– Photo by Suhail Yusuf /Dawn.com
KARACHI: A top Malaysian university will set up a research institute to honour prominent Pakistani scientist Dr. Atta-ur-Rehman.
The “Atta-ur-Rahman Institute of Natural Product Discovery (RiND)” will be inaugurated at the University of Teknologi Mara (UiTM) on March 4, 2013, during an International Conference on Natural Products, where Rehman is being invited as a guest of honour to deliver the keynote speech for the “Jack Cannon Lecture”.
The UiTM had awarded Rehman an honorary doctorate degree in 2011 and RiND is another accolade for the scientist.
“The RiND will will work on full-fledged PhD programs in fields such as organic chemistry, medicinal chemistry, biochemistry, genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics, neuroscience, proteomics, pharmacology, pharmacognosy and molecular medicine with a special focus on the bioactive constituents of terrestrial plants and marine sources,” Rehman said while speaking to Dawn.com.
The decision to establish the institute was announced in March 2011 by UiTM’s Vice Chancellor, Prof Dr Sahol Hamid Abu Bakar at International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), Karachi University (KU).
UiTM is already planning for joint projects with Pakistan’s leading institutes and in this regard the rectors of National University of Science and Technology (Nust) and Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (Comsats) will sign MOUs while attending the International Conference on Natural Products in Malaysia.
“A formal Memorandum of Understanding will be signed on the occasion between the Universiti Teknologi Mara in Malaysia with four institutions in Pakistan which are Nust, Comsats, the University of Bahawlpur and International Center for Chemical and Appliead Biosciences at Karachi University,” Rehman added.
Rehman’s contribution and laurels
Prof. Atta-ur-Rahman, a Fellow of Royal Society member, has contributed 900 research publications at the international level which include 116 books largely published by major US and European presses and 21 international patents. He is the Editor-in-Chief of 12 European Chemistry journals while seventy-six students have completed their Ph.D. degrees under his supervision.
Prof. Rahman is the only scientist from the Muslim world to have won the prestigious UNESCO Science Prize in 1999 and was conferred with the TWAS Prize for Institution Building in Durban, South Africa in October 2009. The Austrian government also honoured him with its highest civil award (“Grosse Goldene Ehrenzeischen am Bande") in 2007.
Successive Governments of Pakistan have conferred four civil awards, including Tamgha-i-Imtiaz (1983), Sitara-i-Imtiaz (1991), Hilal-i-Imtiaz (1998), and the highest national civil award Nishan-i-Imtiaz (2002). He is President of Network of Academies of Sciences of Islamic Countries (NASIC) and the Regional Vice-President of TWAS and is currently the president of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences.