Positions

Position Duration and Dates Description
Master's Rotation 1st,2nd,3rd Rotations Size matters, especially in neurons. Differentiated cells in higher eukaryotes exhibit a wide variety of shapes and sizes, while maintaining defined size ranges within cell subtypes. How do they do that? Genome expression must be matched to different cell sizes, with rapidly growing cells likely requiring higher transcriptional and translational output than cells in slow growth or maintenance phase. Neurons exhibit the greatest size differences of any class of cells, with process lengths ranging from a few microns in central interneurons to a meter in human peripheral neurons, and even longer in larger mammals. We are working on mechanisms of cell length and size sensing in neurons and other large cells, and how these mechanisms control growth and regeneration. People can integrate to a range of projects within this theme. For general information on our research please see the group home page at http://www.weizmann.ac.il/Biomolecular_Sciences/Fainzilber/ . Please note that research in our group requires work in animal models (mice, rats).
Master's Rotation 1st,2nd,3rd Rotations Nerve axons are extremely long in cellular terms, extending many orders of magnitude longer than the diameters of their parent cell bodies. How then is the cell body informed of an injury in distant portions of the axon? We are working on the molecular mechanisms of long distance communication within neurons, and their implications for neuronal growth and regeneration. People can integrate to a range of projects within this theme. For an overview of our research topics please visit the group home page at http://www.weizmann.ac.il/Biomolecular_Sciences/Fainzilber/ . Also please note that research in our group requires work in animal models (mice, rats).
PhD
Start: Nov 1, 2020
Duration: 5 years

Type I interferons (IFNs) are proteins produced and secreted in all higher vertebrates as a result of viral and bacterial attacks. Secreted IFNs bind cell surface receptors initiating a cascade of signals that activate cellular protection machineries against pathogens. In addition, specific immune cells are activated to establish long-term defense of the organism. These properties have been successfully exploited for IFNs to serve as a drug for a variety of complex diseases including viral infections, cancer and multiple sclerosis. Despite the proven success of IFN therapies, their use is currently limited because of their severe side effects. Better understanding of the fundamental principles that determine how IFNs induce their responses in a multicellular context will enable to optimize their use. To this end, we will take advantage of polarized epithelial cell layers and spheroids that mimic the intestine tissue. We will generate genetically engineered cell lines to incorporate a range of fluorescence reporters that monitor IFN signaling at the level of receptor engagement, effector activation and feedback regulation. In collaboration with a German partner we will apply these reporters for volumetric imaging of IFN signaling in the multicellular context using highly advanced microscopy techniques that resolve signaling at the single cell level with utmost spatial and temporal resolution. This highly defined and controlled approach will allow us to unravel the rules of IFN signal activation in tissues upon systemic and local stimulation by IFNs and viruses. Next to a fundamental understanding of signal integration in tissues, this work will also have potential medical implications for improving therapeutic application of IFNs.

post
Start: Nov 1, 2020
Duration: 5 years

Type I interferons (IFNs) are proteins produced and secreted in all higher vertebrates as a result of viral and bacterial attacks. Secreted IFNs bind cell surface receptors initiating a cascade of signals that activate cellular protection machineries against pathogens. In addition, specific immune cells are activated to establish long-term defense of the organism. These properties have been successfully exploited for IFNs to serve as a drug for a variety of complex diseases including viral infections, cancer and multiple sclerosis. Despite the proven success of IFN therapies, their use is currently limited because of their severe side effects. Better understanding of the fundamental principles that determine how IFNs induce their responses in a multicellular context will enable to optimize their use. To this end, we will take advantage of polarized epithelial cell layers and spheroids that mimic the intestine tissue. We will generate genetically engineered cell lines to incorporate a range of fluorescence reporters that monitor IFN signaling at the level of receptor engagement, effector activation and feedback regulation. In collaboration with a German partner we will apply these reporters for volumetric imaging of IFN signaling in the multicellular context using highly advanced microscopy techniques that resolve signaling at the single cell level with utmost spatial and temporal resolution. This highly defined and controlled approach will allow us to unravel the rules of IFN signal activation in tissues upon systemic and local stimulation by IFNs and viruses. Next to a fundamental understanding of signal integration in tissues, this work will also have potential medical implications for improving therapeutic application of IFNs.

Master's Rotation 2nd, 3rd Rotations Investigating protein-protein interactions and interferon actions
Master's Rotation 2nd, 3rd Rotations Molecular Biology, protein biophysics and bioinformatics