- Ph.D. Biology, University of Tunis El Manar — Pasteur Institute of Tunis (2017)
- M.Sc. Microbiology, University of Tunis El Manar — Pasteur Institute of Tunis (2011)
- B.Sc. Life Sciences — Biotechnology, University of Tunis El Manar (2008)
After earning her PhD degree, Dr. Yacoub conducted two postoctoral fellowships. The first was supported by the Doctoral School of the University of Tunis El Manar (2019) and the second by the MobiDoc PromESSE program managed by the National Agency for Promotions of Scientific Research (2020-2021).
Dr. Yacoub was also involved in two international projects in 2018-2019. Dr. Yacoub joined the University of Saskatchewan as a postdoctoral fellow in September 2021.
During her academic and research career, Dr. Yacoub has specialized in the study of mycoplasmas. She has worked with different human and avian mycoplasma species. Her main areas of interest have been related to the development and improvement of serodiagnostic techniques for mycoplasma infections, functional genetics, and comparative genomics. She also worked on the oncogenic potential and role of mycoplasmas in cancer development.
At the University of Saskatchewan, her research focuses on bovine respiratory disease pathogens, namely Mycoplasma bovis.
Diagnosis of mycoplasma infections
Through cloning and experssion of specific recombinant proteins, Dr. Yacoub contributed in the development and improvement of the routinely-used diagnostic techniques, in the Mycoplasma's Laboratory at Institut Pasteur of Tunis, for human and avian mycoplasma infections.
Genomics in service of the exploration of host specificity and virulence traits in mycoplasmas
Dr. Yacoub has a particular interest in delineating the molecular determinants governing mycoplasmas tropism and virulence via WGS and comparative genomics.
Mycoplasmas usually exhibit strict host and tissue specificity. However, many human and avian mycoplasmas are isolated from hosts or tissues different from their natural environment. For instance, Mycoplasma meleagridis is usually reported as a specific pathogen of turkeys. Nevertheless, its isolation from chickens with clinical signs has broken the barrier of its host specificity. Also, many mycoplasma species like Mycoplasma gallinarum have been considered non-pathogenic. Nevertheless, in certain situations and in association with other pathogens, some strains may be harmful. These exceptions prompted a genome wide comparative analysis in an attempt to better elucidate the genetic factors determining the pathogenicity and virulence level of mycoplasmas as well as the extent of their host spectrum. To attend these purposes, a genome sequencing project, in collaboration with Molligen team (Bordeaux, France) followed by functional and comparative genomics analysis was carried out.
Dr. Yacoub has a particular interest in the potential oncogenic role of mycoplasmas leading to an investigation of the involvement of urogenital mycoplasmas in the establishment of prostate cancer. From of panel of several urogenital mycoplasma species, Ureaplasma spp. were shown to be significantly associated with prostate cancer. This finding supports the potential involvement of Mollicutes in oncogenesis.
Role of bovine respiratory disease (BRD) pathogens (including Mycoplasma bovis) in cattle
Dr. Yacoub is currently engaged in establishing a bovine in vitro system to investigate the host-pathogen interactions between M. bovis and several bovine cell lines. Dr. Yacoub is also involved in a study investigating the resistome dynamics in space and time of BRD pathogens isolated from environmental samples (watering troughs in cattle farms).
Yacoub E, Abdul-WahabOMS, Al-Shyarba MH,3 and Ben Abdelmoumen Mardassi B. The Relationship between Mycoplasmas and Cancer: Is It Fact or Fiction ? Narrative Review and Update on the Situation. Journal of Oncology. Volume 2021 Article ID 9986550. https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/9986550.
Abdul-Wahab OMS, Al-Shyarba MH, Ben Abdelmoumen Mardassi B, Sassi N, Al Fayi MSS, Otifi H, Al Murea AH, Mlik B, Yacoub E. Molecular detection of urogenital mollicutes in patients with invasive malignant prostate tumor. infectious Agents and Cancer. 16(1)p. 6, 2021.
Yacoub E, Ben Abdelmoumen Mardassi B. Mm19, a Mycoplasma meleagridis major surface nuclease that is related to the RE_AlwI superfamily of endonucleases. PLos One. 11(3), Article ID e0152171, 2016.
Yacoub E, Sirand-Pugnet P, Barré A, Blanchard A, Hubert C, Maurier F, Bouilhol E, Ben Abdelmoumen Mardassi B. Genome sequences of two Tunisian field strains of avian mycoplasmas, Mycoplasma meleagridis and Mycoplasma gallinarum. Genome Announc. 2016; Jun 16;4(3):e00558-16. doi: 10.1128/genomeA.00558-16.
Yacoub E, Sirand-Pugnet P, Barré A, Blanchard A, Ben Abdelmoumen Mardassi B. Genome Sequence of Mycoplasma meleagridis Type Strain 17529. Genome Announc. 2015; May 21;3(3):e00484-15. doi: 10.1128/genomeA.00484-15.