Prof. Pramod R. Saxena is a Founding Trustee and past President of the Foundation for Critical Choices for India. He graduated in Medicine (M.B;B.S., 1962) and obtained Doctorate in Pharmacology (M.D., 1965) with Honours (cum laude) from the King George’s Medical College, Lucknow University, India. He is the last of only 3 persons, who were conferred M.D. Pharmacology degree with Honours by this century old college. He became a Lecturer in Pharmacology (1965-66) and also worked as a Family Physician (1962-1966), before joining the Pharmacology department of N.V. Organon, Oss, The Netherlands. At Organon, he contributed towards the development of drugs that were marketed as a muscle relaxant (pancuronium; Pavulon®) and antidepressant (mianserin; Tovlon®).

Despite a very fruitful experience at Organon, Prof. Saxena moved back to academia, joining in 1970 the then newly established Medical Faculty Rotterdam (now Erasmus MC), where he was a Professor and then Chairman (1990-2004) of Pharmacology. During 1988-1991, he also served as Vice Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. He continued his research interests in the field of Serotonin and Migraine, contributing towards the classification and nomenclature of serotonin receptors and the design and development of triptans, a completely new class of drugs for the treatment of migraine headache. In 1998, he established Erasmus Pharma and was its Managing Director until 2005.

Professor Saxena has to his credit a large number (>500) of scientific publications, which are extensively cited to earn him a place as a “Highly Cited Researcher” (American Society for
Information Science & Technology; http://isihighlycited.com). He was a office bearer of the Dutch Pharmacology Society (Chairman), the Dutch Headache Society (Vice-president), the Anglo-Dutch Migraine Association (Vice President), the European Headache Federation (President) and the Serotonin Club (President). Presently, he serves as a member of International Scientific Advisory Board of The Lundbeck Foundation Center for Neurovascular Signaling (Glostrup, Denmark) and Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of Erasmus Pharma (Rotterdam).

Prof. Saxena is well recognised: Harold G. Wolff Prize (1973) and John Graham Senior Clinician Award (1996) by American Headache Association, Bhargava-Gujral Oration (1988) by Lucknow University, Marcia Wilkinson Lecture (1998) and Honorary Membership (2004) by Anglo-Dutch Migraine Association, Life-time Achievement Award (2001) by The Headache Cooperative of New England, Irvine Page Lecture (2002) and Honorary Membership (2004) by Serotonin Club, Ad Fontes Medal (2004) by Erasmus University, Migraine Trust Lecture (2004), and Thomas Burks Memorial Lecture (2009) by Western Pharmacology Society. At his retirement in 2004, the Dutch Headache Society instituted “Prof. Dr. P.R. Saxena prize”, which is awarded annually to the author of best scientific paper in the headache field, published in an International Journal.

Having lived in The Netherlands for 46 years, Prof. Saxena recognises that the Dutch society is still pretty receptive to foreigners, who, obviously, must also adapt to new circumstances. Admittedly, in recent years there is a change in the attitude of a small section of Dutch society that seems to demand that foreigners must suppress and forget their roots. During a meeting with the Indian Community, the Minister for Aliens’ affairs and Integration in the Cabinet Balkenende-I preached us to be loyal to the host country. Prof. Saxena responded that he couldn’t agree more, but a Cricket or Hockey match between India and The Netherlands will remain out of bounds to this loyalty.

Prof. Saxena has helped foster people-to-people contact between India and The Netherlands. He taught pharmacology to thousands of medical students passing out from Rotterdam and trained some 40 PhD students, including several from India. He facilitated scientific exchange by promoting visits by Dutch colleagues to India and of Indian counterparts to the Erasmus University and to International meetings that he organised. On the social side, Prof. Saxena furthered understanding between India and The Netherlands via his Cricket, Hockey and Bridge clubs as well as the Netherlands-India Association and Rotary club.

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