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December 3, 2015 at 2:35 pm

Physics Alum Assumes Presidency of London’s Royal Society

Ohio University alum Venkatraman “Venki” Ramakrishnan started his five-year term as President of the Royal Society in London on Dec. 1.

He earned a Ph.D. in Physics from the College of Arts & Sciences at Ohio University.

The Guardian’s science editor, Robin McKie, says Ramakrishnan “takes over the Royal Society at a time when the need for leadership and education is at its greatest.” Read Pepys, Newton, Wren … now Venki is the champion of British scientists.

Dr. Venkatraman ‘Venki’ Ramakrishna

Dr. Venkatraman ‘Venki’ Ramakrishna

Ramakrishnan received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on ribosomal structure and was knighted in 2012. He was elected to the society in 2003. He is also Ha member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina and EMBO, and a Foreign Member of the Indian National Science Academy. He is also Deputy Director of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology at the University of Cambridge.

His many scientific contributions “include his work on the atomic structure of the ribosome. As the site within living cells where the genetic information is read to synthesise proteins from amino acids, improved understanding of the ribosome has yielded many fundamental biological insights,” says his Royal Society biography.

“He determined the atomic structure of the 30S ribosomal subunit followed by structures of the entire ribosome in many different states and in complexes with several antibiotics. More recently, he has been using electron microscopy to visualise ribosomes in action in higher organisms. This work has advanced our understanding of how the ribosome works and how antibiotics inhibit it. In the past he has also worked on histone and chromatin structure, which help us to understand how DNA is organised in cells.”


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