Dr Fatima El-Assaad

Dr Fatima El-Assaad

Senior Research Associate

2013                 Doctor of Philosophy (Medicine)

  • The University of Sydney
  • Sydney Medical School, Department of Pathology, Vascular Immunology Unit
  • Thesis by Publications: Microparticles, microRNA and cytoadherence in experimental cerebral malaria
  • Supervisors: Prof. Georges E. R. Grau and Dr. Valery Combes

2007                 Bachelor of Medical Science (HONS) Class I (Pathology)

  • The University of Sydney
  • Sydney Medical School, Department of Pathology, Vascular Immunology Unit
  • Honours thesis: The role of microparticles in the pathogenesis of cerebral malaria
  • Undergraduate subjects studied: Advanced Biology, Visceral, Musculoskeletal and Cranial and Cervical Anatomy, Toxicology, Cell Pathology, Microbiology, Physiology and Biochemistry
  • Elective options studied: Academic English and Psychology
Medicine & Health
School of Clinical Medicine

Dr Fatima El-Assaad is the Senior Research Associate at UNSW Microbiome Research Centre (MRC) and a former UNSW Vice Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow (2015 - 2017). She graduated with First Class Honours in Medical Science and was awarded her PhD in Medicine (by publications) at The University of Sydney (2013) for her work in the field of inflammation, infectious diseases and neuroscience.

​​​​Currently, together with the director of the MRC, Dr El-Assaad develops and implements various research projects and coordinates the research strategy, communications and interactions with various stakeholders. Her current interests lie in understanding the role of the microbiome in maintaining optimal health and their role various inflammatory diseases. She is leading projects in mental health and neuroscience (schizophrenia, dementia, age-related frailty), women and children’s health (endometriosis, pre-conception and pregnancy health), infectious disease (sepsis) and natural therapies (kefir, honey).

Dr El-Assaad has been involved with several cross-disciplinary consortia between basic science, policy, clinical translation and biotech leadership. She was awarded the prestigious HOPE Award at the 9th HOPE Meeting with Nobel Laureates (2017, Tokyo) and the Campion-Ma-Playoust Memorial Award at the 49th annual ASMR National Conference. She was one of 60 Early-Mid Career Researchers selected for the Theo Murphy High Flyers Think Tank (2016) and one of 3 invited Thinker in Residence at Flinders University (2016), one of 100 global leaders invited to the GAP Summit (2017, Washington DC) and the Nobel Prize Dialogue (2017,Tokyo), one of 14 Australian delegates to participate in the Australian Academy of Technology Sciences & Engineering Australia-China Young Scientists Exchange Program (2017, Beijing) and 1 of 5 Australian delegates Nominated by National Research Foundation, Prime Minister's Office, Singapore to attend the Global Young Scientists Summit (2020, Singapore). 

Dr El-Assaad supports her UNSW peers through her positions on:

  • UNSW Early Career Academic Network (ECAN) Executive Committee
  • UNSW ECAN Faculty of Medicine and Health Sub-Committee
  • UNSW MEDIC Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Working Group
+61 (2) 9065 2118
UNSW Microbiome Research Centre St George and Sutherland Clinical School Faculty of Medicine & Health UNSW SYDNEY 2052 Level 2, Clinical Sciences Building (WR Pitney) Short Street, St George Hospital, KOGARAH NSW 2217
  • Book Chapters | 2019
    El-Assaad F; Gong L; Gia A; Yim H; El-Omar E, 2019, 'Helicobacter pylori, peptic ulcer disease and gastric cancer', in Eslick G (ed.), Gastrointestinal Diseases and Their Associated Infections, Elsevier, St Louis, pp. 17 - 29, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/b978-0-323-54843-4.00002-7
    Book Chapters | 2019
    El-Assaad F; Gong L; Gia A; Yim HCH; El-Omar EM, 2019, 'Chapter 2 Helicobacter pylori, Peptic Ulcer Disease and Gastric Cancer', in Gastrointestinal Diseases and their Associated Infections, Elsevier, pp. 17 - 29, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/b978-0-323-54843-4.00002-7
    Book Chapters | 2017
    de Groot PG; de Laat B; Rand J; Vlachoyiannopoulos PG; El-Assaad F; Krilis SA; Giannakopoulos B, 2017, 'Natural Proteins Involved in Antiphospholipid Syndrome', in Antiphospholipid Syndrome, Springer International Publishing, pp. 15 - 27, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-55442-6_2
  • Journal articles | 2023
    Uzuner C; Mak J; El-Assaad F; Condous G, 2023, 'The bidirectional relationship between endometriosis and microbiome', Frontiers in Endocrinology, 14, http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fendo.2023.1110824
    Journal articles | 2022
    Hosseini-Giv N; Basas A; Hicks C; El-Omar E; El-Assaad F; Hosseini-Beheshti E, 2022, 'Bacterial extracellular vesicles and their novel therapeutic applications in health and cancer', Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, 12, pp. 962216, http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fcimb.2022.962216
    Journal articles | 2022
    Kairey L; Leech B; El-Assaad F; Bugarcic A; Dawson D; Lauche R, 2022, 'The effects of kefir consumption on human health: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials.', Nutrition Reviews, 81, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nutrit/nuac054
    Journal articles | 2022
    O'Donnell M; Teasdale S; Chua X-Y; Hardman J; Wu N; Curtis J; Samaras K; Bolton P; Morris M; Shannon-Weickert C; Purves-Tyson T; El-Assaad F; Jiang X; Hold G; El-Omar E, 2022, 'The role of the microbiome in the metabolic health of people with schizophrenia and related psychoses: cross-sectional and pre-post lifestyle intervention analyses', Pathogens
    Journal articles | 2020
    Leonardi M; Hicks C; El-Assaad F; El-Omar E; Condous G, 2020, 'Endometriosis and the microbiome: a systematic review', BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 127, pp. 239 - 249, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1471-0528.15916
    Journal articles | 2017
    El-Assaad F; Qi M; Gordon AK; Qi J; Dong S; Passam F; Weaver JC; Giannakopoulos B; Krilis SA, 2017, 'Βeta 2-glycoprotein i protects mice against gram-negative septicaemia in a sexually dimorphic manner', Scientific Reports, 7, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-07945-8
    Journal articles | 2016
    El-Assaad F; Krilis SA; Giannakopoulos B, 2016, 'Posttranslational forms of beta 2-glycoprotein I in the pathogenesis of the antiphospholipid syndrome', Thrombosis Journal, 14, http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12959-016-0115-z
    Journal articles | 2016
    Zhou S; Chen G; Qi M; El-Assaad F; Wang Y; Dong S; Chen L; Yu D; Weaver JC; Beretov J; Krilis SA; Giannakopoulos B, 2016, 'Gram negative bacterial inflammation ameliorated by the plasma protein beta 2-Glycoprotein I', Scientific Reports, 6, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep33656
    Journal articles | 2016
    Zhou S; Tanaka K; O'Keeffe M; Qi M; El-Assaad F; Weaver JC; Chen G; Weatherall C; Wang Y; Giannakopoulos B; Chen L; Yu DM; Hamilton MJ; Wensing LA; Stevens RL; Krilis SA, 2016, 'CD117+ dendritic and mast cells are dependent on RasGRP4 to function as accessory cells for optimal natural killer cell-mediated responses to lipopolysaccharide', PLoS ONE, 11, http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0151638
    Journal articles | 2015
    Hackett MJ; Aitken JB; El-Assaad F; McQuillan JA; Carter EA; Ball HJ; Tobin MJ; Paterson D; De Jonge MD; Siegele R; Cohen DD; Vogt S; Grau GE; Hunt NH; Lay PA, 2015, 'Neuroscience: Mechanisms of murine cerebral malaria: Multimodal imaging of altered cerebral metabolism and protein oxidation at hemorrhage sites', Science Advances, 1, http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.1500911
    Journal articles | 2014
    El-Assaad F; Combes V; Raymond Grau GE; Jamboua R, 2014, 'Potential Efficacy of Citicoline as Adjunct Therapy in Treatment of Cerebral Malaria', Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 58, pp. 602 - 605, http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/AAC.02591-12
    Journal articles | 2014
    El-Assaad F; Grau GE; Combes V, 2014, 'Experimental Models of Microvascular Immunopathology: The Example of Cerebral Malaria', J Neuroinfect Dis., http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26430675
    Journal articles | 2014
    El-Assaad F; Wheway J; Hunt NH; Grau GER; Combes V, 2014, 'Production, Fate and Pathogenicity of Plasma Microparticles in Murine Cerebral Malaria', PLoS Pathogens, 10, http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1003839
    Journal articles | 2014
    Pai S; Qin J; Cavanagh L; Mitchell A; El-Assaad F; Jain R; Combes V; Hunt NH; Grau GER; Weninger W, 2014, 'Real-Time Imaging Reveals the Dynamics of Leukocyte Behaviour during Experimental Cerebral Malaria Pathogenesis', PLoS Pathogens, 10, http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1004236
    Journal articles | 2013
    El-Assaad F; Wheway J; Mitchell AJ; Lou J; Hunt NH; Combes V; Grau GER, 2013, 'Cytoadherence of plasmodium berghei-infected red blood cells to murine brain and lung microvascular endothelial cells in vitro', Infection and Immunity, 81, pp. 3984 - 3991, http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/IAI.00428-13
    Journal articles | 2012
    Faille D; El-Assaad F; Mitchell AJ; Alessi MC; Chimini G; Fusai T; Grau GE; Combes V, 2012, 'Endocytosis and intracellular processing of platelet microparticles by brain endothelial cells', Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, 16, pp. 1731 - 1738, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1582-4934.2011.01434.x
    Journal articles | 2012
    Hackett MJ; Lee J; El-Assaad F; McQuillan JA; Carter EA; Grau GE; Hunt NH; Lay PA, 2012, 'FTIR imaging of brain tissue reveals crystalline creatine deposits are an ex vivo marker of localized ischemia during murine cerebral malaria: General implications for disease neurochemistry', ACS Chemical Neuroscience, 3, pp. 1017 - 1024, http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/cn300093g
    Journal articles | 2011
    El-Assaad F; Hempel C; Combes V; Mitchell AJ; Ball HJ; Kurtzhals JAL; Hunt NH; Mathys JM; Grau GER, 2011, 'Differential microRNA expression in experimental cerebral and noncerebral malaria', Infection and Immunity, 79, pp. 2379 - 2384, http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/IAI.01136-10
    Journal articles | 2011
    Hackett MJ; McQuillan JA; El-Assaad F; Aitken JB; Levina A; Cohen DD; Siegele R; Carter EA; Grau GE; Hunt NH; Lay PA, 2011, 'Chemical alterations to murine brain tissue induced by formalin fixation: Implications for biospectroscopic imaging and mapping studies of disease pathogenesis', Analyst, 136, pp. 2941 - 2952, http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c0an00269k
    Journal articles | 2011
    Jambou R; El-Assaad F; Combes V; Grau GE, 2011, 'In vitro culture of Plasmodium berghei-ANKA maintains infectivity of mouse erythrocytes inducing cerebral malaria', Malaria Journal, 10, http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1475-2875-10-346
    Journal articles | 2010
    Combes V; El-Assaad F; Faille D; Jambou R; Hunt NH; Grau GER, 2010, 'Microvesiculation and cell interactions at the brain-endothelial interface in cerebral malaria pathogenesis', Progress in Neurobiology, 91, pp. 140 - 151, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pneurobio.2010.01.007
    Journal articles | 2009
    Faille D; El-Assaad F; Alessi MC; Fusai T; Combes V; Grau GER, 2009, 'Platelet-endothelial cell interactions in cerebral malaria: The end of a cordial understanding', Thrombosis and Haemostasis, 102, pp. 1093 - 1102, http://dx.doi.org/10.1160/TH09-05-0337
    Journal articles | 2009
    Jambou R; El-Assaad F; Combes V; Grau GE, 2009, 'Citicoline (CDP-choline): What role in the treatment of complications of infectious diseases', International Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, 41, pp. 1467 - 1470, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocel.2009.02.011
  • Conference Abstracts | 2016
    El-Assaad F; Gordon KA; Zhou S; Qi M; Beretov J; Chen G; Giannakopoulos B; Krilis S, 2016, 'Gender dimorphism in the immunomodulatory role of beta eta 2-glycoprotein I in sepsis', in EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF IMMUNOLOGY, WILEY-BLACKWELL, AUSTRALIA, Melbourne, Vol. 46, pp. 104 - 104, presented at International Congress of Immunology (ICI), AUSTRALIA, Melbourne, 21 August 2016 - 26 August 2016, https://www.webofscience.com/api/gateway?GWVersion=2&SrcApp=PARTNER_APP&SrcAuth=LinksAMR&KeyUT=WOS:000383610400207&DestLinkType=FullRecord&DestApp=ALL_WOS&UsrCustomerID=891bb5ab6ba270e68a29b250adbe88d1
    Conference Papers | 2011
    Hackett MJ; Siegele R; El-Assaad F; McQuillan JA; Aitken JB; Carter EA; Grau GE; Hunt NH; Cohen D; Lay PA, 2011, 'Investigation of the mouse cerebellum using STIM and μ-PIXE spectrometric and FTIR spectroscopic mapping and imaging', in Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms, pp. 2260 - 2263, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nimb.2011.02.034