V. R. Khanolkar

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V. R. Khanolkar
Born 13 April 1895
Died 29 October 1978
Citizenship India
Nationality Indian
Fields Pathology, Cancer
Alma mater University of London
Notable awards Padma Bhushan (1954)

Vasant Ramji Khanolkar M.D. (13 April 1895 – 29 October 1978) better known as V. R. Khanolkar was an eminent Indian Pathologist.[1]

He made major contributions to the epidemiology and understanding of cancer, blood groups, and leprosy. He is often referred as the "Father of Pathology and Medical Research in India."[2]

He was born on 13 April 1895 in Gomantak Maratha Samaj Family. He has studied Medicine in University of London and obtained M.D. in Pathology in 1923. He has joined as Professor of Pathology in Grants Medical and Seth G. S. Medical Colleges.

He was also closely associated with the Tata Memorial Hospital and served as director of laboratories and research. Government of India appointed him a national research professor of medicine which was held for ten years. He helped to organize the Indian Cancer Research Centre and served as director from its inception until 1973.

He was founder President of the Indian Association of Pathologists and Microbiologists. Dr. Khanolkar has published 3 books on cancer and leprosy and more than 100 scientific papers.

He has received Padma Bhushan in 1955 from Government of India for his distinguished service to humanity.

He died October 29, 1978. He was survived by his wife and daughter.

Dr. V. R. Khanolkar Oration has been established from the year 1987 by the National Academy of Medical Sciences in the memory Dr. V. R. Khanolkar, the first President of the Academy.[3]

Honorable positions[edit]

  • He was the president of the International Cancer Research Commission from 1950 to 1954.
  • He was president of the International Union Against Cancer.
  • He was a member of the World Health Organization panel on cancer and leprosy.
  • He was a member of the United Nations scientific committee on the effects of atomic radiation.
  • He was a member of the World Health Organization advisory committee on medical research.
  • He was a member of the governing body of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research.
  • He was the vice-chancellor of Bombay University from 1960 until 1963.
  • He was chairman of the Biological and Medical Advisory Committee of the Atomic Energy Department, Government of India between 1955 and 1960.

Selected publications[edit]

  • V. R. Khanolkar, Non-specific training of antibody production. The Journal of Pathology and Bacteriology, Volume 27, Issue 2, pages 181–186, 1924.
  • V. R. Khanolkar, T. B. Panse, and V. D. Divekar. Gamma-Sitosteryl Glycoside in Tobacco. Science, 16 September 1955: Vol. 122. no. 3168, pp. 515 – 516
  • L. D. Sanghvi, K. C. M. Rao, V. R. Khanolkar. Smoking and Chewing of Tobacco in Relation to Cancer of the Upper Alimentary Tract. British Medical Journal, 1955; 1:1111-1114.
  • V. R. Khanolkar, Diagnosis of Leprosy, Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology, 1961, Volume : 27, Issue : 3, Pages : 59–68.


  1. ^ Obituary, V. R. Khanolkar at Cancer Research.
  2. ^ V.R. Khanolkar: father of pathology and medical research in India by Pai S.A. Ann Diagn Pathol. 2002; 6(5): 334-7.
  3. ^ http://www.nams-india.in/Oration%20and%20Awards.pdf