Renu Khanna-Chopra earned her BSc (Medical) degree from Jiwaji University, Gwalior and MSc and PhD degrees from Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi. She joined Agricultural Research Service as Scientist (1978) at Water Technology Centre, IARI, and worked in the area of abiotic stress physiology in relation to crop productivity. She had opportunity to work with Professor CB Osmond at Australian National University, Canberra and Dr DW Lawler at Rothamsted Experimental Station, Harpenden, on various aspects of photosynthesis as a Visiting Scientist. She was awarded ICAR, National Fellow award in 1995 to conduct research on the mechanism of senescence, which she is continued till 2011.
Academic and Research Achievements: Dr Chopra has worked primarily on photosynthesis in relation to crop productivity, mechanism of heterosis and drought resistance in crop plants. Her studies on the change from C4 to C3 pathway in sorghum after anthesis, were among the earliest as reported in the literature. She provided a physiological, biochemical and genetical explanation of heterosis, which has been confirmed internationally using molecular tools. Chopra has successfully hybridized drought tolerant and high yielding wheat varieties and obtained F2 segregates, overcoming hybrid necrosis barrier. She has established a school of stress physiology and initiated research in the area of physiological genetics. she has identified important QTL for drought resistance related traits. She has published one hundred thirty research articles and mentored large number postgraduate students and guided 8 PhDs.
Other contributions: Chopra is the Secretary of Society for Plant Physiology and Biochemistry and was one of its Founder members. She is a Member of the Executive Council of the National Academy of the Agricultural Sciences. She was a Member of the National Committee set up by INSA, which brought out a report on Science Career for Indian Women. Currently, she is on the Editorial Board of Journal of Biosciences and Proceedings of the INSA.
Awards and Honours: Dr Chopra is a recipient of many awards and honours, which include: NCERT Science Fellowship (1965-74); INSA Young Scientist Award (1978); Homi Bhabha Fellowship (1980-82); RD Asana Endowment Award (1983); Biotechnology Overseas Research Associateship (1989-90); first recipient of the ICAR outstanding Women Scientist Award (1995); ICAR National Fellow (1995); and Platinum Jubilee Lecture Award of ISCA (1998) and Prof. SKSinha lecture award of Indian society of plant Physiology (2015). She is a Fellow of National Academy of Sciences, Allahabad (1986) and National Academy of Agricultural Science, New Delhi (1992).