Sir Ram Nath Chopra earned his LRCP, MRCS (1907) from England; MB, BCh (1908) and MD (1912) from University of Cambridge, UK; MRCP and FRCS from the University and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, London. His area of specialization was pharmacology. He was Professor of Pharmacology and Director, School of Tropical Medicine, Kolkata; Professor of Pharmacology, Calcutta Medical College; and Director, Medical Services and Drug Research, Jammu & Kashmir State (1941-61).
Academic and Research Achievements: Chopra is remembered for his pioneering work in building up Indian pharmacology. He carried out research on various aspects of tropical medicine, experimental pharmacology and therapeutics, drug addiction, indigenous drugs, drug standardization, toxicology, clinical medicine, newer laboratory techniques and methodology in diagnostic work. He laid emphasis on indigenous drugs and their chemical composition, the physiological action of their active principles on living tissues in vitro and in vivo, and the biochemical and biophysical changes brought about in mammals on the administration of the active principles. He authored Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants, Indigenous Drugs of India and Medicinal and Poisonous Plants of India (2 Vols).
Other Contributions: Chopra was largely responsible for the establishment of Regional Research Laboratory, Jammu. He was Chairman of Drug Enquiry Committee of Government of India for prevention of drug adulteration and manufacture of substandard drugs. The committee's recommendations led to All India Legislation for a Drug Act (1940) and Pharmacy Act (1948). He served as first Chairman of the Editorial Board of J Res Indian Med.
Awards and Honours: Chopra was Knighted and received Barclay Medal of Asiatic Society. He was Life Member and Fellow (Vice-President, 1938-40) of Asiatic Society; Honorary Member of Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain; American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics; and Deutsche Pharmakologische Gesellschaft. He was President of INSA (1939-40). Chopra was President (twice), Physiology and Medical Science Section, and General President of Indian Science Congress Association (1948). To honour him, Indian Pharmacological Society has instituted 'Sir Ram Nath Chopra Oration Award'.