Department of Chemistry and the College
The central theme of Yamuna Krishnan’s research is synthetic biology with DNA and RNA. By utilizing DNA and RNA as molecular clay, she fashions tiny sensing devices that can be externally introduced into living systems and programmed to reach intracellular organelles or specialized microenvironments of a cell or tissue. These sensors function as quantitative reporters of protein function within those active biological microenvironments.
Her research group has pioneered the deployment of designer nucleic acid devices in living systems, where they function as custom probes of complex biological phenomena, particularly intracellular traffic. She is the youngest female recipient of what is widely considered to be the highest award for science and technology in India, the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize. More recently, the journal Cell selected her as one of the 40 most accomplished young scientists shaping current and future trends in biology.
Krishnan obtained her MS in chemical sciences and PhD in organic chemistry from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India. She was an 1851 Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge Department of Chemistry before being appointed to the faculty of the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, India.
Krishnan joined the University of Chicago faculty in 2014.