Omar El-Halfawy

Canada Research Chair in Chemogenomics and Antimicrobial Research
Assistant Professor

Office: LB 262
Phone: 306-337-2214

Research interests

Antibiotic resistance; Interbacterial interaction; Microbial virulence; Antibiotic discovery

E-mail Omar El-Halfawy

Professional qualifications

BSc in Pharmaceutical Sciences (Alexandria University)
MSc in Pharmaceutical Microbiology (Alexandria University)
PhD in Microbiology and Immunology (Western University)
Postdoctoral studies (McMaster University)

Research interests

1. Uncovering novel virulence and antibiotic resistance determinants uniquely expressed under host relevant conditions.
2. Characterizing interbacterial interactions, and determining their influence on bacterial fitness and response to antibiotics.
3. Uncovering how polyamines, and other small molecules, influence bacterial physiology and modulate bacterial adaptation and survival in response to antibiotics and other stress conditions.
4. Discovery of novel antimicrobial strategies, including antivirulence agents and inhibitors of antibiotic resistance mechanisms by high throughput screening, with applications in human and veterinary medicine.


The full list of publications can be found at: 

Select publications

Farha MA, El-Halfawy OM (Co-first), Gale RT, MacNair CR, Carfrae LA, Zhang X, Jentsch NG, Magolan J, Brown ED (2020). Uncovering the hidden antibiotic potential of Cannabis. ACS Infectious Diseases. 6 (3), 338-346

El-Halfawy OM, Czarny TL, Flannagan RS, Day J, Bozelli-Jr JC, Kuiack RC, Salim A, Eckert P, Epand RM, McGavin MJ, Organ MG, Heinrichs DE, Brown ED (2020). Discovery of an antivirulence compound that reverses β-lactam resistance in MRSA. Nature Chemical Biology. 16 (2), 143-149.

El-Halfawy OM, Klett J, Ingram R, Loutet S, Murphy M, Martin-Santamaria S, Valvano MA. (2017). Antibiotic capture by bacterial lipocalins uncovers an extracellular mechanism of intrinsic antibiotic resistance. mBio. 14; 8(2).

Loutet SA, El-Halfawy OM(Co-first), Jassem AN, López JMS, Medarde AF, Speert DP, Davies JE, and Valvano MA (2015). Identification of synergists that potentiate the action of polymyxin B against Burkholderia cenocepacia. International J. of Antimicrobial Agents; 46(4):376-80.

El-Halfawy OM, and Valvano MA (2015). Antimicrobial Heteroresistance: an emerging field in need of clarity. Clinical Microbiology Reviews; 28 (1): 191-207.

El-Halfawy OM, and Valvano MA (2014). Putrescine reduces antibiotic-induced oxidative stress as a mechanism of modulation of antibiotic resistance in Burkholderia cenocepacia. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy; 58(7):4162-71.

El-Halfawy OM and Valvano MA (2013). Chemical Communication of Antibiotic Resistance by a Highly Resistant Subpopulation of Bacterial Cells. PLOS One Jul 3;8(7):e68874.