Akhtar Ali, Ph.D. - The University of Tulsa
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Akhtar Ali, Ph.D.

Professor of Biological Science


Akhtar Ali is a professor of virology. He started his journey with plant viruses during his Master of Science (Hons) degree research in 1988 at University of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Peshawar. Since then, he has worked on these unseen creatures during his Ph.D., 1994–1999 at the University of Adelaide, Australia, his first postdoctoral fellowship in Japan, followed by a second postdoctoral fellowship in Australia, and finally during his third postdoctoral fellowship in the U.S.A. He continued working on plant viruses when he joined The University of Tulsa as an assistant professor in 2007.

At The University of Tulsa, his interests extended to viruses that infect humans and animals. He developed and offered two courses: Introduction to Virology and Biology of Cancer, at the undergraduate and graduate level, which cover human and animal viruses like HIV, hepatitis, herpes, smallpox, influenza, and cancer-causing viruses.

In 2017, he accepted a U.S. Fulbright scholar award and worked on mycoviruses at the University of Okayama, Japan. Now his lab research is focused on both plant and mycoviruses, while his teaching focuses on human and animal viruses.

Awards and Honors

  • Zelimir Schmidt Outstanding Researcher (2023)
  • U.S. Fulbright Scholar Award (2017-2018)
  • U.S. Fulbright Commission (March 20, 2017)
  • STA Fellowship-Japan (1999-2001), Japan Science and Technology Corporation (May 1, 1999)
  • ADCOS Open Merit Scholarshsip-Australia (1994-1999), Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) (January 31, 1994)
  • Bronze Medal-MSc (Hons) (1988-1990), KP University Peshawar (September 1990)


  • Ph.D., The University of Adelaide
    • Dissertation: “Pathology and Molecular Comparison of a Range of Pea Seen-Borne Mosaic Virus Isolates”
  • M.Sc., KP University, Peshawar
    • Dissertation: “Biological and Molecular Characterization of Soybean Mosaic Virus”
  • B.Sc., KP University, Peshawar

Research interests and areas of expertise

  • Etiology
  • Epidemiology
  • Evolution of viruses
  • Identification of mycoviruses from pathogenic fungi
  • Quasispecies variation and genetic bottlenecks in virus infection
  • Molecular and biological characterization of viruses
  • Studies of interactions between viruses and vectors
  • Determining the causes of virus-like diseases