Biological Sciences

School of Life Sciences Research     

A. School of Life Sciences Research Collaborations 2006 – Present

The School of Life Sciences at IUB, the first new School to open at IUB in the last twenty years, was established in 2010.  While the School is still very young, its faculty members have already engaged in numerous international collaborations with some of the world’s most prestigious universities.  SLS has made significant contributions to research investigating the biochemical parameters which impact overall health in developing nations.  Our studies have investigated the quality of water in Dhaka, the biochemical/social determinants of physiological stress as well as the perceptions regarding Vitamin D nutritional status among female garment workers, the increasing barriers to breastfeeding among rural women, and biomarkers for chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, etc. among others.
SLS has collaborated with investigators working at:

  • Heidelberg University, Germany
  • McMaster University, Canada
  • The Universtiy of Vermont, USA
  • Concordia College, USA
  • The Department of Natural Resources and Water, Australia
  • Wagner College, USA

We have published and presented in leading international scientific conference venues and journals.  To date, a total of five peer-reviewed international journal publications and nine conference presentations/publications have resulted from work done at IUB.  Our latest research was most recently published in two of the world’s most highly respected peer-reviewed journals – The Lancet Respiratory Medicine and The Journal of the American Medical Association, JAMA, with an impact factor of 30.
Below are details regarding the studies we have been and are currently engaged in:    


  •   Rural/Urban Dichotomies in the Prevalence and Determinants of Asthma Incidence in Bangladesh; January, 2013 – present

Principal Investigator:

     

Rita Yusuf, Ph.D., Dean, SLS & Associate Director, CHPD

This ongoing study will analyze adult blood samples collected by Dr. Yusuf and her colleagues at IUB from field sites in rural Manikganj and urban Dhaka. Cytokine analysis of samples will be performed at IUB and examined with survey data collected by IUB within these populations in order to yield an overall correlation of lifestyle, environmental, and immunological determinants in the prevalence of asthma in rural and urban Bangladeshi adults.

  • Biochemical and Psychosocial Determinants of Work Stress Among RMG Workers in Gulshan: A Collaboration Between SLS/CHPD at IUB, Dhaka and Heidelberg University, Germany; November 2011-present

Principal Investigator:

Dr. Adrian Loerbroks, Assistant Professor, Mannheim, Institute of Public Health, Social and Preventive Medicine (MIPH), Heidelberg University, Germany

Co-Principal Investigator:

Rita Yusuf, Ph.D., Dean, SLS & Associate Director, CHPD

In February 2011, the School of Life Sciences (SLS) along with the Centre for Health, Population and Development (CHPD) at Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB) entered into a collaboration with the University of Heidelberg to examine whether the effort-reward imbalance scale used in Westerns work settings is able to capture "work stress" as experienced by RMG workers in Bangladesh and whether this survey tool could be improved further by adding culture-specific items. The study also aims to investigate if "work stress" translates into higher hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA)-activity as determined by measurement of cortisol levels in hair samples collected from the subjects. This sub-project in Bangladesh is part of a larger multi-country study within the Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context: Shifting Asymmetries in Cultural Flows" at Heidelberg University.
In January-March 2012, faculty members from SLS and a doctorate student from Heidelberg University conducted a cross-sectional study among 542 RMG workers in Gulshan. The data was collected in form of short interviews and hair samples. At present the hair samples are being analyzed.
Initial results have recently been published in the high-ranking, international, peer-reviewed journal Health and Place with an impact factor of 3.  As well, results of the study have been presented at six well-recognized international conferences. The researchers have won a Poster Prize for excellence in study design, originality, comprehensibility and clinical relevance at the German Society of Medical Psychology Conference in Heidelberg, 2012. Currently, two more manuscripts are being drafted for submission.

  • Perception of Vitamin D Nutritional Needs among Female Ready-Made Garment Workers in a Factory in Gulshan, Dhaka, January 2011 – present

Principal Investigator:

Rita Yusuf, Ph.D., Dean, SLS & Associate Director, CHPD

Co- Principal Investigator:

O. Khan, MD, MHS, Clinical Assistant Professor and Attending Physician, Department of Family Medicine, University of Vermont

This ongoing study examines the knowledge among female RMG workers in Gulshan, Dhaka regarding the risks of developing Vitamin D deficiency, its overall health effects, and mitigation strategies. Surveys were administered to over 300 RMG workers. Currently, the data is being reviewed for manuscript preparation by students from the University of Vermont.

  • Water Microbiology; July, 2009 – present

Co- Principal Investigator:

Rita Yusuf, Ph.D., Dean, SLS & Associate Director, CHPD

Co- Principal Investigator:

Warish Ahmed, Ph.D., Water Microbiologist, Dept. of Natural Resources and Water, Qld., Australia

Factors examined in this ongoing study include:
-- Microbiological quality of bottled water in Dhaka, Bangladesh, determined by real-time PCR and conventional culture methods.
-- Prevalence of enteric viruses and bacteria in surface waters of Dhaka, Bangladesh.
-- Evaluation of the host-specificity of enterococci surface protein (esp) and Bacteroides HF183 markers in environmental waters in Dhaka, Bangladesh and their application to quantify sewage pollution.

Results from this study have been published in two international peer reviewed journals, the Canadian Journal of Microbiology in 2010 and the Brazilian Journal of Microbiology in 2013. Additional manuscripts are being drafted for submission.

  • Rural/Urban Dichotomies in Lead Exposure: Prevalence, Effects, and Determinants in Bangladeshi Adults; January, 2008 – present

Principal Investigator:

Rita Yusuf, Ph.D., Dean, SLS & Associate Director, CHPD

Co- Principal Investigator:

Mohammed Alauddin, Ph.D., Professor, Chemistry and Physics Dept., Wagner College, Staten Island, NY

This ongoing study examines the differences in the prevalence and effects of lead exposure between urban and rural populations and attempts to decipher the determinants.

  • Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiological Study (PURE) Study: A Collaboration Between SLS/CHPD at IUB, Dhaka and McMaster University, Canada; May, 2006 – Present

Principal Investigators: Professor M. Omar Rahman, Vice Chancellor, IUB and Executive Director, CHPD & Rita Yusuf, Ph.D., Dean, SLS & Associate Director, CHPD
In 2006, SLS along with CHPD at IUB began a collaboration with McMaster University, Canada. The PURE (Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiological Study) Project is a multi-country study which examines the risk factors for chronic disease. It is one of the largest global epidemiological studies to date, with the involvement of over 17 countries, and will continue to be active for the next few years through a series of follow-ups. The Bangladesh arm of the study was conducted by IUB where researchers conducted surveys and collected biological samples from a total of 2934 rural and urban respondents. Field surveys for the First Follow Up have recently been completed.
Recently, two manuscripts in the world renowned journals JAMA (impact factor 30) and The Lancet Respiratory Medicine have been published in collaboration with SLS faculty.  At least seventeen more publications are slated to be published in leading international journals within the next 1-2 years.

  • CWCH (Center for Woman and Child Health) Barriers to Breastfeeding Study; February, 2009 – December, 2010

Principal Investigators:

Rita Yusuf, Ph.D., Dean, SLS & Associate Director, CHPD
Professor M. Omar Rahman, Vice Chancellor, IUB and Executive Director, CHPD
Dr. Khurshid Talukder, Director, the Centre for Woman and Child Health
Dr. O. Khan, MD, MHS, Clinical Assistant Professor and Attending Physician, Depertment of Family Medicine, University of Vermont

In February, 2009, Dr. Rita Yusuf, Dean, SLS initiated a joint study entitled "Barriers to Breastfeeding", examining the socioeconomic and cultural constraints to initiating and sustaining first-hour and exclusive breastfeeding practices within mothers who receive care at The Centre for Woman and Child Health (CWCH), a clinic on the outskirts of Dhaka.
Preliminary results from this study were presented at the the prestigious American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting held in November, 2010 at Denver, Colorado, USA.

Contact Us

School of Life Sciences
Independent University, Bangladesh
Academic Block (8th Floor)
Room: 10002
Plot 16 Block B
Aftabuddin Ahmed Road
Bashundhara R/A
Dhaka- 1229

Rita Yusuf, Ph.D
Dean
School of Life Sciences
Room: 10002
ritayusuf@iub.edu.bd
Tel: 8431645-52, 8432065-76 (ext-2600)

Nazratun Choudhury
R&D Officer
School of Life Sciences
Room: 10002
nazratunofficial@gmail.com
Tel: 8431645-52, 8432065-76 (ext-2611)