Marya Ahmed, PhD

Marya Ahmed, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry and Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering (FSDE)


  • Organic chemistry
  • Biochemistry


  • Biomaterials
  • Drug delivery to overcome drug resistance
  • Antibacterials
  • Animal health
  • Human health
  • Wastewater treatment


  • Hydrogels for controlled release of nutrients
  • Peptide-polymer hybrids as drug carriers
  • Peptides-based facility for PEI

The World Health Organization has warned that antimicrobial resistance, commonly known as drug resistance, is a “serious threat to global public health.” This resistance causes medications to become less effective at treating or preventing diseases.

Before conventional treatments become useless, Marya Ahmed wants to solve the drug resistance problem for bacterial diseases and cancers. Her personal drive and her academic experience make her suited to the task. In 2016, she accepted a cross-appointment at UPEI, where her research intersects biology, chemistry and engineering.

Ahmed is studying ways to change how human bodies accept medications. She is developing non-threatening carriers to bring drugs directly to cells. Think of her work as creating “Trojan horses” to fool the body into accepting a treatment as normal, not as something unwanted that should be fought off.

Her ideal carriers include peptides and vitamin-based polymers. And since she has research experience with lung cancer cells, Ahmed is starting there, with that disease that kills 58 Canadians daily, according to Canadian Cancer Society statistics.

Ahmed has begun to build her local network and welcomes collaborative projects. She also intends to create a new facility at UPEI to advance industry and academic projects related to peptides. First, she wants to better understand the capabilities required by the Island’s bioscience and engineering sectors.

Internally, Ahmed collaborates with professors at the Atlantic Veterinary College and the Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering (FSDE). Through her Chemistry and FSDE cross-appointment, she encourages interdisciplinary studies and teaches several new courses at the interface of chemistry, biology and engineering.

Print-friendly version of Marya Ahmed's profile