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Dr. Krishnan Venkatakrishnan

Krishnan Venkatakrishnan
BE, MEng Sci, PhD, PEng
416-979-5000 ext. 554984

Areas of Academic Interest

Nano and quantum medicine

Nano and quantum scale fabrication

Nano and quantum cancer diagnosis and therapy

Nano and quantum energy

Ultrafast laser nano and quantum fabrication


Year University Degree
2000 Nanyang Technological University PhD
1996 Queensland University of Technology MEng Sci
1994 Bharathiar University BE

Selected Courses

Course Code Course
MEC 322 Manufacturing Fundamentals
MEC 733 Microprocessor Systems
ME8143 Micro and Nano Manufacturing


If you want a weed-free garden, you can’t just chop the tops off the plants – you need to extract the whole root system. Similarly, if you want an effective cancer therapy, it’s best to target the cancer stem cells specifically, which are at the root of the disease. For Krishnan Venkatakrishnan, this is the most intriguing application of his work in laser-fabricated micro and nano structures, an area which also has broader functions in solar energy and DNA detection.

Venkatakrishnan’s nano probes pose a triple threat to cancer: they can detect, monitor and kill individual cells. This allows for earlier and more accurate identification of specific cancers than a biopsy or MRI scan provide. In addition, locating the stem cells responsible for reproducing and sustaining the cancer allows for treatment to be more targeted and personalized. 

While his probes can help people recover and regain their health today, in the future, Venkatakrishnan hopes to use them for cancer prevention. “We want to know what initiates the disease,” he says. “That’s the ultimate goal.”

Krishnan Venkatakrishnan

“The best research is driven by students. It’s amazing how much I learn working side by side with them.”

  • Early Research Award (ERA)
  • YSGS Outstanding Contribution to Graduate Education Award
  • Dean Service Award
  • Dean’s Scholarly, Research and Creative Activity Award
  • Ganesh, S., Bo, T., and Venkatakrishnan, K. “Shrinking Quantum Scale Organic Semiconductors for SERS Detection of DNA Methylation and Gene Expression.” Nature Communications, accepted 2019.
  • Haldavnekar, R., Bo, T., and Venkatakrishnan, K. “Non Plasmonic Semiconductor Quantum SERS Probe – Pathway for In-Vitro Cancer Detection.” Nature Communications, vol. 9, no. 1, 2018, 3065. 
  • Keshavarz, M., Tan, B., Venkatakrishnan, K. “Multiplex Photoluminescent Silicon Nanoprobe for Diagnostic Bioimaging and Intracellular Analysis.” Advanced Science, vol. 5, no. 3, 2018, article 1700548.
  • Swarna, G., Venkatakrishnan, K., Bo, T. “3D Quantum Theranosomes: Detecting the Origin of Cancer‐Mobile Quantum Probe for Single Cancer Stem Cell Detection.” Advance Functional Materials, 2020, DOI10.1002/adfm.201907572.
  • Dharmalingam, P., Venkatakrishnan, K., and Tan, B. “Probing Cancer Metastasis at a Single-Cell Level With a Raman-Functionalized Anionic Probe.” Nano Letters, 2020, DOI10.1021/acs.nanolett.9b04288.
  • BioNanointerface Facility
  • Ultrashort Laser Nanomanufacturing Research Facility
  • Editorial board member, Scientific Reports, Nature