Ole Miss Natural Products Center director wins prestigious botanical award

Published 6:00 am Sunday, April 9, 2017

By Anna Herd

University Communications

Ikhlas Khan, director of the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, was honored Monday, April 3, with the 2016 Mark Blumenthal Herbal Community Builder Award from the American Botanical Council.

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The presentation came at the 17th annual International Conference on the Science of Botanicals, hosted by NCNPR this week at the Oxford Conference Center.

The American Botanical Council focuses on using science-based and traditional information to promote and educate about the responsible use of herbal medicine. The Mark Blumenthal Herbal Community Builder Award is given to an ABC member who exceeds expectations in promoting community and collaboration among those passionate about furthering the study of botanicals.

“All of us here at ABC are profoundly grateful to Dr. Khan for countless invaluable and exemplary contributions to the organization’s nonprofit educational mission, publications and programs,” said Mark Blumenthal, namesake of the award and founder of the ABC.

Previous winners include entrepreneurs, authors, activists and herbalists. Khan, who was instrumental in establishing the annual International Conference on the Science of Botanicals, is the first scientific researcher in the organization’s history to receive the award.

Khan’s research interests are in drug discovery from natural products and developing standards for botanical purity. He helped establish a partnership between the Ole Miss natural products center and the FDA dedicated to assessing the safety and chemical makeup of dietary supplements.

The UM Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences that houses the center has partnered with ABC for many years in the Botanical Adulterants Program, which educates the herbal and dietary supplement community about the ingredient and product adulteration. Khan serves on the ABC advisory board and, in 2009, won its Norman R. Farnsworth Excellence in Botanical Research Award.

Khan said he was happily surprised to receive the Community Builder Award and honored to be in the company of the award’s previous winners.

“Building a global scientific community is very important for educating about botanicals,” Khan said. “Science alone cannot solve a problem. You have to work with manufacturers, herbalists, regulatory agencies – every stakeholder has to play a role.”