Veena Rao grew up in Bangalore, India. She is trained in classical Indian dance (Bharata Natyam) and studied medicine, specialised in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. She taught at St. John's Medical College, Bangalore, and worked in the Institute for Research in Reproduction, Bombay. She contributed over 8 years to the Life Sciences section of the journal "Down to Earth", a journal dealing with health and environmental issues. Veena Rao is currently working on a project supported by the Indian National Science Academy entitled "J.B.S. Haldane's Indian Period". Associated with the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore, initially as Honorary Research Associate and now as Honorary Adjunct Faculty.