STAFF REPORT KHI: The University of Teknologi Mara (UiTM) in Malaysia has inaugurated the Dr Attaur Rehman Institute of Natural Product Discovery (RiND). The eminent Pakistani scientist attended as the guest of honour the international conference on natural products, where he delivered the keynote speech for the “Jack Cannon Lecture”, officials of the International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) at the Karachi University.
The decision to establish the institution was announced by UiTMs Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Sahol Hamid Abu Bakar at ICCBS in March 2011. The university had then awarded Dr. Atta an honorary doctorate degree.
The RiND will work on full-fledged PhD programmes on organic chemistry, medicinal chemistry, biochemistry, genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics, neuroscience, proteomics, pharmacology, pharmacognosy and molecular medicine.
“The centre will focus on the bioactive constituents of terrestrial plants and marine sources,” an ICCBS official said.
In 1999, Rehman became the only Muslim scientist to receive the prestigious Unesco Science Prize. In October 2009, he was conferred with the TWAS Prize for Institution Building in Durban, South Africa.
The Austrian government also honoured him with its highest civil award “Grosse Goldene Ehrenzeischen am Bande” in 2007.
Successive Pakistani governments have conferred Tamgha-e-Imtiaz (1983), Sitara-e-Imtiaz (1991), Hilal-e-Imtiaz (1998) and the highest national civilian award Nishan-i-Imtiaz (2002) to the professor.