Akhtar works for Germany's Max Planck Society. She was its first international female vice president for the biology and medicine section.
She will get the award in 2021.
The Max Planck Society is Germany’s most successful research organisation. It was established in 1948 and has since had 18 Nobel laureates emerge from the ranks of its scientists. It is on par with the best and most prestigious research institutions worldwide.
Dr Akhtar is being awarded for her groundbreaking cell-biological work on the mechanisms of epigenetic gene regulation. The award includes €2.5 million in prize money.
She is among 10 scientists to have been selected for this important prize for 2021.
"Congratulations, Dr Asifa! You make both Pakistan and Germany extremely proud with your outstanding contributions to science!" read a congratulatory note for Akhtar by the German Consulate General in Karachi.