Anupam Varma was born on 23rd July, 1940 in Delhi. He did his graduation and post-graduation from University of Allahabad in 1959 and 1961, respectively. In 1964 he visited Rothamsted Experimental Station, UK under Commonwealth Fellowship Programme for higher studies. After obtaining Ph.D. degree from London University in 1967, he joined the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi. Since then he has been working at the same Institute in varying capacities as Senior Virologist (1968-75), Principal Virologist (1975-84), Professor of Virology (1984-86), Professor of Plant Pathology (1986-88), Head, Division of Plant Pathology (1988-95), Dean, Post Graduate School (1995-2000), National Professor ICAR (2000-2005) and INSA Senior Scientist (2005 onwards). From 1979 to 1981 he worked with the FAO of the United Nations for developing a National Horticultural Research Institute, Ibadan, Nigeria. He has been a Visiting Scientist at the Australian National University, Canberra, Scottish Crop Research Institute, Dundee, UK, and INRA, Bordeaux, France.
Prof. Varma has made important contributions to fundamental and applied aspects of plant virology, which are widely quoted and acclaimed. He has established a strong school of molecular virology in the country, which has provided lead to the understanding of the complexities of the devastating diseases caused by begomo, ilar, poty and tospoviruses in horticultural and field crops. Prof. Varma’s researches have played a key role in developing technologies for the management of viral diseases, through conventional and biotechnological approaches.
Prof. Varma is a Fellow of Indian National Science Academy, National Academy of Sciences, India, National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (Founder Fellow), Indian Phytopathological Society and Indian Virology Society. He was the President, Agricultural Sciences, Indian Science Congress (1988-89), Vice-President, Indian Virology Society (1990-92), Founder Secretary, National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (1990-98), President, Biological Sciences, National Academy of Sciences, India (1993), Secretary General, International Society of Plant Pathology (1993-98), Vice-President, International Congress of Plant Pathology, Edinburgh (1998), President, Indian Phytopathological Society (1998-99),Vice-President, International Society for Plant Pathology (1998-2003), Vice-President, Indian National Science Academy (2005-2007), Chair, ICSU Regional Committee for Asia and the Pacific (2006-2008), and Chair, National Committee of International Union of Microbiological Societies and Chair, Apex Committee: Technology Vision 2020 for Agriculture and Fisheries. He was the Indian Editor, Journal of Phytopathology, Germany (1989-2005). He was the Chief Editor of Indian Phytopathology from 1992-1994, and has served on the editorial board of many science journals.
In recognition of his contributions to science Prof. Varma has been honoured with several prestigious awards like the VASVIK and Om Prakash Bhasin Awards for Science and Technology, and Millenium Plaque of Honour Award of the Indian Science Congress Association; PNASF Gold Medal Award, 2009. The magnificient contributions in the field of Plant Pathology in general and Plant Virology, in particular has led the Indian Phytopathological Society to honour him with Prof. A. P. Misra Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award for the year 2010-11.