Dr Ashok Kumar Mishra hails from Titilagarh, a town in Western Odisha. His earlier education was at various places in and around Titilagarh, after which he went to Delhi University for his Masters studies in Chemistry, specialising in Physical Chemistry. He did his PhD under the guidance of Professor S K Dogra at IIT Kanpur studying the excited singlet state prototropism of heteroaromatic compounds. His post-doctoral research under a Monbusho scholarship program in Gunma University, Japan, was with Professor H Shizuka, in the area of excited state structure and decay dynamics prototropic ion pairs. He started his professional career at Sambalpur University as a lecturer and subsequently moved to IIT Madras as Assistant Professor in 1992. Currently he is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry, and also discharges the additional responsibility of Dean, Academic Research at IIT Madras.