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Akebe Luther King Abia

Associate professor, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Akebe Luther King Abia (King) is a Professor of Applied and Environmental Microbiologist at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He is also the Founder and CEO of the Environmental Research Foundation (ERF). His research focuses on, but is not limited to, antimicrobial resistance in the environment and how this relates to humans and animals through the One Health approach, using culture and molecular techniques, including metagenomics and whole-genome sequencing. He has over 20 years of experience as a microbiologist and is involved in many projects including monitoring water and soil for human pathogens, especially antibiotic-resistant ones, under changing climates. He has published over 80 journal articles, 6 book chapters and 3 book. He has also graduated 7 PhD, 10 MSc students.

In the past 5 years, I have worked as a microbiologist in many projects in South Africa and Egypt, some of which include: monitoring water quality (rivers, rainwater, boreholes) and soil for human pathogenic bacteria; investigating dynamics of microbial pathogens in riverbed sediments and how this relates to climate change and human health; testing new nanomaterials as alternative water and wastewater treatment tools; understanding the role of human cemeteries on microbial quality of groundwater; molecular epidemiology of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria in humans and animals; and monitoring and development of guidelines for rainwater harvesting as an alternative water source for human consumption.

My goal is to contribute to the improvement of the environment, especially in Africa, through research, for present and future generations. I am also open to collaborations for works in this line as I believe that only through collaboration, can we have a global solution to the world’s environmental challenges.


  • –present
    Research Scientist, University of KwaZulu-Natal