Department of Molecular Genetics

Forchheimer Center

The Leo and Julia Forchheimer Center for Molecular Genetics open in a new window

Naama Barkai, Director, The Oscar and Emma Getz Chair.


The Leo and Julia Forchheimer Center for Molecular Genetics supports a range of research activities at the Weizmann Institute of Science, and the Department of Molecular Genetics, with the aim of facilitating groundbreaking research in the field of molecular genetics. This report includes a spotlight on the work of Dr. Ilana Kolodkin-Gal, a young scientist from the Department of Molecular Genetics who received was supported by the Leo and Julia Forchheimer Center this year. The annual operating budget for 2012-2013 is also included in this report.

The Department of Molecular Genetics

The Department of Molecular Genetics aims at uncovering the molecular and genetic mechanisms that underlie basic biological processes in complex organisms, such as human, mouse, and Drosophila, at the level of single-cell organisms and cells in culture.

A wide range of biological questions and hypotheses are addressed in the fields of development, cell biology, and human/mouse genetics, including the structure, expression, stability, and function of proteins. In addition, studies in the fields of bioinformatics and computational biology provide powerful genome-wide approaches to modeling biological processes and their evolution.

In concert with the Department of Molecular Genetics, the Forchheimer Center provides support for the purchase of state-of-the-art tools, equipment and materials for the department, as well as for maintenance of existing equipment. The Center also assists in supporting staff members and new promising scientists who have recently joined the department.

The Forchheimer Center Plasmid Collection

The Forchheimer Center is home to the Forchheimer Center Plasmid Collection, the Weizmann Instituteג€™s central plasmid and bacterial collection.

A plasmid is an extra chromosomal DNA molecule separate from the chromosomal DNA, which is capable of replicating independently from the chromosomal DNA. Plasmids serve as important tools in genetics and biotechnology labs, where they are commonly used to multiply or express particular genes. The Forchheimer collection has over 600 plasmids, including a large set of basic vectors (plasmids used for genetic engineering), fluorescent vectors, retroviral and lentiviral (associated with chronic diseases) vectors, and various reporter vectors suitable for use in a range of organisms including bacteria and yeast.

All Weizmann Institute researchers can obtain vectors and bacterial cells from the through an online order form. The increasing interest in the vectors and cells of the Forchheimer Center Plasmid Collection and the continuous increase in the stocked plasmids have proven to be very useful for the Weizmann scientific community.