FDA Center Honors UM Scientist for Work on Dietary Supplements

Barbara O. Schneeman (center), director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition's Office of Nutrition, Labeling and Dietary Supplements, and Michael M. Landa (right), CFSAN director, present the Director's Special Citation Award to Ikhlas Khan, director of the FDA Center for Excellence in Botanicals at the University of Mississippi's National Center for Natural Product s Research, for his support of the center's regulatory programs. Photo courtesy William Mindak.

OXFORD, Miss. – A University of Mississippi researcher has been honored for his research leadership by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, known as CFSAN.

Ikhlas A. Khan, assistant director of the UM School of Pharmacy’s National Center for Natural Products Research and director of its FDA Center for Excellence in Botanicals, received the CFSAN Director’s Special Citation Award for his “outstanding leadership, dedication and teamwork in support of CFSAN’s dietary supplement and cosmetics regulatory programs.”

Khan received the award Friday (Sept. 7) at CFSAN’s headquarters in College Park, Md., where the center presented its 2012 Honor Awards.

“It is such an honor to receive this recognition, because it speaks highly of the quality of our research team’s efforts in dietary supplements,” Khan said. “Words can’t express my gratitude to my NCNPR colleagues, our partners at the FDA and our other collaborators located around the world.”

Khan is a nationally and internationally recognized proponent of using analytical fingerprinting to standardize herbal products and using bio-analytical approaches to improve their quality and safety.

“Dr. Khan has invested much of his career in bringing the tools of modern science to bear on unraveling the benefits and risks of botanical supplements and ensuring their safety and efficacy,” said NCNPR Director Larry A. Walker.

“His leadership in research on botanical supplements has long been appreciated in scientific, trade and regulatory communities,” Walker said. “This award from CFSAN indicates the high esteem the FDA has for Dr. Khan and his NCNPR team’s sustained contributions to its Office of Nutrition, Labeling and Dietary Supplements.”

UM researchers first partnered with the FDA to develop standards for botanical dietary supplements in 2001. Since then, the FDA designated NCNPR as a Center of Excellence for research in dietary supplements and, in 2009, presented the center with the FDA Commissioner’s Special Citation.

Khan’s work at NCNPR includes collaborations with the Medicinal Plant Consortium headquartered at the University of Kentucky and the Botanical Research Center at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. The consortium’s work is focused on unraveling how plant genes contribute to production of various chemical compounds, while the botanical center’s work is aimed at improving the safety and effectiveness of botanical estrogens.

He has been recognized numerous times for his work. He received the Nutrition Business Journal’s 2010 Education Award and the American Botanical Council’s 2009 Norman R. Farnsworth Botanical Research Award. In 2011, Khan received the Varro E. Tyler Prize from the American Society of Pharmacognosy for his career contributions to medicinal plant research, education and advocacy for plant-based medicines.

At UM, Khan also directs the U.S. efforts for the Sino-U.S. Traditional Chinese Medicine Research Center and directs the U.S. arm of the Center for Research of Indian Systems of Medicine. These centers study and promote the value, safety and utilization of Chinese and Indian traditional medicines in the U.S.

In addition, he is an adjunct professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and a visiting professor at Soochow University, Heilongjiang University of Chinese Medicine and Hunan University, as well as the King Saud University School of Pharmacy. He also has more than 400 original research articles, publications or reviews to his credit.

“We are fortunate to have Dr. Khan’s vision, energy and expertise helping to shape our NCNPR research program,” said David D. Allen, dean of the UM School of Pharmacy. “Its success in identifying, discovering and developing new natural products, establishing important international collaborations and answering critical research questions has been remarkable.”

Khan has served on the advisory boards or expert panels of such organizations as the American Herbal Products Association, U.S. Pharmacopoeia, Women’s Health and Asian Traditional Medicine, Missouri Botanical Garden, American Botanical Council, AOAC International Dietary Supplement Task Force and Health Canada’s Natural Health Directorate.

CFSAN is one of six product-oriented centers that carry out the mission of the Food and Drug and Administration, which is responsible for the safety of the nation’s domestically produced and imported foods, cosmetics, drugs, medical devices and other products. For more information about the center, visit http://www.fda.gov.

NCNPR is devoted to improving human health through the discovery, development, and safe and effective use of pharmaceuticals and supplements derived from natural products. Visit http://www.pharmacy.olemiss.edu/ncnpr for more information about the center.