2016 Dr. Uma Ramakrishnan

Uma Ramakrishnan is an Assistant Professor at the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore, India. Her work focuses on population genetics and the evolutionary history of mammals, including work to save India’s tigers. Once scattered around India, today tigers are threatened with extinction and only 7% of tiger habitat remains. Dr. Ramakrishnan is extracting DNA from 200 year-old tiger skins for comparison with modern tiger DNA, and has demonstrated that current tiger populations are inbred, with very little genetic variation. Furthermore, certain groups, especially desert tigers, have become isolated from the rest of India’s tiger population. These data are critical for creating and improving plans for conserving tiger populations across the rapidly urbanizing Indian landscape.