Please join us in congratulating Amina Tithi and Dr. Shariful Islam, and in welcoming them to the Interfaces of Global Change (IGC) Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Program this fall 2022!

REH Fellow - Amina Tithi

Amina Tithi

2022 Rural and Environmental Health Fellow


Working at the intersection of human health and environmental pollution, Amina Tithi aims to help socially and economically disadvantaged communities who are impacted by contaminants and antibiotics in the environment. She holds MS and BS degrees in pharmaceutical sciences, and brings experience from working in both the academic and industrial sectors to influence her doctoral pursuits. Raised in Bangladesh and a first-generation immigrant to the U.S., Amina strives to steward environmental and public welfare and to improve environmental conditions and quality of life for vulnerable and under-served communities across the globe. For her research with Dr. Xia, Amina will study the environmental fate and impact of emerging contaminants, including pharmaceutical and personal care products on aquatic environment and agro-ecosystems.

Advised by Dr. Kang Xia

REH - Shariful Islam

Dr. Shariful Islam

2022 Rural and Environmental Health Fellow


Through his research, Dr. Shariful Islam will assess global change impacts on infectious disease in wildlife, and subsequent consequences at the wildlife-human health interface. Dr. Shariful Islam holds a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine degree and Master of Science in Epidemiology. He is interested to advance the theoretical frameworks and contemporary analytical tools available to study zoonotic diseases of wildlife origin. Through his PhD study, Shariful aims to identify wildlife hosts of zoonotic viruses, strengthen human and animal disease-surveillance system capacities, and establish collaborative efforts to reduce pathogen spillover from wildlife to humans. To assess spillover risk, he employs statistical and mathematical modeling methods to identify and rank the factors contributing to disease emergence.

Advised by Dr. Luis Escobar

The Rural and Environmental Health (REH) Fellowships are awarded to Ph.D. students working at the nexus of environmental and health sciences in rural settings, providing them with a 12-month assistantship and tuition. REH Fellows will also participate in the Interfaces of Global Change Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Program.

Roughly one-fifth of the US population is considered “rural”; however, these rural landscapes comprise 90% of the nation’s land area, and provide the overwhelming majority of the country’s food, energy, water and other natural resources. Simultaneously, rural residents face many health disparities compared to their urban counterparts. Virginia Tech is well positioned to provide a rich training environment for examining environmental health in rural landscapes, with top programs in agriculture, natural resources and environment, and engineering, and growing programs in public health and translational biology and medicine. With support from the Fralin Life Sciences Institute, the Global Change Center has awarded two Rural Environmental Health Fellows per year with Graduate Research Assistantships and research support. Two additional fellowships will be offered in 2022-23 with a request for proposals released in December 2021; interested applicants and faculty sponsors will find more information about the Rural Environmental Health Fellowship here.