Microbial Genomics

Rotem Sorek Prof. Rotem Sorek
Incumbent of the Rowland and Sylvia Schaefer Career Development Chair

Office: Meyer Building, Room 210A
Department of Molecular Genetics
Weizmann Institute of Science
Rehovot 76100, Israel
Tel: +972-8-934-6342
Fax: +972-8-934-4108
E-mail: rotem.sorek@weizmann.ac.il


Our lab of microbial genomics and systems biology focuses on two main research directions:

The interactions between bacteria and the viruses that infect them (phages). We study how phages attack bacteria, and how bacteria defend themselves against such attacks. We are intersted in deciphering the molecular mechanisms providing bacteria with protection against phages, collectively known as the "immune system" of bacteria. Specifically, we study the CRISPR-Cas system, which is the adaptive immunity system of microbes, as well as new anti-phage defense systems discovered in our lab. We also discovered that phages can use small-molecule communication in order to coordinate their infection dynamics - our lab studies the molecular mechanisms allowing such communication.

RNA-mediated regulation in microbes. We study the complex transcriptomes of bacteria, and how non-coding RNAs regulate key processes in the prokaryotic cell. We discovered how non-coding RNAs control antibiotics-resistance in human pathogens and in bacteria that belong to the human microbiome. We are also developing new technologies for accurate measurements of RNA in microbes, leading to multi-layered, single-base resolution expression maps of microbes and microbiomes.

Our research combines computational genomics techniques, systems biology, metagenomics, high-throughput sequencing technologies, and modern experimental approaches in microbiology and phage biology.

Current research directions in the lab include: