Ali Karkaba

Ali Karkaba staff profile picture

Institute of Vet, Animal & Biomedical Science
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Studies of antimicrobial drug resistance in bacteria of veterinary relevance

Research Description
Aim of my PhD: To gain an understanding of the epidemiology and distribution of multidrug resistant Enterobacteriaceae and MRSA from animals in New Zealand. Specific aims: -To investigate the occurrence of ESBL-carrying E. coli and MRSA bacteria in clinical specimens in animal health in NZ - To assess the prevalence of intestinal carriage of ESBL-E. coli and skin carriage of MRSA in dogs and cats in Auckland. -To determine the population genetic structure of animal ESBL-E. coli and MRSA and determine the clonal relatedness with human disease-causing strains Preliminary Outcomes: - Multidrug resistant Enterobacteriaceae, including ESBL-E. coli and MRSA are isolated from clinical specimens from companion animals in New Zealand - For the first time, ESBL and AmpC producing Enterobacteriaceae are reported in New Zealand from animal sources - Enterobacteriaceae co-resistant to beta-lactams and other antimicrobial classes used by veterinarians such as fluoroquinolones, are causing infections in animals in New Zealand - The use of antimicrobials by veterinarians and especially b-lactams, was a significant risk factor for the faecal carriage of ESBL/Ampc-positive E. coli -The circulation of ESBL-E is likely to be posing therapeutic challenges to unaware veterinarians and is of potential public health significance.

Research Importance
With the increase in human infections with antimicrobial resistant bacteria in New Zealand and overseas, the question is whether companion animals suffer from similar infections and carry these organisms in their body. My studies will provide answers to these questions, especially as they relate to New Zealand.

Research Benefit
The results of my studies are likely to influence veterinary and public health practice, ultimately improving both animal and human clinical outcomes.

Personal Description
I am Lebanese, coming from a very beautiful town "Mazrat el Siyed", famous for its apples and excellent vinegar production. I obtained my Masters of Science degree in Clinical Microbiology Microbiology in 2011, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Laboratory Sciences from the University of Balamand in Lebanon. Although my education and training was in the human area, I feel that there are no limitations for exploring new research fields especially when dealing with bacteria.mI chose to join Massey because it is well-renowned in research and has a presence of high quality researchers.

Dr Alex Grinberg
Dr Evelyn Pleydell
Dr Jackie Benschop


Published Abstracts:

A.Karkaba, K.Hill, J.Benschop, A.Grinberg and E.Pleydell (2013).Investigating strains of multidrug resistant Enterobacteriaceae and Staphylococcus aureus that are causing clinical infections in companion animals in New Zealand. Proceedings of the New Zealand Veterinary Association Annual Conference.

A.Karkaba, K.Hill, J.Benschop,  A.Grinberg and E.Pleydell(2013)Investigating the strains of multidrug resistant Enterobacteriaceae and Staphylococcus aureus that are causing clinical infections in companion animals in New Zealand. Proceedings of 38th Annual WSAVA Congress

Poster Presenation:

A.Karkaba, K.Hill, J.Benschop, A.Grinberg and E.Pleydell (2012). Investigating the strains of multidrug resistant Enterobacteriaceae causing clinical infections in companion animals in New Zealand. Proceedings of First IDReC Science Symposium.

Karkaba, A., Hill, K., Benschop, J.,  Grinberg, A. and Pleydell, E.(2013).Comparison between five methods for isolation of multi drug-resistant Escherichia coli from faeces of hospitalized and non-hospitalized cats and dogs Queenstown Molecular Biology Week and Webster Centre for Infectious Diseases Symposium: Of Microbes and Men – Translational Medical Microbiology in the 21st Century.29 – 30 August, 2013 Rydges Hotel, Queenstown, New Zealand

A.Karkaba, H.elHajj, E.Azar(2011). Epidemiological characterisation of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus in Lebanon. Enhancing Graduate Research in the Biomedical Sciences in Lebanon: Role of National and International Collaborations. 20 May 2011,AUST, Beirut, Lebanon 

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