Guruswamy Krishnamoorthy obtained his BSc and MSc degrees from Madras Christian College (Chennai). He joined the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) and worked on two broad topics: (i) Electron paramagnetic resonance of metal complexes with the aim of understanding the mechanism of spin transfer and (ii) Temperature-Jump relaxation kinetics of enzyme-ligand complexes, under the guidance of BS Prabhananda, to obtain his PhD (1980). Subsequently he worked with Peter Hinkle at Cornell University, on the mechanism of coupling between intra-protein electron flow and proton pumping in mitochondrial energy transducing systems.
Academic and Research Achievements: At Cornell University, Krishnamoorthy's work provided a quantitative understanding of the origin of steady-state electrochemical proton gradient as arising from non-ohmic proton conductance across biological membranes. Later, his research career was largely localized at TIFR. His contribution began with the invention of a novel technique based on Temperature-Jump to study fast transport of protons across biological membranes. Subsequent work on the use of ultrafast laser spectroscopy in biomolecular dynamics has resulted in several significant findings such as: (i) The presence of intracellular viscosity gradients and cell type dependence of viscosity; (ii) Convincing demonstration of the existence of nanometer sized clusters (called 'rafts') on cell surfaces and their dynamics related to membrane composition, for the first time; (iii) Demonstration of continuous transition between 'native' and 'unfolded' states and the direct experimental visualization of 'folding funnel' that have far-reaching implications; (iv) Solution of the puzzle of ATP requirement in RecA-mediated DNA recombination; it was shown that efficient strand exchange process requires a novel segmental dynamics in DNA caused by ATP hydrolysis; (v) Establishment of fluorescence dynamics map of polypeptide, a novel method to get structural insights in unfolded proteins and protein aggregates and fibrils, etc. Several students obtained their PhD degree under his guidance.
Other Contributions: As Dean of Graduate Studies at TIFR, Professor Krishnamoorthy has contributed significantly to enhance both the quality and quantity of research scholars selected for various programmes in TIFR.
Awards and Honours: Professor Krishnamoorthy is a recipient of the CRSI Medal and is a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore.