M. R. S. Rao

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M. R. S. Rao
Prof MRS Rao -Lab Office.JPG
Born 21 January 1948
Residence Bangalore
Nationality Indian
Alma mater Indian Institute of Science
Known for Chromatin Biology and Cancer Biology
Awards Padma Shri (2010) and Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology(1988)
Scientific career
Fields Biological Sciences
Institutions Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research
Doctoral advisor G. Padmanabhan
Doctoral students Tapas Kumar Kundu Subi Jacob George

Manchanahalli Rangaswamy Satyanarayana Rao known by the abbreviation M. R. S. Rao, is an Indian scientist, born on 21 January 1948 at Mysore, India. He has been awarded the fourth highest civilian award Padma Shri[1][2] in Science and Engineering category (year 2010) by the Government of India. He was the President[3] of Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Bangalore, India (2003-2013)

Education and personal life[edit]

Rao obtained his bachelor's degree (BSc) in 1966 and master's degree (MSc) in 1968 from Bangalore University. He received his PhD in biochemistry from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore in 1973. Govindarajan Padmanabhan (Former Director, IISc) was his doctoral advisor at Department of Biochemistry. He did his postdoctoral research at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA, (1974–76) and was as Assistant Professor at the same institution. He decided to come back to India and joined Department of Biochemistry, Indian Institute of Science (IISc).

At present, he is an Honorary Professor[4] at Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Bangalore and actively running Chromatin Biology[5] laboratory. He has been credited as first scientist to initiate Chromatin Biology research in India. In more than 30 years of active research career, his lab at IISc and JNCASR, has mentored[6][7] more than 35 PhD students, dozens of Postdoctoral fellows and hundreds of research trainees.

Rao is married to Padma S. Rao and the couple has two sons, M. S. Sharat and M. S. Rohan, both engineers by profession. The happy family lives in Bangalore.

Professional life[edit]

Rao with Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India; B.S. Yeddyurappa, Chief Minister of Karnataka and C. N. R. Rao during a function at JNCASR, Bangalore.

After having his postdoctoral research and short stint of assistant professorship at Baylor College of Medicine, US, he returned to India in 1978 and joined the Department of Biochemistry, IISc as Assistant Professor. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1987 and Professor in 1991. He was the Chairman of Centre for Genetic Engineering, IISc between 1990–93. For several occasions, he served as visiting professor to Baylor College of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and University of California at San Diego, US.

In 2003, he accepted the chair of President of Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Jakkur, Bangalore. He was the Chairperson of Department of Biochemistry, IISc (1998–2003) and Molecular Biology and Genetics Unit (MBGU, JNCASR) between 2005–09. He has served as President of Society of Biological Chemists (India) for two terms between 2000–04. M.R.S. Rao has been associated as a governing body member or as a scientific advisor to several research institutes in India. He is the Ex-Chairman of Board of Governors of Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.

He has served as chairperson or expert member of several scientific councils such as Department of Science and Technology, Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR); Science academies such as Indian Academy of Sciences (IAS), National Academy of Sciences, India (NASI), Indian National Science Academy (INSA), Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) and science policy making committees in Government of India organisations, Institutions and Universities in India. He is also active member of Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) activities. He is the chairperson[8] of Task Force on Human Genetics & Genome Analysis of Department of Biotechnology, (DBT) India. He is member[9] of Governing body of Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology (IBAB), Bangalore. He is also serving as member[10] of academic council of Poornaprajna Institute of Scientific Research, Bangalore.

Rao has been appointed as a member[11] in the newly constituted National Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) which will support innovation, research and development in various sciences in India.

He is on the editorial board of several high repute peer reviewed journals and recently has joined as senior member on the editorial board of American Journal of Cancer Research (AJCR).[12]


Rao is a prolific scientific researcher and author of hundreds of peer reviewed international journal articles. Several research articles have been cited extensively throughout the world scientific community. Most of his research work has been focused on Chromatin biology and Cancer biology.

Rao has an h-index of above 26 (as per June 2011) and it's still in logarithmic phase and heading up continuously. One of his publication[13] over colon cancer, published in Cell (journal) has extensive citations of more than 2000 so far.

Awards and recognitions[edit]

Rao has received several medals, awards and fellowships both in India and overseas. He has been awarded the Padma Shri (year 2010) by Government of India for his immense contribution in Science and Engineering to the country. He has received the coveted Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology[14] (Year 1988) from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the Dr. B. R. Ambedkar Centenary Award[15] from the Indian Council of Medical Research (2005), the Jawaharlal Nehru Birth Centenary Lecture award of the Indian National Science Academy (INSA), the FICCI Award, the J. C. Bose Medal of INSA, a Rockefeller Foundation Biotechnology Fellowship, the Om Prakash Bhasin Award, the Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) Medal Lecture Award 2008, the Ranbaxy Science Foundation Award for Basic Medical Sciences, and the Sir M. Visveswaraiah Senior Scientist State award from the Government of Karnataka. He received the Prof. N. Appaji Rao Best Mentor Award, 2011,[16] an award instituted by the Indian Institute of Science Alumni Association (IIScAA), Bangalore.

He is a fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences (IAS), Bangalore; the Indian National Science Academy (INSA), Delhi; the National Academy of Sciences, India (NASI), Allahabad; the National Academy of Medical Sciences (FAMS), India; the Third World Academy of Science (TWAS), Trieste, Italy; the American Society for Cell Biology, the American Society for Microbiology, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the Human Genome Organization.


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