Assistant Professor

Ph.D. in Microbiology, University of Queensland, Australia
M. Sc. in Life science, Queensland University of Technology, Australia
B.Sc. in Medical Sciences, Al ahlyia Amman University, Jordan



  • 2022-current: Assistant Professor of Biology, Zayed University, Dubai, UAE

  • 2018-2022: Assistant Professor of Microbiology, Middle East University, Amman, Jordan

  • 2017-2018: Assistant Professor of Microbiology, American University of Madaba, Jordan

  • 2012-2016: Research Scientist, CBRC, King Abdullah University of Science & Technology, KSA

  • 2010-2011: Postdoctoral Fellow, Computational Bioscience Research Center, King Abdullah University of Science & Technology, KSA

  • 2009-2010: Postdoctoral Fellow, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, China

  • 2008-2009: Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Queensland, Australia

  • 2005-2006: Research Officer, University of Queensland, Australia


Dubai Academic City, C-L1-042


+971-4-402 1827

Teaching Areas

Microbiology, Bioinformatics, and Immunology

Research and Professional Activities

My research interest are focused on studying microbial interactions with biological systems such as plants and the effect they exert on such systems from a holobionts prospective. To a large degree, these interactions are selected through an evolutionary process to provide the host with the necessary elements for their survival. We intend to harness the abilities of isolated microbes for the production of bio-control agents, plant growth promotion, bioremediation and discovery of new bioactive compounds.

Google Scholar Profile


  1. Othoum, G., S. Bougouffa, R. Razali, A. Bokhari, S. Alamoudi, A. Antunes, X. Gao, R. Hoehndorf, S. T. Arold, T. Gojobori, H. Hirt, I. Mijakovic, V. B. Bajic, Lafi FF and M. Essack (2018). "In silico exploration of Red Sea Bacillus genomes for natural product biosynthetic gene clusters." BMC Genomics 19(1): 382.

  2. Bokhari A., Essack M, Lafi FF, Andrés-Barrao C., Jalal R, Al-Amoudi S, Razali R, Alzubaidy H, Shah KH,Siddique S, Bajic VB, Hirt H, and MM Saad (2019). "Bioprospecting desert plant Bacillus endophytic strains for their potential to enhance plant stress tolerance." Sci Rep. 2019 Dec 9;1:13

  3. Andrés-Barrao C., Lafi FF, I. Alam, A. de Zélicourt, A. A. Eida, A. Bokhari, H. Alzubaidy, V. B. Bajic, H. Hirt and M. M. Saad. "Complete Genome Sequence Analysis of Enterobacter sp. SA187, a Plant Multi-Stress Tolerance Promoting Endophytic Bacterium." 2017, Frontiers in Microbiology 8(2023).

  4. Al-Amoudi S, Razali R, Essack M, Amini MS, Bougouffa S, Archer JA, Lafi FF, Bajic VB. Metagenomics as a preliminary screen for antimicrobial bioprospecting. Gene. 2016 Dec 15;594(2):248-258.

  5. Al-Amoudi S, Essack M, Simões MF, Bougouffa S, Soloviev I, Archer JA, Lafi FF, Bajic VB. Bioprospecting Red Sea Coastal Ecosystems for Culturable Microorganisms and Their Antimicrobial Potential. Mar Drugs. 2016 Sep 10;14(9). pii: E165.

  6. Alzubaidy H, Essack M, Malas TB, Bokhari A, Motwalli O, Kamanu FK, Jamhor SA, Mokhtar NA, Antunes A, Simões MF, Alam I, Bougouffa S, Lafi FF, Bajic VB, Archer JA. Rhizosphere microbiome metagenomics of gray mangroves (Avicennia marina) in the Red Sea. Gene. 2016 Feb 1;576(2 Pt 1):626-36.

  7. Ryu T, Seridi L, Moitinho-Silva L, Oates M, Liew YJ, Mavromatis C, Wang X, Haywood A, Lafi FF, Kupresanin M, Sougrat R, Alzahrani MA, Giles E, Ghosheh Y, Schunter C, Baumgarten S, Berumen ML, Gao X, Aranda M, Foret S, Gough J, Voolstra CR, Hentschel U, Ravasi T. Hologenome analysis of two marine sponges with different microbiomes. BMC Genomics. 2016 Feb 29;17:158.

  8. Lee OO, Wang Y, Tian R, Zhang W, Shek CS, Bougouffa S, Al-Suwailem A, Batang ZB, Xu W, Wang GC, Zhang X, Lafi FF, Bajic VB, Qian PY. In situ environment rather than substrate type dictates microbial community structure of biofilms in a cold seep system. Sci Rep. 2014 Jan 8;4:3587.

  9. Abdallah RZ, Adel M, Ouf A, Sayed A, Ghazy MA, Alam I, Essack M, Lafi FF, Bajic VB, El-Dorry H, Siam R. Aerobic methanotrophic communities at the Red Sea brine-seawater interface. Front Microbiol. 2014 Sep 23;5:487.

  10. Gao ZM, Wang Y, Lee OO, Tian RM, Wong YH, Bougouffa S, Batang Z, Al-Suwailem A, Lafi FF, Bajic VB, Qian PY. Pyrosequencing reveals the microbial communities in the Red Sea sponge Carteriospongia foliascens and their impressive shifts in abnormal tissues. Microb Ecol. 2014 Oct;68(3):621-32.

  11. Arellano SM, Lee OO, Lafi FF, Yang J, Wang Y, Young CM, Qian PY. Deep sequencing of Myxilla (Ectyomyxilla) methanophila, an epibiotic sponge on cold-seep tubeworms, reveals methylotrophic, thiotrophic, and putative hydrocarbon-degrading microbial associations. Microb Ecol. 2013 Feb;65(2):450-61.

  12. Lee OO, Wang Y, Yang J, Lafi FF, Al-Suwailem A, Qian PY. Pyrosequencing reveals highly diverse and species-specific microbial communities in sponges from the Red Sea. ISME J. 2011 Apr;5(4):650-64. Qian PY, Wang Y, Lee OO, Lau SC, Yang J, Lafi FF, Al-Suwailem A, Wong TY. Vertical stratification of microbial communities in the Red Sea revealed by 16S rDNA pyrosequencing. ISME J. 2011 Mar;5(3):507-18.

  13. Lafi FF, Fuerst JA, Fieseler L, Engels C, Goh WW, Hentschel U. Widespread distribution of poribacteria in demospongiae. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2009 Sep;75(17):5695-9.

  14. Lafi FF, Garson MJ, Fuerst JA. Culturable bacterial symbionts isolated from two distinct sponge species (Pseudoceratina clavata and Rhabdastrella globostellata) from the Great Barrier Reef display similar phylogenetic diversity. Microb Ecol. 2005 Aug;50(2):213-20.