Brij Mohan Johri obtained his DSc (1936) degree from Agra University. His areas of specialization were developmental, comparative, phylogenetic and experimental studies of angiosperms. He was the Honorary Professor (1974-80); Retired Scientist (UGC) (1975-77); Head, Department of Botany and Director, Centre of Advanced Study in Botany (1966-73), Professor (1964-74), Reader (1959-64) and Dean, Faculty of Science and Executive Councillor (1969-70), all at University of Delhi, Delhi.
Academic and Research Achievements: To Johri’s credit stands the first and only report of the entry (by suction) of pollen grains in the style and ovary of Butomopsis lanceolata, a truly gymnospermous character in a typical angiosperm. Johri reported, for the first time, the largest synergid haustoria and a 3-nucleate antipodal (cells do not organize) branched haustoria in Quinchamalium of Santalaceae. In Loranthaceae the tip of the embryo sac, he discovered, grows up the stigmatic epidermis in Helianthera, and in Moquiniella the tip curves backward and the egg apparatus acquires an inverted polarity. Also he found that the outline of the vase-like naked mature endosperm depends on the vascular skeleton of the ovary. Johri demonstrated, for the first time, the growth responses of the mature endosperm long considered to be a dead tissue – of Exocarpus cupresiformis in aseptic cultures, and that the endosperm and embryo of semi-parasites (Santalaceae and Loranthaceae) could be cultured without any physical contact with the host tissue or the addition of its extract to the nutrient medium. He authored/co-authored two books: The Angiosperm Pollen: Structure and Function (Wiley Eastern), and Comparative Embryology of Angiosperms (Springer-Verlag).
Other Contributions: Jhori was deeply interested in the study of roles and goals of botanical gardens as well as biology education. He was a Founder Member of International Society of Plant Morphologists (President, 1966-69), International Association of Plant Tissue Culture, Plant Tissue Culture Association (India), Indian Society of Plant Taxonomy, Asian Association of Biology Education, Indian Association of Biological Sciences (President, 1966-80) and Indian Society of Environmental Scientist. He edited the books Botany in India – History and Progress: Modern Period (Oxford and IBH), Experimental Embryology of Vascular Plants (Springer-Verlag), Embryology of Angiosperms (Springer-Verlag) and Embryology of Angiosperms (Russian edition) and edited/co-edited Phytomorphology and Botanica (Bulletin Delhi University Botanical Society).
Awards and Honours: Johri was a Fellow of Indian Botanical Society (President, 1965). He was a recipient of Birbal Sahni Gold Medal (1970) and Professor TS Sadasivan Lecture Award of INSA (1986). He was also conferred with Platinum Jubilee Lectureship of Indian Science Congress (1989).