Dharani Dhar Awasthi obtained BSc and MSc degrees from the University of Lucknow, Lucknow. He joined a stipendiary training programme in Systematic Botany and Taxonomy for 2 years at the Botanical Garden and Herbarium, Calcutta (Kolkata), under the auspices of Botanical Survey of India. During this period he got interested in the taxonomic studies of Indian lichens which he pursued throughout his later life. Back to Lucknow, he worked as a Botanical Assistant for about 4 years at the National Botanical Garden, Lucknow, which was then under the Department of Agriculture, Uttar Pradesh. He became a Faculty Member (1952) at the Botany Department, University of Lucknow and received PhD Degree under the guidance of Professor SN Das Gupta. He got an opportunity as Fulbright Alumnus for advanced training in lichenology under Professor WA Weber at the University of Colorado, USA (1960-63) and earned another PhD degree from that University. He was INSA Honorary Scientist (2008).
Academic and Research Achievements: Rejoining the University of Lucknow in 1963, Dr Awasthi vigorously pursued taxonomical investigations on Indian lichens for over 25 years under various research projects financially supported by CSIR, UGC, State Council of Science and Technology and Botanical Survey of India. This enabled him to establish a foremost centre of lichenological investigations in the country with a well-developed herbarium. The net result was that almost all the macrolichen taxa and few microlichens of India had been taxonomically monographed. He authored Hand Book on Lichens (2000) and Compendium of Macrolichens of India, Nepal and Sri Lanka (2007). Eight students received their PhD degree under his guidance.
Awards and Honours: Dr Awasthi received Professor P Maheshwari Lecture Award from INSA (1991); The Acharius Medal by the International Association for Lichenology (1992). He was an Honorary Member of the British Lichen Society since 1993 and was elected a Fellow of Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore (1978). He has often been referred to as Father of Indian Lichenology.