UM Scientist Honored with Herbal Insight Award

OXFORD, Miss. – The father of medicine, Hippocrates, was an ancient Greek healer who used many medicinal plants and healing herbs. Centuries later, a University of Mississippi scientist is on a mission to examine their effectiveness. IKhan

For more than two decades, Ikhlas Khan, assistant director of the School of Pharmacy’s National Center for Natural Products Research, has studied medicinal plants to better assess the quality and safety of dietary supplements. Khan’s ongoing work was honored March 11 by the American Herbal Products Association with its 2010 Herbal Insight Award for his various contributions to the botanical science industry.

“It’s great to be recognized for your effort,” Khan said. “I am delighted. It certainly speaks to our global research effort in bringing science to assure the safety and quality of dietary supplements.”

The voice of the herbal products industry and the recognized leader in representing the botanical trade, the AHPA handed out its fifth annual awards at its meeting in Anaheim, Calif.

“The AHPA Awards recognize the efforts of those who are working to move the industry forward,” said AHPA President Michael McGuffin. “Those who produce and research herbal products have a positive impact not only on this industry, but on the health and well-being of many consumers.”

As director of the university’s FDA Center for Excellence in Botanicals, Khan has worked to enhance the knowledge of botanicals among regulators. The AHPA award recognizes Khan for furthering the knowledge and understanding of medicinal and aromatic plants.

“Dr. Khan’s research on botanical products has been instrumental for researchers, regulators and companies alike, and this award from the industry recognizes his practical and perceptive contributions in support of the quality and safety of herbal products in the United States,” said NCNPR Director Larry Walker.

Khan’s primary research interests include analytical fingerprinting for standardization of herbal products and bio-analytical approaches to improvement of product quality and safety. The researcher said he is optimistic about the future for botanicals as the combined efforts from the government, industry and academia will lead to effective, safe and good quality herbal products.

Khan has worked to promote an informed dialog about botanicals and to advance the scientific foundation underlying their safe and effective use worldwide, said UM pharmacy Dean Barbara G. Wells.

“This award is well deserved and an appropriate recognition of the importance of his work,” she said. “We are most fortunate to have him at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, where he contributes greatly to our research and educational mission.”

Born in Amroha, India, Khan received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Aligarh Muslim University in Aligarh, India. He earned his doctorate in pharmacy from the Institute for Pharmaceutical Biology in Munich. He joined the UM faculty in 1988.

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