Professor V.V. Chenulu (Vedula Venkata Chenulu) was born on 1st July 1926 at Bobbili Village in Vizianagaram, district of Andhra Pradesh. He did his schooling at Municipal High School, Anakepalle and Mrs. A.V.N. College, Vishakhapatnam. He graduated in Agriculture from Government Agricultural College, Coimbatore (Madras University) in 1949. Later, he joined the IARI, New Delhi and obtained Associateship in Mycology and Plant Pathology in 1951 in first division. After his post-graduate studies, he joined the Sugarcane Breeding Institute, Coimbatore in 1952 as Research Assistant. From 1956 to 1959, he was at the Department of Plant Pathology, University of Illinois, Urbana (USA) as a graduate student and completed his Ph.D. degree in Plant Virology with Prof. H.H. Thornberry, a renowned virologist. After return from USA, he joined the post of Assistant Botanist at Sugarcane Breeding Institute, Coimbatore.
Professor Chenulu joined as Mycologist at IARI in 1960. Later, he was selected as Virus Pathologist in 1964. In 1968, he was selected as Professor of Plant Pathology at IARI, New Delhi and subsequently was elevated to the position of Head, Division of Mycology and Plant Pathology in 1975 and continued in this position till 1979. He also held the charge of Dean, P.G. School, IARI, New Delhi. Professor Chenulu’s contribution to plant pathology is enormous. To name a few, he investigated sources of resistance in sugarcane against red rot, smut and mosaic virus and also developed techniques for control of moulds in alkathene packing of sugarcane setts. In the latter part of his carreer, he devoted his energy on viruses and phytoplasmas infecting plants. He characterised important viruses affecting vegetables, pulses, ornamental crops and medicinal plants and developed methods for their management by way of developing resistant varieties, therapeutic and cultural methods. His major interest was in the area of physiology of virus infected plants and host-parasite relationship. Professor Chenulu’s continued interest in Plant Virology was reflected in the establishment of an Advanced Centre for Education and Research in Plant Virology in 1983 at IARI with the financial assistance of UNDP/FAO. As a Sub- Project Coordinator of the Advanced Centre for Plant Virology, Professor Chenulu arranged exchange visits of collaborating scientists to India and Fellowship of the Indian scientists abroad. At Advanced Centre, Prof. van der Want, developed a useful curriculum for teaching plant virology.
Professor Chenulu was an excellent teacher and researcher. He guided over 20 M.Sc. and Ph.D. students. He published over 100 scientific papers in Journals of repute, both national as well as international. Professor Chenulu visited several laboratories in USA and Europe as visiting Professor under Rockefeller Foundation Travel grant and UNDP. He was associated with more than a dozen scientific societies in India and abroad. He was Secretary and Editor, Indian Phytopathological Society and President of the Society in 1983. He served as member of the Academic Council of IARI, and also Institute’s Executive Council and Board of Management. He was a Member of the Board of Studies at Banaras Hindu University, CSAU, Kanpur and Udaipur University. He organised national and international symposia and seminars on Plant Pathology. He retired from active service on June 30, 1986.
Professor Chenulu, expired on 6 September 1999 at Hyderabad after a prolonged illness.