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Senior Leadership Team

Our 4,000 plus staff are led by Executive Director Dr Tahmeed Ahmed and the Senior Leadership Team. Together they are responsible for the day-to-day running of the organisation and are accountable to the Board of Trustees


Senior leadership

Dr Tahmeed Ahmed has been working for the last three decades in simplifying the management of childhood malnutrition, childhood tuberculosis, and diarrheal diseases. He leads the BEED (Bangladesh Environmental Enteric Dysfunction) study that attempts to discover non-invasive biomarkers of environmental enteric dysfunction, an important cause of stunting in children. Together with Dr Jeffrey Gordon of Washington University in St. Louis he discovered microbiota directed complementary food (MDCF) - a novel intervention for childhood malnutrition. This discovery was highlighted by the prestigious journal Science as one of the scientific breakthroughs of 2019. He is continuing the research on MDCF with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  

Dr Ahmed studied in St. Gregory’s High School and Notre Dame College, Dhaka and then obtained his medical degree from Mymensingh Medical College. He received residential training in Dhaka Children’s Hospital and subsequently studied at the University of Tsukuba in Japan for his PhD. He has recently been appointed the Executive Director of icddr,b where he has been working for the last three decades. As a member of the Nutrition Guidance Expert Advisory Group of the WHO, Dr Ahmed revised the global guidelines for management of childhood acute malnutrition. He advises the Global Task Force on Cholera Case Control (GTFCC) on case management of cholera in children. Dr Ahmed was awarded the Bangladesh Academy of Science - Dr Sultan Ahmed Choudhury Gold Medal for outstanding achievement in Medical Science in 2003. He received from the Honorable Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, the Islamic Bank Development Transformers’ Roadshow Award in 2018. Dr Ahmed works closely with the Ministry of Health of Bangladesh, WHO, UNICEF and the International Atomic Energy Agency in research, policy issues and training on nutrition. He has more than 400 papers published in international journals and books. Dr Ahmed was the President of the Commonwealth Association of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition (CAPGAN), an association of professionals in Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition from the 54 Commonwealth nations.  He is Professor of Public Health Nutrition of James P. Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University, Dhaka and also Affiliated Professor of School of Global Health, University of Washington, Seattle. Dr Ahmed has recently been appointed Honorary Senior Fellow of the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS).

Read more about Dr Ahmed's illustrious career in The Lancet

Mr Syed Monjurul Islam joined icddr,b as Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer in February 2017 after retiring from his role as Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of Bangladesh in October 2016.

As a senior member of the Bangladesh Civil Service, Mr Islam has previously represented the government on a wide range of committees, which include The Global Fund, GAVI and the icddr,b Board of Trustees. He has vast experience in health, finance, project/programme management, governance, bilateral funding and working with donors, as well as team building. As Health Secretary Mr Islam was responsible for overseeing the Ministry of Health’s annual budget of approximately US$2 billion and 200,000 staff across seven executing agencies.

Mr Islam has a PGD in ‘Development Planning Techniques’ from the Graduate School of Development Studies, Institute of Social Studies (ISS), The Hague Netherlands (1997), and an MBA from the Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka (1983) and a Bachelor of Commerce, from the University of Dhaka (1979).

Professor Allen Ross, MD, PhD, DMS, FRCP (Edin), FRCPath, joined icddr,b infectious diseases division in 2018. He is a tenured professor and chair of tropical medicine & infectious diseases with Griffith University, Australia, and a physician scientist with Menzies Health Institute, Queensland.

His expertise and research interests lie in the realm of postgraduate education, global health, infectious diseases, medical microbiology, disease control, and vaccination. Prof Ross completed a BSc in Biology, MSc in Human Biology during the 1990s from Canada before proceeding to Brisbane, Australia where he completed a Doctorate in Tropical Health in 1998 with Distinction, a MBBS in 2005 and MD in 2010 with honours and a Doctorate of Medical Science (DMS) through the University of Queensland in 2017.

Prof Ross has authored and co-authored over 100 international peer-reviewed publications, reviews and book chapters on various aspects of global health, infectious disease control and vaccine development. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, UK and a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathology in the United Kingdom (FRC. Path), Fellow of the Australian College of Tropical Medicine (FACTM) and Fellow of the Royal Society of Public Health in the United Kingdom (FRSPH). 

Dr Shams El Arifeen was the first director of icddr,b’s late Centre for Child and Adolescent Health, and is now the Senior Director of Maternal and Child Health research. Dr Arifeen is also an acting professor at the James P. Grant School of Public Health at the BRAC University in Bangladesh, where he teaches epidemiology. Dr Arifeen has nearly 25 years of experience in child and neonatal health, health services and health systems research, including nine years in government health services, with a focus on health interventions for developing populations. He also has extensive experience in research and evaluation, with particular expertise in cluster randomized trials, large-scale surveys as well as with community and facility-based evaluations of interventions and programmes, using both experimental and quasi-experimental designs.

Dr Arifeen actively participates in national efforts within Bangladesh to scale up evidence-based neonatal and child health interventions. He currently leads the team assisting the government of Bangladesh and its partners in monitoring and evaluating health services and programmes. He has served on a number of Bangladesh’s technical and advisory committees, including the National Committee on Immunization Practices, Technical Sub-Committee on National Newborn Health Strategy and the Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey, Urban Health Survey and Bangladesh Maternal Mortality Survey technical committees. Dr Arifeen contributed to the 2003 Lancet Series on Child Survival and has published more than 140 scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals. He holds an MBBS and DrPH and is trained in medicine, public health, nutrition and epidemiology.


Professor Daniel D Reidpath has joined icddr,b as Senior Director, Health Systems and Population Studies Division from September 2019. Professor Reidpath (Daniel) has been a public health academic since 1997. He completed his PhD from The University of Western Australia. Before joining icddr,b, he was Professor of Population Health and Head of Public Health at the Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Monash University Malaysia, where he was also the Director of the South East Asia Community Observatory (SEACO) an HDSS located in a rural district half-way between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

Professor Reidpath has published widely including peer reviewed articles, commissioned reviews, and editorials. He has also published across a wide range of subjects including epidemiology, biostatistics, public health, health policy, medical sociology, health systems, equity, reproductive rights, pregnancy outcomes, dengue surveillance, HIV, non-communicable disease, malnutrition, air pollution and health, and climate change. He has held research funds from the Ford Foundation, the Global Forum for Health Research, TDR/WHO, VicHealth, the Royal Society of Public Health, the National Institute for Health Research UK, the MRC, and the Wellcome Trust.



Mr. Thomas Barry has over 27 years of experience in financial management in the health and research sector. He graduated from University College Dublin, Ireland and began his accounting training with the National Health Service qualifying as a certified chartered accountant (ACCA) UK, now a fellow (FCCA). He also obtained membership as a certified public accountant (CPA). He completed further studies with Edinburgh Business School, and completed his MBA in Strategic Planning in June 2016.

He has worked as a finance director in several research organisations and has managed multiple grants for the EU, USAID, NIH and other donors. He is fully conversant with accounting standards and best practices, analytical with a consistent track record in delivering effective financial solutions.


Ms. Armana Ahmed has more than 20 years of work experience and is currently the Head of Research Administration (RA) at icddr,b. She joined icddr,b in October 2004 as Grants Management Officer and later became a Senior Manager in RA before becoming the Head of this Unit in 2016. She has been with the RA unit since its inception at icddr,b and has introduced and streamlined many RA functions with the intention to making it at par with similar offices at universities and other research organizations. Prior to joining icddr,b

Ms. Ahmed has worked as a Senior Program Officer in a Human Rights Advocacy Project funded by USAID and managed by AED, an Atlanta based International NGO. She started her career as a Management Accountant in Shell Bangladesh. Armana has an MBA from the Victoria University of Melbourne, Australia and also a Masters degree in Management. She was trained as an auditor by the then local Associate firm of PriceWaterhouseCoopers and has worked as an auditor for five years.


Nagarajan Nagarajan belongs to Indian Audit and Accounts Service (1989 batch) one of the premier Civil Services in India. Started his career in Bangalore at middle management level and worked in different stations in India and abroad such as Port Blair, Mauritius, Mumbai, Shillong, New Delhi, Rome and before joining icddr,b, he was working at Trivandrum as Principal Accountant General (Audit). 

He has hardcoded the pension software in dbase iv in the year 1993 to issue pension payment orders to the employees of the provincial government of Karnataka in Bangalore, this application was very successful and prompted the other offices of the Auditor General to adopt this application. He has undergone Information Technology Audit training at National Audit Office UK and IT Management at UK Civil Services College at Sunningdale, UK.

He has been nominated as southern regional trainer to teach IT Audit and Computer Assisted Audit Tools to the Audit officers of the Auditor General`s office. He has prepared the course material for this training program and developed 10 exercises, which is being used widely in the office.

He has held other positions like Principal Director (Audit), principal Director (Information Systems and IT Audit), Accountant General and provided oversight at the provincial level and regional level. He has also handled several international assignments ranging from three months to three years in UNHQ (New York), UNWHO (EMRO), Regional Service Centre Entebbe (RSCE) and UNWFP (Rome) effectively and efficiently.

In icddr,b as Director Internal oversight his main role is to provide independent and objective assurance and advisory services to the Senior Management and the Board on the effectiveness of governance, risk management and control aspects.

He has published in many reputed international journals such as intoIT (National Audit Office UK), Asian journal of Audit, Auditnet (USA) and Institute of Internal Auditors journals (USA) and presented papers in various international forums.

He has worked in the areas of Public Accounting, Governance, Risk Management, Financial Management, Capacity Building, Change Management, Policy Formulation, and Audit Specializations including Information Security Audit and IT Audit.