Biography of Yamuna Krishnan – Academician in USA

1 year ago / by Swarnendu Biswas
Yamuna Krishnan
Image credits: uchicagoalumniweekend via Flickr

Science is in her DNA

Yamuna Krishnan is a well-known Indian academician working in the US. She is working as a Professor at the Department of Chemistry, University of Chicago since August 2014.

Presently her research interests are in the areas related to structure and dynamics of nucleic acids, nucleic acid nanotechnology, cellular and subcellular technologies. She was awarded the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology, which is the highest science award in India. She was honored with this award in 2013, in the Chemical Science category.

If one were to ask what is the profession of Yamuna Krishnan then it wouldn’t be an easy answer. It is because she is an academician, scientist and entrepreneur all rolled into one.

Academic Exploration

In order to know about Yamuna Krishnan, it would be necessary to know that her growing up years were spent in Chennai. She earned her graduation degree from the University of Madras when she got her Bsc in Chemistry, in 1993. She studied in Women’s Christian College, Chennai.

She then did her MS or Master’s of Science in chemical sciences from the renowned Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru, in 1997 and did her Phd. in organic chemistry from the same revered institution in 2002. She was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of Chemistry, in the University of Cambridge, the UK.

She was a Fellow of the National Centre for Biological Sciences, which is a part of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bengaluru, during 2005-2009 and a Reader of the same institute during 2009-2013. She rose in the ranks within the same institute by becoming the Associate Professor, which was her prior position to the present one in the Chicago University.  

Futuristic Research

Yamuna has attracted renown for application of DNA nanotechnology to live cell imaging, which should be an essential facet to explore in the biography of Yamuna Krishnan. During her tenure with the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Yamuna arrived at the realization that the DNA-based fluorescence sensors she was designing did have potential to be used to diagnose diseases.

 “Our research exploits nucleic acid structure and dynamics to create DNA-based nanodevices for quantitative chemical imaging of living systems,” informed Yamuna Krishnan while talking about the various research works carried out at her laboratory, which is under the University of Chicago.

The news on Yamuna Krishnan informs us that she also leads a biotech start-up named Esya Labs as the Chief Science Officer, which she co-founded in 2018. Esya Labs, which is engaged in developing DNA nanodevices which can track drug responses, screen for new therapies and have many other medical applications, has presence in London and Boston. One of the lofty goals of Esya Labs is finding drugs for neurogenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease.


She was awarded the Infosys Prize 2017 in Physical Sciences for her ground-breaking work in DNA. By successfully manipulating DNA to create biocompatible nanomachines she has created novel ways of interrogating living systems, increasing our knowledge of cell function and getting one step closer to answering unresolved biomedical questions, noted the website on Infosys Prize.


What is Yamuna Krishnan known for?

She has been largely known for her applications of DNA nanotechnology.

Is Yamuna Krishnan a scientist?

She is a renowned scientist in the field of bionanotechnology.

Where was Yamuna Krishnan born?

She was born in Parappanangadi, located in the Malappuram district of the Kerala state of India.

Where did Yamuna Krishnan study?

She studied in the University of Madras, Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru and in the University of Cambridge.

When was Yamuna Krishnan born?

She was born on 25th May 1974. The age of Yamuna Krishnan is 47 years.