Sir Shankar Balasubramanian FMedSci FRS

Shankar Balasubramanian conducts cutting-edge research into nucleic acids — complex molecules that are the fundamental building blocks of life. His development of new ways of regulating and altering how particular genes work has revolutionised biology. Shankar’s work holds great potential for medicine, such as in the creation of new treatments for cancer and degenerative diseases.

He takes a problem-solving approach to his work, which often means inventing new methods and equipment. For example, he is co-inventor of a fast, accurate and low-cost method of identifying DNA gene sequences known as Solexa sequencing currently being used to routinely sequence human genomes. Shankar and his team have particular expertise in designing and building small organic molecules to target particular regions of DNA and RNA.

Shankar has won many awards, which recognise his achievements and their wider impact in advancing biology and medicine. These include the Corday–Morgan Prize of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and the 2010 BBSRC Innovator of the Year award. In 2014, he won the Biochemical Society Heatley Medal and Prize.

Subject groups

  • Chemistry

    Chemistry, organic, Chemistry, biological


  • Royal Medals

    For their co-development of DNA sequencing techniques transforming biology and genomic medicine.

  • Royal Society Mullard Award

    For his inventive new approach to DNA sequencing.

Sir Shankar Balasubramanian FMedSci FRS
Elected 2012