Lal Chand Rai obtained his M.Sc. (1973) and Ph.D. (1977) degrees from Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi. While working for Ph.D. with Professor H. D. Kumar FNA he developed a novel method of controlling eutrophication and nuisance algal blooms. He worked with Professors T.E. Jensen and J.W. Rachlin of the CUNY,USA and demonstrated that cell wall lysis and lipid loss as sensitive indicators of metal toxicity in cyanobacteria. As a Fulbright fellow he worked with Professor F. M.M. Morel of MIT, USA to demonstrate the role of redox enzymes in algae. As a visiting Professor he worked with Professor C. J.Soder, Director, IBT-3 Germany (1976,78,79) and made first hand demonstration of NO production by microalgae. Professor Rai had research collaborations with Professor D. L. Parker, Univ. Wisconsin, USA (1997-2000) and Professor H. Nakamoto, Saitama University, Japan (2007-2009).
Academic and Research Achievements: Professor Rai has done extensive work on metal toxicity in algae and cyanobacteria using physiological biochemical and molecular approaches. Using DDGE and PCR Rai’s group demostrated salinity and pesticide-induced molecular diversity shift of cyanobacteria in rice fields of Eastern UP. His work on abiotic stress proteomics of cyanobacteria, using 2DE and MALDI-TOF/MS, established operation of anoxygenic photosynthesis in Anabaena under excess Cu, operation of glyoxalate pathway under salt stress, induction of phytochelatin under Cd stress, ars gene as a key player in arsenic detoxification. They have cloned, over expressed and analysed the pcs, AhpC, Dps, usp genes from Anabaena sp PCC 7120 that offer tolerance to metals, heat, pesticides, salinity, temperature etc. in E. coli as well as in transgenic cyanobacteria. Prof. Rai is also credited with development of a phenol and lysozyme-free method for isolation of genomic DNA from cyanobacterial mats, soil and culture.
Other Contributions: Professor Rai has served several national committees as expert member, NCERT plus two book writing committee, Coordinator Industrial Microbiology (2005-11), Chairman, PURSE implementation committee, Proteomics Facility of ISLS, Coordinator, Centre of Advanced Studies in Botany, BHU. since 2011.
Awards and Honours:Professor Rai is the recipient of INDO–US Fulbright Fellowship (1988‑89), Career Award from UGC (1988‑91), Guest Research Fellowship, IBT-3, Julich, Germany (1996‑99), Pitamber Pant National Environment Fellowship Award (1996‑1999), Visiting Professor University of Wisconsin, USA 1997, Visiting Professor Saitama University, Japan (2008-09), E. P. Odum Gold Medal International Society for Ecological Communications, 2009, DST J. C. Bose National Fellowship, New Delhi, 2010, Prof. R. N. Tandon Memorial Lecture Award, NASI Allahabad 2010, Prof. C. N. R. Rao Education Foundation Award for Excellence in Science Research, 2011, Prof. S. B. Saksena Memorial Medal, INSA, New Delhi, 2011, Shiksha Rattan Puraskar, India International Friendship Society, New Delhi, 2011, Fellow, National Academy of Sciences, Allahabad, Fellow, National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, New Delhi, Fellow, National Institute of Ecology, New Delhi, Fellow, Institute of Environmental Engineers, New Delhi.