Manchanahalli Rangaswamy Satyanarayan Rao obtained BSc and MSc degrees from Bangalore University, and PhD from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore under the supervision of Professor G Padmanabhan while working on the regulation of heme synthesis in liver. He then worked with Professor Harris Busch, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, USA for his postdoctoral work (1974-78). He was Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology, Baylor College of Medicine (1977-78). Thereafter, he was associated with Professor J Ganguly for a brief period at the Department of Biochemistry, then joined Faculty of the Department at IISc, and later worked as its Chairman also (1998-2003). In 2003, he was invited to take up the position of President of Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, a premier research institution under the Department of Science & Technology.
Academic & Research Achievements: While at IISc, Rao worked on role of Vitamin A in cellular differentiation. He also built up an active school of Chromatin Biology using mammalian spermatogenesis as a model system. He has made very original and insightful contributions on the role of histone and their variants in modulating chromatin structure to facilitate various important biological phenomena. He also initiated various genomics programs at the Institute including a NMITLI Program on cancer genomics. He has authored over 145 publications and has mentored 30 PhD students and several postdoctoral fellows.
Other Contributions: Professor Rao has been a Member/Chairman of several national and international committees. He was Chairman of the Research Council of CCMB, Hyderabad and IICB, Kolkata. He has been a Member of the Indo-French, Indo-JSPS, and Indo-Brazil Science Councils and INSA Council Member (1999-2001). He was also Chairman of the DBT Task Force on Human Genetics and Genomic Analysis. He was appointed by Ministry of Human Resources Development as the first Chairman of the Board of Governors of Indian Institute of Science Education & Research, Trivandrum, Member of Science & Engineering Research Board (SERB)
Awards and Honours: . Professor Rao was conferred the SS Bhatnagar Prize (1988), Ranbaxy Science Foundation Award (1999), Jawaharlal Nehru Birth Centenary Fellowship (2000) by INSA, JC Bose Medal (2001), OP Bhasin Award (2002), FICCI Award (2004), JC Bose National Fellowship (2006), Sir M Visveswaraya Award (2004), Dr BR Ambedkar Centenary Award (2005), and TWAS Medal Lecture (2008). He was elected President of the Society of the Biological Chemists for two terms; and Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad and the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS) and Padma Sri of Govt. of India (2010)