Madhavi Krishnan: A Journey from Chennai to a British Chemist

Madhavi Krishnan: Revolutionizing Molecular Exploration

Madhavi Krishnan :- Madhavi Krishnan, a trailblazing British chemist, stands at the forefront of scientific innovation, carving a path through the intricate world of nanoscale materials. Her remarkable contributions, particularly the invention of the electrostatic fluidic trap, have paved the way for unprecedented breakthroughs in molecular exploration.

Madhavi Krishnan’s Early Life and Educational Odyssey

Madhavi Krishnan’s academic journey commenced at Anna University in Chennai, India, where she laid the foundation for her passion for chemistry. Seeking greater avenues for knowledge, she embarked on a transformative journey to the United States, joining the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor for her graduate studies, specializing in genetic testing.

Her academic pursuits continued as an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellow at TU Dresden, delving into the realm of colloidal nanoparticles and DNA manipulation.

The pursuit of excellence led her to ETH Zurich in 2008, fueled by a prestigious Marie Curie Fellowship. Krishnan further enriched her experience as a visiting scholar at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Research Ascendancy and Academic Positions

In 2012, Madhavi Krishnan assumed the role of an Assistant Professor of Physical Chemistry at ETH Zurich, later obtaining the distinguished Swiss National Science Foundation Chair. The year 2018 witnessed a significant chapter in her career as she transitioned to the University of Oxford, where she currently holds the position of Associate Professor of Physical Chemistry.

Revolutionizing Molecular Exploration

Madhavi Krishnan’s research is a testament to her commitment to pushing the boundaries of scientific understanding. Focused on single-molecule imaging, her work utilizes electrostatic fluid traps to suspend nanoscale materials, offering a unique advantage over traditional methods.

Unlike conventional traps that rely on external fields, Krishnan’s electrostatic traps enable non-destructive analysis of molecules in fluids at room temperature. This approach provides an unparalleled opportunity to unravel the intricacies of molecular size and charge, fostering a deeper comprehension of nanoscale dynamics.

Awards and Honors

Krishnan’s contributions have not gone unnoticed in the scientific community. In 2016, she was honored with the Nernst-Haber-Bodenstein Prize by the German Bunsen Society for Physical Chemistry. The European Research Council Consolidator Grant in 2018 and the Corday–Morgan Prize in 2020 from the Royal Society of Chemistry further underscore the impact of her groundbreaking research.

The Essence of Electrostatic Fluidic Traps

Krishnan’s electrostatic fluidic traps represent a paradigm shift in the experimental control and manipulation of matter at the molecular level.

These traps, reliant on the electrical charge of an object, allow for the stable levitation of single molecules in solution. By manipulating intrinsic object-surface forces through tailored geometries, Krishnan’s team achieves precise spatial control and orientation of entities in fluid environments.

The “electrostatic fluidic trap” is revolutionizing molecular property measurement and structural analysis in solution, opening up unprecedented avenues for scientific exploration.

Exploring Electrostatics at the Molecular Scale

Electrostatics, a fundamental interaction mechanism at the molecular scale, has long remained unexplored experimentally. Madhavi Krishnan’s lab is spearheading new avenues in microscopic experimental and theoretical studies of electrostatic interactions in the fluid phase.

A focal point of these efforts involves understanding the role of interfacial solvents in modulating forces between like-charged particles in solution.

Selected Publications Showcasing Scientific Impact

Madhavi Krishnan’s contributions are exemplified through a series of impactful publications, including:

  1. Wide-field optical imaging of electrical charge and chemical reactions at the solid-liquid interface.
  2. Far-field electrostatic signatures of macromolecular 3D conformation.
  3. Opto-Electrostatic Determination of Nucleic Acid Double-Helix Dimensions and the Structure of the Molecule-Solvent Interface.
  4. Interfacial solvation can explain the attraction between like-charged objects in aqueous solution.
  5. Entropic Trapping of a Singly Charged Molecule in Solution.

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