Department of Botany
It was in July 1921 that the eminent Professor Birbal Sahni, FRS, established the Department of Botany at the University of Lucknow as one of the first Departments that took shape when the University itself came into existence in November 1920. In the early days, Professor Sahni was well assisted by Professors S K Mukerjee, S N Das Gupta and S K Pande. Professor Sahni’s expertise in fossil plants led to the establishment of palaeobotany as a major field of research. Diversification followed as new faculty was inducted, and disciplines of Algology, Bryology, Cytogenetics and Plant Breeding, Mycology and Plant Pathology, Plant Nutrition, and Microbiology and Plant Virology took root, and flourished. This diversity brought with it a new dimension in teaching of these exciting branches, and made the Department of Botany of the University of Lucknow a unique place where teaching and active research was being handled in so many difference areas. Naturally, the Department became an internationally known hub of diverse botanical science research. The trend still continues.Subsequent to Professor Sahni, the Department has had at its helm Professors H.P. Choudhury, S.N. Das Gupta, S.K. Pandey, A.R. Rao, G.S. Verma, S.C. Agarwala, B.S. Trivedi, J.N. Rai, B.N. Prasad, C.P. Sharma, N.K. Mehrotra, H.N. Verma, C. Chatterjee, S.C. Srivastava, Dinesh Kumar, R.R. Singh, Y.K. Sharma, Seshu Lavania, and Geeta Asthana. Professor Vivek Prasad is currently heading the Department.
The diversity of the Department of Botany is also evident in the four PG programmes that it runs: Botany, Plant Science, Environmental Science, and Microbiology. Students of Ph.D. in Botany have found substantive placements subsequent to the completion of their degree. Collaborative efforts are on with several Lucknow based research Institutes under the CSIR, DST, and ICAR. The Department also runs a three year Undergraduate Course. In association with the UGC Human Resource Development Centre at the University of Lucknow, the Department regularly conducts Refresher Courses for in-service teachers of Botany/Plant Science/Life Science etc from different Universities and their associated colleges. The Department has had the pleasure of successfully executing research projects with financial support from the UGC, ICAR, DBT, DST, CSIR, DOE, MoEF, USPL-480-ICAR, UPCST, UPCAR, NHM, and NAIP. In 1979, the Department was identified as UGC Department for Special Assistance in the first Phase that was later extended. Thrust areas identified under SAP were Bryology, Plant Physiology and Nutrition, Cytology and Plant Genetics, and Plant Virology. In 1990, the Department of Botany also qualified for support for the development of infrastructure under the COSIST programme. Support received under these programmes, as also under research projects sponsored from time to time by different agencies helped the Department in generating facilities for advanced research. The Department has been the recipient of financial support from DST-FIST and DST-PURSE programmes as well.