Krishna N Ganesh earned his BSc (1970) and MSc (1972) degrees from Central College, Bangalore University, after which he worked on chemistry of lac resin in the Department of Chemistry, Delhi University under the supervision of GBV Subramanian. Subsequently, he proceeded to Cambridge University on a Commonwealth Fellowship, to work with JKM Sanders on modelling the primary reaction of photosynthesis through quinone-capped metalloporphyrins. He received PhD degree from Cambridge University for this work. On returning to India (1981), Ganesh joined as a Scientist at the newly established Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, moving to National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Pune in1987.
Academic and Research Achievements: At CCMB, in collaboration with D Balasubramanian, Ganesh mapped the solubilization sites of probes in micelles using NMR spectroscopy to demonstrate that most probes are themselves surface-active and do not penetrate more than 3-4 carbon lengths from the headgroup. At NCL he initiated the chemical synthesis, biological and biophysical studies of nucleic acids with proteins and other small molecules. His most recognized work is in the area of chemistry of peptide nucleic acids, wherein he has rationally designed several intelligent analogues of PNA, including award of a US patent for one of the modifications. He has also contributed to biophysical studies of 4-aminoproline collagens, role of HIV Tat protein in transcription and more recently on assembly of nanoparticles on DNA and peptides as templates. He has published about 150 research papers and mentored 25 PhD students.
Other Contributions: Dr Ganesh has contributed in the area of chemical education with a number of popular lectures and producing a 4-part movie series in NMR spectroscopy for EMR. He is an active participant in the Frontier lecture series organized by JNCASR, to develop interest in chemistry among college teachers. He is an Adjunct Faculty at Pune University and the First Director and Professor of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune. He is an IUPAC titular Member in Biomolecular Chemistry and currently Chairman of the Royal Society of Chemistry, West India section. He has been involved in the development of bio-organic chemistry in India, as a key member of ISBOC.
Awards and Honours: Ganesh was Young Associate of Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore (1983). He has received several awards and honours that include INSA Medal for Young Scientists (1984), BM Birla Award (1990), Homi Bhabha Fellow (1993), Bhatnagar Prize (1998), TWAS Prize (2006), Fellowship of Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore (1994) and the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS) (2007).