Dr. Ismail graduated from School of Medicine, Tanta University, Tanta, Egypt in 1988. After 1 year of rotational internship at Tanta University Hospital, Egypt, she joined the Department of Medical Microbiology, Turku University, Turku, Finland in 1990, where she started her research training in the area of infectious diseases and molecular microbiology. In Finland, she worked on the pathogenesis of gastroenteritis caused by Gram negative Yersinia entercolitica. She started her Master degree studies in 1993 at the University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, studying the role of HLA-B27 in the pathogenesis of reactive arthritis following gastrointestinal infection with Yersinia enterocolitica, under supervision of renowned rheumatologist Robert Inman which she completed successfully in 1995 . In 1996, she started her PhD degree studies at the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada, analyzing the immune mechanisms that are responsible for induction of Th1 and Th2 responses during infection under supervision of renowned immunologist, Dr. Peter Bretscher. After obtaining her PhD degree in 2000, she started a CPEP-accredited clinical microbiology fellowship at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), Galveston, Texas which was successfully completed in 2002. From 2003-2005, she joined the Laboratory of David Walker, Chair of Pathology at UTMB and national and international renowned rickettsiologist, where she started her research program focused on the understanding of immunity and pathogenesis of tick-borne rickettsial diseases. Dr. Ismail held various faculty positions at University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas, Meharry Medical College, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh. She also served as an Assistant and then an Associate Director of the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory at UTMB and U. Pittsburgh Medical Centers. Dr. Ismail has been recruited to University of Illinois/Chicago (UIC) as Professor of Pathology and Director of Clinical Microbiology laboratory.

Dr. Ismail is a clinician-investigator. Her research program focuses on areas that are relevant to human diseases accompanying infection and inflammation. Specifically, her research team examines the innate and adaptive immunity and the role of NOD-like receptors (NLR) and autophagy in inflammation and sepsis caused by tick borne bacterial pathogens (e.g., Ehrlichia, Rickettsia). Dr. Ismail was among the first to define the contribution of NLRP3 inflammasome, NK cells, NKT cells, and CD8 T cells to the development of liver injury during Ehrlichia-induced sepsis (publications in Journal of Immunology, Nature, Infection and Immunity, American Journal of Pathology to name a few). Recently, her lab characterized the role of MYD88 and type I interferon (IFN-I) in host responses to intracellular tick-borne bacterial infection. Importantly, her group has found that Ehrlichia induces activation of mTORC1 [mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1], to evade the immune system and cause systemic inflammatory responses (publication in Plos Pathogens). Her lab is currently analyzing the role of cell-specific HMGB1 (as downstream product of inflammasome activation) in the pathogenesis of liver damage during infection. Ismail’s Lab utilize several infection models, flow cytometry, primary cell isolation, and examine innate signaling pathways involved in microbial recognition.

Research Programs
Clinical Microbiology Diagnostics Host-Microbial Interaction, Liver Diseases, Cancer-infection comorbidities.

Clinical and Research Interests:

Clinical Interests
Antimicrobial Resistance
Utilization of next generation sequence in clinical microbiology diagnostics
Molecular diagnosis of sexual transmitted diseases (e.g., chlamydia, Gonorrhea, HIV)

Research Interests
Pathogenesis of tick-borne rickettsial disease
Regulation of autophagy and mitophagy
Type I interferon response and innate immune signaling pathways during infections
Inflammasome activation, inflammation, and liver injury
Role of skin and gut microbiomes on human health and diseases (e.g. cancer and infections) Immunopathogenesis of Uterine fibroids