1999, he has worked as a group leader at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, UK.

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. In 2007, his laboratory determined the atomic structure of the whole ribosome in complex with its tRNA and mRNA ligands. Since 2013, he has primarily used cryo-EM to determine new ribosome structures. Ramakrishnan is also known for his past work on histone and chromatin structure.

As of 2019 his most cited papers (according to Google Scholar) have been published in Nature, Science and Cell.

Ramakrishnan fears a no deal Brexit would harm science. Ramakrishnan wrote, „A deal on science is in the best interests of Europe as a whole and should not be sacrificed as collateral damage over disagreements on other issues. If we are going to successfully tackle global problems like climate change, human disease and food security, we can’t do so in isolation. There is no scenario where trashing our relationships with our closest scientific collaborators in the EU gets us closer to these goals.”

Ramakrishnan was elected a Member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) in 2002, a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2003, and a Member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2004. In 2007, Ramakrishnan was awarded the Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine and the Datta Lectureship and Medal of the Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS). In 2008, he won the Heatley Medal of the British Biochemical Society. Since 2008, he is a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge and a foreign Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy. He was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2010, and has received honorary degrees from the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, University of Utah and University of Cambridge. He is also an Honorary Fellow of Somerville College, Oxford.

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 ‚Sir’. In the same year, he was awarded the Sir Hans Krebs Medal by the FEBS. In 2014, he was awarded the XLVI Jiménez-Díaz Prize by the Fundación Conchita Rábago (Spain). Ramakrishnan was included as one of 25 Greatest Global Living Indians by NDTV Channel, India on 14 December 2013.


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