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Prof. Ahmad Shamsul Islam

(Fellow, 1980)

Bangladesh (BD)
Bangladesh (BD)

Professor Ahmad Shamsul Islam was born on August 6, 1924. His Father is Late Moulvi Md. Serajul Islam.

Professor Islam did his Matric and Intermediate in Science in 1941 and 1943 from Rajshahi Collegiate School and Rajshahi College, respectively. He did Hons. and M. Sc. in Botany from Presidency College, Calcutta in 1945 and 1947, respectively. He obtained Ph.D. in Botany (Cytogenetics) from Manchester University, U. K. in 1954 with the financial support of the British Council and received the Currie Memorial Prize in 1954 for his outstanding work on seedless strawberries.

Professor Islam taught Botany for over 40 years at the undergraduate and graduate levels in different Universities, namely Dhaka University, Bangladesh; Sindh University, Pakistan; University of Dares Salam, Tanzania, and University of Nairobi, Kenya. He also served as a Supernumerary Professor of Botany, Dhaka University. During his research career, he was not only the first to be able to produce hybridization between the two commercial cultivars of jute, he successfully established techniques for jute tissue culture and micropropagation. He also established tissue culture techniques such as somaclonal variation for various crops and meristem culture and micropropagation for producing virus-free propagules of indigenous orchids and potato. He established the Plant Tissue Culture and Genetics Laboratory at the Department of Botany through both national and international grants, including British Council. He started a successful scientist exchange program through British Council through which at least a dozen scientists from the Botany Department got the opportunity of training for tissue culture at the University of Nottingham.  He established breeding technologies for disease resistance in jute, cotton and Kenaf. Through his work within the country, especially at Dhaka University, he published 4 manuscripts in the prestigious Journal ‘Nature’ from 1952 to 1960, one in ‘Science’ in 1969, five in ‘Biologia’ (1959-70) one in ‘Experimentia’, one in ‘J. of Heredity’. Overall he published more than 80 papers on significant work in cytogenetics, breeding, tissue culture and transformation. He produced 20 PhD students during his research career. He was the Founder Editor of 5 journals from Dhaka University (including Bangladesh Journal of Botany) and Sindh University. He organized many international conferences starting from the 80’s to well into the 90’s. He worked tirelessly to induct Bangladesh into ICGEB by pursuing the Foreign and Science and Technology Ministries. He is a founder fellow of IAS and Fellow, BAS (1980) and was instrumental for the start of the web-based Global Network of Bangladeshi Biotechnologists (GNOBB) in 2004 which is now a full-fledged organization bringing together Biotechnologists of different Disciplines. GNOBB was instrumental in giving rise to a student version of the Biotechnologists network, called NYBB (Network of Young Biotechnologists of Bangladesh). Through his activities in GNOBB, he contacted Dr. Maqsudul Alam and convinced him to undertake the sequencing of the Jute Genome, which was successfully done by him and a vibrant team of scientists from Bangladesh. The article on Jute Sequencing, published in Nature Plants in 2017 is dedicated to Professor Ahmad S. Islam.

Professor Islam is the recipient of 5 prestigious awards within the country: President's Gold Medal in Agriculture (1984), Ekushey Medal (Martyr's Day Medal) in Education (1986), Bangladesh Academy of Sciences Gold Medal in Biology (1987), Gold medal as Eminent Botanist by Bangladesh Association of Botany (1997) And Life Time Achievement Award by GNOBB in 2017.

He has written several text books: entitled "Fundamentals of Genetics" for the Undergraduate and Honors students in English and Bangla in 1973 and 1986, respectively. These books, particularly the Bangla one, are used as standard textbooks by Botany students all over the country.   He recently updated his Bangla Genetics Book with the latest Biotechnological Interventions, which was published in 2011 (Bangshogoti Biddar Mul Kotha O Gene Prokoushol)

He edited the Biology portion of the Science Book of Classes V and VI being appointed by the National Curricula and Text Book Board.  In 1978 he was invited to present a paper by UNESCO- sponsored seminar on "The improvement of Science Course at the School level. Professor Islam was a Member of the Education Commission in 1978 - 1979 and participated in a large number of meetings relating to science education problems and their probable solution. Professor Islam worked as a short-term consultant for FAO to prepare two projects, one for the consultants for preparation of feasibility study for the establishment of "The National Institute of Biotechnology" in 1992 - 1993.

Bangladesh (BD)
Last updated on 23/01/2022