Samina Akbar, Ph.D. joined the department of biomedical sciences at Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine as an assistant professor of microbiology in 2013. Dr. Akbar is an experienced microbiologist with eight years of experience as an osteopathic educator focusing on human infections caused by bacteria and viruses.
Dr. Akbar earned her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from the department of microbiology at University of Karachi, Pakistan. She received her Ph.D. in microbiology and molecular biology from University of California Davis. Her dissertation was on genetic analysis of the signal transduction network that activates the transcription factor B of Bacillus subtilis in response to adverse environmental conditions.
Prior to joining MU-COM, Dr. Akbar was a faculty member in the department of microbiology and immunology at Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine. After finishing her Ph.D., Dr. Akbar worked at Harvard Medical School for three years as a postdoctoral fellow in the department of microbiology and molecular genetics working on virulence gene regulation in Salmonella Typhimurium. She then moved to University of British Columbia, Center for Disease Control where she was a research associate examining the presence of a Type III secretion system in Chlamydia trachomatis.
Dr. Akbar has served as the Iowa Science Foundation chairperson as well as Grant Reviewer. She has been a member of the American Society for Microbiology since 1990. She has been an NBOME and an NBPME Item Writer and reviewer since 2008. Dr. Akbar was appointed NBOME National Faculty in Clinical Microbiology and Immunology in 2013.
Dr. Akbar’s broad research interests include genetic and molecular analysis of gene regulation in both Gram positive and Gram negative pathogenic bacteria as well as molecular analysis of host-pathogen interactions. Specific areas of interest include the molecular evolution of multidrug resistance plasmids of Salmonella spp. in order to better understand the basis of genetic differences between these plasmids and the mechanism/s of their spread in nature; determining the role of integrons in the spread of antibiotic resistance in Salmonella spp.; regulation of type III secretion and their function in the virulence of pathogenic bacteria genes expression.
I am interested in bacterial pathogenesis and the role of antibiotic resistance in bacterial virulence. The main organism I study this in is Salmonella enterica. Antibiotic resistance (specifically multiple drug resistance) in bacteria represents a notable problem but if carried on plasmid their spread could become a significant threat to public health. Plasmids in members of the Enterobacteriaceae family and in particular Salmonella and Escherichia coli strains have been implicated in the spread of antibiotic resistance genes. However, the mechanisms involved in the transfer of plasmid-borne resistance genes are not fully understood. We have utilized bacterial genetics, molecular biology and tissue culture techniques in our laboratory to analyze the ability of Salmonella enterica strains to transfer multiple drug resistance to other bacteria. We also want to determine if these large plasmids play an additional role in the virulence of the strains that carry them. The long term outcome of this research is that knowledge of the dissemination mechanisms for multiple drug resistance in these bacteria will contribute to the development of strategies for effective treatment and control of enteric diseases.
Investigator Research Page