Samina Akbar, Ph.D., assistant professor of microbiology in the Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine, teaches students about infections caused by viruses, parasites, fungi, and bacteria in all body systems.
While deciding what to study during her undergraduate years in Pakistan, Dr. Akbar’s father suggested microbiology, thinking it was a subject she might like. He had worked as an accountant for a military hospital in the Middle East and talked to the workers in the clinical microbiology laboratory. Sure enough, after taking just one course, Dr. Akbar was completely enamored.
Dr. Akbar’s doctoral research focused on gene regulation in the Gram-Positive bacterium Bacillus Subtilis in response to environmental stress conditions. Following her doctoral research, Dr. Akbar studied regulation of virulence genes in the Gram-Negative pathogen Salmonella Typhimurium, virulence gene expression in Chlamydia Trachomatis, and multiple drug resistance in Salmonella Enterica species. Her current research analyzes multiple antibiotic resistance plasmids in different clinical isolates of Salmonella and their role in the pathogenesis of the bacteria.
Q & A with Dr. Akbar
Q: What brought you to Marian University, and when did you start working here?
A: I started working at Marian University in August of 2013. Being a part of a brand new medical school was a big attraction to come here. Several of my colleagues had moved here from Des Moines, and they also convinced me to try it out. That was also the year when our oldest daughter was going to start high school, and we knew that it would be very hard to move once she started that.
Q: MU-COM will graduate their first class at the end of next year. What have you enjoyed most about working with the upcoming graduating class, and what are you looking forward to in the future?
A: We are very blessed to have had the first class that we did. They are a wonderful group of students, and we are all extremely proud of them. The thing I liked most about working with this class was how much they appreciated the effort all of us faculty members put into their education. I am really looking forward to their graduation and sending them off to residencies. I am certain that they will be great physicians. I am looking forward to continuing to teach more future physicians and have them appreciate how important infectious diseases are no matter which field of medicine they chose to specialize in. I am also looking forward to working in the lab with students pursuing their master’s degrees .
Q: Do you have any hobbies?
A: Reading. I have always enjoyed reading and my dream retirement job would be to work at a library where I can read as many books as I want for as long as I want.
Q: What does being a Marian University Knight mean to you?
A: To me, being a Marian University Knight means spreading the word about the great work we are doing at Marian University, the new programs we are starting, and the vision for the future that we have which will make Marian University an even better school.