Siddharth Ramakrishnan Appointed Jennie M. Caruthers Chair in Neuroscience

June 3, 2012


TACOMA, Wash. – Siddharth Ramakrishnan, an educator and researcher currently working at Columbia University in New York, has been appointed the first Jennie M. Caruthers Chair in Neuroscience at University of Puget Sound.

The chair is funded through a generous gift to the $125 million Campaign for University of Puget Sound, which seeks to raise $63 million for endowment to support faculty, student financial aid, and other campus programs.

Neuroscience, a study of the brain and nervous system, is a rapidly developing area that has extended from biology to now incorporate chemistry, physics, computer science, engineering, mathematics, health sciences, philosophy, physics, linguistics, and psychology.

“We are excited to have Dr. Ramakrishnan join us at a time when the biological sciences are leading the way in fields that touch on so many aspects of human life and human health,” said Kris Bartanen, dean and academic vice president for Puget Sound. “His wide expertise and interest in the intersection of science, art, and technology align with Puget Sound’s own mission of providing students not only with knowledge and skills, but with a sense of excitement about the possibilities of applying that learning.”

Ramakrishnan, a researcher in the Bioelectronics Systems Lab in Columbia’s Department of Electrical Engineering, has broad training in the biological sciences and extensive interdisciplinary teaching experience. He has worked in research at Columbia University; University of California, Los Angeles; and University of Illinois at Chicago. He also held teaching positions at Parsons The New School for Design in New York and at University of Illinois, in addition to invited lecturer posts in New York and Los Angeles.

The Jennie M. Caruthers Chair in Neuroscience is a new position at Puget Sound created to broaden expertise in the high-demand interdisciplinary emphasis in neuroscience that has been offered to students since fall 2007. The new chair also will help students and faculty take full advantage of the state-of-the-art equipment and facilities now a part of the William T. and Gail T. Weyerhaeuser Center for Health Sciences that opened on campus last fall.

Ramakrishnan will begin his teaching appointment as a tenure-line assistant professor at Puget Sound in January 2013. He will retain the Jennie M. Caruthers Chair in Neuroscience role throughout his career at Puget Sound. Ramakrishnan was awarded his Ph.D. in neuroscience and a Master of Science degree in computer science from University of Illinois at Chicago. Prior to that he received a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the Biria Institute of Technology and Science in Pilani, India. He is a Fellow of the University of California, Los Angeles Art|Sci Center.

Ramakrishnan’s expertise spans electrophysiology, small animal models, neural cultures, bio-electronic devices, and cellular membranes. His teaching has included basic biology; cellular neuroscience laboratory; the neural foundations of animal behavior; neuroendocrinology; and the intersection of art, science, and technology. His current work at the Columbia University lab involves designing a bionic chip that will harvest energy from ATP, which transports chemical energy within cells, and developing a microelectrode array to record neural signals in cultured neurons and acute brain slices.

The endowed Jennie M. Caruthers Chair in Neuroscience is funded through the generosity of Marvin H. Caruthers P'02, Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry and Chemistry, University of Colorado Boulder in memory of his late wife Jennie M. Caruthers.

For more on Siddharth Ramakrishnan and his lectures visit: www.siddharthramakrishnan.com/

For more about The Campaign for University of Puget Sound visit: www.pugetsound.edu/one.

Press photos of Siddharth Ramakrishnan can be downloaded from: www.pugetsound.edu/pressphotos
Photos on page:  Top right: Siddharth Ramakrishnan teaching; Above left and right: Staining for synaptic markers in zebrafish embryo; a medaka egg after fertilization, photos by Dr. Ramakrishnan;  Left: Inside Weyerhaeuser Hall, photo by Ross Mulhausen.

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