Harnek Singh Sohi did his PhD (1966) from Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi. He served several institutes and government departments in various capacities and has been associated with various plant pathological research projects including Mushroom Culture at IARI, New Delhi (1954-62); Senior Scientist and Plant Pathologist, Department of Agriculture, Himachal Pradesh and College of Agriculture, Solan (1962-69); Senior Plant Pathologist and Head of the Division, Indian Institute of Horticulture, Bangalore (1969-79), Chairman, Department of Botany, Panjab University, Chandigarh (1979-82), Regional Research Station, Amritdhara, Shimla (1984) and Director, National Centre for Mushroom Research and Training, Solan (1989-90).
Academic and Research Achievements: Dr Sohi pioneered researches on the cultivation of mushrooms in India so far back as late 1950s. He was successful in cultivation of different types of mushrooms at Solan and of edible mushrooms of importance in India. On research side he conducted intensive investigation concerning the diseases of vegetables, subtropical fruits, ornamentals, sugar cane and above all, the wild flora which could be a source of spreading pathogenic fungal contamination. Recommendations made by him for the control of important diseases of food plants were widely accepted and implemented. He extensively screened the germplasm for use as parents in disease resistant breeding. Thus, he was able to breed a number of disease resistant varieties of cultivated plants especially the vegetables and fruits. Importantly, he reported a large number of new diseases of plants as well as disease causing fungi. Sohi developed indigenously cost effective methods about the management of diseases affecting economic plants. Research work done by Dr Sohi will continue to be of wider application in taxonomy of Myxomycetes, diseases of horticultural plants and fleshy fungi.
Other Contributions: Sohi was Member of many scientific committees of ICAR. He was also on the Editorial Boards of Indian Phytopathology and a few other periodicals.
Awards and Honours: Professor Sohi was elected Fellow of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, New Delhi and Indian Academy of Horticulture; Honorary Fellow of the Society of Plant Pathologists of India; President of the Indian Phytopathological Society (1992) and Indian Society of Mycology and Plant Pathology (1983); and Vice-President of the Indian Society of Mycology. He was conferred the Jeersa Nidhi Lectureship and Dr N Prasad Memorial Lectureship.