Dr. Firdausi Qadri is the Director, Centre for Vaccine Sciences at the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b). She obtained her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Liverpool in 1980. Dr. Qadri began her academic career in 1981 as faculty in the Department of Biochemistry, University of Dhaka and then joined icddr,b in 1986 as a postdoctoral research fellow and since then has worked her way up to her current title of Senior Scientist and to lead researchers in the Centre for Vaccine Sciences.
She and her team have made significant contributions to international scientific research, particularly in the field of infectious diseases with emphasis on infections which are very common in children in developing countries. Her work includes basic and applied immunology of infectious diseases but also clinical and large field based studies on enteric vaccines. In the last 3 years she has been leading the largest field studies in over 400,000 participants of an oral cholera vaccine in an urban slum in Bangladesh-to pave the way forward for introducing cholera vaccine in high risk people in the country and in the near future in the region and globally.
Her work also involves her devotion to an initiative that she has set up known as the “Institute for developing science and health initiatives” (ideSHi). The primary focus at ideSHi is on the development of science and technology in Bangladesh and encouraging scientists to work in the field of biomedical sciences and also by using the facilities in the ideSHi and icddr,b laboratories and through networking with other institutions in the government and private sector.
A large part of her career has been focused in developing leaders in the field infectious disease research from different disciplines and institutions. She also has inspired many young scientists through her teaching and research activities. Her penchant for mentoring can be seen in her lab and field sites where aspiring fellows from both local and international universities, join her team as interns and later move on to faculty positions globally.