©2018 by Barel Weiner


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Prof. Uri Gophna


I am an evolutionary microbiologist, focused on horizontal gene transfer in archaea and bacteria, and mechanisms that restrict it. I am fascinated with how mobile elements end up shaping the evolutionary fate of microbial lineages, and although inherently selfish, sometimes contribute greatly to adaptive processes within ecosystems. 

Rachel Schreiber


In the recent past, I have characterized virulence factors of E. coli that cause bloodstream infections, and reconstructed their likely source. Nowadays I study the growth phenotypes of recombinant hybrids in archaea that have chimeric genomes - part H. mediterranei/part H. volcanii, under different conditions, to better understand risks and benefits of HGT . I  also teach undergrad and graduate students the basic molecular biology techniques, take care of lab safety, and manage the lab accounts.

Israela Turgeman-Grott


CRISPR-Cas systems provide acquired heritable immunity to bacteria and archaea against invasion by selfish DNA elements. I observed that many halophilic archaea have spacers that target chromosomal replication genes, implying a potential role for CRISPR-Cas in interspecies antagonism and genetic conflicts in archaea. Currently, I am finding out how such spacers are acquired, and their affects on lateral gene transfer in these organisms

Yarden Shalev


Mating by fusion in halophilic archaea has been known for over 25 years but the mechanisms behind it are completely unknown. I am investigating a number of potential mechanisms that enable fusion. In terms of the first step in mating, cellular recognition, I am studying how different S-layer proteins and different patterns of surface glycosylation affect cell-cell  recognition and mating efficiency in Haloferax species.

Leah Reshef, PhD


When I first entered the field after a thesis in classical microbiology, Uri promised me I would never get bored. Five years later. that still holds true. I direct and advise all microbiome analysis going on in the lab, which can span a broad spectrum from oysters to humans. As the entire field is moving forward at breakneck pace, this sometimes feels like trying to solve a jigsaw puzzle while riding a roller-coaster, but, it's an exhilarating ride all the way.

Omer Lavy


My research aims to deepen the knowledge about the role that the microbiota of the desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria) plays in different locust phases (solitary/ gregarious) and in phase-switching. We are also interested in estimating to what degree are bacteria vertically transmitted in locusts and the extent of their metabolic contributions to young and adult individuals.

Moran Meir


I study the RNA bacteriophage MS2 and try to turn it into a system to study evolutionary fitness landscapes. On the way to engineering this phage, I have discovered new details of the molecular biology of its interactions with the E. coli host. 

Yael Yair


I study the fascinating field of small RNAs in extra-intestinal pathogenic E. coli (ExPEC).  sRNAs were shown to  play an important role in regulating virulence associated genes in human pathogens- I focus on ExPEC, which are the leading cause to urinary tract infections, and can cause to life-threatening infections, including sepsis. I aim to identify and study sRNAs participating in the serum response of ExPEC. 

Uri Neri


I explore the prokaryotic virosphere in two venues:

1. Sampling extreme environments (such as the Dead Sea) and attempting to identify new and exciting viruses and their respected hosts.

2. Utilizing computational methods and publicly available multi-”OMICS” data, in order to expand the known viral gene repertoire.

Vadim (Dani) Dubinsky


My current research focuses on shotgun metagenomic analysis of the gut microbiome of
patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). By using advanced bioinformatic and
statistical methods I analyze large metagenomic and clinical datasets and employ machine
learning for microbial biomarkers detection and patients’ stratification. I focus on the detection
of antibiotic-resistant bacteria through computational methods and on comparative genomics
of commensal species such as Escherichia coli. The outcomes of this research will shed more
light on IBD pathogenesis and mechanisms of antibiotic resistance and hopefully will
be translated to clinical benefit.

Yahala Roterman


I am fascinated by every aspect of nature and especially the oceans and their inhabitants. Driven by dedication to conservation biology, I am studying invasive marine oysters in the Mediterranean Sea, which greatly affect the marine environment. I am studying several aspects of the oyster's ecology, its distribution and abundance pattern and in particular its associated microbiota. We suggest a potential contribution of symbiotic bacteria to the host which may help explain the oyster's successful invasion.

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