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.

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 (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-07149-2). 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.

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.

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.  

Liran Avda

Research Assistant

Liran did her B.Sc. in Computer Science and Biology (Bioinformatics) at Tel Aviv University, she did her lab project on recombination rates in C.elegance in the lab of Prof. Oded Rechavi, where she used bioinformatic tools to study the correlation between recombination rates, histone methylations and small RNAs across the C.elegans genome.Her interest in using programming and bioinformatic tools to answer biological questions led her to join Prof. Ronen Zaidel-Bar’s lab as an research assistant, where she is trying to develop human-C.elegans orthology tools and algorithms to automate the CRISPR planning process.

Alumni

Dr. Kriti Sethi

Post-Doc

Regha Kakkad

Post-Doc

Anup Padmanabhan

Post-Doc

Danesha Suresh

Research Assistant

Wei Yung Ding

PhD Student

Jia Sheng Lim

Research Assistant

Zhongwen Chen 

PhD Student 

(joint with Prof. Jay Groves)

Megha Vaman Rao

PhD Student

Pei Yi Tan

PhD Student

Wu Yao

PhD Student

Thang Doan

Research Assistant

Zhenhuan Guo

Research Assistant

Yemima Budirahardja

Post-Doc

Cristina Bertocchi

Post-Doc

Aishwarya Srinivasan

Research Assistant