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Zahra Karimi

Position/Title: Industry Collaborator
Office: ANNU 043

I completed my Bachelors degree in "Animal Science" in 2007 at Mazandaran University in Iran. I went to Tehran University (2008-2010) as an M.Sc. student after passing an entrance exam with the rank of 11 out of more than 3,000 students. My M.Sc. thesis in Tehran was "Study of polymorphism in the complementary sex determination locus in Apis mellifera meda”.  Following that, I won the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship and joined the EMABG program in Europe for my second masters, which was a joint program at Wageningen University in the Netherlands and BOKU university in Vienna, Austria. During my first year at Wageningen, I worked on “Genetic analysis of longevity in dairy cattle using social interaction model” and in the second year at BOKU university I worked on “Patterns of Runs of Homozygosity in Bovine”. I then completed a Ph.D. under the supervision of Dr. Flavio Schenkel and advisory team members of Dr. Mehdi Sargolzaei, Dr. Mohsen Jafarikia and Dr. Andy Robinson at the University of Guelph, where I worked on the development of new methods for genomic evaluation in dairy cattle. During my Ph.D., I have developed a method to build up haplotype relationship matrix to compare the accuracy of predicting breeding values in genomic evaluation using alternate haplotype-based relationship matrices. 

Research Interests      

  • Genomics in Animal Breeding
  • Quantitative genetics

Summary of Qualifications

  • More than 5 years of extensive research in the fields of quantitative genetics and statistical genomics
  • Research-oriented with a strong theoretical  background in statistics and genetics
  • Data Analysis - Statistical Analysis Software (SAS), ASReml, “R” Software, Genome Analysis, PLINK, … both in Windows and Linux
  • Developing programs using different commands and software packages in Linux
  • 2 years of experience in a molecular genetic lab including designing primers, producing cDNA, extracting DNA and RNA from different tissues
  • Excellent blend of organizational, decision and communicational skills. Effectively collaborate with team members to meet or exceed expectations GPA 86.5 in the current courses work of my Ph.D. work



Ph.D., Animal breeding and genomics, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada, (2014-present), GPA: 86.5

  • Thesis: Using haplotype-based methods for genomic predictions in dairy cattle and swine
  • Supervisor: Prof. Flavio Schenkel
  • Selected Courses: QTL and Genetic Markers, Selection in Animal Breeding, Statistical Methods for Life Sciences and Quantitative Genetics and Animal Models


Master of Science, in animal breeding and genetics; first year: the University of Wageningen, The Netherlands (2011-2012),  second year: University of BOKU, Vienna, Austria (2012-2013)

  • Thesis 1: Genetic analysis of longevity in dairy cattle using social interaction model
  • Thesis 2: Genomic Inbreeding levels in Taurine and Zebuine cattle: Patterns of runs of homozygosity in different breeds
  • Supervisors: Dr. Piter Bijma – Dr. Johan Solkner,
  • Selected Courses:  Animal Breeding & Genetics, Genetic improvement in Livestock, Population and Quantitative Genetics, Advance Statistics, Modern Statistics for life science, Animal Molecular Genetics, Designing Breeding Program, Genetic Diversity


Master of Science, animal breeding and genetics University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran, (2008-2010)

  • Thesis: Study of polymorphism in the complementary sex determination locus in Apismelliferameda
  • Supervisor: Dr. Ardeshir Nejati
  • Selected Courses:  Advanced Animal Physiology, Advanced Biochemistry, Advance Animal Breeding, Introduction to Biotechnological Lab Method, Selection Index theory, Linear Model in Animal Breeding


Bachelor of Science, animal science, Mazandaran University, Babolsar, Iran, (2003-2007)

  • Selected Courses: Statistics for Agriculture, Principle of Genetics, Plant Breeding, Zoology, Poultry Breeding, Statistics for Research, Sheep Breeding, Goat Breeding, Lying Chicken Breeding, Applied Poultry Breeding, Animal & Poultry Diseases, Breeding of Aquatic Animals, Animal Husbandry Experimental Plan



Peer-reviewed journal articles (under preparation):

  •  Karimi,  Z., Sargolzaei, M., A. Robinson and Schenkel, F (2017),  Comparison between haplotype-based and single SNP- based methods for genomic predictions in Holstein cattle
  •  Karimi,  Z., Sargolzaei, M., A. Robinson and Schenkel, F (2017), Comparison of haplotype selection vs single SNP selection methods for improvement of genomic predictions using medium and HD genomic data in Holstein cattle


  • Poster presentations:  Karimi,  Z., Sargolzaei, M. and Schenkel, F   Comparison between haplotype-based and single SNP-based GBLUP for genomic prediction in Holstein cattle. ICQG 5, Madison, Wisconsin, USA, 2016
  • Oral PresentationJohan Solkner, Zahra Karimi, Ana M Prez, Sophie A and Boison S, Extremely Non-uniform: Patterns of Runs of Homozygosity in BovinePopulations, 10th world congress on genetics applied to livestock production, Vancouver, Canada, 2014
  • Poster presentations:  Karimi,  Z.,  Nejati Javaremi, A. and Alizadeh, H. Study of polymorphism at CSD gene in Apis Mellifera meda. Annual Meetings  of   the ADSA®-PSA-AMPA-CSAS-ASAS, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, 2011


  • DCBGC report: Z. Karimi, M. Sargolzaei, A. Robinson, and F. S. Schenkel; Comparing selection of LD-based haplotypes to selection of individual SNP genotypes for improving genomic predictions in Holstein cattle, 2016


Awards and Scholarships:

  • Erasmus Mundus Scholarship to study EMABG: AUG 2011 – JUNE 2013 
  • Canadian Dairy Cluster Scholarship for Ph.D.: JAN2014-JAN2017
  • Frank Wallace Cockshutt Scholarship: Spring 2014