Azeem Ahmad, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biology

(317) 955-6274
Marian Hall, room 250


Dr. Ahmad joined the Department of Biology at Marian University as an assistant professor of microbiology in 2016.  He has a doctorate degree from University of California Davis and postdoctoral research experiences at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Marine Biological Laboratories and Harvard University. His doctoral dissertation focused on ecology, physiology, and the genetics of chemoautotrophic sulfur bacteria of the genus Beggiatoa. While doing postdoctoral research at Harvard University, Dr. Ahmad had unique opportunity to sample these bacteria found at hydrothermal vents in the deep ocean. After his research activities at Harvard University, Dr. Ahmad held research positions at University of British Columbia, Department of Fisheries and oceans, Canada, and Iowa State University.  At UBC, he was a research scientist examining the microbial ecology of ocean viruses and harmful algae blooms.  Most recently, he studied plant pathogens of soybean and corn at Iowa State University. In addition, Dr. Ahmad brings leadership experience in agriculture industry. He trained scientists as the head of Microbial Ecology Group at Pioneer Hybrid International, a Dupont company. Currently, his research includes detection and identification of bacterial pathogens in agricultural soils, and the effect of invasive plant species on the diversity and community composition of soil bacteria in the Marian University Ecolab. In addition, Dr. Ahmad is also involved in a joint research project with Dr. Akbar at MU College of Osteopathic Medicine. This project focuses on the survey of antibiotic resistant bacteria in the natural environment of prairies including Marian University EcoLab.


  • Ph.D. Microbiology, University of California Davis, 1998
  • M.S.  Microbiology, University of Karachi, 1989

Professional Affiliations

  • Member - at Large, Indiana Academy of Science Board
  • Chair, Science Talent Search Program Committee
  • Chair, Indiana Environment Workgroup for Antibiotic Resistance, Indiana Department of Health
  • Science Member, Journal of College Science Teaching Advisory Board, National Science of Teachers Association
  • Professor Mentor, Indiana Academy of Science STEM Program, Sponsored by Indiana Department of Education


  • BIO 214 General Microbiology
  • BIO 228 Marine Biology
  • BIO 340 Advance Microbiology
  • BIO 398/498 Directed Research
  • BIO 490 Senior Seminar

Research interests / portfolio

  • Microbial ecology of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems with emphasis on microbial diversity.
  • Molecular ecology of sulfur and methane oxidizing bacteria
  • Environmental monitoring of plant and fish pathogens   


  • R. L. Matthiesen, A. Ahmad, and A. E. Robertson (2016) Temperature Affects Aggressiveness and Fungicide Sensitivity of Four Pythium spp. that Cause Soybean and Corn Damping Off in Iowa. Plant Disease. 100:583-591.
  • Ahmad A, Mbofung GY, Acharya J, Schmidt, CL, Robertson AE (2015) Characterization and Comparison of Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. nebraskensis Strains Recovered from Epiphytic and Symptomatic Infections of Maize in Iowa. Public Library of Science ONE 10(11): pp.1-13.
  • Robertson, Alison E.; Matthiesen, Rashelle; and A. Ahmad (2013) Nine Species of   Pythium. Associated with Corn Seeding Blight in Southeastern Iowa. Integrated Crop Management News. Paper 63.
  • Evan Lau, A. Ahmad*, Paul A. Steudler, and C. M. Cavanaugh (2007) Molecular characterization of methanotrophic communities in forest soils that oxidize atmospheric methane. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 60:490-500. *first co-author
  • Ahmad, A. K. M. Kalanetra, and D. C. Nelson (2006) Cultivated Beggiatoa spp. define the phylogenetic root of morphologically diverse, noncultured, vacuolate sulfur bacteria. Canadian Journal of Microbiology 52:591-598.
  • Jorgensen, B. B., A. Teske, and A. Ahmad (2005) Thioploca Lauterborn 1907, 242 AL  Bergey's Manual of Systematic Bacteriology Vol. 2. pp. 171-178.
  • Wirsen, C. O., S. M. Sievert, C. M. Cavanaugh, S. Molyneaux, A. Ahmad, L. T. Taylor, E. Delong, and C. D. Taylor (2002) Characterization of an autotrophic sulfide-oxidizing marine Arcobacter sp. that produces filamentous sulfur. Applied Environmental Microbiology 68:316-325.
  • Gulledge, J., A. Ahmad*, P. A. Steudler, W. Pomerantz, and C. M. Cavanaugh (2001) Family- and genus-level 16S rRNA-targeted oligonucleotide probes for ecological studies of methanotrophic bacteria. Applied Environmental Microbiology 67:4726-4733. *first co-author
  • Ahmad, A. and D. C. Nelson (1999) Phylogenetic Affinity of Wide, Vacuolate, Nitrate Accumulating Beggiatoa sp. from Monterey Canyon and Thioploca spp.  Applied Environmental Microbiology 65:270-277.
  • Nelson, D. C., W. H. Casey, J. D. Sison, E. E. Mack, A. Ahmad, and J. S. Pollack (1996) Selenium uptake by sulfur-accumulating bacteria.  Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 60:3531-3539.
  •  Lawrence, G. S., A. Ahmad, and F. Azam (1993) Fate of particle bound bacteria ingested by Calanus pacificusMarine Ecology Progress Series 97:299-307.

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