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Yamuna Krishnan

Professor of Chemistry, University of Chicago

Ph.D Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore

Yamuna Krishnan is Professor at the Department of Chemistry at the University of Chicago since 2014. Prior to that she was Associate Professor at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore. She received a PhD in Organic Chemistry in 2002 from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and was an 1851 Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge, UK. Her lab researches new functions of DNA beyond that of its traditional role as Nature’s genetic material. DNA nanodevices are nanoscale assemblies, formed from a collection of DNA strands that can have artificial functions engineered into them. Her research group at the NCBS pioneered the use of DNA-nanodevices to study living cells. At the University of Chicago she expanded DNA-nanotechnology into applications in discovery biology and precision medicine. Selected honors include the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award for Chemical Sciences, the Infosys Prize for Physical Sciences, the Ono Pharma Foundation Breakthrough Award and the Sun Pharma Award for Basic Medical Research. She was on Cell’s 40 under 40 list of scientists shaping current and future trends in biology and is a AAAS Fellow. She is on the Editorial Board and Advisory Board of journals from the Royal Society of Chemistry, American Chemical Society, Wiley and Cell Press, and serves on the Scientific Advisory Boards of the Max Planck institute of Cell Biology and Genetics (Germany), and the Brain Research Foundation (USA). She co-founded two companies, Esya Inc and MacroLogic Inc that utilize her organelle-targeting nanotechnology for diagnostics and therapeutics respectively.


  • 2013-present: University of Chicago
  • 2005-2013: National Center for Biological Sciences, Bangalore
  • 2001-05: 1851 Research Fellow, University of Cambridge
  • Co-Founder, Esya Inc
  • Co-Founder, MacroLogic Inc

Research Focus Area 

  • Application of DNA nanotechnology in living systems
  • Quantitative functional imaging

Awards and Honors 

  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Cell’s 40 under 40
  • Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award for Chemical Sciences, 
  • Infosys Prize for Physical Sciences, 
  • Ono Pharma Foundation Breakthrough Award 
  • Sun Pharma Award for Basic Medical Research 
  • NIH Director’s Pioneer Award
Study at Ashoka

Study at Ashoka