Trinity Fellow Shankar Balasubramanian has been knighted in the New Year Honours for his services to science and medicine. His research into the building blocks of life have revolutionised biology and have great potential for medicine.
Sir Shankar is the Herchel Smith Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Cambridge and Senior Group Leader at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute. He said:
It is a great honour for me as well as a wonderful acknowledgement of the research that I have carried out in Cambridge with my co-workers and collaborators over the past two decades. I was particularly pleased to see recognition of our basic science and its impact on medicine, as I am jointly appointed between the Departments of Chemistry and Medicine.
Sir Shankar and his team invented an ultrafast, accurate and low-cost method of DNA sequencing, which is now routinely used in decoding human genomes.
He has also made important contributions to four-stranded DNA, known as G-quadruplexes, and their role in cancer. He and his team have particular expertise in designing and building small organic molecules to target particular regions of DNA and RNA.
Sir Shankar is scientific founder of Solexa and Cambridge Epigenetix.
Among Sir Shankar’s many awards are the 2015 Chemical Research Society of India Medal, the 2014 Biochemical Society Heatley Medal and Prize, the 2013 Tetrahedron Prize for Creativity in Organic and Biomedicinal Chemistry, the 2010 BBSRC Innovator of the Year, and the 2009 Royal Society Mullard Award. Sir Shankar is a Fellow of the Royal Society and the Academy of Medical Sciences.