Source: Interfolio F180

Ramanarayanan Krishnamurthy

Professor of Chemistry
Department of Chemistry


Research Focus

Research in our group is focused on the use of synthetic organic chemistry and methodology to

- experimentally address questions concerning the origins of life with respect to the advent of functional monomers and the emergence of informational polymers.
-fashion artificial informational polymers in order to expand the interface between synthetic nucleic acids and the natural biopolymers (proteins and RNA/DNA).
-make available novel molecular tools that may provide new avenues for probing biological systems and for research in synthetic biology.


Ph.D. (Chemistry), The Ohio State University, 1992
M.S., The Indian Institute of Technology, 1986
B.S., Vivekananda College, 1984

Professional Experience

2019- Member, Chemistry Admissions Committee
2018- Founding Co-Lead, PCE3 consortium (PCE3), RCN - NASA Astrobiology Program
2018 June/July CAS visting fellow, CAS research group, LMU, Munich
2014- Member, Simons Collaboration on the Origins of Life
2010- Member, Center for Chemical Evolution, Georgia Institute of Technolology, Atlanta, Georgia
2005– Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, The Scripps Research, Institute, La Jolla, California
2005–2009 Investigator, The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California
1998–2005 Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California
1996–1997 Senior research associate with Professor Eschenmoser, The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California
1994–1996 Postdoctoral Fellow, NASA Specialized Center for Research and Training (NSCORT) in Exobiology; Research Advisor – Prof. Gustaf Arrhenius, The Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California
1992–1994 Postdoctoral Fellow; Research Advisor – Prof. Albert Eschenmoser, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zürich

Awards & Professional Activities

2016 Member, Scientific Organizing Committee, 2017 ISSOL.
2014-17 Councillor, ISSOL (The International Astrobiology Society)
2011 ISSOL Fellow

2010 Member, Scientific Organizing Committee, 2011 ISSOL.
2009– UCSD undergraduate work-study program.
2008­– MySci@Scripps - annual open house for High School students
and Mentor, TSRI summer internship program;
Astrobiology panel at UCSD life sciences career expo.
2006-08 San Diego Science Educators Association – Inventors
1998– Member, American Association for the Advancement of
1995– Member, International Society for the Study of the Origin
of Life (The International Astrobiology Society)
1988– Member, American Chemical Society

Selected Publications

Yadav, Mahipal; Pulletikurti, Sunil; Yerabolu, Jayasudhan R.; Krishnamurthy, Ramanarayanan Cyanide as a primordial reductant enables a protometabolic reductive glyoxylate pathway. 2022, 14, 170-178.

Frenkel-Pinter, M.; Haynes, J. W.; Mohyeldin, A. M.; Martin, C.; Sargon, A. B.; Petrov, A. S.; Krishnamurthy, Ramanarayanan; Hud, N. V.; Williams, L. D.; Leman, Lucas J. Mutually stabilizing interactions between proto-peptides and RNA. Nature Communications 2020, 11.

Krishnamurthy, Ramanarayanan Life's biological chemistry: a destiny or destination starting from prebiotic chemistry?. Chemistry-a European Journal 2018, 24, 16708-16715.

Pulletikurti, Sunil; Yadav, Mahipal; Springsteen, Greg; Krishnamurthy, Ramanarayanan Prebiotic synthesis of a-amino acids and orotate from a-ketoacids potentiates transition to extant metabolic pathways. 2022, 14, 1142-1150.

Krishnamurthy, Ramanarayanan Giving rise to life: Transition from prebiotic chemistry to protobiology. Accounts of Chemical Research 2017, 50, 455-459.

Veena, Kollery S.; Cruz, H A.; Krishnamurthy, Ramanarayanan Microwave-Assisted One-Step Synthesis of 2',3'-Cyclic Phosphates of Nucleosides. 2023, 3, e834.

Krishnamurthy, Ramanarayanan; Snieckus, V. Prebiotic organic chemistry and chemical pre-biology: speaking to the synthetic organic chemists. Synlett 2017, 28, 27-29.

Yi, Ruiqin; Mojica, Mike; Fahrenbach, Albert C.; James Cleaves, H; Krishnamurthy, Ramanarayanan; Liotta, Char L. Carbonyl Migration in Uronates Affords a Potential Prebiotic Pathway for Pentose Production. 2023, 3, 2522-2535.

Frenkel-Pinter, M.; Haynes, J. W.; Martin, C.; Petrov, A. S.; Burcar, B. T.; Krishnamurthy, Ramanarayanan; Hud, N. V.; Leman, Lucas J.; Williams, L. D. Selective incorporation of proteinaceous over nonproteinaceous cationic amino acids in model prebiotic oligomerization reactions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2019, 116, 16338-16346.

Krishnamurthy, Ramanarayanan On the Emergence of RNA. Israel Journal of Chemistry 2015, 55, 837-850.

Cruz, H A.; Jiménez, Eddy I.; Krishnamurthy, Ramanarayanan Enhancing Prebiotic Phosphorylation and Modulating the Regioselectivity of Nucleosides with Diamidophosphate†. 2023, 145, 23781-23793.

Butch, Christopher; Cope, Elizabeth D.; Pollet, Pamela; Gelbaum, Leslie; Krishnamurthy, Ramanarayanan; Liotta, Char L. Production of tartrates by cyanide-mediated dimerization of glyoxylate: a potential abiotic pathway to the citric acid cycle. 2013, 135, 13440-5.

Toparlak, Ö Duhan; Sebastianelli, Lorenzo; Egas Ortuno, Veronica; Karki, Megha; Xing, Yanfeng; Szostak, Jack W.; Krishnamurthy, Ramanarayanan; Mansy, Sheref S S. Cyclophospholipids Enable a Protocellular Life Cycle. 2023, 17, 23772-23783.

Sagi, V. N.; Karri, P.; Hu, F.; Krishnamurthy, Ramanarayanan Diastereoselective self-condensation of dihydroxyfumaric acid in water: Potential route to sugars. Angewandte Chemie-International Edition 2011, 50, 8127-8130.