Professor Shahidul Islam who has been appointed to the NHLS Data Access and Ethics Committee.

Call-up to National Health Laboratory Services Committee for Biochemistry Academic

Associate Professor of Biochemistry in the School of Life Sciences at UKZN, Professor Shahidul Islam, has been appointed one of five members of South Africa’s National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) Data Access and Ethics Committee.

The committee was established to ensure proper governance on the sharing of data collected by the NHLS which provides clinicians with test results from tissue samples and patient specimens in the public and private health sector for purposes of research, medical treatment and care. The NHLS was instituted to provide quality, affordable and sustainable health laboratory and public health services.

Islam was selected onto the NHLS committee because of his extensive experience gained while serving on UKZN’s Animal Research Ethics Committee (AREC), where he was a member for two years and chairperson for four years.

‘Our College is very proud of the confirmation by the NHLS that we have academics of international standing,’ said Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science Professor Albert Modi.

‘This is a great achievement for Professor Shahidul Islam, the College as well as UKZN,’ said Modi.

Islam has a C2 NRF rating and more than 10 years’ teaching experience in Biochemistry and Metabolism. He is an expert in the field of type 2 diabetes and obesity and has published seven book chapters and more than 110 full-length articles in international peer-reviewed journals and has served on editorial boards for distinguished international journals.

Islam has delivered a number of lectures around the world and received the 2015 Distinguished Teachers’ Award in the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science. He secured 18th positon in 2017’s list of the Top 30 published researchers at UKZN and has supervised about 50 postgraduate students and has taught from undergraduate to honours levels.

His research has involved the development of animal models of type 2 diabetes, antidiabetic intervention trials of various medicinal and functional foods, food supplements, artificial sweeteners, sugar substitutes, and medicinal plant extracts (including fractions and isolated pure compounds from these) and underlying molecular mechanisms behind their effects targeting novel drug discovery and better management of diabetes.

Islam and colleagues have developed two animal models of type 2 diabetes in use by researchers around the world, and their work on sugar alcohols and on medicinal plants has drawn international attention in recent years.

Words: Christine Cuénod

Photograph: Supplied