American University of Beirut

Issmat Kassem spearheads antimicrobial resistance research and its implications on beach pollution in Lebanon during the pandemic

​​​FAFS’ Dr. Issmat Kassem’s study on the occurrence of colistin resistant E. coli in seawater is one of less than a handful worldwide. This is the first study that reports the detection of transmissible resistance to colistin in multidrug resistant bacterial strains in the Mediterranean Sea. This study is also the first to perform whole genome sequencing (WGS) on isolates from the Lebanese coast. This analysis identified the occurrence of antimicrobial resistance genetic elements that were reported in colistin resistant sea isolates for the first time worldwide. The study was also the first to report on the survival and fitness of colistin resistant E. coli in sea water. The isolates were genetically linked to humans, food, and animals. Dr. Kassem collaborated with Dr. Hadi Jaffar (Agri) on the study, while Mrs. Tsolaire Sourenian (MS Food Safety Candidate) was involved in the research.

  • MTV interview: here
  • OTV Interview: here
  • Annahar Interview: here
  • Al- Akhbar Interview: here
Watch a timelapse of the water pollution here​

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