Kundaranahalli Ramalingaiah Shivanna obtained BSc and MSc degrees from Mysore University, and PhD (Botany) (1969) from Delhi University. He then joined Faculty of the Department of Botany, University of Delhi where he served as a Lecturer, Reader and Professor. He retired from Delhi University as Professor and Head of the Department in 2002 and joined Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Bangalore as INSA Senior Scientist where he is presently working as Honorary Senior Scientist. During his career, he worked as a Visiting Scientist/Visiting Professor at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England, Welsh Plant Breeding Station, Aberystwyth, Wales, University of Melbourne, Australia, University of Siena, Italy, University of Saskatchewan, Canada, and International Crop Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics, Hyderabad.
Academic and Research Achievements: Shivanna worked on broader aspects of reproductive biology including pollen biotechnology of flowering plants. His comprehensive 1977 paper with Dr Y Heslop-Harrison in Annals of Botany correlating stigma structure and function of over 1000 species at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew turned out to be the most cited paper ever published in the journal. He made notable contributions in pollen viability, germination and storage, isolation of male gametes from pollen, details of pollen-pistil interaction, self- and interspecific-incompatibility, and pollination biology of economically important and/or endangered species. Additionally, he raised over 40 intergeneric and interspecific hybrids between wild and cultivated Brassica species through embryo rescue technique to facilitate transfer of desirable genes, particularly, for biotic and abiotic stresses to the cultivars, and developed six new cytoplasmic male sterile lines to exploit hybrid vigour. These materials are now being used by Brassica breeders. He has also been generating baseline data on reproductive biology for several endangered species of Western Ghats. Such data are needed for effective conservation and sustainable utilization of these species. He also mentored 23 PhD students, authored three books, edited one volume on Pollen Biology and Biotechnology, and published over 125 papers in refereed journals.
Other Contributions: Shivanna established a strong school of Reproductive Biology at the Department of Botany, University of Delhi. He served as Member of Research Advisory committees of several national institutions; Editorial boards of many journals; and many Expert committees of the Department of Science and Technology and Department of Biotechnology. He was a Founding Member of the International Association of Sexual Plant Reproduction Research, Wageningen, the Netherlands and served as a Member of its Board (1991-94) and Vice President (1992-95) of the Association.
Awards and Honours: Professor Shivanna was recipient of the SG Navashin Memorial Medal, Leningrad (1990); Panchanan Maheshwari Medal by Indian Botanical Society (1998); Professor Govindappa D Arekal Memorial Lecture Award by Mysore University (2003); Panchanan Maheshwari Memorial Lecture Award by INSA (2004); and Professor LB Kajale Memorial Lecture Award by Indian Botanical Society (2003). He was elected Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore; National Academy of Agriculture Sciences, New Delhi; and National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad.