Hema Somanathan is from Chennai. After completing a BSc from the University of Madras, she obtained an M.S in Ecology from School of Ecology, Pondicherry University. Subsequently she received a Ph.D from the University of Bombay working on plant-pollinator interactions. Hema was a Wenner-Gren postdoctoral fellow at Lund University, Sweden from 2006-2009. During this period she worked on the sensory ecology of nocturnal and diurnal bees. She joined IISER Thiruvananthapuram in August 2009.