Rao is Director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology(CCMB) in Hyderabad, India, and President of Society of Biological Chemists (India); President of the Telangana Academy of Science. He obtained BSc from Osmania University; MSc in physical chemistry from Kakatiya University; PhD in Chemistry from University of Hyderabad. Later, he joined CCMB and initiated intact lens spectroscopic investigation. He has developed Red Edge Excitation Shift (REES) for intact biological material. His main research interest is small heat shock proteins, specially αB-crystallin, in health and disease. His research interests include molecular diagnostics, microfluids, nano biology, cell cycle, differentiation and apoptosis. He had visiting positions in Japan and the USA. He is Fellow of all 3 national science academies of India, and has won the Bhatnagar, Ranbaxy and Sreenivasayya Awards of India, and the Rohto Award.