Mohammad Alauddin wins Fulbright Award to develop chemistry educational program in Bangladesh

Mohammad Alauddin wins Fulbright Award to develop chemistry educational program in Bangladesh

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Chemistry professor Mohammad Alauddin has won a Fulbright specialist grant in chemistry education at Independent University’s Life Sciences Division in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Alauddin, a native of Bangladesh, earned his baccalaureate degree at the University of Dhaka before continuing his studies at the University of Kentucky, where he earned a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry in 1982. He joined the Wagner College faculty in 1984.

“This is a very distinguished assignment,” Alauddin said. “My assignment includes developing curricula and faculty training in the areas of chemistry and environmental science this August and next January.”

Alauddin is excited about spending more time at the Independent University — he already visited last August, along with two of his Wagner students, Sandra Minchala and Sanjita Dham.

“The Independent University has a new beautiful campus, new life science building, and new laboratories,” he said. “They built a lab which is quite impressive, different from what you have seen in other institutions.”

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Alauddin has long been engaged in the application of modern science to the public health challenges of Bangladesh. In the 1990s, he was instrumental in developing chemical analysis procedures that helped officials identify the presence of alarmingly high concentrations of arsenic in village well water. And in the 2000s, Alauddin researched the health problems associated with indoor air pollution produced by open household cook fires, promoting their replacement with effective, low-cost, enclosed and vented cook stoves.

This is Alauddin’s second Fulbright grant. In 2004, he won a Fulbright Scholarship that placed him in a teaching and research position for one semester at his alma mater, the University of Dhaka.

“I taught two graduate level courses, one of which dealt with air pollution issues,” Alauddin said. “I told my students, ‘We can discuss air pollution — but, better yet, let’s go out in the street and take some measurements of particulate matter and air quality parameters using a low-volume air sampler.’ Later on, we analyzed those particulate matters in the laboratory. Students never had this type of on-site learning experience before.”

He is currently collaborating with the University of California, Berkeley in a study investigating the problem of malnutrition caused by intestinal leakage among children in Bangladesh and Kenya. Samples collected from 3,600 children during the study, funded by a grant award from U.C. Berkeley and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, are being analyzed by Alauddin and his research students at Wagner.