Madan Rao is a theoretical physicist and a Senior Professor at the Simons Centre for the Study of Living Machines, National Centre for Biological Sciences (TIFR), Bangalore. He received his Ph.D from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore in 1989 and post-doctoral training at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver. Subsequently, he held positions at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai and Raman Research Institute, Bangalore. Rao has contributed significantly to the field of Active Matter from its inception, in particular its applications to cellular and tissue biophysics. His research has helped unearth new physico-chemical principles at work at the cell surface. At the Simons Centre, Bangalore, he has helped build a vibrant centre for Theory in Biology.