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Meet our team


Uri Gophna

Principal Investigator

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. 

Postdoctoral Research Associate


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


Leah Reshef

Postdoctoral Research Associate

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.

Doron Naki

Ph.D Student

I am studying viruses and CRISPR in archaea and how they interact.

Deepak Choudhary

Ph.D. Student

My thesis work is focused on addressing the functions of CRISPR-Cas system beyond defense mechanism, which includes the role of CRISPR-Cas in gene exchange across different species and its impact on microbial speciation, primarily in halophilic archaea.

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Neta Altman

Postdoctoral Research Associate

I am using a wide array of genetic approaches to study the roles of CRISPR-Cas and homologous recombination in the evolution of halophilic archaea.

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Shira Ernfeld

MSc. student

My work is about the immunogenic reactions of human epithelial cells to fungal isolates from patients with inflammatory bowel disease.

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Sharon Navok

Ph.D student

In my research, I study host-phage interactions within pathogenic strains of E. coli. The main objective of my research is to investigate the defense mechanisms employed by them against phages, with a specific emphasis on the CBASS system.

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Yuval Gedulter

Ph.D student

My research centers on mobile genetic elements, specifically mobile integrons, in different strains of E. coli. As part of this work, the dissemination possibilities of genes for antibiotic resistance and other resistances are examined. In addition, the regulation of expression of these genes, within the integron system, will be studied.

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Stav Weinrib

MSc. student

I am studying the interactions between Haloarchea and their viruses.

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Lee Cohen

Research assistant

I am conducting a bioinformatic study dealing with the characterization of heterozygous mutations in haloarchaea. Additionally, my research involves efforts to induce infection and a defense response in halophilic archaea using viruses.

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Tzach Shamay

MSc. student

My research examines the relationship between the microbiome and inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). More specifically, I examine the relationship and impact of E. coli on the nature of the disease. The main tool I use is isolation and enrichment of E. coli from fecal samples and their complete genome sequencing (chromosome and plasmids). To verify/test different aspects of the bacteria I use classical molecular tools and common microbial techniques.

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Liat Bilinsky

Ph.D student

My research investigates the gut microbiome in patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), employing metagenomics and computational tools. Specifically, I study individuals who underwent colectomy and pouch reconstruction due to severe colitis, aiming to understand the causes and mechanisms behind pouch inflammation and treatments.

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