2024 research activities




The Department of Immunology and Regenerative Biology (IRB) currently comprises
17 research groups and a total of over 200 people. We are located on the Weizmann
campus in the Candiotty, Britannia and Wolfson buildings.

Research activities of the IRB Department span a broad spectrum of basic and clinically
relevant questions. Topics range from fundamental aspects of cancer, hematopoiesis, cell
differentiation, metabolism, inter-cellular communication, extracellular matrix remodeling and
the genetic and epigenetic changes that contribute to these processes. With a unique focus
on immune cell development and function, we study a wide range of physiological and
pathophysiological settings, including the host-pathogen interface, embryonic development,
inflammation, tissue regeneration post infection and injury, and vascular and lymph
angiogenesis. State-of-the-art approaches developed by our members include intra-vital
and whole organ 3D imaging, multiplexed ex vivo staining, conditional gene manipulation in
animal models, organoid research, advanced genomics and proteomics, and human-derived
samples and their bioinformatic analysis at the single cell level. Combining pre-clinical
mouse models and patient samples, we also develop novel therapeutic strategies for
improved immunotherapies and vaccinations.


The main projects that are currently performed in the department are:

Host-pathogen interactions - Dr. Roi Avraham

Gut tissue dynamics -Dr. Moshe Biton

Studying Tissue Macrophage Function in Health and Disease - Prof. Steffen Jung

Protein degradation by the ubiquitin/proteasome system - Prof. Ami Navon

Vascularization during pregnancy and cancer development - Prof. Michal Neeman

Leukocyte trafficking and differentiation in inflammation and cancer- Prof. Ronen Alon

ECM remodeling: from biophysical principles to drug design - Prof. Irit Sagi

Intracellular signaling cascades in health and disease - Prof. Rony Seger

Epigenetics in stem cells and cancer: developing and applying single-molecule imaging technologies to study the epigenetic code - Dr. Efrat Shema

Cellular functions of long noncoding RNAs - Dr. Igor Ulitsky

The development of the vascular system - Dr. Karina Yaniv

xxx -Prof. Tsvee Lapidot

Growth factors and their receptors in cancer - Prof. Yossi Yarden

Cellular structural biology of human amyloid proteins - Prof. Philipp Selenko

xxx Prof. Benny Geiger

Investigating functional, metabolic and architectural features of normal and malignant tissues with magnetic resonance techniques - Prof. Hadassa Degani

The meiotic cell cycle, angiogenic events associated with follicle development and embryo plantation - Prof. Nava Dekel

Investigating ovarian follicle physiology, regulation and demise in mammals with emphasis on the ovulatory response, including the control of oocyte maturation, transformation of the follicle into corpus luteum and culminating with the release of the fertilizable ovum - Prof. Alex Tsafriri

Elucidation of the mechanisms by which a synthetic tolerogenic peptide ameliorates autoimmune disease manifestations in animal models and in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and Sjogren Syndrome - Prof. Edna Moses

Recognition and Signaling by Immunoreceptors. Electron Transfer and Transport Mechanisms Through Protein Matrices - Prof. Israel Pecht

ScientistsShow details

  • Picture of Dr. Avraham Roi

    Dr. Avraham Roi

    The lab of host-pathogen genomics is interested in how individual encounters between host and pathogenic bacteria can ultimately define the outcome of infection. This is achieved by applying cross-disciplinary single-cell analysis platforms that collectively enable us to extensively profile and precisely monitor host-pathogen interactions within the context of in vivo infections.
    The work in the lab centers on salmonella infection of mouse macrophages as a tractable in vitro host-pathogen system. We use this model to develop state of the art high throughput genomic tools and interdisciplinary approaches, and then apply them to various in vivo infection models to address critical biological aspects of host-pathogen biology.
    Using comprehensive, quantitative, unbiased tools to analyse the molecular interactions that underlie distinct host-pathogen subpopulations and their impact on disease outcome.
    Using a powerful combination of cutting-edge single cell genetic and genomic approaches, we wish to address what forms the basis for successful immune clearance, from the level of individual infected cells to that of the whole organism, and why, in some cases, sterilization is incomplete?

  • Picture of Dr. Moshe Biton

    Dr. Moshe Biton

    Stem cell - Immune interactions
    Collaboration with:  Prof. Omer Yilmaz, Prof. Eduardo Villablanca, Prof. Yinon Ben-Neriah, Prof. Steffen Yung
    Epithelial stem cell biology.
    The role of epithelial MHCII in maintaining tissue homeostasis and in tissue pathologies such as IBD and cancer.
    Understanding the role of epithelial cells in shaping the landscape of mucosal adaptive immunity.
    Exploring novel cell-cell interactions in food allergies, IBD and cancer.
    T helper cells' role in maintaining tissue homeostasis.

  • Picture of Prof. Hadassa Degani

    Prof. Hadassa Degani

    1. Advancements in pancreas MRI
    Collaboration with:  Dr. Talia Golan and her team, Sheba Medical Center
    Developing a diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) protocol to characterize the normal ductal system of the pancreas
    Developing DTI and complementary methods that characterize malignant transformation in the pancreas
    2.The origin and characterization of water diffusion in tissues - at high b-values
    Collaboration with:  Dr. Edna Haran,
    developing MRI-optimized protocols and analysis means for measuring water diffusion in tissues (breast, brain etc. ) using multi-b- values spanning a broad range.

  • Picture of Prof. Nava Dekel

    Prof. Nava Dekel

    Molecular characterization of the ovulatory cascade
    Mechanisms involved in successful implantation.
    Regulation of the meiotic cell cycle: use of rodent oocytes as a model system.
    Cell-to-cell communication: regulation of expression, posttranslational modification, degradation and function of the gap junction proteins, Cx43 and Cx37.

  • Picture of Prof. Erez Ayelet

    Prof. Erez Ayelet

    Collaboration with:  Eytan Ruppin Uri Tabori Angel Progador
    Cancer Metabolic Rewiring
    Metabolic regulation of anti-cancer immune response
    Metabolic adaptations during cancer cachexia
    Metabolism in senescence
    Metabolic cross talks in the tumor miceroenvironment

  • Picture of Prof. Atan Gross

    Prof. Atan Gross

    How do changes in mitochondria function effect the initiation/progression of Parkinson's Disease?
    Establishing the role of mitochondrial carrier homolog 2 (MTCH2) in regulating the shape of mitochondria, metabolism and apoptosis
    Develop inhibitors for MTCH2 as potential therapies of obesity

  • Picture of Prof. Michal Neeman

    Prof. Michal Neeman

    MRI of angiogenesis
    Collaboration with:  Prof Nava Dekel, Weizmann Prof Lucio Frydman, Weizmann Prof Joel Garbow, Washington Univ. St Louis Prof Silvio Aime, Univ Torino Prof Simcha Yagel and Dr Ofer Behavior, Hadassah Medical Center Prof Michal Kovo, Meir Medical Center Prof Tal Raz, HUJ
    COVID-19 in pregnancy
    Placenta structure and function
    Vascular remodelling in reproduction and development
    Protocols, Reporter genes and Probes for molecular imaging

  • Picture of Prof. Irit Sagi

    Prof. Irit Sagi

    Extracellular Matrix (ECM) remodeling: from biophysical principles to drug design
    ECM remodeling by unique enzymes: investigating ECM proteolysis and cross-linking that provide chemical and mechanical stimuli regulating cellular behavior in health and disease.
    Drug Design: develop specific inhibitors to control the enzymatic activity of ECM remodeling enzymes, elucidating their function, mode of action, and therapeutic potential.
    Matrix Biology: the ECM and its remodeling enzymes in physiological and pathological conditions. Development of novel tools in the fields of systems biology, immunological tools, molecular and biochemical methods, and a wide range of imaging techniques to study ECM functional remodeling.

  • Picture of Prof. Rony Seger

    Prof. Rony Seger

    The nuclear translocation of signaling protein as a drug target for cancer and inflammation
    The nuclear translocation of ERK
    The nuclear translocation of JNK and p38
    Develop peptide inhibitors of the nuclear translocation of ERK/JNK/p38 for the cure of cancer and inflammation
    Development of small molecular weight inhibitors of the nuclear translocation of ERK for the cure of cancer
    The subcellular localisation of AKT
    The mechanisms and roles of MEK nuclear translocation
    ERK1c in the regulation of Golgi fragmentation
    The mechanisms of golgi translocation of ERK1c
    Substrates of ERK1c in the Golgi
    Mechanism of ERK1c-regulated Golgi architecture

  • Picture of Prof. Philipp Selenko

    Prof. Philipp Selenko

    Neuronal alpha-synuclein aggregation in Parkinson's disease
    Collaboration with:  Daniella Goldfarb, Hagen Hofmann, Ori Avinoam, Atan Gross, Ami Navon
    Structural Biology, Cell Biology, Neurobiology, Biophysics
    NMR, EPR, smFRET, cryoEM, CLEM, optical microscopy, correlative imaging methods, advanced mammalian cell models.
    Cellular regulation of CPEB4 liquid-liquid phase separation
    Collaboration with:  Daniella Goldfarb, Hagen Hofmann, Koby Levi
    Structural Biology, Cell Biology, Neurobiology, Biophysics
    NMR, EPR, smFRET, cryoEM, CLEM, optical microscopy, correlative imaging methods, advanced mammalian cell models.

  • Picture of Prof. Alex Tsafriri

    Prof. Alex Tsafriri

    Molecular regulation of ovulatory changes in mammals.
    Collaboration with:  Helena Ashkenazi, Shmulik Motola, Xiumei Cao, Malka Popliker, Seymour Pomerantz, Marco Conti, Stanford
    The roles of gonadotropins and EGF-like factors in triggering ovulation.
    The resumption of meiosis and its regulation.
    Ovulation as a tissue remodeling process.
    The development and demise of ovarian follicles <I>in vivo</I> and <I>in vitro</I>: the role of apoptosis.
    Collaboration with:  Atan Gross, KerenYacobi

  • Picture of Prof. Igor Ulitsky

    Prof. Igor Ulitsky

    Functions and modes of action of long RNAs
    Functions of long noncoding RNAs in establishing cell identify
    Sequence determinants RNA functions
    Genome evolution
    RNA localization within cells
    Regulation of RNA turnover
    Chromatin modifiers in neurological disease

  • Picture of Prof. Yosef Yarden

    Prof. Yosef Yarden

    Combination of kinase inhibitors and monoclonal antibodies for cancer therapy
    Collaboration with:  Julian Downward Nadege Gaborit Belinda Sanchez Raya Eilam Eli Pikarsky Luis Paz-Ares
    Molecular bases of tumor progression and roles for growth factors
    Eytan Ruppin Aaron Ciechanover Carlos Caldas Stefan Wiemann Gordon Mills Maik Dahlhoff Belinda Sanchez
    Mechanisms of resistance to anti-cancer drugs