Ahmad, Kamaluddin

Ahmad, Kamaluddin (1921-2004) Professor Kamaluddin Ahmad recognized as the father of biochemistry and nutrition in Bangladesh was born in Gohira, Chittagong on December 21, 1921. He got his BSc and MSc in Chemistry from the University of Dhaka with distinction. He earned a PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin in 1949.

The Department of Biochemistry of Dhaka University was established under his dynamic leadership in 1957. He later established the Department of Pharmacy (1964), and the Institute of Nutrition and Food Science (1969) at this university.

After his retirement from teaching at Dhaka University in 1984, Professor Kamal established the Bangladesh Institute of Herbal Medicine, Nutrition and Social Development in Savar. Later at the age of 75 he founded the Centre for Biomedical Research at the Dhaka University, where he served as the Honorary Director until death. He was once appointed the Vice Chancellor of Bangladesh Agricultural University. He was one of the pioneers in establishing the Bangladesh Academy of Sciences, which he served as the President for several years.

Professor Kamal's most remarkable contribution was the nutrition survey of the then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) during 1962-64. The survey revealed the widespread prevalence of various forms of malnutrition among the Bengali population, especially children and mothers. In the 60s, Professor Kamal took a scheme to distribute high-potency vitamin-A capsules to get rid of blindness due to vitamin-A deficiency. His one other major contribution was the introduction of iodized salt among Bangladesh population to eradicate widespread iodine deficiency.

Professor Kamaluddin Ahmad had published more than 200 articles in national and international journals, depicting many important discoveries. The discoveries of the role of vitamin C in prevention of neurolathyrism caused by khesari toxin and the so-called Chinese Restaurant Syndrome caused by monosodium glutamate (testing salt), the goitrogenic action of allyl isothiocyanate (AITC) of mustard oil, the relationship between vitamin A and iron and iodine deficiencies and the cause and remedies of arsenicosis are only few examples to cite.

This world famous scientist died in July 4, 2004 due to age related ailment. [Md. Anwar Hossain]