The Department of Biochemistry has ten core labs investigating a diverse range of biological topics. The original Nobel Prize winning experiments on ubiquitin and protein degradation were performed in Professor Avram Hershko’s lab in the department. Research on ubiquitin mediated protein degradation is still a major research focus in the department, including cell cycle regulation, cell toxin responses, and Parkinson Disease development. Other topics of research in the department include: the unique role of D-amino acids as neurotransmmitters, regulation of Nitric Oxide signaling and protein modification in cancer and normal cells, membrane transporter protein biochemistry and antibiotic development in bacteria, regulation of protein translation/ribosome function during cell stress, regulation of cardiovascular disease development in diabetes, cholesterol biochemistry in cardiovascular disease, molecular regulation of muscle development and regeneration in vertebrates, and the signaling pathway/transcription factor interactions regulating embryonic vertebrate nervous system development.
Department Chair, Avram Hershko (Distinguished Technion Professor, Laureate, the 2004 Nobel prize in Chemistry)
The Department of Cell Biology and Cancer Science aims to advance knowledge in fundamental biological questions that are highly relevant for cancer. We strongly believe that understanding the processes underlying normal development and their miss-regulation in cancer is the basis for identifying molecular targets for early detection, intervention, and cure. Therefore, our multidisciplinary department is the home for diverse groups that study different aspects of human cancer biology. We are interested in having a broad view and multiple levels such as the cancer cell, the microenvironment, cancer stem cells, immune cells and the interactions between them. We study how tumors, a complex heterogeneous entity grows and spread. We apply various tools including biochemistry, cell-biology, Drosophila genetic and cancer genomics, cancer mouse models, advanced models of angiogenesis and metastasis, and cancer patient-derived specimens. We welcome everyone to join our efforts to defeat this disease.
Department Chair, Ami Aronheim
Aaron Ciechanover (Distinguished Technion Professor, Laureate, the 2004 Nobel prize in Chemistry)
The Department of Genetics and Developmental Biology investigates the roles of genes in regulating a wide range of biological phenomenon. Some labs in the department study how genes control complex processes such as embryonic development, organ formation, and stem cell differentiation. Others focus on the role of genes in the dynamics and evolution of populations, from bacteria to humans. A major emphasis throughout the department is how misregulation of genes leads to human disease, and research findings from the department have found application in understanding kidney disease, AIDS, retinal degeneration, Alzheimer’s disease, Muscular Dystrophy, and antibiotic resistance of pathogenic microorganisms.
The immune system is one of the major life-sustaining systems in advanced organisms, employing dozens if not hundreds of distinct cell types and molecules to orchestrate layers of defense mechanisms. Its basic function is distinguishing self from foe while selectively attacking invading microbes and keeping the integrity of the body safe. It is also the primary system to identify cancer cells as foe and its ability to attack them plays a pivotal role in maintaining our healthy state. Laboratories at the Department of Immunology investigate this system, aiming at better understanding its function in health and disease. This includes exploring the role of immunity in distinguishing self from foe, and the mechanisms by which the immune system mistakenly attack self-components. Mechanisms by which antibody producing B cells mature and function; the signaling events in leukocyte function; the interplay between the immune system and the central nervous system, and exploring systems biology (immunology) towards developing advancing genomic medicine. In addition to the Core faculty, located at the Rappaport Building, affiliated clinicians located at three medical centers, operate in a close collaboration with the laboratories at the Rappaport Building.
Department Chair, Nathan Karin
The Department of Molecular Microbiology offers interactive, multidisciplinary research and has a strong record of applying novel basic research findings to the treatment of human disease. Research topics in the department include exciting areas such as antiviral defense mechanisms and viral proteins, parasitic protozoans, pathogenic yeasts, mRNA lifecycle and more. Our research expands the knowledge and understanding of infectious diseases, informing treatment and prevention strategies.
Department Chair, Daniel Kornitzer
The Department of Neuroscience encompasses a variety of research labs who share a common interest in understanding the normal physiology of the brain as well as the pathophysiological basis of brain disorders. Researchers at the department cover the full range of scientific levels from perception to molecular biology and from learning to synaptic transmission, providing an exciting environment for scientific collaborations and students interactions. One of our main goals is to enhance the scientific work of the group collectively. To achieve this we promote development of core infrastructure, scientific collaborations between the department members and activities to graduate students in the department such as seminars and meetings.
Department Chair, Jackie Schiller
The Department of Physiology, Biophysics and Systems Biology is a home for research groups that focus on the function of living systems in general, and human body systems—in health and disease—in particular. The range of research activities within the department is wide, extending from single protein dynamics to whole body flows and forces, analyzed over sub-millisecond to many days and weeks. Standing at the basis of all these research activities is the insistence on studying processes rather than objects, taking the integrative-interactive point of view at multiple scales and levels of organization, rather than the point of view of the individual component at any given scale. Hence the set of applied concepts and tools: ranging from cellular and sub-cellular biology to whole organism behavior, and from biophysics to engineering. At the age of microscopic-molecular-genetic dominance we view our mission—actively protect and promote the integrative nature of physiology—no less than critical. Congruent with this, the department encourages its graduate students to acquire a broad view of structure and dynamics of the human body by taking infrastructural biophysics and physiology courses.
Department Chair, Binah Ofer
Avital Avraham (Avi)