Harcharan Das Tandon did his PhD (1955) from Agra University and FRC Path. (1979) from London specializing in Pathology. He was Director, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi; Visiting Professor, St Mark’s Hospital, London, Universities of Bonn, Dusseldorf, Hamburg and West Berlin (1966, 1968), University of Kabul (1978), and Garyounis University, Benghari, Libya (1981).
Academic and Research Achievements: Tandon’s most significant contributions are: (i) discovery and description of the first known human outbreak of liver disease caused by aflatoxicosis in Rajasthan; (ii) discovery, description and follow-up studies of two large-scale outbreaks of veno-occlusive disease due to consumption of toxic alkaloids in the seeds of wild plants – one in Afghanistan and the other in Madhya Pradesh (the first reports of such outbreaks from Asia, the former being the largest report in the world); (iii) evidence of diffuse parenchymal disease in nonsuppurative amoebic hepatitis which, explains the cause of heapatomegaly; (iv) description of the pathology of intestinal tuberculosis and its distinguishing features from Crohn’s disease; (v) report on the presence of grade III and grade IV changes of pulmono hypertension accompanying congenital heart disease; (vi) description of diffuse intimal thickening of aorta as a variant of human atherosclerotic lesion; and (vii) experimental evidence that severe protein deprivation aggravates experimentally induced atherosclerosis in the pig.
Other Contributions: Harcharan was President, National Board of Examinations; Consultant to WHO on Medical Education (1973, 1974); Member, WHO Task Force on Environmental Health Criteria for Mycotoxins (1978), Expert Group on Cardiovascular Diseases (ICMR) (1969-72), and Pathology of the Armed Forces Medical Research Committee (1974) and Chairman, Expert Group on Pathology (ICMR) (1972-74).
Awards and Honours: Tandon is the recipient of Ambo-Pashpati Nath Wahi Memorial Award (1977); Mrs SK Lal Memorial Award (1977); Dr BC Roy Memorial Award (1980); TS Tirumurti Memorial Lecture of INSA (1993); Warner Oration (Indian Society of Gastroenterology) (1978); KN Rao Endowment Oration Award (1980) and Glaxo Oration Award (1980). He is the Member, Indian Association of Pathologists and Microbiologists, Indian Medical Association, Indian Association for the Advancement of Medical Education, American Association of Pathologists and Bacteriologists, Pathologic Society of Great Britain and Ireland and International Academy of Pathology; President, National Academy of Medical Sciences (India).