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New Faculty Members
Dr. Gad Asher began his academic career by studying mathematics at Tel Aviv University as part of its prestigious program to promote excellence, but soon switched to medicine, completing an MD degree with distinction at the University’s Sackler School of Medicine (1998). After three years as a resident internist at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, he began PhD studies in the Weizmann Institute's Department of Molecular Genetics, earning his degree in 2006. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Department of Molecular Biology at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, in 2011 and joined the Department of Biological Chemistry at the Weizmann Institute in Spring 2011. Dr. Asher’s research focuses on the body’s internal clocks. There are millions of molecular-level clocks at work in the body, in the brain and other major organs and in nearly every single cell; his studies seek to identify what happens on the molecular and cellular level as the body’s 24-hour circadian clocks regulate organs, metabolism, and behavior. The journal Cell Press called one of his recent discoveries the “missing link” between the body’s circadian clock and metabolism. Gad received the Alon Fellowship; a leading Israeli fellowship for returning scientists, granted by the Israel Council for Higher Education. In addition, he received fellowships from the Human Frontier Science Program and the European Molecular Biology Organization. In 2006, Gad received the Teva Prize for a distinguished PhD student from the Israel Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the John F. Kennedy Prize from the Feinberg Graduate School of the Weizmann Institute, and four Dean’s Awards at the Sackler School of Medicine. Dr. Asher is living in Rehovot and in his spare time he enjoys cycling, mountain climbing and swimming.
Dr. Ori Avinoam was born in Haifa, Israel. In 2006, he earned a BSc in molecular biochemistry cum laude from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, and earned his PhD in Biology there in 2012, studying the mechanism by which membrane proteins mediate cell-to-cell fusion. His studies combined model systems such as the nematode C. elegans, cultured mammalian cells and viruses to show that a family of proteins from C. elegans is evolutionarily conserved and can functionally replace a viral protein to drive virus-to-cell fusion. A postdoctoral fellowship followed at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany. At EMBL, he worked to develop the means to visualize dynamic changes in membrane architecture, so as to enhance his understanding of how proteins remodel the membrane. By combining light and electron microscopy he quantitatively described how membrane architecture evolves during clathrin mediated endocytosis in mammalian cells. Having received fellowships for academic excellence in 2008, 2009, and 2011, Dr. Avinoam received an EIPOD Interdisciplinary postdoctoral fellowship in 2012. He joined the department of Biomolecular Sciences at the Weizmann Institute of Science in January 2017. Dr. Avinoam lives in Rehovot with his partner Yuval. Beyond his research activities he is a certified masseur and yoga teacher.
Dr. Sarel Fleishman started his academic career in the Adi Lautman Interdisciplinary Program for Outstanding Students in Tel Aviv University where he studied molecular biology, chemistry, physics, history, and philosophy. He conducted his Ph.D. research as a Clore Doctoral Fellow with Prof. Nir Ben-Tal in Tel-Aviv University where he developed novel tools for predicting structure and dynamics in membrane proteins. Several of his predictions on membrane transporters, channels, and receptors, were subsequently proved experimentally, and Sarel earned the prestigious Science Magazine and GE Healthcare Award for Young Life Scientists for these studies. Following completion of his Ph.D., Sarel conducted his postdoctoral training as a Human Frontier Fellow with Prof. David Baker at the University of Washington (Seattle), where he developed the first general methodology for de novo design of protein interactions. He applied this approach to generate novel protein inhibitors of influenza hemagglutinin, which neutralize pathogenic influenza strains. Such methods could unlock the vast potential of controlling molecular interaction networks, producing novel diagnostics and therapeutics. Sarel joined the Weizmann Institute's Department of Biological Chemistry in the summer of 2011. Dr. Fleishman lives in Rehovot with his wife Dana, their three children, Ariel, Aviv, and Myron, and their dog Tuka. In his spare time he enjoys jogging, hiking, reading, classical music, and the never-changing blue sky of Israel. edit
Dr. Nir Fluman earned his B.Sc in Biology with distinction from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. His fascination with membrane proteins began when he joined the Weizmann Institute’s Department of Biomolecular Sciences for his Ph.D. His work utilized biochemistry and biophysics to decipher the molecular mechanism of transporters that expel antibiotics from bacterial cells. He then started applying bioinformatics to study membrane proteins during a postdoc at the Weizmann Institute’s Department of Molecular Genetics. He revealed that mRNA sequences of membrane proteins are adapted to assist in protein folding, by causing ribosomes to pause in strategic positions when translating membrane protein-encoding mRNAs. Nir then joined Stockholm University as a Human Frontier and EMBO postdoctoral fellow. His studies demonstrated that membrane proteins can be surprisingly dynamic in vivo, especially before they fold. He identified sequence features that allow transmembrane helices to flip across the membrane, enabling helix-flipping phenomena to be predicted from sequences of entire proteomes for the first time. His studies are aimed at illuminating the mechanisms of membrane protein folding and quality control in vivo. He is joining the department of Biomolecular Sciences in January 2021. Nir lives in Tel Aviv-Yafo and in his spare time enjoys the outdoors, hiking, social and psychology podcasts, and electronic music.
Dr. Neta Regev-Rudzki completed a BSc in Chemistry at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and an MSc in Biochemistry at the Hebrew University Medical School. She earned a PhD in Microbiology and Cell Biology at the Hebrew University Medical School. During a postdoctoral fellowship at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI) in Melbourne, Australia she became interested in parasitology and her research focused on the cellular biology of the malaria parasite. She was the first to discover that malaria parasites communicate in a population and transfer genes between them using vesicles (exosomes). Her study opened a new area of the most lethal human pathogens research. She joined the faculty of the Department of Biological Chemistry at the Weizmann Institute in September 2014. Her academic and professional honors include: a National Health and Medical Research Council Australia Early Career Post Doctorate Fellowship, the Rothschild Post-Doctoral Fellowship and a Prize from the Israel Society for Microbiology for an outstanding PhD thesis. She was one of the top young scientists invited to the 57th Meeting of Nobel Laureates at Lindau, Germany. Dr. Regev-Rudzki earned the prestigious national prize of Israeli Knesset for Outstanding Students. She was honored with distinction as an outstanding teaching instructor at the Medical Faculty of the Hebrew University and Hebrew University Rector's BSc Prize. Dr. Regev-Rudzki lives in Modiin and has three children.
Dr. Ruth Scherz-Shouval started her academic career at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, as a BSc student in the “Etgar” program for excellent students in Life Sciences. She then moved to the Weizmann Institute, where she conducted her Ph.D. research under the supervision of Zevi Elazar. Ruthie worked on the autophagic pathway, and revealed a novel mechanism for redox regulation of autophagy. This fundamental work has since been followed up by numerous labs. Realizing the major role that cellular stress responses play in shaping pathology, Ruthie decided to explore in her postdoctoral studies the role of these pathways in cancer. Following a short postdoctoral training as a Clore Fellow in Moshe Oren’s lab at the Weizmann Institute, Ruthie joined Susan Lindquist’s lab at the Whitehead Institute, MIT, as a Human Frontier Fellow, supported also by the Weizmann Institute’s “Woman in Science” postdoctoral award and the Fulbright postdoctoral award. In her postdoctoral work, Ruthie explored the role of the heat-shock stress response in cancer, and found that heat-shock factor 1 (HSF1), the transcriptional master regulator of this pathway, acts as a potent enabler of malignancy by reprogramming normal cells in the tumor microenvironment. Ruthie joined the Weizmann Institute's Department of Biological Chemistry in the summer of 2015. Her research focuses on the tumor microenvironment, and specifically understanding the mechanisms by which normal cells are transcriptionally reprogrammed by cancer cells to become pro-tumorigenic. Ruthie lives in Rehovot with her husband Dror, their three children, Gili, Tamar, and Amit. In her spare time she enjoys hiking with the family, swimming, reading and cooking.