Dr. M.M. Payak (Madan Mohan Payak) was born on May 15, 1928 at Pratapgarh, Rajasthan. He obtained his Master’s degree in Plant Pathology from Banaras Hindu University in 1949 and Ph.D. from University of Pune in 1957. He served in various capacities at IARI, New Delhi since 1958 as Assistant Mycologist, Assistant Professor of Plant Pathology, Plant Pathologist and Principal Investigator & Associate Project Coordinator, All India Coordinator Maize Improvement Project and Head, Division of Plant Pathology. He had been member of ICAR Panel for Plant Pathology, Sub-committee on Crop Standards, Notification and Release of Crop Varieties of Central Pesticide Registration Committee, Research Review Team for non-mulbery silk (Tussar, Eri, Muge etc.), Central Silk Board, ICAR Quinquennial Review Team for the All India Coordinated Research Project on Forage Crops and Maize Improvement Project. He had served on selection committees of Agricultural and other universities.
His research area encompasses both basic and applied work and made major contributions to the various areas like Cereal Rusts (Cytology & Taxonomy of Uredinales), Diseases of maize (discovered two new diseases of crop), developed Multiple Disease Resistance and Management Protocols of major diseases of the crop in India and developed a new variety of maize “Pusa Prakash”. He published 180 research papers in Indian and foreign journals of repute. He was member of Indian Phytopathological Society, Mycological Society of America, Palynological Society of India, Electron Microscope Society of India, American Society for the Advancement of Science, American Institute of Biological Sciences, Indian Society of Genetic and Plant Breeding. He had 30 years of teaching experience in Mycology and Plant Pathology and guided two M.Sc. and 12 Ph.D. students.
Dr. Payak was honoured by display of his portrait in “gallery of contemporary noted mycologists’ in 1965, as an illustrious past student from Maharashtra Association for the Cultivation of Sciences, Y.L. Nene best teacher award by Indian Society of Mycology and Plant Pathology, 1998. He immensely contributed to the Society as Honorary Fellow, Advisory Board Member, President (1984) and Secretary (1967-70). He travelled various countries including USA, Mexico, Japan, Philippines, Thailand, China, Malaysia, Venezuela and Italy on Rockefeller Foundation Travel Grant.
Dr. Payak, expired on February, 23, 2010 after a short illness at his residence in New Delhi.