Faculty Profile

Mohammad Aminul (Amin) Islam

Mohammad Aminul (Amin) Islam

Assistant Professor


Affiliated Organizations
  • Adjunct Scientist, International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b)
  • Member, American Society for Microbiology (ASM)
  • Member, WHO Advisory Group on Integrated Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance (WHO-AGISAR), 2014-2019.
  • Member, Joint FAO/WHO Expert Meetings on Foodborne Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Roster of Experts for 2018-2023.

Phone: 509-335-4067



Dr. Mohammad Aminul Islam was grown up in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh and completed his B.Sc. (Hons) and M.Sc. in Microbiology from the University of Dhaka. During his MSc, he worked at Enteric Microbiology Laboratory of the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) as a thesis student and later joined the same lab as a Research Officer. He then moved to the Netherlands for his PhD in food microbiology, which he earned in January 2009 from Wageningen University. During his PhD he also worked at the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority. His PhD thesis focused on molecular epidemiology of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli in humans and food chains in Bangladesh. After completing PhD, he joined icddr,b as an Assistant Scientist and started working on foodborne transmission pathways of Salmonellaand diarrhoeagenic E. coli. He was promoted to Associate Scientist in 2011. In 2013, Dr. Islam received Global Health Equity Scholars (GHES) post-doctoral fellowship from the Fogarty International Center of NIH, USA. For his post-doctoral fellowship, he worked in Dr. Ali Boehm’s lab at Stanford University and Dr. Lee Riley’s Lab in UC Berkeley. In 2016, Dr. Islam was awarded an R01 grant from NIH to study the transmission dynamics of multi-drug resistant uropathogenic E. coli in Bangladesh. The project is mainly focused on foodborne transmission of extra-intestinal pathogenic E. coli that cause urinary tract infection. In January 2018, Dr. Islam was promoted to Scientist at icddr,b. He has been serving the World Health Organization as a member of the Advisory Group on Integrated Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance (WHO-AGISAR) since 2014. Dr. Islam was recruited to the WSU Paul G. Allen School for Global Health as an Assistant Professor in December 2018, to further pursue his research on the understanding the emergence and transmission pathways of antimicrobial resistance determinants, including animal, human, and environmental reservoirs.


Education & Training

  • 1999, B.Sc. (Hons), Microbiology, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • 2001, M.Sc. Microbiology, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • 2009, Ph.D. Food Microbiology, Wageningen University, the Netherlands
  • 2009-2011, Postdoctoral Scientist, Food and Enteric Microbiology, icddr,b, Bangladesh
  • 2011-2017, Associate Scientist, icddr,b, Bangladesh
  • 2013-2014, GHES post doctoral fellow, Stanford University, USA
  • Jan 2018-Nov 2018, Scientist, icddr,b

General Research / Expertise:

Our lab studies the molecular epidemiology of multi-drug resistant enteric bacteria, especially extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) producing, carbapenem- and colistin-resistant strains. We use both phenotypic and genotypic tools to identify the sources and transmission pathways of antibiotic resistant bacteria from people, animals and environmental settings. The areas that we are mainly focused on are: 

  • Integrated surveillance of antimicrobial resistance including people, food-producing animals and environment settings.  
  • Major drivers and risk factors for gut colonization with ESBL-producing E. coli (ESBL-EC) in healthy people. 
  • Contribution of ESBL-EC colonization to ESBL-EC etiology of infection.  
  • Foodborne sources of MDR urinary tract infection.
  • Co-selection of antimicrobial resistance in bacteria with resistance to heavy metals and other antimicrobial compounds.
  • Environmental intervention to antimicrobial resistance including improving food safety and WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene).


Research Contributions:

Our research has generated the baseline information on the prevalence and characteristics of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in low- and middle-income country settings. Our work on spatial and temporal relationships of antimicrobial-resistance (AMR) in the outdoor environments with antimicrobial-resistant bacteria from people and animals in Bangladesh provides critical insight into AMR transmission at a global level. We found a high level of gut colonization among healthy people in the community, which was not associated with the most common risk factors of antimicrobial resistance such as history of antibiotic use or previous record of hospitalization, infectious diseases morbidity and dietary habits. Results from our study lead us to consider different intervention strategies for settings where AMR is widespread across the entire ecosystem and reducing the use of antibiotics only in people and animals would convey limited benefits.

Our work on transmission dynamics of multi-drug resistant urinary tract infection will generate evidence-based guidelines for empirical treatment of UTI for population where the rate of treatment failure is high. Results from this study will shed lights on current knowledge gaps on foodborne sources and transmission of antimicrobial-resistant uropathogenic E. coli.


Research Details:

My research work is based on the molecular epidemiology of foodborne enteric pathogens with a particular focus on the sources and transmission of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the biggest challenges facing public health and sustainable development on a global scale. Containment of this problem requires a greater understanding of the drivers and risk factors of antibiotic use and resistance from the perspective of ‘One Health’ and with recognition of the contributions from local cultural practices and environmental context. I have done most of my studies in low- and middle-income country settings where the burden of infectious diseases is the highest, as is the burden of AMR.

We have studied how anthropogenic activities contribute to the emergence and transmission of antibiotic resistance, in particular extended-spectrum beta-lactamase producing and carbapenem-resistant organisms. We have documented emergence of New Delhi Metallo beta lactamase-1 (NDM-1)-producing organisms in human patients in Bangladesh and studied the dynamics of transmission of these superbugs to the environment through hospital effluents, water supply systems and other environmental pathways. We found that hospital liquid waste discharged directly into the environment harbors a large proportion of carbapenem-resistant NDM-1-producing organisms. We also detected a high level of ESBL-producing organisms in solid waste, poultry feces, soil, surface water, municipal supply water, fresh produce, raw meats and raw fish. Our studies showed that the level of contamination with multidrug-resistant bacteria in outdoor environments is so high that free-range chickens reared in these environments have almost the same level of gut colonization with ESBL E. coli compared to chickens raised in commercial farms that are fed with sub-therapeutic concentrations of growth-promoting antibiotics. Similarly, we did not find any difference in gut colonization with ESBL-EC between people who have occupational exposure to commercial poultry farming and those who do not.

Multi-drug resistant avian pathogenic E. coli are genetically related to E. coli that cause extra-intestinal infections such as urinary tract infections (UTI) in people. Multidrug-resistant community-acquired UTI (MDR UPEC) contribute to severe medical complications, including sepsis. A large proportion of community-acquired UTI in most regions of the world are caused by a limited set of multi-drug resistant E. coli strains belonging to related lineages, or E. coli strains that harbor drug resistance genes shared by pathogenic and environmental Gram-negative bacteria. We have been assessing the contribution of food and food animals as reservoirs for E. coli pathogens that cause drug-resistant UTI. By examining the transmission dynamics of MDR UPEC we want to know how UPEC clonal lineages and their drug-resistance determinants disseminate in community as opposed to healthcare settings.

In addition to anthropogenic drivers, we are exploring the natural drivers of antibiotic resistance in bacteria, especially the co-selection of antimicrobial resistance with exposure to heavy metals. Our work has demonstrated that the fecal colonization with ESBL-EC among healthy infants living in rural areas of Bangladesh is extremely high and it is not associated with the most common risk factors such as recent exposure to antibiotics or infectious diseases morbidity. We are exploring the other potential drivers of high colonization among healthy people and how much it is associated with the etiology of MDR infection in the community. The ultimate goal of our research is to generate tailor-made intervention strategies that are compatible with of LMIC settings and that can be implemented to effectively reduce the burden of AMR.

Select Publications
  • Islam MA, Parveen S, Rahman M, Huq M, Nabi A, Khan ZUM, Ahmed N, and Wagenaar JA. (2019) Occurrence and characterization of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus in processed raw foods and ready-to-eat foods in an urban setting of a developing country. Frontiers in Microbiology (In press) PMID: PMCID:
  • Montealegre MC, Roy S, Böni F, Hossain MI, Navab-Daneshmand T, Caduff L, Faruque ASG, Islam MA, Julian TR (2018) Risk Factors for Detection, Survival, and Growth of Antibiotic-Resistant and Pathogenic Escherichia coli in Household Soils in Rural Bangladesh. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 84(24). pii: e01978-18. doi: 10.1128/AEM.01978-18. Print 2018 Dec 15. PMID: 30315075 PMCID: PMC6275341
  • Islam MA, Islam M, Hasan R, Hossain MI, Nabi A, Rahman M, Goessens WHF, Endtz HP, Boehm AB, Faruque SM. (2017) Environmental spread of NDM-1-producing multi-drug resistant bacteria in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 83(15). pii: AEM.00793-17. doi: 10.1128/AEM.00793-17. PMID: PMCID:
  • Talukdar PK, Rahman M, Rahman M, Nabi A, Islam Z, Hoque MM, Endtz HP, Islam MA. (2013) Antimicrobial resistance, virulence factors and genetic diversity of Escherichia coli isolates from household water supply in Dhaka, Bangladesh.  PLoS One 8(4):e61090. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0061090. PMID: PMCID:

List of Publications

Fellow, Global Health Equity Scholars (GHES) program, Fogarty International Center, National Institute of Health (NIH)(2013-14).