Skip to main content
Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry

Kamrul Islam

Meet Kamrul Islam, our Research Manager at Genes & Health

Profile photo of Kamrul Islam

Q.1 Can you describe your career path, current role and what attracted you to work at Queen Mary?

Initially unsure of which career path to pursue, I gravitated towards the sciences and eventually earned my undergraduate degree in Biochemistry. However, my interests soon led me to explore the field of Software Engineering. Nonetheless, fate intervened when I got married in the summer of 2002 and was offered an exciting role as a Research Assistant at Hammersmith Medicines Research (HMR), where I would work on Phase I and II clinical trials. This experience marked the beginning of my journey into the world of research, and I discovered a passion for the work, gaining valuable knowledge and clinical skills while managing a range of trials for top pharmaceutical companies like GSK, Pfizer, and Sanofi. It was a fulfilling experience, and I was grateful to have stayed in the field of science.

However, after a few years, the work became somewhat monotonous and I began to lose the initial enthusiasm that had driven me. So I began to explore other options and eventually found a fantastic opportunity to work on the OEDIPUS study led by Professor Chris Griffiths at Queen Mary. It was a chance for me to work with my community, utilize my native language skills, and give back in a meaningful way. Fast forward to 2023, and I am still here, thoroughly enjoying the work and continuing to gain valuable knowledge and new skills while working on a variety of studies.

Currently, my focus is on one of the largest community-based genetics studies, which aims to understand how genes can be linked to diabetes, heart disease, and poor health in the Bangladeshi and Pakistani populations. I am proud to be a part of this study, and if you are interested in learning more, please visit

Q.2 How has your personal identity(ies) intersected with your work and role at Queen Mary?

I was born at the famous Royal London Hospital (RLH) in Whitechapel, and all six of my beloved children were also born at the same hospital. Having lived just two streets away from my current office, I feel incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to work in the very community where I grew up. It is an indescribable feeling to be able to give back to an area that has shaped me in countless ways.

Throughout my career, I have worked on various research studies that have had a profound impact on shaping healthcare for underrepresented communities with significant health disparities. When I first entered the field of research, only a few studies were examining ethnic groups, but today, more studies are being conducted, which is a promising indication that we are moving in the right direction. The Genes & Health study is one such initiative that is leading the charge in this regard.

It has been an absolute honour to lead the Stage 1 recruitment for Genes & Health, a study that has reached a remarkable milestone by recruiting over 55,000 participants. Our goal is to recruit 100,000 individuals to the study, and I am proud to say that we are well on our way to achieving this ambitious target.

Beyond my work at Queen Mary, I devote myself to my 6 children and my wife, enjoying spending time with them, travelling and exploring the world.  I am also a co-founder and trustee of an independent faith-based primary school and work closely with several charities that offer aid, healthcare, orphan sponsorship, and other essential services both locally in the UK and internationally. My passion for charitable work stems from the core tenets of my faith as a practicing Muslim, which emphasize the importance of giving back to those in need. Just like my research work, my charitable activities offer me an opportunity to connect with people from all walks of life, and I am grateful for every chance I get to make a positive impact on the lives of others. As Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) once said, "A man's true wealth is the good he does in this world," and I strive every day to live up to this timeless wisdom. This has helped me establish a good work life balance.

Q.3 What does Equality, Diversity and Inclusion mean to you and how important is Queen Mary's EDI work to you as a staff member and your sense of belonging at Queen Mary?

Equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) hold an immense value for me since they are the pillars that can help us establish a society that is just, equal, and fair. As a member of the Genes & Health study team, I firmly believe that our research project aligns with these fundamental principles. We have assembled a team that comprises individuals from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences, all of whom bring unique perspectives and skillsets that have undoubtedly contributed to the success of our study.

As a British Bangladeshi, I am acutely aware of the significant progress that the UK has made in advancing EDI, and I take pride in working at Queen Mary, an institution that places a high priority on these principles. The fact that EDI is a core component of our organization's values reaffirms my belief that we are moving in the right direction towards creating a more just and equitable society.

Q.4 What one piece of advice or information would be you give to others in the Queen Mary community to help them foster an inclusive environment and / or be an effective ally?

Never be reluctant to approach your colleagues, managers, professors engaging in meaningful conversations, asking those tough questions and finding solutions to overcome any barriers. 



Back to top