Md Tofazzal Islam, Ph D, FBAS, FTWAS
Professor and Founding Director, Institute of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (IBGE) &
Fellow of Fulbright, Commonwealth, JSPS and Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University, Gazipur-1706, BANGLADESH
Tel. +88-02-9205310-14 Extn. 2252
Areas of Specialization: Genomics and Genome Editing; Molecular Plant-Pathogen Interactions; Biotechnology; and Molecular Diagnosis of Fungal Phytopathogen
Dr. Md. Tofazzal Islam is a Professor of the Institute of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (IBGE) of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University (BSMRAU), Bangladesh. He obtained B Sc Ag (Hon) and M Sc (Ag) in Agricultural Chemistry from the Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU), securing First Position in the First Class in both cases in order of merit. He went to Japan as a Japanese government scholar and did MS (1999) and PhD (2002) at Hokkaido University with distinction. He joined Bangladesh Open University as a lecturer in 1994 and became an Assistant Professor (1997), Associate Professor (2004), and Professor (2010). On July 1, 2010, he joined BSMRAU as a Professor in the Department of Biotechnology. He led the Department of Biotechnology as Head, launched MS and Ph D programs, and established laboratories with state-of-art facilities from externally funded projects. He also served the BSMRAU as Director (International Affairs) and Director (Outreach).
Prof. Islam is an internationally reputed microbial chemical ecologist. He has made outstanding contributions to understanding chemotaxis and subsequent differentiation of phytopathogenic oomycete zoospores by host metabolites, the roles of novel secondary metabolites from non-host plants, and environmental bacteria in defense against zoosporic phytopathogens and biological control of oomycete phytopathogens by plant-associated bacteria. He discovered the activity and mode of actions of more than 60 novel secondary metabolites (new antibiotics) that inhibit the motility of zoospores with the potential for controlling oomycete phytopathogens. His contributions to understanding molecular cross-talks between plants and oomycete phytopathogens and their biological control have been published in many international journals (>250 peer-reviewed articles, total citation, 4,800+, h index = 37). He secured more than 2 million dollars funding from World Bank, USDA, British Council (UK), and others and established laboratories equipped with cutting-edge research in the field of biotechnology. Major foci of Prof. Islam’s laboratory include (i) molecular biological studies on wheat blast fungus (BMC Biology 2016, 14:84) and mitigation of the fearsome wheat blast disease by the development of blast-resistant wheat varieties; (ii) discovery of plant probiotic bacteria (more than 600) and studies on their usage as biofertilizers and biopesticides (Islam et al. 2016, Frontiers Microbiol., 7:851); (iii) discovery of novel bioactive secondary metabolites against oomycetes (Mondol et al. 2017, J. Nat. Prod. 80:347-355; Dame et al., 2016, FEMS Microbiol. Lett., 16: 363; Mondol et al., 2015, J. Agric. Food Chem. 63:8777-86; Tareq et al., 2015, Bioorg Med Chem Lett., 25:3325-9; Talontsi et al., 2012 Phytochemistry 83:87-94); (iv) elucidation of involvement of protein kinase C and enhanced ATPase activity in mitochondria in zoosporogenesis and motility of zoospores (Islam et al., 2011, Mol. Plant-Microbe Interact. 24:38–947; Islam et al. 2016, Front. Microbiol. 7:1824); (v) roles of dynamic rearrangement of F-actin and G protein-coupled receptor in chemotaxis and differentiation of zoospores by host-specific signals (Islam et al., 2003, Plant Soil, 101:131-142; Islam, 2008, Cell Mot. Cytoskel., 65:553–562); (vi) biological control of zoosporic oomycetes (Islam, 2008 Biol. Contr., 46: 312–321); (vii) development of sustainable strawberry production in Bangladesh. In addition, he has been collaborating with Prof. Yusuke Yamauchi and Dr. Shariar Hossain of Wollongong University in Australia to utilize nanotechnology for the production of high valued products from jute fibre, development of nanopesticide and preparation of agriculturally and environmentally valuable mesoporous nanomaterials.
In February 2016, a devastating plant disease was spotted for the first time in Bangladesh, which destroyed more than 15,000 hectares of wheat with yield loss up to 100%. Due to fear of that wheat killer, the Ministry of Agriculture instructed to clear the infected wheat field by burning the standing crops. Responding to that national crisis, Prof. Islam in collaboration with his British friend, Professor Sophien Kamoun of The Sainsbury Laboratory, coordinated and led more than 31 scientists from 7 countries of 4 continents and rapidly determined the genetic identity and origin of the wheat blast pathogen in Bangladesh by applying novel field pathogenomics and open data sharing approaches (www.wheatblast.net). The Discovery and leadership of Prof. Islam was news in more than 500 media across the globe including weekly Nature, Science, Science Daily and also in top national dailies and electronic media. Within 3 months of relentless work with world top-ranked researchers, Prof. Islam published their discoveries in a world famous flagship biology journal, BMC Biology (Islam et al., 2016, BMC Biology 14: 84). It was an unprecedented history in science that without spending any money from home country, a big puzzle in biology is resolved through the application of new genomics and open data sharing approaches. Open data sharing was previously practised only once in the USA for tackling the Zika virus. Recently, the deadly wheat blast is emerged in India (West Bengal) and reasonably the Indian researchers sought help from Prof. Islam. In recognition of his extraordinary leadership in the global scientific community and to mitigate the wheat disease in Bangladesh, South America, India, and beyond, recently, Prof. Islam and his British collaborators. They have started research on the development of durable blast-resistant wheat by using world latest CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing technology. He recently visited Kobe University and had a discussion meeting with a group of experts in blast research led by Prof. Yukio TOSA.
Dr. Islam was awarded many prizes and medals for his outstanding academic and research accomplishments in the field of biotechnology. His notable awards include Bangladesh Academy of Science Gold Medal & Award 2011 in Biological Sciences (Senior Group), Food & Agriculture Award 2011 from Oxfam, CSRL and GROW, University Grants Commission (UGC) Awards in 2004 and 2008, the Best Young Scientist Award 2003 from the Japan Society for Bioscience, Biotechnology and Agrochemistry (JSBBA), Chancellor’s Prize in 1995 and a Gold Medal in 2003 from BAU. He presented research findings and chaired sessions in many international conferences/symposia in the USA, the UK, Germany, Japan, Italy, Netherlands, Hong Kong, Norway, Malaysia, China, South Korea, Fiji, and Jamaica. He served as an international consultant in many organizations including the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in Pacific Countries & Territories.
Dr. Islam worked as an Alexander von Humboldt fellow (2007-2009) at Georg-August-Universitaet Goettingen, Germany with Prof. Dr. Andreas von Tiedemann in the Division of Plant Pathology and Plant Protection. He has been awarded the Commonwealth Academic Staff Fellowship (March to May 2013) to work with Prof. Michele L. Clarke at the University of Nottingham, UK. He worked with Prof. Shinya Oba of Gifu University, Japan as a JSPS Invitation Fellow (June-July 2015). He is one of the most cited researchers (Researchgate score: 44.45 on December 12, 2021) in Bangladesh. Mitigation of wheat blast through international collaboration and application of advanced molecular biology and biotechnology is his major research mission in Bangladesh. Prof. Islam is the Chief Editor of two book series Bacillus and Agrobiotechnology, and CRISPR-Cas Methods published by Springer Nature.
PhD in Applied Bioscience (Grade A, Excellent) (2002), Hokkaido University, Japan
MS in Ecol. Chem. (Grade A, Excellent) (1999), Hokkaido University, Japan
MSc(Ag) in Agril. Chem. (First Class First) (1995), Bangladesh Agricultural University, Bangladesh
B Sc Agriculture (First Class First) (1991), Bangladesh Agricultural University, Bangladesh
Professional position held
Fulbright Visiting Scholar, West Virginia University 9/2017 until 6/2018
JSPS Invitation Fellow, Gifu University, Japan /2015-7/2015
Commonwealth Academic Staff Fellow, University of Nottingham, UK 3/2013- 6/2013
Adjunct Professor, Dept. Genet. Engin. Biotechnol., East West University, Bangladesh 4/2013 – 9/2017
Director (Outreach Activity), BSMRAU, Bangladesh 7/2012-7/2013
Professor & Head, Department of Biotechnology, BSMRAU, Bangladesh & 7/2010 – 9/2017
Professor (Agril. Chem.), SARD, Bangladesh Open University (BOU), Bangladesh 1/2010 – 7/2010
Assoc. Professor (Ecol. Chem.), SARD, BOU, Bangladesh 4/2004 – 1/2010
Alexander von Humboldt Fellow, Georg-August Universität Gӧttingen, Germany 4/2007- 3/2009
JSPS Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan 4/2003 – 4/2005
Assistant Professor (Ecological Chemistry), SARD, BOU, Bangladesh 5/1997 – 4/2004
Lecturer (Agriculture), SARD, BOU, Bangladesh 9/1994 – 5/1997
Graduate Research Assistant, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Bangladesh 7/1991 – 8/1994