Dr Padmanabhan was born in India but grew up in Kansas. He completed his undergraduate and medical school and University of Missouri-Kansas City. His General Surgery Residency was at the University of Kansas in Wichita Kansas. Dr Padmanabhan joined the United States Air Force in 1991 as a reservist and stayed in this capacity until the year 2000. He joined Active Duty at this time until the end of 2004. He was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 spending time at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey.