Faculty of Biochemistry

 

Dean: Zvi Livneh
The Maxwell Ellis Professorial Chair of Biomedical Research

The faculty is comprised of three scientific departments, including Biological Chemistry, Molecular Genetics and Plant Sciences, as well as the Biological Services. A number of Research Centers operate within the different departments: Plant Sciences -- The Charles W. and Tillie K. Lubin Center for Plant Biotechnology; The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Center for Plant Molecular Genetics Research; The Mel Dobrin Center for Nutrition. Molecular Genetics -- The Leo and Julia Forchheimer Center for Molecular Genetics; The Crown Human Genome Center; The M.D. Moross Institute for Cancer Research; The Kekst Family Institute for Medical Genetics and the David & Fela Shapell Family Centre for Genetic Disorders Research. In addition, the Y. Leon Benoziyo Institute for Molecular Medicine is operating under the auspices of the Faculty.

Modern research in Life Sciences involves a broad range of disciplines and approaches in which a problem or system can be addressed: from the single molecule to the whole organism. Similarly, it is now possible to examine a gene or protein in the context of its immediate pathway, or as part of a broader, "systems level" analysis. These different approaches are represented in the Faculty of Biochemistry.

The department of Biological Chemistry, which is the largest scientific department at the Weizmann Institute, focuses on the structure and function of proteins. It addresses topics ranging from the structure and association between proteins, including analysis of large complexes such as the proteosome, to their trafficking and targeting to different cellular compartments. Accelerated evolution of proteins in the test tube allows the generation of new properties and novel insights into forces that shape evolution of proteins. Groups within the department also focus on DNA repair, gene expression in a variety of systems including embryonic stem cells, and mechanisms of neuronal migration and injury repair.

The department of Molecular Genetics focuses on the analysis of biological processes in whole organisms. The projects include analysis of neuronal functions and bone development in mice, examination of the roles of micro-RNAs during embryonic and post-embryonic development, and stem cell research including the molecular and cellular rules of reprogramming. In Drosophila, processes of spermatogenesis, muscle fusion and attachment, and signaling during development are studied. Extensive work on yeast includes localization of transcripts, as well as systems analysis and microscopy-based screens for genome wide properties. Processes of cell death and cytokine signaling are also addressed. Genomic approaches are utilized to study processes such as olfaction.

The department of Plant Sciences examines a broad range of topics, from biophysical aspects of photosynthesis, to issues of recombination, innate immunity, leaf morphogenesis and application of metabolomic approaches, in combination with plant genetics. A new direction pursued by the department is environment and ecology, including the exploration of design principles in energy and carbon metabolism, and sensing environmental stresses and cellular responses in marine algae. In order to maintain the cutting edge and vibrant scientific research in the Faculty, we are constantly searching to recruit talented young scientists (see Academic Research Positions), and continue to invest in the establishment of new facilities and the acquisition of new equipment.

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