Dr. Ali Rajput, who originally joined the medical faculty at the U of S back in 1967, will be awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science at Fall Convocation in TCU Place on Saturday, Oct. 28. Rajput, a distinguished professor emeritus who began researching Parkinson’s disease and treatments 50 years ago, served as the head of neurology at Royal University Hospital from 1985 to 2001.
Rajput has led many major developments in Parkinson’s research and treatment, and is particularly proud of his work with the internationally renowned Saskatchewan Movement Disorders Program that he started in the late 1960s at the U of S.
“I am indebted to the university and the health region for helping me achieve the academic goals that I set for myself,” Rajput said. “I have been doing this work for 50 years and there are many one-of-a-kind discoveries we have made, which I am proud of. If I were to choose one that is most important, it would be establishing the Saskatchewan Movement Disorders Program. That is the anchor to which all our research is tied. That would be my most important research contribution to this institution.”
The honorary doctorate is the latest in a long list of awards for Rajput, who received the Saskatchewan Order of Merit in 1993 and was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1997 (the first Canadian born in Pakistan and first Muslim Canadian to receive the distinction). Rajput’s research was chosen in 2005 by the Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA) as one of the four most significant advances in the field of medicine in the history of the province, and he was also named physician of the year by the SMA in 2006.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the career of Dr. Rajput, who was a pioneer in the field of Parkinson’s research and is respected around the world for the enormous impact he has made in the science of neurology,” said U of S President Peter Stoicheff. “A pillar of the international research community, his passion and dedication continues to this day and we are extremely proud to honour him at our Fall Convocation ceremonies.”
Rajput, who has served on major global committees including the World Health Organization’s Parkinson’s Disease Working Group, was also part of a 2012 international collaboration which identified an abnormal gene that leads to Parkinson’s. Rajput received the Morton Shulman Award from the Parkinson Society of Canada in 2001 and the U of S Distinguished Researcher Award in 2002, was named CTV Saskatoon’s Citizen of the Year in 2006, and was elected a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences in 2013.
After graduating top of his class in medicine at the University of Sind in Pakistan, Rajput did his residency and obtained his master’s in neurology at the University of Michigan, before moving on to graduate work at Queen’s University prior to moving to Saskatoon to join the U of S in 1967. Rajput, who also spent a year on sabbatical at the prestigious Mayo Clinic in 1980-81, is an accomplished author with more than 200 scientific papers, articles and book chapters to his credit.
The first of two honorary degree recipients at this year’s U of S Fall Convocation, Rajput will be recognized for his lifetime of achievement during the 9 am ceremony on Oct. 28 at TCU Place. For the full convocation schedule, go to: https://students.usask.ca/events/fall-convocation.php