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Winners of the Innovative Award

We are pleased to announce the winners of the 6th round of Azrieli Systems Biology Innovative student Award series. 
The 2020 theme is Adaptation: from physiology to genetics and evolution.

Winners are:

  • Adaptation through regulation-an in-vivo evolution approach
    Vijay Jayaraman (Tawfik Lab) & Felix Jonas (Barkai Lab)
  • Can we harness the natural adaptation to fight Alzheimer's disease?
    Aleksandra Deczkowska (Amit lab) & Idan Milo (Leeat Keren lab)
  • Evolutionary dynamics in the premature infant microbiome
    Smadar Shilo, Ayya Keshet (Segal lab) & Ilana Livyatan (Straussman lab)
  • Histone Exchange Mechanisms of Epigenetic Regulation
    Marko Dunjic (Stelzer lab) & Felix Jonas (Barkai lab) & Gilad Yaakov (Barkai lab)
  • Liver adaptation to urban environment and impact on drug metabolism capability in wild brown rats
    Rita Manco (Itzkovitz lab) & Stefano Suzzi (Schwartz lab)
  • Specificity of host shut-off mechanisms mediated by SARS-CoV-2 proteins
    Avi Gluck (Stern-Ginossar lab), Yoav Lubelsky & Binyamin Zuckerman (Ulitsky lab)
  • Deciphering the role of codon usage- tRNA adaptation during viral infection
    Yaara Finkel (Stern-Ginossar lab) & Noa Hefetz (Pilpel lab)
  • Elucidating the role of prophages in the lifestyle switch of marine bacteria during interaction with an algal host
    Noa Barak (Vardi lab) & Tanita Wein (Sorek Lab)
  • High resolution method for measuring transcription factors co-binding
    Sagie Brodsky (Barkai lab) & Offir Lupo (Barkai lab) & Maya Ron (Ulitsky lab)
  • How does proteasomal-mediated degradation adapt to amino acids starvation?
    Daoud Sheban (Merbl lab) & Dvir Schirman (Pilpel lab)
  • How RBPs achieve target specificity and drive an adaptive cellular response?
    Inbal Zigdon (Barkai lab) & Sagie Brodsky (Barkai lab) & Micha Goldrich (Ulitsky lab)
  • Hypoxia – the survival of the fittest?
    Ruthie Golomb (Pilpel lab) & Bjort Kragesteen (Amit lab) & Fadi Sheban (Amit lab)
  • Is ignoring starvation cues a key adaptation for autotrophic growth?
    Eliya Milshtein (Milo lab) & Anat Bren (Alon lab)

Award information

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Physicists working on cancer

During the past decade, several theoretical physicists have become interested in cancer research. As is the case when physicists ‘invade’ a field, the pursued research goals cover a broad spectrum of topics and approaches. These include applying physics-based techniques and mathematical methods to physics problems that have possible relevance for cancer biology; modeling various processes that take part in the initiation, progression, and metastasis of tumors; studying the effects of and response to chemotherapy and immunotherapy; and developing methods for analysis of high-throughput data and their application to cancer.

The main topics discussed at this July 2018 workshop, that took place on July 1-12, 2018 at the Schwartz/Reisman Institute for Theoretical Physics (SRitp), and was supported by the Azrieli Institute, were: tumor initiation and primary growth; cellular and somatic aspects of metastasis; efficacy versus resistance in chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy; and, -omic studies of high-throughput data.

This workshop brought together over 20 senior physicists from around the world who are working on cancer, as well as students and postdoctoral fellows, to share their views, sharpen research questions relevant to this community, and to learn from one another as well as from numerous ‘guest’ biologists. Participants and speakers came from the United Kingdom, Italy, the United States, Germany, France, Singapore, and from research institutions throughout Israel.

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Conference: Synthetic Biology Applications for a Livable Future

With an increasing demand for innovative medical products, sustainable production of a variety of compounds, and alternative sources of energy, synthetic biology emerges at an exceptional time of need. Our ability to engineer biological systems holds great promise in tackling these challenges, resulting in unique solutions based on groundbreaking work from genetic and biomedical engineering, computer science, and systems biology. 

The conference, entitled "Synthetic Biology Applications for a Livable Future" (March 18, 2018) featured the latest synthetic biology advancements, powerful technologies, and recent applications to make the world a better place. Both Israeli and international speakers from academia and industry delivered talks throughout the day.

To the conference progam 

To the photo gallery

Conference: Next Gen Immunology

"Next Gen Immunology," an international Cell symposium, took place at the Weizmann Institute of Science from February 11-14, 2018. The meeting, focusing on single-cell genomics, systems biology, immunology, the microbiome, and metabolism, featured many of the world’s leading scientists, clinicians, and industry leaders.

Next Gen Immunology homepage    

EMBO Workshop: Optimization and Trade-offs in Cell Growth and Survival

An EMBO Workshop, "Optimization and Trade-offs in Cell Growth and Survival," took place from February 25-27 at the Weizmann Institute of Science.

The meetings discussed recent discoveries of genetic and non-genetic mechanisms used by cells, and microorganisms in particular, to optimize their growth and survival.

Workshop full program

Photo gallery

Systems Biology retreat

The 2018 System Biology retreat took place on January 15-16, in Ein Gedi.
Participants presented their work, got involved in scientific sessions, and got inspired by the desert's calm and unique environment.  


19th Israeli Bioinformatics Symposium

The 19th Israeli Bionformatics Symposium (IBS 2017) brought together faculty members and students from Israel's academic institutions, along with researchers from industry, who are focusing on developing or employing computational techniques in a variety of areas—including genomics, structural biology, systems biology, and other disciplines.

Symposium's program


Innovative students awards series

The Innovative Students Awards Series, sponsored by the Azrieli Institute for Systems Biology, is designed to encourage cross-lab, student-led research initiatives.

On November 7, 2016, students, postdoctoral fellows, lab managers, and PIs from the various systems biology research groups on campus gathered to present new and innovative ideas for research projects. Following the presentations, fifteen proposals were chosen through a direct vote by PIs from the systems biology community. The winning labs received grants - ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 USD - to cover each project’s research costs.

The winning students and projects were:


  • Uri Weill (Prof. Maya Schuldiner), Dan Davidi (Prof. Ron Milo)
    Topic: A global characterization of the effect of tags on protein structure and function
  • Christoph Thaiss (Dr. Eran Elinav), Dr. Diego Jaitin (Prof. Ido Amit)
    Topic: A new perspective on fat
  • Leora Schein-Lubomirsky (Prof. Joel Stavans), Dr. Rinat Goren (Prof. Joel Stavans)
    Topic: Anabaena – Developmental Pattern Formation
  • Sivan Kaminski (Prof. Tzachi Pilpel), Lian Narunsky Haziza (Dr. Ravid Straussman)
    Topic: Can evolution in heterogeneous populations lead to co-dependency within the population?
  • Yael Korem (Prof. Uri Alon), Dr. Shlomit Reich-Zeliger (Prof. Nir Friedman)
    Topic: Division of labor strategies in T-cell differentiation
  • Dr. Roni Rak (Prof. Tzachi Pilpel), Dr. Arie Ryvkin (Prof. Nir Friedman)
    Topic: Do codon usage and translation efficiency affect T-cell selection?
  • Dr. Gilad Yaakov (Prof. Naama Barkai), Moshe Kafri (Prof. Naama Barkai), Eyal Metzl-Raz (Prof. Naama Barkai), Amir Goldberg (Prof. Ido Amit)
    Topic: Dynamic kin analysis by cell lineages
  • Nofar Mor-Sefer (Dr. Jacob Hanna), Yoach Rais (Dr. Jacob Hanna), Elad Chomsky (Prof. Amos Tanay)
    Topic: High-throughput sequencing based approach for understanding protein complexes
  • Miri Adler (Prof. Uri Alon), Rom Shenhav (Prof. Shalev Itzkovitz), Efi Massasa (Prof. Shalev Itzkovitz), Dr. Avi Mayo (Prof. Uri Alon)
    Topic: Inferring spatial sources of variability in mammalian tissues from Pareto fronts
  • Raz Bar-Ziv (Prof. Naama Barkai), Dr. Yifat Cohen (Dr. Noam Stern-Ginossar), Orel Mizrahi (Dr. Noam Stern-Ginossar)
    Topic: LOT-Seq: A novel method for studying spatial transcriptomics
  • Dr. Arnau Sebé-Pedrós (Prof. Amos Tanay), David Lara-Astiaso (Dr. Ido Amit)
    Topic: Probing the evolution of genome regulation by aptamer-based chromatin profiling
  • Michal Chapal (Prof. Naama Barkai), Yulia Gordon (Prof. Naama Barkai)
    Topic: Reconstruction of Cell Linage of Asymmetric Division
  • Yoach Rais (Dr. Jacob Hanna), Daoud Sheban (Dr. Yifat Merbl)
    Topic: Revealing the post-translational modification landscape of chromatin-bound regulatory proteins
  • Uri Weill (Prof. Maya Schuldiner), Dr. Ifat Buchman Lev (Dr. Schraga Schwartz), Dr. Modi Safra (Dr. Schraga Schwartz), David Wiener (Dr. Schraga Schwartz)
    Topic: Uncovering the role of N6-methyladenosine in meiosis using novel genome-wide Tet-off libraries to measure RNA decay
  • Dr. Aldema Sas-Chen (Dr. Schraga Schwartz), Dr. Ronit Nir (Dr. Schraga Schwartz), Ilya Vainberg Slutskin (Prof. Eran Segal)
    Topic: Who modified my RNA? New insight into the tale of snoRNA-guided RNA modifications
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Do the cells know their gender?

Osteoclasts, or OCLs, are specialized cells that break down bone tissue—a function critical to skeletal maintenance and repair.  Because women are more likely than men to suffer from reduced bone mass—a hallmark of osteoporosis—it has long been believed that an excess of OCL activity is triggered by female sex hormones.

Recently, however, Prof. Elson and his team demonstrated that bone degradation is mediated by an enzyme called tyrosine phosphatase Epsilon (PTPe). Using a PTPe-deficient mouse model, the researchers observed reduced OCL activity, as well as a corresponding increase in bone mass, but only in female mice. 

Moreover, when the cells were removed from the body and studied in vitro, OCLs from male mice functioned normally while OCLs from females did not, indicating that such cells have a “memory” of the sex of the organism from which they were isolated.

The team is currently creating a catalogue of all the genes expressed in male vs. female OCLs, with the goal of identifying molecular factors that may cause these genes to be expressed in a sex-specific manner. Prof. Elson’s studies—which may yield medically significant data for future clinical strategies for the treatment of bone-related disease--made use of a high-throughput technology called RNAseq, available at the Nancy and Stephen Grand Israel National Center for Personalized Medicine (G-INCPM) at the Weizmann Institute.

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Genome evolution conference

The Azrieli Institute for Systems Biology hosted on November 1-3, 2016 the Genome Evolution Conference.
This event aimed to convey the latest news in genome evolution by bringing together leaders, students, and postdocs from around the world. The conference covered diverse sub-disciplines ranging from experimental evolution and theoretical and computational evolutionary dynamics, to molecular evolution, cancer evolution and more.

This conference was exceptional in that, unlike other high-end scientific conferences, it allowed PhD students and postdocs from the Weizmann Institute to lead the discussions. Throughout the three days of the conference, each session was chaired by a Weizmann PhD or postdoc working in one of the labs dealing with evolution research – thus providing them with an opportunity to perfect their knowledge and expertise. 

Conference Homepage

Systems Biology PIs meeting series

As part of the efforts to establish a thriving community of scientists working in the field of systems biology, Principle Investigators at the Weizman Institute have established a tradition of regular meetings, creating a productive forum for sharing new insights, and raising community-related issues.

Two2many: A systems view of biology

On March 11-12, 2015 The Azrieli Institute for Systems Biology hosted a student-led symposium titled "Two2many: A Systems View of Biology". This event has attracted many students and renowned scientists to the Weizmann Institute campus, where they had a chance to meet and be exposed to novel ideas and insights in the vastly diverse field of systems biology. A team of inspiring speakers covered topics such as bacterial evolution, synthetic biology, plant development, and immunology. Participants also had a chance to present their own research in a special poster session and a series of short talks, and to discuss common interests in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.

Invited speakers included notable researchers from Australia, the Netherlands, the UK, and the United States. The schedule for this conference included scientific talks by guest lecturers, each followed by a five minute talk by a Weizmann Institute student. 

Conference Homepage