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Prof. Kamaluddin Ahmad (Deceased)

(Foundation Fellow, 1973)

Bangladesh (BD)
Bangladesh (BD)

Professor Kamaluddin Ahmad was born in September, 1923 at Gohira, Chittagong.

He obtained First class First position in B.Sc. Honours in Chemistry (1943) and also in M. Sc. in Chemistry 1944 and was a gold medalist of DhakaUniversity. He was awarded Ph. D. in Biochemistry (1949) from the University of Wisconsin.

Professor Ahmad was first Head (founding) of the Department of Biochemistry and Pharmacy of the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. His pioneering contribution in the science of nutrition, led to the establishment of the Institute of Nutrition and Food Science in the University of Dhaka to foster nutritional science in Bangladesh. Professor Ahmad headed the teams of scientists who carried out the first nutrition survey of Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) in 1962 - 1964 and other national surveys in 1975 - 1976 and 1981-1982. These studies were the milestones in the understanding of the nutritional problems of the country such as nutritional blindness, nutritional anemia, iodine deficiency disorders, protein caloric malnutrition and led to their remedial measures (both dietary and socio-cultural). He pioneered the Vitamin-A capsule and lipiodol injection programmes in Bangladesh. Even the first grain of salt to be iodised was done in his laboratory. The National Nutrition Council was established by the Govt. of Bangladesh on his initiative to promote and coordinate multidisciplinary approach for the solution of nutritional problems.

Professor Ahmad served the University of Dhaka as Professor of Biochemistry, 1962 - 1989; Director, Institute of Nutrition & Food Science, and as Dean, Faculty of Science. He also served as Vice-Chancellor, Bangladesh Agricultural University (1969 - 1971), member of the Syndicates of the Agricultural University, Jahangirnagar University and Chittagong University.

He was the recipient of the Pakistan Academy gold medal for achievements in Physical Sciences. Dr. Ahmad was awarded Nuffield Foundation Dominion fellowship, and SEATO Research fellowship. He was awarded Commonwealth Travelling fellowship to lecture at the Commonwealth Universities. He delivered lectures at the Universities of Chicago, Wisconsin, Harvard, Lincoln, Tuft and Calcutta. He served International Union of Nutrition Sciences as Chairman of the Committee on Nutrition Survey and Surveillance, and served as Chairman of many symposia in the international meetings.

Professor Ahmad was given pride of performance, awarded Tamgha-i-Quaid-iAzam (TQA) and Sitara-i-Khidmat (SK) by the then President of Pakistan. The Bangladesh Academy of Sciences awarded him Sonali Bank Gold Medal for his contribution in Biological Sciences.

Professor Ahmad discovered crystalline antibiotic ramnacin, first of its kind in the subcontinent. He developed a methodology for synthesis of unsaturated fatty acids. He discovered the biological action in electron transfer between cytochromes b and c. He demonstrated the action of alphatocopherol (Vitamin-E) in the prevention of liver cancer by aflatoxin.

Prof. Ahmad was the first person to produce experimental neurolathyrism in animals even though this disease was known in humans since 400 B.C. He demonstrated protective action of Vitamin-C against neurolathyrism. Professor Ahmad demonstrated that the toxicity of monosodium glutamate as often thought of as Chinese Restaurant Syndrome was also countered by Vitamin-C. Professor Ahmad further demonstrated that Vitamin-C cured tetanus in human subjects. He has shown that lack of Vitamin-A led not only to blindness in children but also is responsible for most of the anemia seen in Bangladesh. In the absence of Vitamin-A, dietary iron is accumulated in the liver and is not mobilized for the synthesis of hemoglobin. He further demonstrated that beta carotene is better than retionol for combating Vitamin-A deficiency among the malnourished children.

Prof. Ahmad isolated hypoxanthine-L-arabonoside from the leaves of Boerhavia diffusa and demonstrated its hypouricimic action in human subjects. His studies with certain plants of Bangladesh have demonstrated that effective antimicrobial sub¬stances could be developed from these plants for use as potent substitutes for microbial antibiotics. He established the Bangladesh Institute for Microbial Antibiotics. He also established the Bangladesh Institute of Herbal Medicine as a private enterprise in research on herbal medicine, food and nutrition.

Dr. Ahmad served the International Center for Diarrhoeal Diseases Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) as Chairman of the Ethical Review Committee; Member, Research Review Committee; and Chairman, Scientific Research Committee. He served Bangladesh Medical Research Council as Chairman of Research Review Committee. He continued to promote national efforts for the improvement of nutrition in the country as Chairman of Standing Technical Committee of the National Nutrition Council.

Professor Ahmad was elected Fellow of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences in 1960.  He served Bangladesh Academy of Sciences as its first Secretary. He was the first President of Bangladesh Association for the Advancement of Science. He was member of many international academic bodies. He was a Fellow of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) and Bangla Academy.

He travelled widely in USA, U. K., France, Austria, as well as Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Brazil, Guatemala and Mexico.

He was a member of science delegation to China (1956) and to USSR (1957) and a member of Pakistan's delegation to UNESCO (1970). He was the founder President of Bangladesh Biological Society and Nutrition Society. He is a Fellow of the Third World Academy of Sciences (Trieste).

Professor Kamaluddin Ahmad expired on 4 July 2004.

Bangladesh (BD)
Last updated on 30/11/2023