Prof. R. K. Saksena (Ram Kumar Saksena) was born in the middle class family at Orai (U. P.) on August 16, 1897. After his early training at his home town he had to shifted to Agra. He obtained his B.Sc. degree from St. John’s College, Agra and then went to Banaras for his postgraduate studies. Prof. Birbal Sahni, Head of the Botany Department of that University was very much impressed by his hard work and intelligence. He was, therefore, appointed as a student demonstrator in that University. After securing first position at the M.Sc. examination he was appointed Lecturer at Allahabad University in 1922. He gradually rose to become the Professor and Head of the Department.
Prof. Saksena was very much interested in mycological research and he decided to proceed to Paris to work under Prof. Guilliermond. Unfortunately his first visit was cut short due to serious illness in France. He, however, continued his research and obtained the Docteur es Sciences of Sorbonne University (Paris) in 1935 with highest distinction. He was particularly interested in extra-nuclear cytology including mitochondria in fungi. He has carried out detailed studies on various soil fungi and a number of students working under him specialised in that field. He was awarded Birbal Sahni Gold Medal in 1960. He was associated with a number of scientific societies. He was a Fellow as well as a Member of the Council of National Institute of Sciences (Indian National Science Academy). He presided over the Botany Section of the Indian Science Congress in 1953, Indian Botanical Society in 1954, Indian Phytopathological Society in 1969. He was the founder Member, Secretary, Treasurer, Sectional President and General President of the National Academy of Sciences, India. He has published more than sixty scientific papers in Indian and foreign Journals.
Even after his retirement from the University Service in 1959 he continued to take active interest in mycological research and continued till his end. His sudden death on Ist September, 1970 was great shock to everyone.