KK Kannan did his BSc from St Josephs College, Trichy and MSc (Physics) from the Presidency College, Madras. He obtained his PhD (1965) from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. He was a Government of India SIDA Research Fellow at Uppsala University, Sweden (1965-66). After a short stint in the Indian Ply Wood Association Research Institute, Bangalore, he worked as a post-doctoral Fellow and Research Assistant Professor in the Wallenberg Lab, Uppsala University, Sweden till 1978 and was a Docent in Uppsala University. Till his retirement he was Scientific Officer at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai from 1978-1999. He was INSA Senior Scientist during 1999-2002.
Academic and Research Achievements: Dr Kannan has been engaged in the elucidation of crystal structures by X-ray diffraction. Using in situ low temperature crystallization he determined the structure of dimethyl sulfoxide. His main endeavor has been in the field of macromolecular crystallography and pioneered macromolecular crystallographic research in India setting up the protein crystallographic laboratory at BARC, Bombay. His group was the first in India to crystallize the protein notechis, a snake venome toxin. Also his group was the first in India to elucidate the structure of a protein, namely, buffalo carbonic anhydrase, and to clone and determine the structure of human carbonic anhydrase. Other protein structures elucidated are that of Rubisco, HIV protease tethered dimer and a number of inhibitor complexes. Kannan has mentored 6 PhDs and a number of MSc students in India and aboard.
Other Contributions: Kannan has been a member of a number of DST Committees; of the Bose Institute Council, Calcutta; of the Advisory Panel of International Tables for macromolecular crystallography and of the ICCR Synchrotron Committee. He collected synchrotron X-ray diffraction data for a large number of protein crystals from Tsucuba, Japan.
Awards and Honours: Kannan is the recipient of Jawaharlal Nehru Birth Centenary Lecture (1992) of INSA. He was also Secretary, INSA (1993-95).