Satish C Maheshwari obtained his BSc (Hons), MSc and PhD degrees from Delhi University. He did his research on the embryology of duckweeds (smallest flowering plants belonging to the Lemnaceae) under the supervision of Professor BM Johri. He joined Delhi University as a Lecturer (1954) and went on a Fulbright Smith Mundt Fellowship (1959) to Yale University, and later to California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. Here, along with Robert S Bandurski, he discovered RNA polymerase activity in chloroplasts as well as early evidence for the existence of DNA in the organelle. He was appointed as Professor on his return to India. He was a Homi Bhabha Fellow at Harvard Biological Laboratories, USA (1973-74) and visited Yale University again (1981-82) as a Jawaharlal Nehru Fellow and a Senior Fulbright Fellow.
Academic and Research Achievements: Meheshwari established a group to investigate molecular control of plant development and morphogenesis with special reference to action of hormones and light. In 1966, his group made the landmark discovery of the anther culture technique for the production of haploid plants, which leads to rapid production of homozygous pure lines, a boon for agriculture. The technique has been adopted world wide for improvement of crop, horticultural and ornamental plants. However, Maheshwari's own interests have largely continued in fundamental aspects, touching several areas like plant growth hormones (early work of his group led to isolation of novel cytokinins and gibberellins, and role of salicylic acid in flowering), phytochrome control of metabolism and plant genetic engineering. Maheshwari has, to his credit, 200 research papers and also co-edited one book on Signal Transduction Mechanisms in Plants. He mentored more than 30 Postdoctorals, PhD and MPhil students.
Other Contributions: At Delhi University, Professor Maheshwari established the first unit of Plant Cell and Molecular Biology and later the first Department of Plant Molecular Biology in the country, which undertook sequencing of chromosome of rice and many other pioneering studies in areas such as photobiology.
Awards and Honours: Professor Maheshwari received the SS Bhatnagar Prize (1974) and is a recipient of JC Bose Gold Medal, Birbal Sahni Gold Medal of the Indian Botanical Society, and the Goyal Foundation Award. Maheshwari had the honour of being inaugural Chairman/Speaker at International Conferences of Plant Tissue Culture held in Pavia, Italy and Amiens, France. He is a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, and the National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad.