Nepalese chemist Achyut Adhikari is the recipient of Atta-ur-Rahman Award 2019 in Chemistry. He awarded for his work using natural products chemistry in Nepal isolating compounds in regional plants that can be put to use in medicine or commercial products.
Achyut Adhikari trained in Pakistan for his Ph.D. and Brazil as a postdoctoral researcher, and then spent eight years in Pakistan on the job, developing his knowledge and skills. He then went back to his home country of Nepal about two-and-a-half years ago and established a natural products research lab. There, his work focuses on local plants and spices, seeking everything from medically useful compounds to items that could advance Nepal’s profile on the global market.
Achyut Adhikari said the award will inspire him to do more research, and help him convince the government to invest in research. I am so happy to receive this award because Prof. Atta-ur-Rahaman is my teacher as well as role model and I learned most of these things from him.
He further said “When I was in Pakistan, my aim was different: I concentrated on drug discovery for diabetes and cancer and such. When I returned to Nepal my focus had changed. We don’t have sophisticated labs, so we can’t do deep research. But I want to concentrate on developing products from, say, ginger and cinnamon. These plants are common in Nepal and have a cheap price. But with the research, I can develop techniques and get a better price. It’s science for society.”
He added that we have cinnamon, ginger, and Nepali pepper, Nepali pepper has already got attention.
He told that “I am trying to teach students, collaborating with industries, lobbying with governments to add value in medicinal plants of Nepal”.
Since Nepal spares little money for scientific research, Adhikari’s lab has partnerships in Japan, India, Sri Lanka and the United States for analysis of samples.
He informed that “My research work will help for the standardization of Nepali herbal and aromatic products. After that, the products will get marketed in Europe and America.”