Habib-ur-Rehman Athar

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Prof. Dr. Habib-ur-Rehman Athar
BornBorn March 29, 1975
Jhang, Pakistan
Alma materBahauddin Zakariya University (BZU) Multan , University of Agriculture, Faisalabad , The University of Manchester, UK
AwardsResearch Productivity Award from MoST in A Category, Appointed Professor of Botany (2015)

Habib-ur-Rehman Athar(Urdu: حبیب الرحمان اطہر  ; born 29 March 1975) , h-index 40, with 7661 citations..[1] is a Pakistani plant physiologist and is currently serving as Professor of Botany at Institute of Pure and Applied Biology, Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU), Multan, Pakistan[2] . He also holds the position of Chief Editor for both International Journal of Applied and Experimental Biology (IJAaEB)[3] and Journal of Research (Science) BZU Multan [4]Pakistan. His research focuses on plant stress physiology, with a particular emphasis on the development of stress tolerance in crops using various approaches.

Early Life and Education

Athar was born on March 29, 1975 in Jhang Sadar, Pakistan and initiated his schooling at Ghazali Elementary School and later continued his education at Government Comprehensive High School, both institutions situated in his hometown. Building upon his academic groundwork, he further pursued his higher education at Government Post Graduate College Jhang (F.Sc., 1994; B.Sc., 1996) and BZU Multan (M.Sc., Botany, 1999).

Athar started doctoral journey for attaining his Ph.D. degree in Botany from University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, in 2009. Throughout his doctoral studies, he was mentored by Prof. Dr. Muhammad Ashraf. After completing his Ph.D. , he went to The University of Manchester, UK (29th World QS Ranking 2016/2017) for Post doctorate (Botany) in 2012[5].


Athar initiated his professional journey as a Scientific Officer at the National Agricultural Research Center (NARC) in Islamabad, Pakistan, in 2001. However, shortly thereafter, he joined BZU Multan as a Lecturer in Botany in the same year. Demonstrating his dedication and expertise, he ascended the academic ladder, achieving the position of Associate Professor in 2014. Notably, in 2015, at the age of 40.6, he got the title of Professor of Botany, marking a significant milestone in his career and distinguishing him as the youngest professor at BZU at that time.


Athar's research centers on developing innovative strategies to enhance the stress tolerance of essential crops such as canola, wheat, sunflower, maize, pea, and radish against environmental stresses[6] [7]. He investigates the application of osmoprotectants, antioxidants, growth regulators, and nutrients to enhance plant tolerance against salt ,drought and flooding stress. Additionally, he explores the use of transgenic technologies to improve stress tolerance by manipulating the accumulation of osmoprotectants like glycinebetain ultimately aiming to improve crop yields[8].


Athar is recognized as a pioneer for introducing several advanced techniques to Pakistan, including:

  • Fast chlorophyll a kinetic analysis (OJIP)
  • Measurement of PSII and PSI activities using Dual-PAM-100
  • Handheld devices like MultispeQ and CaliQ for measuring PSII, PSI, and ATP synthase activity

He has also collaborated with researchers in China to develop wheat lines with improved yield and stress tolerance[9][10][11]

Awards and Recognition

In recognition of his research achievements, Athar has been:

  • Research Productivity Award from MoST in A Category (2012)
  • Appointed Professor of Botany (2015)

He is actively involved in developing his Plant Physiology and Photosynthesis Research Laboratory at BZU Multan[12]


  1. "Habib-ur-Rehman Athar". scholar.google.com. Retrieved 2024-03-04.
  2. "Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan (Pakistan)". www.bzu.edu.pk. Retrieved 2024-03-04.
  3. "International Journal of Applied and Experimental Biology". submissions.eminentscientists.com. Retrieved 2024-03-04.
  4. "BZU Research Journals - Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan (Pakistan)". www.bzu.edu.pk. Retrieved 2024-03-04.
  5. Ali, Q.; Ashraf, M.; Athar, H. U. R. (2007). "Exogenously applied proline at different growth stages enhances growth of two maize cultivars grown under water deficit conditions". Pakistan Journal of Botany. 2007;39(4):1133-1144. Retrieved 2024-03-04.
  6. "Habib-ur-Rehman Athar | Bahauddin Zakariya University | CUFiner". CUFinder. Retrieved 2024-03-04.
  7. Ilyas, Faiza (2023-02-25). "Innovation in agriculture needed to tackle food insecurity, climate change, moot told". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 2024-03-04.
  8. Index, AD Scientific. "Habib Ur Rehman Athar - AD Scientific Index 2024". www.adscientificindex.com. Retrieved 2024-03-04.
  9. "Pakistani, Chinese researchers join hands for new wheat varieties". Daily Times. 2021-12-22. Retrieved 2024-03-04.
  10. INP (2022-06-06). "Pak-China coop in 'Biohealth Agriculture' to promote wheat production". Profit by Pakistan Today. Retrieved 2024-03-04.
  11. "Pakistan, China join hands for new wheat varieties". The Express Tribune. 2021-12-23. Retrieved 2024-03-04.
  12. "Prof. Dr. Habib Ur Rehman Athar Profile - Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan (Pakistan)". bzu.edu.pk. Retrieved 2024-03-04.

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