Ahmed Abdullah Azad

By September 16th, 2014


Ahmed Abdullah Azad was born in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) on 17 November 1945. He obtained his BSc with first class honours in 1967 and his MSc (First class) in 1968 from the Department of Biochemistry, Dacca University then his PhD in 1973 from the Department of Biochemistry, University of Toronto, Canada.

He worked as a graduate research assistant in the Cholera Research Laboratory, Dacca from 1968 to 1969; and as a Scientific Officer and later Senior Scientific Officer, Atomic Energy Centre Dacca from 1969 to 1975 being seconded to the University of Toronto, Canada. There he made pioneering contributions to understanding the role of RNA-RNA interactions in protein synthesis.

In 1975, he came to Australia as a Research Fellow at the Research School of Biological Sciences, ANU, Canberra working with Dr Ian Clark-Walker a position he held until moving to the CSIRO Division of Protein Chemistry in 1980. His role at the CSIRO Parkville laboratory was to strengthen the Division’s expertise in recombinant DNA research. His first project was with Colin Ward and Tom Elleman on cloning and sequencing the neuraminidase gene from an early (1957) strain of Asian influenza virus to support the X-ray crystallography research of Peter Colman and colleagues on this protein.

Research projects

His other projects were:

  • cloning and sequencing the gene segments of the UK strain of bovine rotavirus, a double stranded RNA virus, in collaboration with Professor Ian Holmes at the Department of Microbiology, Melbourne University
  • the genetic improvement of cheese starter strains, with Richard Yu, from the Gilbert Chandler Dairy Institute of Dairy Technology, Werribee, Victoria and Dr Ron Hull, CSIRO Dairy Research Laboratory.
  • the development of a recombinant subunit vaccine against infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) for which he shared the CSIRO Chairman’s Medal in 1997
  • the structure and function of HIV regulatory proteins during his secondment to the Biomolecular Research Institute from 1993 to 1999.

In April 1999, he returned from secondment to the BRI to continue his research in the Parkville laboratory and resigned from CSIRO on 31 January 2000 to take up the position of Director of Research, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Honours and awards

He was the Principal Investigator on the National Biotechnology Program Grant for the IBDV vaccine project. He is internationally recognised for his research contributions and shared:

1997 CSIRO Chairman’s Medal for the IBDV research
1993 B. Rispens Memorial Award for Avian Pathology for the IBDV vaccine research


  • CSIRO, 2009.
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