Padmanabhan Balaram

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Padmanabhan Balaram
Photo P Balaram.jpg
Fields Biochemistry
Institutions Indian Institute of Science
Alma mater University of Pune
Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur
Carnegie Mellon University
Doctoral advisor Aksel A. Bothner-By
Notable awards Padma Shri
Padma Bhushan[1]

Padmanabhan Balaram is an Indian biochemist and a former director of the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, India.[2] He is a recipient of the fourth highest Indian civilian honour of Padma Shri (2002).[3]


Balaram received his Bachelor's degree in Chemistry from Fergusson College, University of Pune followed by a Master's degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and his PhD degree from Carnegie Mellon University with Aksel A. Bothner-By.[4] After a postdoctoral stint at Harvard University with Nobel laureate Robert Burns Woodward,[5] he returned to the Indian Institute of Science, where he has been ever since as a faculty member in the Molecular Biophysics Unit. During his PhD, Balaram studied the use of negative Nuclear Overhauser effect signals as probes of macromolecular conformations. As a postdoc with Woodword, Balaram worked on the synthesis of the antibiotic erythromycin.[2]


Balaram's main area of research has been the investigation of the structure, conformation, and biological activity of designed and natural peptides. To do this, he has extensively used techniques such as Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy, Infrared spectroscopy, and Circular Dichroism, along with X-ray crystallography. He has been a major contributor to the evaluation of factors influencing the folding and conformations of designed peptides, and has investigated structural elements playing a key role in the formation of secondary structural motifs such as helices, beta turns, and sheets. Along with Isabella Karle, a frequent collaborator, he has also pioneered the use of alpha-amino isobutyric acid to induce and retain helicity and constrain peptide conformations.[6]

Balaram has authored more than 400 research papers, and is a fellow of the Indian National Science Academy.[4][7]

He was the editor of the journal Current Science till June 2013.[8]


  1. ^ Receives Padma Bhushan
  2. ^ a b Prof. P. Balaram lab Webpage at IISc Retrieved 16 July 2012
  3. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b National Knowledge Commission member P. Balaram Retrieved 16 July 2012
  5. ^ Interview with Prof. P. Balaram, Department of Chemistry IIT Delhi CHEMCOS Journal of The Chemical Society, IIT Delhi. Issue IV :June 2009. Retrieved 16 July 2012
  6. ^ Prof. P. Balaram’s lab Retrieved 16 July 2012
  7. ^ Indian National Science Academy fellow Retrieved 16 July 2012
  8. ^ Current Science Editorial Board Retrieved 16 July 2012

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