Naama Geva-Zatorsky, Principal Investigator
Naama is combining systems-biology with microbiology and immunology to study the interactions between gut microbes and the host immune system in health and disease. She has characterized the host response to a variety of gut microbes and has applied a metabolic labeling approach to fluorescently label the anaerobic gut microbes. In addition, she is studying microbial genetic mechanisms that allow gut microbes to thrive the dynamic gut ecosystem and to co-op with bacteriophage. She is a recipient of the Alon Fellowship, the national and international UNESCO-L’Oreal award, the Human Frontiers fellowship, the EMBO fellowship, the John F. Kennedy Prize, the Teva Prize and the Barenholz prize, for academic excellence. Naama received her B.Sc. from Tel Aviv University, double-majoring in Chemistry and Biology, with summa cum laude honors. Her M.Sc. and Ph.D., are from the Weizmann Institute, studying systems-biology of protein dynamics in cancer, with Prof. Uri Alon, completed with honors. Her postdoctoral training was at Harvard Medical School, studying gut microbiota-host interactions with Prof. Dennis Kasper.
Tal Gefen, Lab Manager, PhD
Tal obtained his B.Sc. in Biotechnology from Tel-Hai Academic College. He then pursued consecutive secondary degrees, M.Sc. and Ph.D., both in Immunology from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Agriculture. He continued to a postdoctoral position at the University of Miami, faculty of medicine in Eli Gilboas’ lab where he focused on cancer immunotherapy using Aptamer technology. He chose to join Naama in her endeavors as he was fascinated by the opportunity to help establish a new lab, and hopes to contribute to the research.
Michal Brunswasser-Meirom, Post-Doctorate
Michal received her B.Sc. in Life Sciences from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and M.Sc. in Biology at the Technion. She then completed her Ph.D. studies in the field of synthetic biology where she studied bacterial enhancers, from the Technion, Faculty of Biotechnology & Food engineering. Currently, Michal is working on studying the role of bacteriophage communication with the gut bacteria, as well as their effects on the mammalian host.
Svetlana Fridman, Post-Doctorate
Svetlana received her B.Sc. in Biotechnology and Food engineering from the Technion and M.Sc. in Evolutionary and Environmental Biology from the University of Haifa. She then returned to the Technion and completed her Ph.D. in Oded Beja’s lab in collaboration with Debbie Lindell’s lab. During her Ph.D., she focused on cyanophages and their influence on cyanobacterial photosynthesis. She then continued to a one-year postdoctoral training in Oded Beja’s lab. Svetlana joined the Geva-Zatorsky lab for a second post-doctorate and is currently studying the interactions between phages and gut bacteria.
Margalit Lillie Beck, MSc Student
Margalit graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, with her B.Sc. in Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics. She then worked as a Lab Technician at UCLA in Thomas Graeber’s lab in the department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology for two years. Margalit decided to make Aliyah and join Naama’s lab to pursue an M.Sc. degree where she is studying the gut microbial spatial localization and communication with the host.
Haytham Hajjo, MD-PhD Student
Haytham is from the small village Deir Hanna located in the Galilee. He received his B.Sc. in Medical Science from the Technion faculty of Medicine, with summa cum laude honors. He is part of the MD-PhD program and is studying the mutual interaction between the brain & gut microbiomes, working in collaboration with Asya Roll’s lab.
Nadav Ben-Assa, MD-PhD Student
Nadav graduated from Tel-Aviv university with a B.Sc. in Chemistry and Biology. He then enrolled in the Medical school at the Technion. Currently Nadav is working as an MD-PhD student in Naama’s lab. When Nadav learned that Bacteriophages interact directly with the human body, he found it impolite not to interact back with them. Nadav is trying to find how the presence of certain bacteriophages affect and interact with the human immune system. Nadav believes that all bacteriophages, bacteria and eukaryotes were created equal and hopes to find a peaceful solution to the eons old conflict between them.
Elliot Berinstein, MD Student
Elliot received his B.Sc. in Genetics and Molecular Biology from Queen’s University. Afterwards, he worked with Dr. John Bell, at the University of Ottawa, characterizing oncolytic viruses and then joined Dr. Katherine Siminovitch ‘s lab, at the University of Toronto, where he investigated autoimmune disorders. He decided to join Dr. Jeffrey Medin’s lab at U of T to earn his M.Sc. where he developed a Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-Cell platform. Now, Elliot is currently studying in the TeAMS American Medical program in the Technion, while simultaneously working with the Geva-Zatorsky lab to identify and characterize the effect different bacterial metabolites have on the host immune system.
Dana Kadosh, MSc Student
Dana graduated with her B.Sc. in Biotechnology and Food Engineering at the Technion. In 2017, she participated in the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition, focusing on interactions between allergies, autoimmune diseases and the immune system using synthetic biology. Dana was passionate about the marvelous human immune system, and joined the Geva-Zatorsky lab to study the immunomodulatory microbial molecules produced by the human gut microbiota and how they interact with the immune system. When she can’t sleep, she tries counting bacterial colonies.
Noa Mandelbaum, MSc Student
Noa received her B.Sc. in Biochemical engineering from the Technion. She worked for a year as a Research and Development Assistant at Melcap, a medical device company, and is currently volunteering in “Engineers Without Borders” at the Technion. Noa joined Naama’s lab to characterize bacterial-derived immunomodulatory molecules in order to understand their mechanistic interactions that have therapeutic potential.
Shaqed Carasso, MSc Student