AUSTIN, Texas (March 16, 2017) — The American Botanical Council (ABC) has announced Ikhlas Khan, PhD, as the recipient of the 2016 ABC Mark Blumenthal Herbal Community Builder Award.
The annual award, named for ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal, is given to an individual who has played a significant role in creating a sense of community among herbalists, researchers, members of the herb and natural products communities, and related individuals who work in the area of medicinal plants.
“I am honored to receive this recognition — this award named after Mark Blumenthal, who is a living example of a community builder,” said Khan.
Blumenthal said that “Through organizing the International Conference on the Science of Botanicals (ICSB) for 17 years, in partnership with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Professor Ikhlas Khan has created a global community of researchers, regulators, and others who have an interest in furthering the appropriate production and responsible use of scientifically supported medicinal plants products.”
On January 1, 2017, Khan became the director of the National Center for Natural Products Research (NCNPR) at the University of Mississippi (UM) in Oxford, Mississippi, following the retirement of former director Larry Walker, PhD. Previously, Khan had been the associate director of the NCNPR. The NCNPR is part of UM’s Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (RIPS) and is a primary partner with ABC and the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP) in the ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program.
Khan’s primary research interests include drug discovery from medicinal plants and developing reference standards and laboratory analytical methods for botanical identity, purity, and safety. He is a research professor of pharmacognosy at UM.
In addition, Khan, who was born in Amroha, India, is the director of the Sino-US Traditional Chinese Medicine Research Center, director of the Center for Research of Indian Systems of Medicine, and coordinator of NCNPR efforts at the Center for Water and Wetlands Resources, which are all at UM.
Khan received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a master’s degree in organic chemistry from Aligarh Muslim University in Aligarh, India. In 1987, he received a doctorate in pharmacy from the Institute for Pharmaceutical Biology in Munich, Germany, where he studied under internationally renowned medicinal plant research expert Hildebert Wagner, PhD. In 1988, he joined RIPS at UM as a postdoctoral research associate. In 1990, he received a postdoctoral position with the Department of Pharmacy at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland. In 1992, he was appointed as a research scientist at UM.
He has authored or co-authored more than 700 research articles and has been a co-editor of the highly regarded research journal Planta Medica and a foreign editor of the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Khan also served on a committee for the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health at the US National Institutes of Health, an expert panel for the United States Pharmacopeia, an expert advisory committee of the Natural Products Health Directorate of Health Canada, and the Advisory Board of ABC.
He also co-directs the NCNPR’s medical cannabis farm, which supplies high-quality medical cannabis and its constituents to the National Institute on Drug Abuse Drug Supply Program, which then distributes the materials to medical marijuana researchers under contract.
Khan, who speaks four languages (English, German, Hindi, and Urdu), has been the recipient of numerous awards for his scientific achievements, including the American Society of Pharmacognosy’s Tyler Prize in 2011, the American Herbal Products Association’s Herbal Insight Award in 2010, the FDA’s Commissioner’s Special Citation in 2009, and ABC’s Norman R. Farnsworth Excellence in Botanical Research Award in 2009.
The 2016 Mark Blumenthal Community Builder Award was announced at the 12th Annual ABC Botanical Celebration and Awards Ceremony in Anaheim, California, on March 9, and will be presented to Dr. Khan at the ICSB at UM on April 4.
Past recipients of ABC’s Community Builder Award include herbalist and co-founder of the American Herbalists Guild Michael Tierra (2015), president of the United Natural Products Alliance Loren Israelsen (2014), Herb Pharm co-founder Sara Katz (2013), and herbalist and author Rosemary Gladstar (2012).