Lab members

Oren Levy  (Ph.D)

Oren Levy (Ph.D)

Principal Investigator LMME

oren.levy@biu.ac.il

Noa Simon-Blecher (Ph.D)

Noa Simon-Blecher (Ph.D)

Lab manager

blechn@gmail.com

Dalit Meron (Ph.D)

Dalit Meron (Ph.D)

I am generally interested in the holobiont concept and symbiotic relationships. In particular, the effect of environmental change on marine invertebrates (mostly cnidaria) and their symbiotic microorganisms including bacteria, symbiodinium and others. In order to understand the role of the microbial communities on the host, under environmental change, my research includes characterizing the changes in bacterial communities and function, host physiology and gene expression. During my MSc I researched the symbiotic relationship between the sea anemone and anemonefish in the Red Sea (behavior, growth, survival, ammonium uptake and tissue regeneration). My PhD was focused on the effect of ocean acidification in the coral/sea anemone microbial community. The work was conducted under lab condition and in a natural pH gradient in Ischia (Italy). During my postdoc I have worked in the Mediterranean Sea, examining the response of vermetid reefs to ocean acidification and surveyed Oculina patagonica along the Mediterranean coast.  Currently, I’m observing the role of the bacterial community and symbiodinium of Euphyllia coral under temperature stress. In addition, I am comparing the circadian clock in the cnidarian Nematostella vectensis between lab and field conditions. During my free time I enjoy diving, hiking and sports. 

dalitmeron@gmail.com

Michal Sorek  (Ph.D)

Michal Sorek (Ph.D)

My main research is related to biological clocks and symbiosis in relation to cnidarians. I usually use molecular tools combined with behavioural and physiology to characterise the interactions and dependency of the host and the symbiont biological clocks.  

sorekm@gmail.com

Yisrael Schnytzer  (Ph.D)

Yisrael Schnytzer (Ph.D)

I am broadly interested in animal behaviour, the underlying driving molecular mechanisms and their evolutionary context. The majority of my work has revolved around the tidal zone. During my MSc I studied the little known association between boxer crabs and the anemones they hold in their claws. This was a "classic" behavioural study, focused on host location, feeding habits and general natural history. Then during my PhD I focused on trying to understand tidal rhythmicity, using a limpet species as the model organism. I integrated both behavioural work in the field and lab, in conjuncture with a large transcriptomic project aimed at identifying potential tidal clock genes. Beside that I am fond of photography and cooking.

newsroolchy@gmail.com

Keren Maor-Landaw

Keren Maor-Landaw

I am generally interested in how corals respond to climate change and which cellular processes are involved during environmental stress. My MSc at Haifa University focused on the apoptotic enzyme Caspase 3 in a Mediterranean coral following an ocean acidification scenario, and its correlation to a unique ecophenotye. My PhD has been focused on gene expression in corals, aiming to shed some light into the molecular mechanisms of different coral species responses to environmental stress. I have been comparing corals possessing different morphologies and corals from different ecosystems – sub tropical to temperate corals.  During my free time I enjoy wall climbing.

keren.maor@live.com

Yaeli Rosenberg

Yaeli Rosenberg

I am mainly interested in coral reproduction, the core molecular mechanisms driving the synchronized spawning and the effect of light pollution.  My MSc focused on revealing the molecular pathway and signaling cascade resulting in the yearly spawning of the coral Acropora digitifera. During my PhD I will concentrate on the effect of light pollution on coral reproduction with an emphasis on timing and synchronization. In my study I will compare between corals species from different geographical regions including Eilat and Okinawa using transcriptome analysis. During my free time I like being outdoors. 

yaelirose@gmail.com

Mieka Rinsky

Mieka Rinsky

I am mostly interested in understanding the role of core clock genes in the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis in an evolutionary point of view. My MSc focused on characterizing rhythmic genes that are part of the core clock mechanism in the sea anemone. After identifying several core components I attempted gene knockout using the CRISPR method to test the behavioral affect. Currently I am concentrating on creating stable knockout transgenic lines of Nematostella mutants for future studies. Out of work I enjoy quality family time and sleeping.

miekari9@gmail.com

Eviatar Weitzmann

Eviatar Weitzmann

My field of interest is the genomic basis of the circadian clock in cnidarians, using the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis as a model organism. In my work I use CRISPR to create knock-out animals lacking different clock genes and try to characterize there effect on the animals behaviour. In addition, I am trying to characterize the epigenetic landscape affecting the anemone clock. As well, I am studying various behavioural and genetic properties of the coral Euphyllia paradivisa and the sea anemone Actinia equina with regard to chronobiology. In my free time I like to hike.

eviatar.weizman@gmail.com

Orly Perry

Orly Perry

(Joint supervision with Maoz Fine)

My scientific interest is the symbiosis between Spirobranchus spp. (marine worms) and its coral host.  Spirobranchus sp. commonly known as Christmas tree worms is colourful sessile polychaetes inhabiting a wide range of microhabitats in coral reefs around the world. My research was done in Eilat were I collected data about the abundance and distribution of Spirobranchus worms. In Holland I learned Polychaeta taxonomy and examined the relationship between the phylogeny of Spirobranchus spp. and their morphotypes, determined by the opercular morphology. Additionally, I tested for correlation between habitat selection and both phylogenetic and morphological characteristics. Other than my research I work in pottery and stained glass.

orlyperry1@gmail.com

Past members

Sarit Lampert-Karako – Post doc – Research assistant (currently lab manager at BIU)

Eli Shemesh – PhD student – Circadian clocks in stony corals (currently lab manager at Haifa U).

Eldad Gutner-Hoch – PhD student – Periodicity and rhythm in the Scleractinian coral calcification mechanism (currently post-doc at IUI)

Modi Roopin – PhD student – Characterization of Melatonin in model Anthozoan and cultured Symbiodinium occurrence, and potential roles  (Post doc at Weizmann Institute)

Marina Polak – MSc student – Seasonal differences in bleaching of the coral Stylophora pistillata due to thermal stress (co-supervised with Maoz Fine), (currently PhD student in New-York)

Tom Halevy – MSc student – The role of cnidarians host factor on Symbiodinium sp. diel cycles and cell division (currently studying medicine)

Mor Samuelson – Lab technician (currently at IOLR)

RivQua Bar-Noy – Lab technician (currently San-Diego professional surfer)