Meet Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Indian-born biologist awarded the British Order of Merit


Indian-born British and American structural biologist and Nobel laureate Venki Ramakrishnan has been appointed to the Order of Merit by King Charles III. King Charles III made the appointments on Friday, his first since becoming Sovereign of the Order, and after the death of Queen Elizabeth II. The six new members were chosen by the Queen before her death.

Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Venki Ramakrishnan

Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, also known as “Venki”, hails from the temple city of Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu, has worked as a biologist for over 30 years, with much of his research focusing on central problems in molecular biology. He’s 70.

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Venki Ramakrishnan, a fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, also studied at Baroda University, Ohio University and the University of California, San Diego.

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Venki was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2009 together with Thomas Steitz and Ada Yonath for the high-resolution atomic structure of the ribosome, which opened up new possibilities in the development of antibiotics.

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Venki Ramakrishnan was also knighted “for services to molecular biology” in the 2012 New Year Honors List. He is also the author of the popular book, Gene Machine, which records his first-hand account of the discovery.

In addition, Venki is also a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina and EMBO, as well as a foreign member of the Indian National Science Academy.

In 2017, he received the Golden Plate Award from the American Academy of Achievement. In 2010, he received Padma Vibhushan.

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Meanwhile, the Order of Merit, a royal award for distinguished service, became more diverse this time with four of the six new members from ethnic minorities.

“Appointments to the Order are made in recognition of distinguished service to the armed forces, science, art, literature or the promotion of culture. The individuals were chosen by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in early September,” the royal family’s website announced.

The order has 24 members drawn from the arts, sciences and armed forces.