Venki Ramakrishnan, Deputy Director of the LMB, Joint Head of the LMB’s Structural Studies Division and Nobel Laureate, has been confirmed as President Elect of the Royal Society. He will take up the post of President on 1 December 2015.
Venki’s research focuses on the structure and function of the ribosome, the molecular machine that synthesises proteins by translating genetic information held in mRNA, and on the action of antibiotics on this process. Bacterial ribosomes are different from those in higher organisms, making them good targets for drugs, so this information is critical in developing new antibiotics to combat infection and disease. For this work Venki shared the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2009 with Tom Steitz and Ada Yonath and was awarded a knighthood in 2012.
Venki was born in Chidambaram, India and has a B.Sc. in physics from Baroda University, India and a Ph.D. from Ohio University, USA. He studied biology at the University of California, San Diego and worked as a post-doctoral fellow at Yale University. Subsequently, he was a biophysicist at Brookhaven National Laboratory and Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Utah before he moved to the LMB as a group leader in 1999. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2003, and is also a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina (the German Science Academy) and a Foreign Member of the Indian National Science Academy.
Venki follows in the footsteps of the previous LMB Director and Nobel Laureate, Aaron Klug, who was President of the Royal Society from 1995 to 2000. Other previous Presidents include Christopher Wren, Samuel Pepys, Isaac Newton, Joseph Banks, Humphry Davy, and Ernest Rutherford.