Kunwar Prasad Bhatnagar:  1934-2021

J. Gregory Cooper
Family Care Associates PSC, 1210 Kentucky Highway 36 East, Suite 2C, Cynthiana, KY, 41031

Reprinted from Bat Research News, Vol. 62: No.4.

Kunwar Bhatnagar was born 21 March 1934 in Gwalior, India.  He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Agra University, in 1956, and his Master of Science degree with honors in Zoology from Vikram University, in 1958.  He came to the United States and studied under the direction of Frank C. Kallen at the State University of New York at Buffalo, where Kunwar received a Ph.D. in Anatomy in 1972.  Kunwar respectfully claimed his academic heritage through Dr. Kallen, who was a student of the acclaimed chiroptologist William A. Wimsatt (1917-1985) of Cornell University.  Dr. Wimsatt, in turn, had descended academically from Howard B. Adelmann (1898-1988) at Cornell, and the line of succession extended back through Bert G. Wilder (1841-1925) at Cornell and ultimately to Louis Agassiz (1807-1873) at Harvard University.  Such was Kunwar's respect for academic integrity and the honor and responsibility that he felt in carrying on credible and impactful research.  He became an Assistant Professor of Anatomy at the University of Louisville School of Medicine and Dentistry in 1972, with promotion to Associate Professor in 1978, and became Professor of Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology at the University of Louisville School of Medicine in 1985. 

His areas of interest included microscopy of olfactory and accessory olfactory systems; anatomical, electrophysiological, and behavioral studies on olfactory systems; morphology of the vomeronasal organ; comparative morphology and ultrastructure of the pineal gland; the rhinencephalon and cardiac conduction system in bats; and human anatomical development.  His research resulted in over 150 scientific publications and reports in prominent academic journals and texts.  Selected references are included in this report to indicate the scope and trajectory of his work, but emphasizing his work with bats. 

In his numerous collaborations he was a most generous colleague and a mentor to many.  In addition to his legacy as a research scientist, Dr. Bhatnagar's passion for education and the pursuit of excellence has served many students at the University of Louisville and created a powerful testament to the success of his career as a professor and mentor to now more than 5,000 doctors practicing medicine.  He lived a life of leading by example, teaching that caring for people was the real purpose of the practice of medicine. 

Kunwar's exceptional career included his role as editor of Bat Research News from 1982 to 1986.  He was also a regular contributor and a bibliographer for the publication.  He was a dedicated, industrious, creative, and prolific scientist, whose work in teaching and research extended even past his achieving emeritus status at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. 

Kunwar Bhatnagar passed away on 17 November 2021, in Louisville, Kentucky.  He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Mrs. Indu Bhatnagar; daughters, Dr. Divya Cantor and Dr. Jyoti Burruss; sons-in-law, David Cantor and Dave Burruss; grandchildren, Alec Rouben, Dr. Cami Burruss, Matthew Burruss, Clayton Burruss, Natalie Pregliasco, and Joe Pregliasco; great grandchildren, Louis and Jolie Pregliasco; brothers, Mahesh, Chanda, and Kishan Bhatnagar; as well as many nieces and nephews residing in India, the United States, and around the world.  He was preceded in death by his parents, Mr. Narain Swaroop Bhatnagar and Mrs. Bhagwati Devi, and by his brothers, Dr. Kailash Bhatnagar and Ganesh Bhatnagar, and his sister, Mrs. Raj Dulari. 

This memoriam is respectfully submitted by J. Gregory Cooper, M.D., the first anatomy graduate student of Kunwar Bhatnagar, Ph.D., and now in my 41st year of family medicine practice in Cynthiana, Kentucky, and an Assistant Clinical Professor, in the Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine, at the University of Louisville School of Medicine.  If there were no Dr. Kunwar Bhatnagar, there would be no Dr. Greg Cooper. 

Acknowledgments. - This tribute was made possible through the contributions of Timothy D. Smith and Divya Bhatnagar Cantor. 


Bhatnagar, K. P. 1972. Olfaction in bats: behavioral, anatomical and electroencephalographic investigations. Ph.D. dissertation. State University of New York at Buffalo.

Bhatnagar, K. P., and F. C. Kallen. 1974. Cribriform plate of ethmoid, olfactory bulb and olfactory acuity in forty species of bats. Journal of Morphology, 142:71-90.

Cooper, J. G., and K. P. Bhatnagar. 1976. Comparative anatomy of the vomeronasal organ complex in bats. Journal of Anatomy 122:571-601.

Bhatnagar, K. P. 1980. The chiropteran vomeronasal organ: its relevance to the phylogeny of bats. Pp. 289-315 in Proceedings of the Fifth International Bat Research Conference (D. E. Wilson and A. L. Gardner, eds.). Texas Tech University Press, Lubbock.

Hope, G.M., and K. P. Bhatnagar. 1980. Comparative electroretinography in phyllostomid and vespertilionid bats. Pp. 79-89 in Proceedings of the Fifth International Bat Research Conference (D. E. Wilson and A. L. Gardner, eds.), Texas Tech University Press, Lubbock.

Bhatnagar, K. P. 1980. Notes on preserving bats in the field. Bat Research News, 21:8-10.

Miragal, F., and K. P. Bhatnagar. 1983. On the bat in the blazon of the city of Valencia, Spain. Bat Research News, 24:4-5.

Bhatnagar, K. P. 1989. Jan van Kessel's seventeenth-century painting "America" depicts bats. Bat Research News, 30:34-36.

Bhatnagar, K. P. 1989. A report on the Eighth International Bat Research Conference, Sydney, Australia, July 9-15, 1989. Bat Research News, 30:41-42.

Wible, J. R., and K. P. Bhatnagar.1995. The vomeronasal organ in bats: a phylogenetic perspective. Bat Research News, 36:125.

Hunt, L. A., and K. P. Bhatnagar. 1997. Human rabies and silver-haired bats in the United States. Bat Research News, 38:85-89.

Hunt, L. A., and K. P. Bhatnagar. 2001. An update on human rabies and silver-haired bats in the United States. Bat Research News, 42:8-9.

Bhatnagar, K. P. 2001. Cynocephalus volans, the flying lemur. Bat Research News, 42(3): artwork on front cover.

Singh, U. P., A. Krishna, T. D. Smith, and K. P. Bhatnagar. 2005. Histochemical localization of enzymes and lipids in the ovary of a vespertilionid bat, Scotophilus heathi, during the reproductive cycle. Brazilian Journal of Biology, 65:179-186.

Bhatnagar, K. P. 2009. In remembrance, Frank Clements Kallen (1928-2004). Biomedical Research, 20:151-152.

Smith, T. D., and K. P. Bhatnagar. 2009. Vomeronasal system evolution. Pp.461-470 in Encyclopedia of neuroscience. Vol. 10 (L. R. Squire, ed.). Academic Press, New York.

Rehorek, S. R., T. D. Smith, and K. P. Bhatnagar. 2010. The orbitofacial glands of bats: an investigation of the potential correlation of gland structure with social organization. Anatomical Record, 293:1433-1448.

Reprinted from Bat Research News, Vol. 62: No. 4, 2021.

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