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OUR TEAM

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Prof. Iftach Yacoby, PhD - Head of Laboratory 

Iftach was born on a farm in Israel, growing Mangos and Avocados. He completed his B.Sc., M.Sc. in Biology and Biotechnology in 2001 and 2003. He received his PhD in Microbiology and Biotechnology from Tel Aviv University (TAU) in 2007.  As a doctoral student with Itai Benhar he developed a means of immune-targeting photogenic bactria and cancer using filamentous phages.  As a postdoctoral fellow with Shuguang Zhang (2008-2011) at MIT he worked on the development of fusion proteins of hydrogenase.  Back at TAU, Iftach is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Life Sciences, School of Plant Sciences, and Food Security. He teaches undergraduate students the beauty of photosynthesis and metabolic diversity in microbes. In the lab, Iftach enjoys fixing broken equipment that the students constantly provide and helping a bit with every project.

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Dr. Oren Ben-Zvi, Senior Scientist & Lab Manager

Oren completed his B.Sc. in Marine Science at Michmoret Maritime College. As an undergraduate Oren studied suspension feeders interaction with the SAR11 marine bacteria. Joining the energy lab at 2013, Oren engineered a novel Hydrogenase-SuperOxide Dismutase fusion protein, capable of catalyzing hydrogen gas at high rates. Oren's Ph.D. thesis interests in employing fusion technology to tackle one of the greatest challenges of photosynthetic hydrogen production, Hydrogenase high sensitivity to molecular oxygen. His work in the energy lab is supported by the Israel Science Foundation (ISF). Oren is first author on our study describing The In-vitro enhancement of FeFe Hydrogenase activity By Superoxide Dismutase in the International Journal of Hydrogen Energy.

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Dr. Yuval Milrad, Post Doctoral Fellow

One day, while backpacking in Asia, Yuval looked at the trees and realized that photosynthesis is the most amazing process in the natural world. Ever since he is obligated to harness that process to provide a cleaner and cheaper energy. He studied B.Sc. in Bio-Chemistry at Tel-Aviv University, during which he interned at Jülich Forschungszentrum, where he learned about biomass phenotyping analysis. Later he joined the Yacoby lab as a project student under the supervision of Dr. Oded Liran, where he specialized in the fundamental studies of photosynthesis. After he completed his B.Sc. studies he continued as a M.Sc. candidate and soon after started his Ph.D. Yuval is still researching the photosynthetic apparatus. His is interested to find out which metabolic pathways are stealing the electrons from hydrogenase and perhaps thus shift the energy flow toward better hydrogen production.

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Tamar Elman, PhD Candidate

Tamar completed her B.Sc in life science at TAU and proceeded to M.Sc in the Cell Research & Biotechnology school, where she explored the field of cell cycle regulation. After discovering the wonders of basic biology mechanisms, she decided to combine her two passions, molecular biology, and the environment. 

Tamar joined the Yacoby group as a Ph.D. candidate, and currently, she is working on targeted protein expression that could serve as a biotechnological application for anoxic niches, ideal for the activity of oxygen-sensitive enzymes. Alongside, she is trying to introduce CRISPR-CAS9, a powerful and essential DNA editing tool, to our algal model for further research and development in the lab.

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Efrat Hurwitz, MSc Candidate

Efrat received her B.Sc. from Tel Aviv University in 2019. As an undergraduate student, she studied biology with an emphasis on ecology and evolution, with student projects focusing on learning behaviors in House Sparrows and Arabian babblers. After discovering the fascinating world of plant molecular biology, she decided to pursue the field and in 2020 she joined the energy lab as an M.Sc. candidate.

Efrat's research focuses on heterologous expression of enzymes in our model algae, biochemistry of those enzymes, and conservative and creative assays for determining enzyme functionality. Her goal is to combine understanding of microalgae physiology with synthetic biology to optimize heterologous enzyme expression conditions.

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Sara Jaehnert, MSc Candidate

Sara was born and raised in Berlin, Germany, and lives in Israel since 2014. She originally completed a B.A. in Business and Economics while working at a medical startup, in collaboration with Tel Aviv University. In 2019 and 2020, Sara completed various courses in Biology before starting her M.Sc. in Biotechnology. Today, Sara is a member of the Energy Lab. Her research focuses on increasing in vivo enzyme efficiency in green algae by finding electron hotspots in the photosynthetic machinery.

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Jade Marcus, MSc Candidate

Jade finished her B.Sc. at Tel Aviv University in 2021. As an undergraduate student, she studied biology, with a student project focusing on ecology and evolutionary biology to examine host-parasite interactions in crustaceans. After falling In love with marine animals she decided to explore the field of micro algae and joined the energy lab in 2021 as a M.Sc. candidate.
Jade’s research focuses on enhancing the hydrogen production in our model algae by manipulating one of the photosynthetic apparatuses and the electron transport within. In hopes to harness the world's greatest power (the sun) to fuel the world's growing population.

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Shira Artman, MSc Candidate

Shira finished her B.Sc. at Tel Aviv University in 2021. As an undergraduate student, she studied biology with an emphasis on biotechnology, with a student project examining the effects of an oncolytic virus on melanoma cells. After learning about the great potential of hydrogen production in microalgae, she decided to explore this field and joined the energy lab in 2021 as a M.Sc. candidate.
Shira's research focuses on inhibiting an enzyme that competes with hydrogenase for electrons, in the hopes of shifting the energy flow toward increased hydrogen production.

Alumni

Dr. Liat Young, PhD - Lab Manager

Dr. Noam Shahr, M.Sc

Eyal Dafni, M.Sc

Yael Feldman, M.Sc

Shira Schweitzer, M.Sc

Dr. Haviva Eilenberg - Lab Manger

Dr. Nina Kemnaya - PostDoc

Dr. Marina Kozuleva PostDoc

Dr. Iddo Weiner, PhD Candidate

Dr. Pini Marco, PhD Candidate

Rinat Semyatich, PhD Candidate

Dr. Oded Liran, Post Doc

Mariana Shifrin, MSc

Dan Alon, MSc

Tal Kadosh, MSc

 

visiting students

Elisa Boemeke - Technical University of Munich, TUM - Germany​

Meital Avitan - University of California, Berkeley - United States​

Malenie Abrahams - Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT - United States​

Ashlin Rose Michell - New York University, NYU - United States

Lila Bear - McGill University - Canada