Samia Elfekih

Samia Elfekih, Honorary Research Fellow


Samia conducted her PhD jointly between the University of Tunis El Manar and the University of Hawaii at Manoa in the US, sponsored by a Fulbright fellowship. She then moved to Imperial College London in the UK to do a postdoc funded by the Unesco-L’Oréal for women in science international fellowship before moving to Australia where she hold her current position with the Australian government. Dr Elfekih’s main research interests are focused on using population genomics and bioinformatics to address potential issues related to food security and global human health. She is particularly interested in the genomics of invasive insect pests and the possible effects of climate change on their distribution and invasion pathways. She is also interested in using biocontrol strategies for the management of vector-borne diseases (dengue fever, malaria) in regions where these diseases are underreported. Dr Elfekih is currently leading several international collaboration projects with various institutions such as the University of Cambridge, Imperial College London in the UK and the University of Oregon in the US. Dr Elfekih’s work was sponsored by highly-prestigious awards and fellowships such as Fulbright and EMBO, the Unesco-L’Oréal program and more recently the Royal Society UK exchange grant. Her work has been featured in the media including ELLE magazine in France, the Independent Newspaper in the UK, AL-Ahram daily in Egypt and Leaders Magazine in Tunisia.


  • Arias, MB, Elfekih, S. & A.P., Vogler (2018) Population genetics and migration pathways of the Mediterranean fruit fly Ceratitis capitata inferred with coalescent methods. PeerJ
  • Elfekih, S., Etter, P., Tay, W. T., Fumagalli, M., Gordon, K., Johnson, E., & De Barro, P. (2018). Genome-wide analyses of the Bemisia tabaci species complex reveal contrasting patterns of admixture and complex demographic histories. PloS one13(1), e0190555.
  • Elfekih, S., Tay, W. T., Gordon, K., Court, L., & De Barro, P. (2017). Standardized molecular diagnostic tool for the identification of cryptic species within the Bemisia tabaciPest Management Science.
  • Pearce, S. L., Clarke, D. F., East, P. D., Elfekih, S., Gordon, K. H. J., Jermiin, L. S., … & Rane, R. V. (2017). Genomic innovations, transcriptional plasticity and gene loss underlying the evolution and divergence of two highly polyphagous and invasive Helicoverpa pest species. BMC biology15(1), 69.
  • Tay, W. T., Elfekih, S., Gordon, K. H., Delatte, H., & De Barro, P. J. (2017). The trouble with MEAM2: Implications of pseudogenes on species delimitation in the globally invasive Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) cryptic species complex. Genome Biology and Evolution.
  • Elfekih, S., Chen, C. Y., Hsu, J. C., Belcaid, M., & Haymer, D. (2016). Identification and preliminary characterization of chemosensory perception-associated proteins in the melon fly Bactrocera cucurbitae using RNA-seq. Scientific reports6.

Awards, grants and fellowships

2018           Royal Society UK mobility grant (co-applicant) (12,000.00 GBP)

2017-2018      EMBO Fellowship [7,000.00 Euros]

2013-2016      OCE postdoctoral fellowship (CSIRO) [294,942.000 AUD]

2011-2013      UNESCO-L’Oréal International Fellowship for women in science [40K$]

2015              Biochemical Society UK grant [350.00 £]

2015              Genetic Society UK training grant [1,000.00 £]

2013              Fulbright Alumni Development Grant [(2,360.63 $]

2012              Korner fellowship (University of Sussex, UK) [400£]

2011              UCLA travel grant, USA [3,300.00USD]

2011              Royal Entomological Society travel grant [500 £]

2007-2008      Fulbright fellowship

Invited talks, Seminars

  • “Genome-ˇwide SNPs decipher global invasion pathways in the whitefly Bemisia tabaci species complex”. Essig Museum of Entomology (UC Berkeley). Jan 15th, 2016.
  • Evolutionary genomics of Bemisia tabaci and characterization of its endosymbiont metacommunities using nextRAD sequencing. International Plant and Animal Genome Asia (July 12-ˇ15th, 2015), Singapore.
  • “Evolutionary genomics of Bemisia tabaci using nextRAD sequencing”. Division of
    Evolution, Ecology & Genetics, Australian National University (ANU). Oct 8th, 2015.