Ramakrishnan, Venkatraman

Ramakrishnan, Venkatraman, 1952–, American molecular biologist, b. India, Ph.D. Ohio Univ., 1976. He was a researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (1982–83) and at Brookhaven National Laboratory (1983–95) and a professor at the Univ. of Utah (1995–99). He has been a researcher at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, England, since 1999 and a senior research fellow at Cambridge since 2008. In 2009, Ramakrishnan was a co-recipient with Thomas Steitz and Ada Yonath of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, for their studies explaining the structure and function of the ribosome, which translates the information in DNA into protein sequences (see cell, in biology; nucleic acid). All three used X-ray crystallography to map the position of each of the hundreds of thousands of atoms that make up the ribosome, and they developed three-dimensional models showing how various antibiotics bind to it (many antibiotics work by interfering with bacterial ribosomes). Their work made fundamental contributions to the scientific understanding of life and to the development of antibiotics.

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