Having specialized in peptides and natural products chemistry, Manojit Mohan Dhar earned his PhD (1952) from the University of Manchester. He was the Director of the Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI), Lucknow before working as the Counsellor for Science, High Commission of India, London and as the Deputy Director and Head, Division of Medicinal Chemistry and Botany, CDRI, Lucknow.
Academic and Research Achievements: Dhar designed and synthesized peptides with a view to confirming their biological activities. These included a decapeptide with glycosidase activity, cyclic tetrapeptides as abortifacients and a receptor mimic for acetylcholine. He predicted successfully the selective compounds that target opioid receptors as potent immunostimulants and immunosuppressants. He also screened some three thousand Indian plants for biological activity and identified several new structures. His studies on secondary metabolites of microbial origin led to the conclusion that they are formed by detoxification of a toxic entity to the particular microorganism.
Other contributions: Member, Indian Delegations to UNCSTD (Vienna 1979), UNESCO – Man and Biosphere (Paris 1979), UNEP (Geneva 1979), and Group-77 Heads of Science meeting (Delhi 1982); Commissioner for India at International Whaling Commission (1982), ICSU (1982); Chairman, Commonwealth Agricultural Bureau (1981). He served as a Member in the INSA Council (1988-90).
Awards and honours: Manojit Mohan Dhar received the SS Bhatnagar Prize (1971) and the AV Mody Research Foundation Award (1975). He was a Member of the Bombay Natural History Society and Indian Chemical Society.