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May 13, 2019 at 1:56 pm

Alumni News | Khan, Vice Chancellor of University of Karachi, Passes Away

Dr. Muhammad Ajmal Khan

Ohio University alum Dr. Muhammad Ajmal Khan, a renowned botanist, passed away in May 2019 in Pakistan at the age of 67, according to a Dunya News report. He was the University of Karachi’s vice chancellor.

Khan earned a Ph.D. in Botany from the College of Arts & Sciences in 1985, studying with Dr. Irwin Ungar, Professor Emeritus of Environmental & Plant Biology. He was elected to Sigma Xi while he was at OHIO.

“Dr. Khan completed his doctoral research in my laboratory in 1985.  He was an outstanding graduate student,” notes Ungar.

“Dr. Khan was one of the world leaders in the study of halophyte biology. He worked  closely with his graduate students at Karachi University and produced a number of excellent M.S. and Ph.D. students. His publications are  highly cited in the literature, indicating the high quality of the research carried out in his laboratory,” added Ungar.

“We were pleased to have him visit our laboratory at Ohio University in 1995-1996 as a Fulbright Faculty Research Fellow, where he collaborated with me and Allan Showalter on several research projects. We were very impressed with his research effort, which resulted in numerous research publications in international journals.”

Dr. Brian McCarthy, Professor and Associate Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, “first met Ajmal in 1982 when I was a master’s student in Botany at Ohio University. Ajmal was a doctoral student of Dr. Irwin Ungar and studied the ecology and physiology of halophytes (salt tolerant plants). I met Ajmal shortly after moving to Athens, and he was quite helpful at orienting me to the department and Athens.

“I have many fond memories of his ‘words of wisdom’ that he would share with me late into the evenings when we were working in our labs,” McCarthy added. “I was always very impressed at how productive he was, and he was certainly an influential figure in my career as a plant biologist. For years and years he would always send me a ‘Happy New Year’ message by email, which I always got a kick out of.”

Khan’s research interests included the salt tolerant plants (halophytes), and “he was engaged in development of varieties of halophytes for special uses, salt tolerance mechanisms, seed biology of halophytes, The Nation reported, noting that Khan became the University of Karachi’s 17th vice chancellor in 2017.

Prof. Dr. Muhammad Ajmal Khan was a noted Pakistani botanist and his teaching and research career spans over 44 years. For his outstanding services in plant sciences, he had received numerous prestigious local and international awards including Presidential Award of Sitara-e-Imtiaz in 2008. He had also received Fellowship of Fulbright Academy of Sciences and The World Innovation Foundation, Switzerland in 2006, HEC-Distinguished National Professor and Honor Professor, Shijiazhuang Institute for Agriculture Modernization, PR China in 2005, Fellow Third World Academy of Science in 2003, Fellow Pakistan Academy of Science and Presidential Award of the Pride of Performance in August in 2001.

Meanwhile, he was given the status of Meritorious Professor. He had also received title of Distinguished Scientist of the year 2008 in Botany as well as Fellow of the Islamic World Academy of Sciences (IAS), Fellow of Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS), Fellow, Pakistan Academy of Sciences, Distinguished Visiting Professor, King Saud University, KSA and Qatar Shell Professorial Chair in Sustainable Development, Qatar University.




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