2023 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
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?
Stem cell - Immune interactionsCollaboration with: Prof. Omer Yilmaz, Prof. Eduardo Villablanca, Prof. Yinon Ben-Neriah, Prof. Steffen YungEpithelial 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.
1. Advancements in pancreas MRICollaboration with: Dr. Talia Golan and her team, Sheba Medical CenterDeveloping a diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) protocol to characterize the normal ductal system of the pancreasDeveloping DTI and complementary methods that characterize malignant transformation in the pancreas2.The origin and characterization of water diffusion in tissues - at high b-valuesCollaboration 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.
Molecular characterization of the ovulatory cascadeMechanisms 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.
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 apoptosisDevelop inhibitors for MTCH2 as potential therapies of obesity
MRI of angiogenesisCollaboration 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, HUJCOVID-19 in pregnancyPlacenta structure and functionVascular remodelling in reproduction and developmentProtocols, Reporter genes and Probes for molecular imaging
Extracellular Matrix (ECM) remodeling: from biophysical principles to drug designECM 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.
The nuclear translocation of signaling protein as a drug target for cancer and inflammationThe nuclear translocation of ERKThe nuclear translocation of JNK and p38Develop peptide inhibitors of the nuclear translocation of ERK/JNK/p38 for the cure of cancer and inflammationDevelopment of small molecular weight inhibitors of the nuclear translocation of ERK for the cure of cancerThe subcellular localisation of AKTThe mechanisms and roles of MEK nuclear translocationERK1c in the regulation of Golgi fragmentationThe mechanisms of golgi translocation of ERK1cSubstrates of ERK1c in the GolgiMechanism of ERK1c-regulated Golgi architecture
Neuronal alpha-synuclein aggregation in Parkinson's diseaseCollaboration with: Daniella Goldfarb, Hagen Hofmann, Ori Avinoam, Atan Gross, Ami NavonStructural Biology, Cell Biology, Neurobiology, BiophysicsNMR, EPR, smFRET, cryoEM, CLEM, optical microscopy, correlative imaging methods, advanced mammalian cell models.Cellular regulation of CPEB4 liquid-liquid phase separationCollaboration with: Daniella Goldfarb, Hagen Hofmann, Koby LeviStructural Biology, Cell Biology, Neurobiology, BiophysicsNMR, EPR, smFRET, cryoEM, CLEM, optical microscopy, correlative imaging methods, advanced mammalian cell models.
Molecular regulation of ovulatory changes in mammals.Collaboration with: Helena Ashkenazi, Shmulik Motola, Xiumei Cao, Malka Popliker, Seymour Pomerantz, Marco Conti, StanfordThe 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
Combination of kinase inhibitors and monoclonal antibodies for cancer therapyCollaboration with: Julian Downward Nadege Gaborit Belinda Sanchez Raya Eilam Eli Pikarsky Luis Paz-AresMolecular bases of tumor progression and roles for growth factorsEytan Ruppin Aaron Ciechanover Carlos Caldas Stefan Wiemann Gordon Mills Maik Dahlhoff Belinda SanchezMechanisms of resistance to anti-cancer drugs