Ramachandra Raghavendra Rao obtained his BSc from Mysore University after which he joined the University of Mysore for his MSc, and later at the same place for PhD. He joined the Botanical Survey of India in 1973 where he worked on the floristics of North East India. In 1975, he moved to the North Eastern Hill University, Shillong as Lecturer in the School of Life Sciences and later served as Reader there. In 1982, he again moved to the Botanical survey of India, Kolkata and Dehradun as Deputy Director and Joint Director, respectively. In 1991, he joined the National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI), Lucknow as Head and Area Coordinator of the Taxonomy and Biodiversity Division. Since 2002, he has been working as a Senior Scientist at the Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP), Bangalore.
Academic and Research Achievements: Rao's work on 'systematics of the flora of Mysore district' during his PhD was published as a book entitled A Synoptic Flora of Mysore District adding a new brick to the edifice of plant taxonomy in India. He made notable contributions to various topics related to the flora and phytogeography of North East Indian region. More than twenty new taxa were discovered by him through these studies. His other research areas of interest relate to: ferns and fern allies of North East India, ethnobotany, reproductive biology of endangered species, and assessment and conservation of biodiversity. He worked in several leading herbaria of the world. He also authored over 200 research papers and 15 books (including some edited books), and guided 14 PhD students.
Other Contributions: Rao was Chief Editor of the Journal of Ethnobotany and was also on Editorial Board of Current Science. He has also served as a nominated member of national level committees of DST, DBT, CSIR and MoEF. He is also the Chairman of State Environmental Appraisal Committee (SEAC) of Government of Karnataka. ddddd
Awards and Honours: Dr Rao was awarded the prestigious Pitambar Pant National Environment Fellowship by the Ministry of Environment & Forests (1999). He also received many other awards like William Harshberger Medal by Society of Ethnobotanists (1994); Professor BA Razi Medal by Association of Plant Taxonomy (1999); Talented Scientist Award by SV University; Scientist of the Year Award by National Environmental Science Academy (2000); and YD Tyagi Medal by Association for Angiosperm Taxonomy (2008). He was President of the Society of Ethnobotanists for six years (1988-91; 1995-98), and also the Indian Botanical Society (2006). He was elected Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore; National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad; Society of Ethnobotanists, Lucknow; Indian Botanical Society; Indian Association for Angiosperm Taxonomy; and International Society for Conservation of Natural Resources.