Structural Biology

Zippora Shakked, Head
The Helena Rubinstein Professorial Chair of Structural Biology

The Department is committed to research in the major areas of structural biology and is investigating biological systems from the atomic to the cellular level of organization. The ultimate goal is to obtain a complete picture of biological structures in their complexity, with a continuity at all length scales, from Ångstroms to millimeters. The structures of biological macromolecules and their complexes are studied at the length scale of Ångstroms by X-ray diffraction from crystals, and in solution by advanced spectroscopic techniques such as nuclear magnetic resonance and EXAFS. In addition, imaging techniques that span the range between nanometers and microns, such as electron microscopy, electron tomography and atomic force microscopy, are being used to study single molecules, macromolecular assemblies and whole tissue organization.

The elucidation of structure-function relationships of key components in main biological pathways is one of the general goals of the research conducted in the Department. One such pathway is the translation of the genetic code from DNA to proteins. A highlight of recent years has been the continued progress in determination of different ribosome structures also in complex with antibiotics. These significant achievements crown the titanic efforts of tens of years of research aimed at determining the structure and mechanism of action of ribosomes. Ribosomes are large particles composed of RNA and more than 50 proteins that are the principal protein synthesis machinery of the cell. The mechanism of translation of the code into proteins is also investigated by X-ray crystallography of tRNA synthetases and their complexes. Additional research in this area includes work on helicases that unwind RNA and elucidation of the 3-D structures of DNA molecules and DNA-protein complexes. Research is also being carried out on molecular chaperones and catalysts of disulphide bridge formation that assist protein folding which is the one of the last stations in the pathway from genes to functional proteins.

Structural and dynamical aspects of enzyme and protein function and recognition constitute another focal point of activity. Examples are studies on the mechanism of acetylcholinesterase, a key enzyme in the transmission of nerve impulses, and on proteins regulating membrane-fusion and virus entry into the cell. Antibody-antigen recognition is being studied using NMR and molecular biology tools in order to unravel the structural basis and energetics of these interactions. Antibody-antigen recognition is also being studied using antibodies that interact with monolayer and crystal surfaces.

Studies on the relationships between organic and mineral components and between structure, function and mechanical properties of mineralized tissues including bone, teeth, shells and many others, are performed over the whole range of hierarchical organizations. The development of new techniques in Archeological Chemistry provides information about human life conditions and technologies in prehistoric times.

The X-ray and NMR facilities are state-of-the-art. A major upgrade was recently made in the electron microscopy facility with the addition of two high resolution transmission electron microscopes and an environmental field emission scanning electron microscope.

http://www.weizmann.ac.il/sb/

Research Staff, Visitors and Students

Professors

Lia Addadi, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
       The Dorothy and Patrick Gorman Professorial Chair
Jacob Anglister, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
       The Joseph and Ruth Owades Professorial Chair of Chemistry
Amnon Horovitz, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel
       The Carl and Dorothy Bennett Professorial Chair of Biochemistry
Zippora Shakked, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
       The Helena Rubinstein Professorial Chair of Structural Biology
Joel Sussman, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, United States (on extension of service)
       The Morton and Gladys Pickman Professorial Chair in Structural Biology
Stephen Weiner, Ph.D., California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, United States
       The Dr. Walter and Dr. Trude Borchardt Professorial Chair of Structural Biology
Ada Yonath, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
       Institute Professor
       The Martin S. and Helen Kimmel Professorial Professorial Chair of Structural Biology

Professors Emeriti

Wolfie Traub, Ph.D., University of London, London, United Kingdom
Edward Trifonov, Ph.D., Moscow Physico-Technical Institute, Russian Federation

Associate Professors

Deborah Fass, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, United States
Itay Rousso, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
       Incumbent of the Robert Edward and Roselyn Rich Manson Career Development Chair (until September 2010)
Mark Safro, Ph.D., Academy of Sciences of the USSR, Moscow, Russian Federation
       The Lee and William Abramowitz Professorial Chair of Macromolecular Biophysics
Irit Sagi, Ph.D., Georgetown University, Washington, United States
       The Maurizio Pontecorvo Professorial Chair

Senior Scientist

Koby Levy, Ph.D., Tel Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel
       Center for Complexity Science Fellowship
       Incumbent of the Lilian and George Lyttle Career Development Chair

Senior Staff Scientist

Tamar Unger, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Associate Staff Scientists

Shira Albeck, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
Anat Bashan, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
Harry Mark Greenblatt, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel
Naama Kessler, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
Moshe Peretz, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
Haim Rozenberg, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Assistant Staff Scientists

Tal Ilani, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
Ella Zimmerman, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Senior Interns

Noemi Rebollo, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara, United States
Osnat Rosen, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel (left May 2010)
Dalit Shental, Ph.D., Tel Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel
Inna Solomonov, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
Marianna Tsvitov, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

Interns

Zohar Biron-Sorek, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel (left April 2010)
Igal Finarov, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
Ester Malka Kitayner, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
Eran Noah, h.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel (left August 2010)
Netta Sela, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Consultants

Rina Arad-Yalin, Semorex, Park Rabin, Nes-Ziona, Israel
Yacov Ashani
Felix Frolow, Tel Aviv University, Ramat-Aviv, Tel-Aviv (left September 2010)
Michal Harel
Maggie Kessler, Banner Chemicals Ltd., UK
Netta Lev-Tov Chatta
Haim Lider
Tsipi Shoham, OSM-DAN Ltd., Collaborating Organisations, Rehovot, Israel
Israel Silman
Peter Stern
Oren Zimhony, Kaplan Medical Center, Rehovot, Israel

Visiting Scientists

Carla Hanter 1, Tel-Aviv University , Israel
Raul Andino, UCSF, U.S.A.
Mark Baldus, University of Utrecht, Nederland
Elisabetta Boaretto, Bar-Ilan University, Israel
Dan Cabanes, Universitat Rovira i Virgili - IPHES, Spain
Yaron Caspi, Emory University , Atlanta, GA, U.S.A.
Peta L. Clode, University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA, Australia
David Dreyfus, Yale University , New Haven, CT, U.S.A.
Hay Dvir
Adi Eliahu
Isabella Felli
Adrian Goldman, University of Helsinki, Finland
Alexander Guri, Kaplan Hospital, Rehovot, Israel
Cyril Kay, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
Lewis Kay, University of Toronto, Canada
Michael Levitt, Stanford University , U.S.A.
Oded Lewinson
David Marcey
Mario Martin, Tel-Aviv University , Israel
Eric Martz, University of Mass., Amherst, U.S.A.
Erika Merschrod, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John, Canada
Nina Moor, Russian Acad. of Sci., Novosibirsk, Russia
John Moult, University of Maryland, U.S.A.
Fred Naider, CUNY, Staten Island, Island
Dvori Namdar, Tel-Aviv University , Israel
Joseph Orgel, IBM Almaden Rese. Ctr., San Jose, CA, U.S.A.
Steven S. Plotkin, University of British Coloumbia, Vancouver, Canada
Kristin Poduska, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John, Canada
George Rose, Johns Hopkins University , Baltimore, U.S.A.
Osman Ugur Sezerman
Yael Slasky, Bar-Ilan University, Israel
Hua Tang
Ehud Weiss, Bar-Ilan University, Israel
Paul Whitford, University of California at San Diego, CA, U.S.A.
Naama Yahalom - Mack, Tel-Aviv University , Israel
Clive Yreman

Postdoctoral Fellows

Matthew James Belousoff, Monash University
Benjamin Philipp Born, Ruhr-Universitaet Bochum
Boris Brumshtein, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel
Dan Cabanes Cruelles, Universitat Rovira I Virgili
Eileen Sandra Eckmeier, University of Zurich
Igal Finarov, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel
Gabriel Frank, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel
Micha Gladnikoff, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel
Racheli Gueta, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel
Netaly Khazanov, Ph.D., Bar-Ilan University, Israel
Ester Malka Kitayner, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel
Nitzan Kol, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel
Tal Koren, Tel-Aviv University, Israel
Yosef Yehuda Kuttner, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel
Julia Mahamid, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel
Inbar Maymon-Pomeranchik, Agriculture Faculty, Israel
Eran Noah, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel
Orly Noivirt-Brik, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel
Ilona Nudelman, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel
Aviv Paz, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel
Noemi Rosa Rebollo Franco, University of California Santa Barbara
Dalit Shental, Tel-Aviv University, Israel
Michio Suzuki, The University of Tokyo
Alla Trahtenherts, Tel-Aviv University, Israel
Grzegorz Wieczorek, Institute of Biochemistry And Biophysics, Polish A
Roy Ziblat, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Research Students

Assaf Alon Maya Amit
Moshe Ben-David Avi Ben-Shimon
Shai Biran Chen Davidovich
Amir Eldar Iael Fargion
Ziv Frankenstein Dafna Geblinger
Larisa Goldenberg Michal Goldschmidt
Moran Grossman Ranit Gruber
Tzachi Hagai Motti Hakim
Nimrod Heldman Liron Hevroni
Ekaterine Kartvelishvili Liron Klipcan
Konstantin Kogan Keren Limor Waisberg
Julia Mahamid Amir Marcovitz
Inbal Mermershtain Adi Moseri
Michal Nadler-Holly Orly Noivirt-Brik
Ilona Nudelman Lior Regev
Natalie Reznikov Gili Samorodnitzky-Naveh
Einat Schnur Michal Shemesh
Miri Sokolovski Oren Tchaicheeyan
Yael Udi Dana Vuzman
Itai Wekselman Eitan Wong
Roy Ziblat

Administrator

Galit Zemel Saig