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Prof. Madan Rao

Distinguished Alumnus
Senior Professor, National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bangalore.
M.Sc., 1982, Physics

Professor Madan Rao is a Senior Professor at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bangalore.  Prof. Rao began his association with NCBS in December 1999, when he joined the Raman Research Institute as an Associate Professor.  He has worked on a variety of projects involving the physics of active, evolving systems across scales - from biomolecules and sub-cellular structures to cells and tissues. His forte lies in the theoretical approaches he takes to understand the physical and chemical principles underlying biological organisation.  Prof. Rao was the founding member of the Theory group, currently the Simon's Centre for the Study of Living Machines at NCBS, where he has been instrumental in mentoring younger colleagues and advising students in theoretical approaches to studying biological phenomena.

Prof. Rao, obtained his Master of Science in Physics from IIT Bombay in 1982, and earned his PhD in Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics, from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore in 1988, on Hysteresis in Model Spin Systems, under the supervision of Profs. H.R Krishnamurthy and Rahul Pandit. He worked as Post-Doctoral researcher in the Department of Physics, at IISc Bangalore, under the mentorship of Prof. M. Wortis, where he worked on Membranes, Soft Matter and Nonequilibrium Statistical Mechanics.

Prof. Rao's earlier research work on Nonequilibrium Statistical Mechanics, Soft Matter and Biophysics has, over last ten years, come together in addressing questions in more interdisciplinary areas where nonequilibrium statistical physics, soft matter and information theory intersect with cell biology.

Prof. Rao has won many honours and awards. Prominent ones include the Swarnajayanti Grant awarded by the Department of Science and Technology in 1998; B. M. Birla Science Award in Physics in 1997; Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award for Physical Sciences in 2004; Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) Grant for 2007-2011 -- Physical and biochemical mechanisms of membrane deformation in lipid-mediated endocytosis; Indo-French Centre for the Promotion of Advanced Research (CEFIPRA) Grant -- The Mechanics of Living Matter; and Elected as Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences in 2011.

“I discovered a lot about science, good cinema/theatre and living, during my stay on the campus. The freedom that allowed me to express my madness, but more significantly spend time at TIFR, on the other side of the frenzied metropolis.”---Prof. Madan Rao.

Blurb:  Remarking on his mantra for success, he said, “I don't know about success, but creativity requires: Freedom, Passion, Hard Work laced with humor and the company of very creative people”.