Dr Niyaz Ahmed

Look at the sky. We are not alone. The whole universe is friendly to us and conspires only to give the best to those who dream and work – APJ Abdul Kalam, former President of India (2002-07)

DSC_0673Niyaz Ahmed is a professor of Biotechnology and Bioinformatics at the University of Hyderabad, India. He also served as the Senior Director at the International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr, b) from Nov 2016 to March 2020. A Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK), the Royal Society of Biology (UK) and the National Academy of Sciences India, as well as the founder Editor -in-Chief of Gut Pathogens journal, Dr Ahmed is also the recipient of the ‘Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize’, India’s foremost Science Prize, in the area of Medical Sciences.  In 2017, Dr Ahmed was awarded the Microsoft Azure for Research Award in Public Health to work towards genomics of identification of new genes, new proteins and novel pathways underlying the multiple drug resistance phenotypes in bacteria.  Dr Ahmed has earlier received the ‘University of Hyderabad Chancellor’s Award’ from the then Chancellor of the University, Dr C. Rangarajan (the former Governor of the state of Andhra Pradesh and the former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India). He is also the recipient of the ‘National Bioscience Award’ of the Government of India.

Dr Ahmed also holds appointment as Adjunct Professor of the Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research. He is the Corresponding Fellow of the European Helicobacter and Microbiota Study Group.  Through his pioneering and translational work in public health microbiology in India and South Asia, Ahmed contributed founding efforts to the development of Molecular Epidemiology of bacterial pathogens  and  made seminal contributions to host-pathogen epidemiology of bacterial pathogens.

At the age of 42, Dr Ahmed was the youngest Chairperson of an academic Department at the University of Hyderabad and at 45, the youngest Senior Director of icddr,b – a foremost international public health institution of repute.

At the University of Hyderabad, Dr Ahmed was among the founding faculty members of the newly created Department of Biotechnology & Bioinformatics. Dr Ahmed supervised 20 PhD scholars thus far and several post-doctoral scientists worked under his guidance at the University.

Dr Ahmed joined icddr,b as its Senior Director at the invitation of its management and the Borad of Trustees. At iddr,b, Dr Ahmed contributed to several developments and reforms, both as Senior Director and as Research Integrity Officer. He was a member of the senior leadership team of icddr,b and a member of its Central Committee when icddr,b won the  Hilton Humanitarian Award in 2017.  He brought several new grants and programs, initiated genomics research and created state of art laboratory facilities at icddr,b. Dr Ahmed augmented the revenue structure of icddr,b  through high quality diagnostic services whereby the gross revenues from such services increased from USD 1.0 Million in 2016 to USD 6.5 Million in 2019, amounting to about 10% of icddr,b’s total annual budget. As a part of his leadership and vision, Dr Ahmed developed state of art containment labs, biorepositories, bioinformatics platforms and a modern animal house, and made all these facilities fully self sustaining as of March 2020.  As Research Integrity Officer, Dr Ahmed, reformed the then existing research and publishing practices by formulating a zero tolerance policy towards predatory and substandard publishing and unleashed strict ethical and biosafety compliances – brought (the mostly informal and unaccounted) biological material collections and exchanges into the legal ambit of compulsory material transfer agreements and safety audits as per global standards. For this, Dr Ahmed formulated and successfully proposed the ‘Material Transfer and Exchange Policy’ and the ‘Occupational Health and Safety Policy’ to the Board of Trustees of icddr,b. Dr Ahmed also helped icddr,b benchmark most of its 500 plus diagnostic tests and parameters according to ISO15189 and ISO15190 accreditation regimes. At icddr,b, Dr Ahmed carried out pioneering research on seasonality of Cholera in Bangladesh and worked extensively on the problem of antimicrobial resistance in municipal and refugee settings.

Dr Ahmed has an inclusive and holistic vision for capacity building, in the developing countries of South Asia, in frontier areas of modern biology entailing infectious disease control. This vision reflects in his operational philosophy, ethics and governance at all times.

SSB2

Dr Ahmed received India’s top science award, the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize from PM Narendra Modi in 2019 for his work in bacterial genome dynamics and infection epidemiology

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Dr Ahmed was inspired by the People’s President, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam

Important publications of Dr Ahmed and teams:

(Access here all publications of Dr Ahmed through pubMED)

Baddam R, Sarker N, Ahmed D, Mazumder R, Abdullah A, Morshed R, Hussain A,
Begum S, Shahrin L, Khan AI, Islam MS, Ahmed T, Alam M, Clemens JD, Ahmed N.
Genome Dynamics of Vibrio cholerae Isolates Linked to Seasonal Outbreaks of
Cholera in Dhaka, Bangladesh. mBio. 2020 Feb 11;11(1). pii: e03339-19.

Qaria MA, Kumar N, Hussain A, Qumar S, Doddam SN, Sepe LP, Ahmed N. Roles of
Cholesteryl-α-Glucoside Transferase and Cholesteryl Glucosides in Maintenance of
Helicobacter pylori Morphology, Cell Wall Integrity, and Resistance to
Antibiotics. mBio. 2018 Nov 27;9(6).

Islam MA, Roy S, Nabi A, Solaiman S, Rahman M, Huq M, Siddiquee NA, Ahmed N. Microbiological quality assessment of milk at different stages of the dairy value chain in a developing country setting. Int J Food Microbiol. 2018 Aug 2;278:11-19.

Shaik S, Ranjan A, Tiwari SK, Hussain A, Nandanwar N, Kumar N, Jadhav S, Semmler T, Baddam R, Islam MA, Alam M, Wieler LH, Watanabe H, Ahmed N. Comparative Genomic Analysis of Globally Dominant ST131 Clone with Other Epidemiologically Successful Extraintestinal Pathogenic Escherichia coli (ExPEC) Lineages. mBio. 2017 Oct 24;8(5).

Ranjan A, Shaik S, Nandanwar N, Hussain A, Tiwari SK, Semmler T, Jadhav S, Wieler LH, Alam M, Colwell RR, Ahmed N. Comparative Genomics of Escherichia coli  Isolated from Skin and Soft Tissue and Other Extraintestinal Infections. mBio. 2017 Aug 15;8(4).

Doddam SN, Peddireddy V, Ahmed N. Mycobacterium tuberculosis DosR Regulon Gene Rv2004c Encodes a Novel Antigen with Pro-inflammatory Functions and Potential Diagnostic Application for Detection of Latent Tuberculosis. Front Immunol. 2017 Jun 24;8:712.

Peddireddy V, Doddam SN, Ahmed N. Mycobacterial Dormancy Systems and Host Responses in Tuberculosis. Front Immunol. 2017 Feb 15;8:84

Qumar S, Majid M, Kumar N, Tiwari SK, Semmler T, Devi S, Baddam R, Hussain A, Shaik S, Ahmed N. Genome dynamics and molecular infection epidemiology of multi-drug resistant Helicobacter pullorum isolates obtained from broiler and country chickens in India. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2016 Dec 15;83.

Devi S, Ansari SA, Tenguria S, Kumar N, Ahmed N. Multipronged regulatory functions of a novel endonuclease (TieA) from Helicobacter pylori. Nucleic Acids Res. Nov 2;44(19):9393-9412.

Ranjan A, Shaik S, Mondal A, Nandanwar N, Hussain A, Semmler T, Kumar N, Tiwari S, Jadhav S, Wieler LH, Ahmed N. Molecular epidemiology and genome dynamics of New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase (NDM) producing extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli (ExPEC) strains from India. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. Oct 21;60(11):6795-6805.

Ranjan A, Shaik S, Hussain A, Nandanwar N, Semmler T, Jadhav S, Wieler LH, Ahmed N. Genomic and functional portrait of a highly virulent, CTX-M-15-producing H30-Rx subclone of Escherichia coli sequence type (ST) 131. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2015, 59:6087-95.

Kumar N, Mariappan V, Baddam R, Lankapalli AK, Shaik S, Goh KL, Loke MF, Perkins T, Benghezal M, Hasnain SE, Vadivelu J, Marshall BJ, Ahmed N. Comparative genomic analysis of Helicobacter pylori from Malaysia identifies three distinct lineages suggestive of differential evolution. Nucleic Acids Res. 2015 Jan;43(1):324-35.

Baddam R, Kumar N, Shaik S, Lankapalli AK, Ahmed N. Genome dynamics and evolution of Salmonella Typhi strains from the typhoid-endemic zones. Scientific Rep 2014 Dec 12;4:7457.

Hussain A, Ranjan A, Nandanwar N, Babbar A, Jadhav S, Ahmed N. Genotypic and phenotypic profiles of Escherichia coli isolates belonging to clinical sequence type 131 (ST131), clinical non-ST131, and fecal non-ST131 lineages from India. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2014, 58:7240-9.

Hussain A, Ewers C, Nandanwar N, Guenther S, Jadhav S, Wieler LH, Ahmed N. Multiresistant uropathogenic Escherichia coli from a region in India where urinary tract infections are endemic: genotypic and phenotypic characteristics of sequence type 131 isolates of the CTX-M-15 extended-spectrum-β-lactamase-producing lineage. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2012, 56:6358-65.

Ahmed N, Dobrindt U, Hacker J, Hasnain SE. Genomic fluidity and pathogenic bacteria: applications in diagnostics, epidemiology and intervention. Nat Rev Microbiol. 2008 6:387-94.

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