Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science are harnessing the power of microbial diversity to develop new drugs, understand trends in global ecology, study the surprising roles of microbes in chemotherapy-resistant cancer, provide solutions to malaria, and address the global food crisis.

While microbes often face a negative reputation among humans, a new discipline in the microbiology field views them as an asset that can solve many challenges we are currently facing.

The Knell Family Center for Microbiology supports Weizmann scientists as they uncover the basic biological tools necessary toward improving human health and environmental sustainability.


Prof. Rotem Sorek harnesses the power of computational genomics to reveal the biological properties of non-lab microorganisms through the study of their DNA. His lab is interested in deciphering the molecular mechanisms providing bacteria with protection against the viruses that infect them (phages), collectively known as the "immune system" of bacteria. Specifically, he studies the CRISPR-Cas system, which is the adaptive immunity system of microbes, as well as new anti-viral defense systems discovered in his lab. He and his team discovered that viruses can use small-molecule communication in order to coordinate their infection dynamics – their lab studies the molecular mechanisms allowing such communication.

Prof. Sorek has co-invented over 40 patents and patent applications in molecular biology and microbiology, some of which were licensed to the biotechnology industry to support the development of new antimicrobial drugs.