Tamil Nadu-born Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, a senior scientist at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology at Cambridge, has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2009 along with two others, the Nobel Committee announced today.
Born in 1952 in Chidambaram, Ramakrishnan shares the Nobel with Thomas E Steitz (US) and Ada E Yonath (Israel) for their “studies of the structure and function of the ribosome”.
Ramakrishnan earned his BSc in Physics (1971) from Baroda University and his PhD in Physics (1976) from Ohio University.
He moved into biology at the University of California, San Diego, where he took a year of classes, then conducted research with Dr Mauricio Montal, a membrane biochemist.
With this 5.5 Angstrom-resolution structure, Ramakrishnan’s group identified key portions of the Ribonucleic acid (RNA), and using previously determined structures, positioned seven of the subunit’s proteins.