Samina Akbar, Ph.D.

Samina Akbar, Ph.D.


Marian University

Samina Akbar, Ph.D., is currently a professor of microbiology at Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Akbar is an experienced microbiologist with more than 15 years of experience as an osteopathic educator focusing on human infections caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites.

Akbar earned her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from the Department of Microbiology at University of Karachi, Pakistan. Akbar received her Ph.D. in microbiology and molecular biology from University of California Davis. Akbar’s 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. After finishing her Ph.D., Akbar worked in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Harvard Medical School for 3 years as a postdoctoral fellow working on virulence gene regulation in Salmonella Typhimurium. Akbar then moved to the University of British Columbia, Center for Disease Control, Canada where she was a research associate examining the presence of a Type III secretion system in Chlamydia trachomatis.

Akbar has been a member of the Indiana Academy of Sciences (IAS) since 2013 and was appointed chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee of the IAS in 2021 for a 4-year term. The committee put together a DEI statement and strategic plan for the IAS. As part of the strategic plan, the DEI Committee requested and received a grant of $15,000 from the IAS to invite proposals for projects that focus on DEI issues from academic institutions across Indiana. The committee awarded 6 grants to graduate students and faculty from different universities in Indiana.

In 2023, the committee received approval from the academy council for annual DEI advocate awards to bestow upon individuals who have promoted diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging and/or justice within the IAS and/or their scientific communities through actions sustained over time or that have made a recent critical impact (e.g., initiating new programs, etc.).

Akbar has been a member of the American Society for Microbiology since 1990 and became a member of the Indiana branch of the ASM in 2014. She has been an NBOME (National Board of Osteopathic Medicine) and an NBPME (National Board of Podiatric Medicine) board exam question writer and reviewer since 2008. Akbar was appointed NBOME National Faculty in Clinical Microbiology and Immunology in 2013.

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. The research projects in her lab focus on studying multiple antibiotic resistance in bacteria from different sources, including humans, animals and the natural environment. Currently, Akbar’s lab focuses on the isolation and characterization of multiple drug resistant bacteria from fresh bodies of water in the greater Indianapolis area.