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Senior Leadership Team

Our 5,200 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

Dr Firdausi Qadri’s work includes basic and applied immunology of infectious diseases but also clinical and large field-based studies on enteric vaccines. Dr Qadri has more than 490 publications in peer reviewed journal of high impact (Web of Science). She has been elected fellow of many societies including ASM, AAM, TWAS, IDSA, BAS, INSA and serves on advisory boards including the ISDB science, biotechnology and innovation board.

Recently, her research focuses very much on Covid-19 infections and vaccinations. She also received a number of prestigious awards. Eg: Gold Medal in Biological Sciences by the Bangladesh Academy of Science, Moselio Schaechter Award by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), Christophe & Rodolphe Mérieux Foundation Prize, French Academy of Sciences, Prof. C.N.R. Rao Prize from TWAS. She is a laureate of the 2020 L'Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science Award for her contribution to understanding and preventing infectious diseases affecting children in developing countries, and promoting early diagnosis and vaccination with global health impact.

Dr Qadri won the Ramon Magsaysay Award 2021 which is known as Asia’s Nobel Prize. Dr Qadri has been honoured with this prestigious award due to her magnificent contribution to infectious disease control, immunology, vaccine development and clinical trial.

Read more about Dr Qadri's career in The Lancet

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.


Dr Sarah is cuurently the Senior Director of the thematically diverse Health Systems and Population Studies Division (HSPSD). Sarah is an interdisciplinary, mixed methods researcher with over 30 years of experience. She read Human Sciences at Jesus College Oxford and then moved to the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) where she gained an MSc in Medical Demography and a PhD in Public Health. Her PhD was conducted in Bangladesh via a secondment to icddr,b. She then worked at LSHTM for several years, before moving to the University of Sheffield in 2013, where she was Professor of Public Health first within the School of Health & Related Research, and latterly in the Department of Sociological Studies.

Sarah’s work lies at the intersection of sociology, social policy and public health with the aim of understanding and addressing the social and political determinants of health and wellbeing. Her work has particularly focused on health inequalities linked to migration, ethnicity and gender, and the processes of identification and in/exclusion operating at policy, practice and community levels that shape health-related experiences and outcomes. Her work also includes a focus on understanding the perspectives of service users and improving the fit between provision/initiatives and needs within complex systems. Sarah’s research projects have focused on various health topics, particularly reproductive health. Much of her work involves close collaboration with government and civil organizations, as well as partnerships with community-based groups and local people via the use of creative, participatory approaches. Her research is international, with recent projects in the UK, Pakistan, India, Ghana, and Sri Lanka.


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 Development at icddr,b. She joined icddr,b in October 2004 as Grants Management Officer and later became a Senior Manager in Research Administration before becoming the Head of this Unit in 2016. 

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.

Mr. Mohammad Nafiu Alam, a qualified Barrister from the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn, UK, and an Advocate of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh, joined icddr,b as Legal Counsel in 2018. In 2022, he assumed the role of Head of Regulatory and Legal Affairs (R&LA) at icddr,b.
Mr. Nafiu Alam completed his secondary and higher secondary education at Mirzapur Cadet College. Subsequently, he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) with dual majors in Human Resources Management and Finance & Accounting from North South University, Bangladesh. Later, he pursued a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) at the University of Northumbria at Newcastle, UK. He furthered his legal education by completing the post-graduate degree, Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC), from the University of Northumbria at Newcastle, qualifying as a Barrister from Lincoln’s Inn, UK. Additionally, he obtained a Master of Laws (LLM) in Bangladesh.
Before joining icddr,b, Mr. Alam practised law in Bangladesh and gained experience at various international law firms across the globe, including one of the oldest international law firms in South East Asia. His noteworthy prior work includes serving as a legal adviser for various Governmental projects at different Ministries in Bangladesh.
Since assuming the role of Head of R&LA at icddr,b, Mr. Alam has been an integral part of the Senior Leadership Team (SLT), providing invaluable advice and essential support.

Engineer DSM Shaheedul Islam has a vast experience in operations, administration, logistics, security, disaster management, infrastructure planning & development and project management. Prior to joining icddr,b as Chief Engineer, he had an eventful career in the Bangladesh Army for 35 years, where he served in different command, leadership, staff and teaching capacities both at home and abroad. Serving with United Nations in an International environment in two different tenures has enriched his experiences, especially in crisis management, refugee rehabilitation & reconciliation, humanitarian assistance and conflict resolution.  He retired as a Brigadier General.

Brig Gen DSM Shaheedul Islam, ndc, afwc, psc, PEng (Retd) was commissioned on 19 May 1985 in the Corps of Engineers, Bangladesh Army.  He served as a Distinguished Faculty at School of Military Engineering and School of Infantry and Tactics. He served in MIST as Professor and Head of CE Department. He was also Project Director(PD) of MIST Development project and Provost Osmany Hall. He served as Grade 1 staff officer at Operations and Plan Directorate of Armed Forces Division (AFD), he was focal point officer for UN deployment, international treaty & MoU and Bangladesh National Authority for Chemical Weapon Convention (BNACWC). Brig Gen Shaheed served as DG, Administration and Logistics Directorate of AFD, where his focus was Armed Forces procurement, logistics, legal, administration and discipline.  He served PMBP as Deputy Chief Coordinator of Construction Supervision Consultant.  He served as Director Engineers, Bangladesh Army in Army Headquarters.  He was PD of several National Development Projects. After retirement from Army, he served as Structural Engineer In-charge, Team Leader and Resident Engineer in CSC, Padma Bridge Rail Link Project.  He participated in United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) as Military Observer and was Contingent Commander of Multiorle Engineer Contingent in UNMIL, Liberia. 
Engineer Shaheed attended various professional courses at different institutions and universities both at home and abroad. He is a graduate from Defence Services Command and Staff College Mirpur and alumni of NDC, Mirpur. He completed MPhil on Development Studies from BUP. He obtained B.Sc Engineering (Civil) and M.Sc Engineering (Structural) from Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology (BUET). 


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.

A K M Tariful Islam Khan has been associated with icddr,b since 2015. He has over 15 years of experience in communications. Half of this time was spent providing communications and outreach campaigns for UN Agencies and INGOs in collaboration with the country's leading media and communications consulting agencies.

During his tenure with UNDP, he undertook a key role in the Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme (CDMPII) as an Advocacy and Communications Officer. He championed numerous initiatives, notably integrating Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation into the journalism curriculum and conducting journalist training across 19 diverse districts.

On the academic front, Mr Khan holds a Masters in both Communications and Disaster Management, an MBA in Finance, and a Bachelor of Honours in Mathematics.

He was a pioneer in adopting digital marketing and media buying in the country, leveraging Facebook and Google, as early as 2012-13.

SLT Secretariat

Ms Tanzila Ghani has joined icddr'b as the Executive Assistant to the Executive Director in November 2022. She brings with her a wealth of experience spanning over 15 years comprising a number of organisations both in private and public sector of the UK. She has covered a variety of fields including financial operations, grant

management, credit control, business support and executive support operations.