Dr. Rita Yusuf, CHPD Associate & SESM faculty member at IUB and Dr. Jennifer Bath, Assistant Professor of Biology at Concordia College of Moorhead, Minnesota have initiated a research collaboration to investigate possible rural/urban dichotomies in the prevalence and determinants of asthma incidence in Bangladesh. The study will focus on the analysis of adult blood samples collected by Dr. Yusuf and colleagues at IUB from field sites in rural Manikganj and urban Dhaka. Cytokine analysis of samples will be performed at Concordia 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. The MoU between Drs. Yusuf and Bath was signed on December 15, 2009 at the Heritage Restaurant in Dhaka. The event was the culmination of a series of talks initiated by Dr. Omar Rahman, Pro-VC, IUB and Executive Director, CHPD and designed to delineate possible avenues of inter-university academic and research collaborations. The event was attended by Prof. Bazlul Mobin Chowdhury, the Vice Chancellor of IUB, Prof. Omar Rahman, the Pro-Vice Chancellor, the Directors of the various Schools, University Trustees, and select faculty members.
Dr. Bath, who is a recent Fulbright scholar and the author of numerous international peer-reviewed journal publications, was here as a member of a visiting delegation from Concordia College which included Dr. Marc Krejci, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the College, Dr. Per Anderson, Director of International Education and Dr. Greg Cant, Dean of the Business School. The Concordia faculty visited IUB as part of the mandate of the Hollings Center Grant awarded in 2007 to Dr. Omar Rahman and Dr. Pamela Jolicoeur, President of Concordia College to foster liberal arts education and collaboration among universities. Dr. Yusuf and Bath began discussing possible research collaborations in March, 2008 when Drs. Rahman and Yusuf visited Concordia as members of the Nobel Peace Prize Delegation from Bangladesh. Since then, Drs. Bath and Yusuf have also co-written a Bill and Melinda Gates Exploration Grant to study the prevalence and possible interventions for helminthic hookworm infections in Bangladesh.