Prof. Ronen Zaidel-Bar

Principal Investigator

Dr. Ronen Zaidel-Bar is an associate professor at the department of Cell and Developmental Biology at the Faculty of Medicine. He completed a B.Sc. in Life Sciences from the Open University, a Ph.D. in Molecular Cell Biology at the Weizmann Institute, and post-doctoral training at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. He started his own group at the Mechanobiology Institute, National University of Singapore in 2010, was awarded the National Research Foundation Fellowship (Office of the prime minister, Singapore), and in 2017 he joined Tel Aviv University. Professor Zaidel-Bar is a world leader in the field of cell and tissue mechanobiology. His group is discovering molecular mechanisms of cytoskeletal control underlying embryonic development and healthy physiology. With cutting edge microscopy and genome editing tools his group is also using the nematode C. elegans as a model for human disease. He has over 50 publications in peer-reviewed international journals and has mentored 15 PhD students and postdocs.


Dr. Anat Nitzan

Lab Manager

Anat did her PhD in the field of ophthalmology under the supervision of prof. Arieh Solomon, from the faculty of medicine and Prof. Ari Barzilai, from the faculty of life sciences at Tel-Aviv University, Israel. Her research focused on the analysis of cellular and molecular events associated with optic nerve degeneration and regeneration in a rat model of optic nerve axotomy. After graduation she became prof. Solomon’s lab manager at the Goldcshleger Eye Research Institute, Sheba Medical Center, Israel. Ultimately, after seeking new challenges, she came back to Tel-Aviv University to join Dr. Zaidel-Bar’s lab. In addition to her lab manager duties, she is taking part in the “Modeling human genetic disease in C. elegans” project and enjoys CRISPRing worms for a living.

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Dr. Priti Agarwal

Postdoctoral fellow

Priti did her PhD in the area of genetics and developmental biology with Dr. K. Subramaniam at Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, India. Her graduate studies were focused on understanding meiosis: a specialized type of differentiation germ cells undergo to form mature gametes – oocytes and sperm, using C. elegans as a model organism. While studying the role of biochemical signals during germ cell development, she became interested in the biophysical features of the C. elegans germline. To investigate it, she joined Dr. Zaidel-Bar’s lab as a Post-doctoral fellow and recently found that syncytial architecture of the C. elegans germline is maintained by the contractility of a tissue-level actomyosin regulators enriched corset like structure ( She is currently exploring the role of mechanical forces during distal tip cell migration essential for gonad morphogenesis.


Hanna Grobe

PhD Student

Hanna did her Master thesis with the title ‘Dissecting the spatio-temporal activity of light-regulated Rac1 at cell-cell contacts in human epithelial cells’ at the Institute of Pharmacology at the Philipps University Marburg, Germany under the supervision of Prof. Robert Grosse. Here, she studied how the interplay of Rac1 and the formin FMNL2 facilitates cell-cell junction formation in human breast epithelial cells.As a PhD student in the lab of Prof. Zaidel-Bar she is going to focus on the interplay of actomyosin organization and force generation in fibroblasts.

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Shiri Avivi-Kela

PhD Student

Shiri did her M.Sc in Biotechnology Engineering under the supervision of Dr. Isam Khalaila, from the faculty of engineering at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. During her time as a master’s student, working with prawns' ovaries and oocytes, she discovered her passion for the reproductive system and embryonic development research. Therefore, she joined Prof. Zaidel-Bar’s lab as a Ph.D student. Currently, her research focuses on the regulation of the cytoskeleton in the spermatheca, a part of the C. elegans reproductive system. Spermatheca contraction is a model for small tubes contraction. In small tubes, the epithelial or endothelial cells themselves are contractile. Investigating this type of contraction can help us understand defective processes in diseases such as hypertension and asthma.

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Shinjini Ray

PhD Student 

Shinjini pursued her master’s by research from Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, India in Dr. Mahendra Sonawane’s lab. In his lab, she looked at the regulation of cell shape pattern by signaling pathways in the zebrafish larval finfold, an evolutionarily old unpaired appendage. She looked at the role of crosstalk between Wnt and TGFβ signaling pathways in regulation of cell shape during development of the finfold. During her master’s program, she developed an interest for cell and developmental biology. She was further interested in studying the mechanical aspects of these processes which lead her to join the mechanobiology institute for her PhD where she joined Dr. Ronen Zaidel Bar’s lab, and later followed him to Tel Aviv University to continue her research on actin dynamics regulation in C. elegans.


Meghna Suhag

PhD Student (joint with Dr. Limor Brodaay)

I did my Masters in Biotechnology from MNNIT Allahabad (India) where my project was focused to analyse the epigenetic landscape specifically DNA methylation in the context of epithelial ovarian cancer. During this time, I developed an inclination towards understanding the intricate regulatory pathways which maintain cellular integrity and functionality. After that, I worked with Drosophila which sprouted my interest in genetics and disease models. I joined Prof. Ronen and Dr Limor in 2019. Here I am working to develop a disease model and understanding the associated regulatory landscape while using the genetic toolkit available for C. elegans.  

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Alexandra Kaminer

MSc. Student 

Alexandra Kaminer did her bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology at Ariel university. There, she participated in a project on autism spectrum disorders using a mouse model at Dr Gadi Turgeman’s lab. She focused on DNA methylation levels and attempted to cure the symptoms of autism. After completing her BSc. she worked in a genetics lab in Sourasky medical center, where her area of responsibility was performing genetic analyses for cancer patients and prenatal tests. As an MSc. Student in the Zaidel-Bar lab Alexandra is investigation the mechanobiological differences between P-Cadherin E-Cadherin, using genome editing, proteomics, and live-cell imaging.  

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Anupreet Saini

PhD Student 

­­Anu received her bachelors and masters degrees from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Mohali, India. For her masters thesis, she worked on characterising DELLA-WUSCHEL protein-protein interactions in Arabidopsis thaliana.  She then moved to Max Planck Institute for Molecular Plant Physiology, Germany, where she was involved in an ERC funded project concerning mRNA mobility in Arabidopsis thaliana. In the Zaidel-Bar lab she is working on gastrulation in Caenorhabditis elegans and her PhD research focus is on molecular mechanisms underlying cell ingression in embryos.




Thang Doan

Research Assistant

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Zhenhuan Guo

Research Assistant


Yemima Budirahardja



Cristina Bertocchi



Aishwarya Srinivasan

Research Assistant


Jia Sheng Lim

Research Assistant

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Zhongwen Chen 

PhD Student 

(joint with Prof. Jay Groves)


Megha Vaman Rao

PhD Student


Pei Yi Tan

PhD Student

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Wu Yao

PhD Student


Dr. Kriti Sethi


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Regha Kakkad



Anup Padmanabhan



Danesha Suresh

Research Assistant


Wei Yung Ding

PhD Student


Liran Avda

Research Asistance