Palle Deva Prasada Rao did his BSc from Andhra Christian College, Guntur, and MSc and PhD in Zoology from Vikram University, Ujjain. Subsequently, he was Lecturer in Zoology in the same University; later Reader, Professor and Head of the Zoology Department, Nagpur University. He received postdoctoral training at Justus Liebig University, Germany (1972-75) under Professor A Oksche and worked as Research Associate at different institutes in USA (New York Medical College; Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole; University of Colorado, Denver) and Canada (University of Alberta, Edmonton). He was Visiting Professor at Georgetown University, Washington DC, and Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, USA. He has been INSA Senior Scientist at the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur.
Academic and Research Achievements: Professor Rao identified several novel peptidergic, aminergic and nitrinergic CNS neurons, some co-expressing these substances, and participating in hypophysial regulation using immunocytochemical, electrophysiological, RIA, autoradiographic, fluorescence and microspectrofluorimetric techniques. Contrary to the belief that CNS neurons do not regenerate, he clearly demonstrated that certain neurons undergo remarkable regeneration. Spinal lesions cause devastating disability, but he established how regeneration of spinal axons in fish can lead to restoration of normal functions after spinal lesions. Employing different neuronal tracers, he demonstrated several intricate neuronal circuitries within the brain in relation to the visual, olfactory, hypophysial and spinal systems. His work on the potential role of GnRH analogues in regulation of gonadotropins is of great significance in evolving newer and more effective fish spawning agents. He guided 13 PhD students.
Other Contributions: Rao served as a member for various committees of UGC and UPSC. He organized several symposia including National Seminar on Science Education in India and a Satellite Symposium XIII International Congress of Comparative Endocrinology. He also served on the Editorial Board of Proceedings of the Indian National Science Academy, Part B (2001-04).
Awards and Honours: Professor Rao was elected Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad (1995) and Sectional President of Zoology, Indian Science Congress (1997-98). He was awarded Fellowship by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany.