Scientific Activities - Weizmann Institute of Science

weizmann.ac.il

Scientific Activities - Weizmann Institute of Science

Scientific Activities

The Weizmann Institute of Science

2005


Scientific Activities

2005

Rehovot, Israel


Edited, Designed and Typeset by

Aviva Ovadia

Cover Design by

Graphics Department

Weizmann Institute of Science

We wish to thank all the secretarial staff who worked on this project,

without whose help this publication would not be possible.

Printed in Israel

By Publishing Department

Weizmann Institute of Science

ISSN 0083-7849


Contents

Board of Governors vii

Scientific and Academic Advisory Committee xv

Officers of the Weizmann Institute xvii

Weizmann Institute of Science xix

Faculty of Biochemistry

Faculty of Biochemistry - Overview 3

Biological Chemistry 5

Molecular Genetics 15

Plant Sciences 25

Biological Services 33

Avron-Wilstätter Minerva Center for Research in Photosynthesis 35

Y. Leon Benoziyo Institute for Molecular Medicine 37

Dr. Josef Cohn Minerva Center for Biomembrane Research 39

Crown Human Genome Center 41

Mel Dobrin Center for Nutrition 43

Leo and Julia Forchheimer Center for Molecular Genetics 45

Kekst Family Center for Medical Genetics 47

Charles W. and Tillie K. Lubin Center for Plant Biotechnology 49

M.D. Moross Institute for Cancer Research 53

David and Fela Shapell Family Center for Genetic Disorders Research 55

Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Center for Plant Molecular Genetics Research 57

Faculty of Biology

Faculty of Biology - Overview 61

Biological Regulation 63

Immunology 71

Molecular Cell Biology 79

Neurobiology 95

Veterinary Resources 101

Helen and Norman Asher Center for Human Brain Imaging 103

Benoziyo Center for Neurological Diseases 105

Nella and Leon Benoziyo Center for Neurosciences 107

Carl and Micaela Einhorn-Dominic Institute for Brain Research 109

Murray H. and Meyer Grodetsky Center for Research of Higher Brain Functions 111

Belle S. and Irving E. Meller Center for the Biology of Aging 113

Gabrielle Rich Center for Transplantation Biology Research 115

Willner Family Center for Vascular Biology 117

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iv

Women's Health Research Center 121

Yad Abraham Research Center for Cancer Diagnostics and Therapy 123

Faculty of Chemistry

Faculty of Chemistry - Overview 127

Chemical Physics 131

Environmental Sciences and Energy Research 137

Materials and Interfaces 141

Organic Chemistry 147

Structural Biology 153

Solar Research Facilities Unit 159

Chemical Research Support 161

Center for Energy Research 175

Fritz Haber Center for Physical Chemistry 177

Ilse Katz Institute for Material Sciences and Magnetic Resonance Research 179

Helen and Martin Kimmel Center for Archaeological Science 181

Helen and Martin Kimmel Center for Molecular Design 183

Helen and Martin Kimmel Center for Nanoscale Science 185

Helen and Milton A. Kimmelman Center for Biomolecular

Structure and Assembly 187

Joseph and Ceil Mazer Center for Structural Biology 189

Gerhard M.J. Schmidt Minerva Center for Supramolecular Architecture 191

Sussman Family Center for the Study of Environmental Sciences 193

Faculty of Physics

Faculty of Physics - Overview 197

Condensed Matter Physics 199

Particle Physics 207

Physics of Complex Systems 215

Physics Services 221

Center for Experimental Physics 223

Nella and Leon Benoziyo Center for High Energy Physics 225

Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Center for Submicron Research 229

Albert Einstein Minerva Center for Theoretical Physics 233

Maurice and Gabriella Goldschleger Center for Nanophysics 235

Minerva Center for Nonlinear Physics of Complex Systems 237

Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science

Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science - Overview 243

Computer Science and Applied Mathematics 245

Mathematics 253

Arthur and Rochelle Belfer Institute of Mathematics and Computer Science 259

Ida Cohen Center for Mathematics 261

John von Neumann Minerva Center for the Development of Reactive Systems 263


Feinberg Graduate School

Feinberg Graduate School 267

Science Teaching 327

Young@Science 337

Aharon Katzir-Katchalski Center 341

Institute-Wide Centers

Clore Center for Biological Physics 347

Dolfi and Lola Ebner Center for Biomedical Research 349

J&R Center for Scientific Research 351

Center for New Scientists 353

Center for Scientific Excellence 355

Prospective Center for Systems Biology 357

Directorate for Research and Academic Affairs

Directorate for Research and Academic Affairs - Overview 361

Academic Affairs Office 362

Appointments and Promotions 363

Awards 365

Honors 366

Summer Science Programs for Students 375

Visiting Professors Program 377

Weizmann Memorial Lectures 378

Weizmann Professorial Chairs, CDCs and Fellowships 380

Research Grants and Projects Office 397

Visiting Scientists Office 398

Division of Information Systems 399

Division of Logistics and Research Services 411

Amos de-Shalit Foundation 417

Davidson Institute for Science Education 419

Yeda Research and Development Company Ltd. 429

Weizmann Institute Activities on the Internet

Current Research Activities 431

Keyword Search for Institute Researchers 431

Scientific Activities 431

v


The Board of Governors

Stuart E. Eizenstat***, Washington, DC, USA, Chair of the Board (until November 2005)

Mandy Moross*, London, UK, Chair of the Board (from November 2005)

H. Thomas Beck*, Toronto, Ont, Canada, Deputy Chair of the Board

Lawrence S. Blumberg, Esq.*, New York, NY, USA, Deputy Chair of the Board (until

November 2005)

Lester Crown*, Chicago, IL, USA, Deputy Chair of the Board

Robert J. Drake*, Wassenaar, The Netherlands, Deputy Chair of the Board

Dame Vivien Duffield*, Geneva, Switzerland, Deputy Chair of the Board (from November

2005)

Prof. Yoram Groner*, Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel, Deputy Chair of the Board

S. Donald Sussman*, Greenwich, CT, USA, Deputy Chair of the Board

Abraham Ben-Naftali*, Tel Aviv, Israel, Chair of the Executive Council

Oded Aboodi***, New York, NY, USA (until November 2005)

Ayala Zacks Abramov, Jerusalem, Israel

Gary M. Abramson, N. Bethesda, MD, USA

Sem Almaleh, Geneva, Switzerland

Sally Leafman Appelbaum, Scottsdale, AZ, USA

Prof. Ruth Arnon*, Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel

Prof. Zvi Artstein*, Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel

Helen S. Asher, Chicago, IL, USA

Robert H. Asher*, Chicago, IL, USA, ex-officio member (also elected member)

David Assia, Or-Yehuda, Israel

Yehuda Assia*, Tel Aviv, Israel

Prof. Sir John M. Ball, FRS, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

Prof. David Baltimore, Caltech, Pasadena, CA, USA

Prof. Allen J. Bard, University of Texas, Austin, TX, USA

Robert G. Begam*, Phoenix, AZ, USA

Robert A. Belfer, New York, NY, USA

Prof. Haim Ben-Shahar, Tel Aviv, Israel

Dr. Emile Benassayag**, Paris, France

Marshall Bennett, Northbrook, IL, USA

*Member of the Executive Council

**Member of the Executive Council from November 2005

***Member of the Executive Council until November 2005

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viii

Prof. Sir Michael V. Berry, FRS, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK

Maks L. Birnbach*, New York, NY, USA

René Braginsky, Zurich, Switzerland

Frances Brody, Los Angeles, CA, USA

L. Yehuda Bronicki*, Yavne, Israel

Stanley Chais*, Beverly Hills, CA, USA

Prof. Ilan Chet*, President, Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel

Joseph Ciechanover, Tel Aviv, Israel

Doron Cohen*, Ramat-Gan, Israel

Prof. Marvin L. Cohen, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA

Norman D. Cohen*, New York, NY, USA

Sir Ronald Cohen, London, UK

Prof. Mildred Cohn, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Samy Cohn*, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil

Prof. Paul J. Crutzen, Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie, Mainz, Germany

Dr. Hubert Curien, Paris, France (deceased February 6, 2005)

Prof. Constantine M. Dafermos, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA

Leslie L. Dan, Scarborough, Ont, Canada

The Hon. Mrs. Janet de Botton, CBE, London, UK

Raoul de Picciotto, Monte Carlo, Monaco

Meir de Shalit, Herzliya Pituach, Israel

Helen Diller, Woodside, CA, USA

Prof. Charles A. Dinarello, MD, University of Colorado, Denver, CO, USA

Dr. Zvi Dinstein, Tel Aviv, Israel

Ido Dissentshik*, Tel Aviv, Israel

Sonnie Dockser, Bethesda, MD, USA

Prof. Jonathan M. Dorfan, SLAC, Menlo Park, CA, USA

Prof. Israel Dostrovsky*, Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel

Prof. Sidney D. Drell, SLAC, Menlo Park, CA, USA

Prof. Mildred S. Dresselhaus, M.I.T., Cambridge, MA, USA

Prof. Aryeh Dvoretzky*, Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel

Maurice M. Dwek*, Geneva, Switzerland

Robert Equey, Chêne-Bougeries, Switzerland

Michael Federmann*, Tel Aviv, Israel

Prof. Mitchell J. Feigenbaum, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY, USA

Prof. Sir Alan R. Fersht*, FRS, MRC Centre for Protein Engineering, Cambridge, UK

Alan A. Fischer*, Larchmont, NY, USA

Prof. Edmond H. Fischer, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA

Prof. Michael E. Fisher, FRS, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA

Michael R. Forman, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Moshe Gavish*, Tel Aviv, Israel

*Member of the Executive Council


Dr. Martin L. Gecht, Chicago, IL, USA (deceased January 3, 2005)

Mauricio Gerson, Mexico, D.F., Mexico

Martin S. Gerstel*, Jerusalem, Israel

David Ginsburg*, Washington, DC, USA

Françoise Glasberg, Paris, France (until November 2005)

Prof. Michel E. Goldberg, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France

Bram Goldsmith, Beverly Hills, CA, USA

Abraham M. Goldwasser*, Savyon, Israel

Carol Gordon, Toronto, Ont, Canada

Prof. Michael B. Green, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

Scott D. Greenberg, Lincolnshire, IL, USA

Baroness Susan A. Greenfield, CBE, London, UK

Prof. François Gros*, Académie des Sciences, Paris, France

Joseph Gurwin, New York, NY, USA

Wilhelm Haas, Bonn, Germany

Joseph D. Hackmey*, London, UK

Gideon J. Hamburger*, Ramat-Gan, Israel

Prof. Haim Harari*, Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel

Shimshon Harel**, Herzliya Pituach, Israel

Yossie Hollander*, Herzliya Pituach, Israel

Ephraim Ilin***, Tel Aviv, Israel

Armando Jinich, Mexico, D.F., Mexico

Dr. Yair Kadishay*, Ramat Hasharon, Israel

Roberto Kaminitz, Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil

Shelly B. Kamins, Esq., Bethesda, MD, USA

Prof. Richard M. Karp, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA

Isaac Kaul*, Rishon LeZion, Israel

James F. Kay, Toronto, Ont, Canada

Gershon Kekst*, New York, NY, USA

Morris Kerzner, Toronto, Ont, Canada

Helen L. Kimmel*, New York, NY, USA

Martin S. Kimmel*, New York, NY, USA

Derrick Kleeman*, Geneva, Switzerland

Peter J. Kleeman*, London, UK

Andrea Klepetar-Fallek, New York, NY, USA

Prof. Sir Aaron Klug, FRS, Medical Research Council, Cambridge, UK

Marvelle Koffler, Toronto, Ont, Canada

Murray B. Koffler*, Toronto, Ont, Canada

Prof. Walter Kohn, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, USA

*Member of the Executive Council

**Member of the Executive Council from November 2005

***Member of the Executive Council until November 2005

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x

Arthur B. Konviser*, Toronto, Ont, Canada (deceased June 22, 2005)

Prof. Daniel E. Koshland, Jr., University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA

Alain Köstenbaum, Geneva, Switzerland

Benny Landa, Rehovot, Israel

Prof. Jean-Marie Lehn, Université Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, France

Jonathan D. Leitersdorf*, New York, NY, USA

Prof. Arnold J. Levine, Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton, NJ, USA

Morton Levine, Delray Beach, FL, USA

Barbara S. Levinson*, Palm Beach, FL, USA

Prof. Albert J. Libchaber, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY, USA

Robert B. Machinist*, New York, NY, USA

Joshua Maor*, Ramat-Gan, Israel

Dan Mayer*, Zug, Switzerland

Rina Mayer, Tel Aviv, Israel

Gurion Meltzer*, Tel Aviv, Israel

Dr. Leora Meridor*, Jerusalem, Israel

Roselyn B. Meyer, Aventura, FL, USA

Prof. David Mirelman*, Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel

Lord Parry A. Mitchell**, London, UK

Andrew R. Morse*, Harrison, NY, USA

Lon Morton, Calabasas, CA, USA (from November 2005)

Shlomo Nehama, Tel Aviv, Israel (from November 2005)

Prof. Yosef Nir*, Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel, ex-officio member

Joseph G. Nissim*, Geneva, Switzerland

Prof. Moshe Oren, Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel

Dr. Joseph L. Owades, Sonoma, CA, USA (deceased December 16, 2005)

Martin D. Paisner, CBE*, London, UK

Chemi Peres, Herzliya, Israel

Charles I. Petschek, New York, NY, USA

Morton Pickman, Boca Raton, FL, USA

Prof. Philip A. Pincus, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, USA

Prof. Alexander Pines, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA

Bruce G. Pollack, Armonk, NY, USA

Jeannette Pomeraniec, London, UK (deceased July 20, 2005)

Moshe Porath*, Tel Aviv, Israel

Prof. Yehiam Prior*, Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel, ex-officio member

Dan Propper, Petah-Tiqua, Israel

Eitan Raff, Tel Aviv, Israel (until November 2005)

Prof. Alexander Rich, M.I.T., Cambridge, MA, USA

Sir John H. Ritblat, London, UK

*Member of the Executive Council

**Member of the Executive Council from November 2005


Barrie D. Rose*, Toronto, Ont, Canada

Prof. Jesse Roth, MD, FACP, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New Hyde Park, NY, USA

Lord Rothschild, GBE, London, UK

Joseph Roubache, Paris, France

Prof. Samuel A. Safran*, Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel, ex-officio member

Prof. Bert Sakmann, Max-Planck-Institut für Medizinische Forschung, Heidelberg, Germany

Rowland Schaefer, Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

Leon Schidlow*, Sierra Vertientes, D.F., Mexico

Pierre L. Schoenheimer, New York, NY, USA (from November 2005)

Sara L. Schupf, New York, NY, USA

Prof. Michael Sela*, Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel

David Shapell, Beverly Hills, CA, USA

Daniel S. Shapiro, London, UK

Barry Sherman, Weston, Ont, Canada

The Honorable Sir David Sieff*, London, UK, Vice Chair of the Executive Council

Karen A. Siem, London, UK

Dr. Maxine F. Singer*, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Washington, DC, USA

Dr. Jay A. Smith, Toronto, Ont, Canada

Brian J. Steck, Toronto, Ont, Canada

Luis E. Stillmann, Mexico, D.F., Mexico

Lord Stone of Blackheath, London, UK

Doron Tamir, Tel Aviv, Israel

Marvin Tanner, Saint-Laurent (Montreal), Quebec, Canada

Evelyn Tenenbaum, Bal Harbour, FL, USA

David I. Teplow, Weston, MA, USA

Theodore H. Teplow*, Cambridge, MA, USA

Jack L. Terpins, Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil

Barry S. Townsley, CBE*, London, UK

Prof. Marc Van Montagu, Brussels, Belgium

Dr. Yossi Vardi, Tel Aviv, Israel

Saul Waring, New York, NY, USA

Prof. Hans A. Weidenmüller*, Max-Planck-Institut für Kernphysik, Heidelberg, Germany

Prof. Charles Weissmann, MD, PhD, Scripps Florida, Jupiter, FL, USA

Dr. Albert Willner*, Delray Beach, FL, USA

Dr. Herbert Winter*, Zurich, Switzerland

Peter M. Wolff, London, UK

The Rt. Hon. Lord Wolfson of Marylebone, FBA, London, UK

Prof. Yosef Yarden, Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel

Prof. Ada Yonath, Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel

Prof. Dr. Hans F. Zacher, Max-Planck-Institut für ausländisches u. intern. Sozialrecht,

München, Germany

*Member of the Executive Council

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Jacques Zagury, Mexico, D.F., Mexico

Dr. Felix Zandman, Malvern, PA, USA

Eugene M. Zemsky, Chicago, IL, USA

Henri Zimand, Monte Carlo, Monaco

Uzi Zucker*, New York, NY, USA

Roy J. Zuckerberg, New York, NY, USA

Sharon Zuckerman, Willowdale, Ont, Canada

The Founding Chairperson

The late Dewey D. Stone (served from 1949 to 1971)

Governors Emeriti

Prof. Duilio Arigoni, ETH Hönggerberg, Zurich, Switzerland

Prof. Fritz H. Bach, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

Amnon S. Barness, New York, NY, USA

Prof. Baruj Benacerraf, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

Stuart A. Bernstein, Washington, DC, USA

Marc Besen, Toorak, Victoria, Australia

Albert Bildner, New York, NY, USA

Dr. Elkan R. Blout, Cambridge, MA, USA

Gerald Blumberg, New York, NY, USA

Paul Borman, Franklin, MI, USA

Joseph Brender, Point Piper, NSW, Australia

Edgar M. Bronfman, New York, NY, USA

Hugh T. Cameron, Oakville, Ont, Canada

Stanley S. Cohen, OBE, London, UK

Sir Zelman Cowen, East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Prof. Jean Dausset, Human Polymorphism Study Center, Paris, France

David L. Dennis, Toronto, Ont, Canada

Prof. Samuel Devons, Columbia University, Irvington, NY, USA

Sir Harry Djanogly, CBE, London, UK

Melvyn A. Dobrin, Westmount, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Prof. Gerald M. Edelman, The Neurosciences Institute, San Diego, CA, USA

Prof. Manfred Eigen, Max-Planck-Institut für Biophysikalische Chemie, Göttingen-

Nikolausberg, Germany

Prof. Gerald Estrin, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Marshall S. Ezralow, Calabasas, CA, USA

Prof. George Feher, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA

Sir David Frost, OBE, London, UK

*Member of the Executive Council


Herbert M. Gelfand, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Henny Gestetner, OBE, London, UK (deceased November 16, 2005)

Françoise Glasberg, Paris, France (from November 2005)

Dr. Amnon Goldenberg, Tel Aviv, Israel (deceased June 21, 2005)

Prof. Maurice Goldhaber, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, Long Island, NY, USA

Dr. Carlos Goldman, Caracas, Venezuela

Dr. Jacob E. Goldman, Norwalk, CT, USA

Richard N. Goldman, San Francisco, CA, USA

Richard F. Goodman, New York, NY, USA

Joel Greisman, Don Mills, Ont, Canada

Shlomo Grofman, Tel Aviv, Israel

Dr. George S. Hammond, Portland, OR, USA (deceased October 5, 2005)

Dr. Niels Hansen, Bonn, Germany

Yeheskiel Harmelech, Rehovot, Israel

Dr. Hans-Hilger Haunschild, Bonn, Germany

Hy Isenbaum, Toronto, Ont, Canada

Philip M. Kaiser, Washington, DC, USA

Prof. Ephraim Katchalski-Katzir, Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel

Teddy Kollek, Jerusalem, Israel

Prof. Arthur Kornberg, MD, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA

Prof. Sir Hans L. Kornberg, FRS, Boston University, Boston, MA, USA

Martha Laub, Wilrijk-Antwerpen, Belgium

Dov Lautman, Tel Aviv, Israel

Prof. Joshua Lederberg, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY, USA

Prof. Leon M. Lederman, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Batavia, IL, USA

William Levine, Chicago, IL, USA

Cecil Lewis, Geneva, Switzerland (deceased July 28, 2005)

André Marcus, Monte Carlo, Monaco

Prof. Paul A. Marks, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA

John J. Mason, Washington, DC, USA

Prof. N. Avrion Mitchison, FRS, UCL Medical School, London, UK

Henri M. Monod, Paris, France

Prof. George D. Mostow, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA

Jackie Rosenfeld, OBE, London, UK

Dr. George Rosenkranz, Mexico, D.F., Mexico

Prof. John Ross, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA

Samuel Rothberg, Peoria, IL, USA

Dr. Aser Rothstein, Toronto, Ont, Canada

Barry Rymer, Alpharetta, GA, USA

Prof. Harold A. Scheraga, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA

Walter E. Schoenfeld, Seattle, WA, USA

Prof. Melvin Schwartz, Ketchum, ID, USA

Jerome A. Siegel, New York, NY, USA

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William H. Singer, Tucson, AZ, USA

Prof. Heinz A. Staab, Max-Planck-Institut für Medizinische Forschung, Heidelberg, Germany

Stephen L. Stulman, New York, NY, USA

Prof. Sir John M. Thomas, FRS, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

Lord Weidenfeld of Chelsea, London, UK

Adam Weis, Toorak, Victoria, Australia

Alan B. Weissman, Greenwich, CT, USA

Prof. Bernard Winicki, Neuilly/Seine, France

Dr. Alejandro Zaffaroni, Mountain View, CA, USA


Co-Chairs

The Scientific and Academic Advisory Committee

Prof. Sir Alan R. Fersht, FRS, MRC Centre for Protein Engineering, Cambridge, UK

Prof. Hans A. Weidenmüller, Max-Planck-Institut für Kernphysik, Heidelberg, Germany

Prof. Sir John M. Ball, FRS, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

Prof. David Baltimore, Caltech, Pasadena, CA, USA

Prof. Allen J. Bard, University of Texas, Austin, TX, USA

Prof. Sir Michael V. Berry, FRS, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK

Prof. Ilan Chet, Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel, ex-officio member

Prof. Marvin L. Cohen, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA

Prof. Mildred Cohn, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Prof. Paul J. Crutzen, Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie, Mainz, Germany

Prof. Constantine M. Dafermos, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA

Prof. Charles A. Dinarello, MD, University of Colorado, Denver, CO, USA

Prof. Jonathan M. Dorfan, SLAC, Menlo Park, CA, USA

Prof. Sidney D. Drell, SLAC, Menlo Park, CA, USA

Prof. Mildred S. Dresselhaus, M.I.T., Cambridge, MA, USA

Prof. Mitchell J. Feigenbaum, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY, USA

Prof. Edmond H. Fischer, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA

Prof. Michael E. Fisher, FRS, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA

Prof. Michael B. Green, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

Prof. François Gros, Académie des Sciences, Paris, France

Prof. Richard M. Karp, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA

Prof. Sir Aaron Klug, FRS, Medical Research Council, Cambridge, UK

Prof. Walter Kohn, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, USA

Prof. Daniel E. Koshland, Jr., University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA

Prof. Jean-Marie Lehn, Université Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, France

Prof. Arnold J. Levine, Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton, NJ, USA

Prof. Albert J. Libchaber, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY, USA

Mandy Moross, London, UK, ex-officio member

Prof. Philip A. Pincus, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, USA

Prof. Alexander Pines, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA

Prof. Alexander Rich, M. I. T., Cambridge, MA, USA

Prof. Bert Sakmann, Max-Planck-Institut für Medizinische Forschung, Heidelberg, Germany

Dr. Maxine F. Singer, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Washington, DC, USA

Prof. Marc Van Montagu, Brussels, Belgium

Prof. Charles Weissmann, MD, PhD, Scripps Florida, Jupiter, FL, USA

xv


President

Professor Ilan Chet

Vice President

Professor Samuel Safran

Vice President for Administration and

Finance

Gad Kober

Vice President for International Affairs and

Public Relations

Amy Matchen (until May 2005)

Vice President for Technology Transfer

Professor Haim Garty

Senior Advisor to the President on

Information Systems

Professor Yigal Burstein

Chair, Council of Professors

Professor Yosef Nir

Chair, Scientific Council

Professor Yehiam Prior

Vice Chair, Scientific Council

Professor Menachem Rubinstein

Institute Officers

xvii

Advisory Committee to the President

Professor Zvi Artstein

Professor Haim Garty

Professor Benjamin Geiger

Gad Kober

Amy Matchen (until May 2005)

Proessor Yosef Nir

Professor Yehiam Prior

Professor Samuel Safran

Professor Mordechai Sheves

Professor Ben-Zion Shilo

Professor Yaron Silberberg

Professor Yosef Yarden

The Feinberg Graduate School

(chartered by the New York State Board of

Regents)

President

Robert A. Belfer

Immediate Past President

Robert Asher

Chairman

Professor Melvin Schwartz

Founding Chairman

Abraham Feinberg (deceased)

Secretary and Treasurer

Andrew Morse

Dean of the Feinberg Graduate School

Professor Yosef Yarden


xviii

Deans of the Faculties

Biochemistry

Professor Ben-Zion Shilo

Biology

Professor Benjamin Geiger

Chemistry

Professor Mordechai Sheves

Physics

Professor Yaron Silberberg

Mathematics and Computer Science

Professor Zvi Artstein

Senior Administrative Officers

Academic Secretary and Head, Directorate

for Research and Academic Affairs

Dr. Boaz Avron

Head, Construction and Physical Plant

Maintenance Division

Eliezer Elhadad

Head, Finance Division

Osnat Wishnitzer

Head, Human Resources Division

Vered Liverant Kessler

Head, Division of Logistics and Research

Services

Asher Bar-on

Secretary of the Association

Ilana Eisen

Chief Legal Counsel

Shulamit Geri

Internal Auditor

Doron Yonai

Senior Advisor to the President

Arie Zehavi

Division of International Affairs and Public

Relations

Head, Division of International Affairs and

Public Relations

Amalia Waxman (from July 2005)

Head, Publications and Media Relations

Department

Yivsam Azgad

Head, Hospitality and Events

Navit Kopelis

Director, Strategic Development

Gila Shmueli


The Weizmann Institute of Science

The Weizmann Institute of Science, one of the world’s leading multidisciplinary research

centers, is located in Rehovot, south of Tel Aviv on Israel’s coastal plain. Today, around 2500

scientists, postdoctoral fellows, Ph.D. and M.Sc. students, and scientific, technical and

administrative staff work at the Institute, where lush lawns and sub-tropical gardens serve as a

backdrop to the cutting-edge research performed in its labs. In addition, visiting scientists and

their families – over 500 from 29 countries in 2005 – and numerous participants in

international scientific conferences and symposia are regularly hosted at the Institute, which

also offers a wide range of cultural and educational activities to the public at large.

When the Institute was conceived in 1933, the embattled Jewish population of Palestine

numbered 400,000 and Rehovot was a tiny agricultural community surrounded by orange

groves. In this milieu, Dr. Chaim Weizmann, who would later become the first President of the

State of Israel, envisioned the establishment of a world-class scientific research center. Though

resources were extremely scarce, Dr. Weizmann, a successful chemist and tireless statesman

for the Zionist cause, believed such an institute was crucial to securing the future of a Jewish

state, both economically and politically.

Fortunately, there were others who shared his dream. In 1934, his friends Israel and Rebecca

Sieff established the Daniel Sieff Research Institute in memory of their son. Dr. Weizmann had

his lab in the Daniel Sieff Institute, alongside those of 10 other full-time researchers in organic

chemistry and biochemistry.

Throughout WWII and Israel’s War of Independence, Institute scientists were deeply involved

in the war efforts, yet under Dr. Weizmann’s direction, the Institute continued to grow. The end

of WWII and the founding of the new Jewish state brought an influx of new scientific talent,

and with it a new determination to make Israel a center of scientific excellence. By the time it

was formally dedicated in 1949, shortly after Israel’s declaration of independence, the

Weizmann Institute housed 60 labs in nine fields of research, including organic, inorganic and

bio- chemistry, optics and electronics, bacteriology and biophysics, polymer and isotope

research, and applied mathematics. The Wolfson Institute of Experimental Biology was under

construction and the first residential quarters were nearing completion.

The Feinberg Graduate School was established in 1958, and the first PhD was conferred there

in 1964. About 1000 M.Sc. and Ph.D. students are enrolled each year in studies covering the

Institute’s 18 departments, which are grouped into five faculties: Biochemistry, Biology,

Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics and Computer Science. To meet the challenges of

modern research, a number of multidisciplinary centers have been created to allow scientists

from completely different fields to work together in developing new approaches to everything

from creating new diagnostic tools to revealing the mechanics of living cells to artificial

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xx

intelligence. In keeping with Dr. Weizmann’s vision of Israel as a scientific world leader, the

Institute continues to invest resources in ensuring the future of science: through the Science

Teaching Department, established in 1968; the Davidson Institute of Science Education,

founded in 2001, and Young@Science, which offers science activities ranging from weekly

after-school programs, to science camps, competitions and a science-mobile that brings handson

science to schools. The Clore Garden of Science, which opened in 1999, is the world’s first

completely interactive outdoor science museum, and it plays host to a widely popular science

festival each spring on the Weizmann campus.

In 1959, the Yeda Research and Development Co. was founded to function as the commercial

arm of the Weizmann Institute. The first company of its kind in Israel, Yeda initiates and

promotes the transfer of innovations stemming from the research of Weizmann Institute

scientists to the global marketplace. The Weizmann Institute was also a key player in the

establishment of the Kiryat Weizmann Industrial Park, a 40 acre site housing over 60 hi-tech

companies, many based on Institute discoveries, ranging from aircraft instruments to

bioengineered drugs.

More than 70 years since the first labs were erected in the midst of bucolic orange groves, and

over 50 since its official dedication, the Weizmann Institute, today more than ever, is at the

forefront of global science.


Faculty of Biochemistry

Dean: Ben-Zion Shilo

The Hilda and Cecil Lewis Professor of Molecular Genetics

Ilan Chet, Ph.D.

(The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Institute Professor

Ephraim Katchalski-Katzir, Ph.D.

(The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Institute Professor

The Theodore R. Racoosin Professor of Biophysics


Faculty of Biochemistry

Dean: Ben-Zion Shilo

The Hilda and Cecil Lewis Professor of Molecular Genetics

The Faculty of Biochemistry consists of three departments: Biological Chemistry, Molecular

Genetics and Plant Sciences. The Faculty is also responsible for the activities of the Biological

Services Department. A number of Research Centers operate within the different departments:

Plant Sciences -- The Avron-Willsttter Minerva Center for Research in Photosynthesis; The

Charles W. and Tillie K. Lubin Center for Plant Biotechnology. The Harry and Jeanette

Weinberg Center for Plant Molecular Genetics Research; the Mel Dobrin Center for Nutrition.

Molecular Genetics -- The Leo and Julia Forchheimer Center for Molecular Genetics; The

Crown Human Genome Center; The M.D. Moross Institute for Cancer Research, (headed by

Prof. Yoram Groner in this Faculty), and the newly-established David & Fela Shapell Family

Centre for Genetic Disorders Research. Biological Chemistry -- The Dr. Josef Cohn Minerva

Center for Biomembrane Research. In addition, the newly established Institute for Molecular

Medicine, commemorating the late Y. Leon Benoziyo, is now operating under the auspices of

the Faculty.

The faculty is comprised of three scientific departments, including Biological Chemistry,

Molecular Genetics and Plant Sciences, as well as the Biological Services unit.

Members of the Faculty conduct investigations covering a wide range of research programs

One of the more exciting aspects of modern biological research, which is characterizing the

post genome era, is that basic questions at the molecular level can be studied in very diverse

systems and the findings can become relevant also to other systems. For instance, the results

obtained from the identification of genes involved in the development of an organ or a specific

tissue in plants are frequently found to have similarities in mammalian systems. The

characterization of proteins involved in membrane transporters and how they discriminate

between a wide range of molecules may contribute in the rational design of novel therapies for

human malignancies.

The completion of the sequencing of the human genome as well as that of the genomes of other

organisms represents a major scientific achievement and members of our Faculty have

continued to significantly contribute to this worldwide effort. One of the challenges

undertaken is to assign a function to specific genes isolated from human genetic diseases or

other sorts of human pathologies and the use of knockout mice is very beneficial.

3


4 Faculty of Biochemistry

Furthermore, findings on the mechanisms of DNA repair are shedding new light on their

connection to the incidence of malignancies in populations exposed to mutagenic substances.

The availability of the complete Arabidopsis plant genome is also revolutionizing research.

Plant genomes show a great degree of plasticity, so that the genetic variance within any one

plant species can be much greater than anything encountered within animal species. Members

of the Faculty have unraveled part of the reason for this rapid genomic evolution which is due

to the unique dynamic process of polyploidization. Another exciting area of investigation is

the genome organization of plant defense ‘sentinels’ and trying to understand how they

facilitate the plants adaptability to a changing pathogen environment. It has repeatedly

demonstrated that finding answers in the molecular biology of plant cells contributes to that of

more complex systems such as mammalian cells.

Continuous progress in the Life Sciences is more and more dependent on the ability to

introduce modern equipment as well as the to increase the cooperation between scientists of

different expertise. During 2005 the facilities were expanded especially in the areas of new

microscope facilities, mass spectroscopy for small molecules and a micro CT for monitoring

bone development.

In order to maintain the vibrant scientific environment, we are constantly searching to recruit

talented young scientists and continue to invest in the establishment of new facilities and the

acquisition of new equipment.


Biological Chemistry

Zvi Livneh, Head

The Maxwell Ellis Professor of Biomedical Research

The Department of Biological Chemistry is home to more than 24 research groups, whose

scientific activities span several areas in the Life Sciences. The common thread is the study of

the biochemistry of life. Emphasis is on the investigation of proteins, whether soluble or

membrane-bound, and their key biological functions. We seek a molecular understanding of

their structure, function, and interaction with other factors. A variety of biochemical,

biophysical and molecular biological methods are being employed, with much overlapping

interests and inter-group cooperation. Current research activities evolve around the following

six foci of interest:

1. Protein structure, function, design and evolution

E. Katchalski-Katzir and his colleagues are investigating molecular mechanisms of

protein recognition by examining interactions between specific proteins and peptides

selected from a random peptide library. In parallel they develop and apply a theoretical

protein-protein recognition algorithm (docking). G. Schreiber and his coworkers study

the basic physico-chemical principles governing protein-protein interactions, and how

these relate to complex biological processes. The gained understanding is implemented

in several medically relevant systems such as the binding of interferon to its receptor, as

well as in algorithm development. M. Wilchek and his group are studying the structure

of avidin and its exceptionally high affinity to biotin. The avidin-biotin complex is being

utilized for a variety of new biotechnological applications. E. A. Bayer and his

colleagues are studying the structure, architecture and biotechnological applications of

the multi-enzyme cellulosome complex, its interactions with cellulose and other plant

cell-wall polysaccharides. The group of D. Tawfik is interested in the mechanism and

evolution of proteins, and enzymes in particular. They perform laboratory evolution

experiments aimed at understanding how new proteins evolve, and at the creation of

novel enzymes with tailor-made activities.

2. Structure and function of ion channels, pumps, other transporters, viral envelope

proteins, and photosynthesis proteins

Several groups are investigating proteins that form specific pores across the cell

membrane. E. Reuveny is investigating the molecular properties of a group of neuronal

K+ channels and their interaction with G-proteins. Y. Shai's group uses a

5


6 Biological Chemistry

multidisciplinary approach to study the principles of the insertion, assembly and function

of membrane proteins involved in infectious diseases, mainly host-defense peptides

(antimicrobial and anticancer peptides), and viral envelope proteins (HIV/SIV gp41).

These studies also led to the design of novel antimicrobial, anticancer and antiviral

drugs. Nuclear pore complexes, multi-protein structures that transport macromolecules

in and out of the nucleus, are being studied by Z. Reich. His work utilizes biophysical

methods such as atomic force microscopy. H. Garty focuses on two themes in the

regulation of ion transport, which participate in maintaining body salt and water balance.

One is the epithelial Na+ channel, which mediates the aldosterone-dependent Na+

reabsorption in the kidney and intestine, and the other is a new group of tissue specific

regulators of the Na+/K+ ATPase, the FXYD proteins. S. J. D. Karlish and his

colleagues are exploring the structure and organization of Na, K-ATPase, and its

regulation by FXYD proteins. This ion pump plays a central role in maintaining Na and

K gradients across the cell membrane and is involved in the pathophysiology of

esssential hypertension. Another family of transport proteins, which extrude toxins from

cells, and hence pose a major obstacle in cancer chemotherapy and antibiotic treatment,

is being studied by E. Bibi. Other researchers are interested in photosynthesis and its

relation to ion transport. Z. Gromet-Elhanan is studying the rotary mechanism of the

photosynthetic F 0 F 1 ATP synthase, using genetically engineered hybrid bacterial/plant

F1-core assemblies and single molecule analysis. S. Malkin's research in photosynthesis

concentrated on accomplishing an artificial model system for understanding the role of

zeaxanthin in the protection against photodamage under high light intensity. The groups

of U. Pick and A. Zamir are collaborating to elucidate the mechanisms by which the

green alga Dunaliella copes with extreme changes in external salinity and with iron

deprivation.

3. Mechanisms by which proteins and lipids are transported from their point of

synthesis, sorted, and inserted into various organelles

Studies related to this general problem in cell biology are being carried out in a number

of laboratories. E. Bibi and his co-workers are studying the role of the signal recognition

particle (SRP) and other cellular components in the biogenesis of prokaryotic membrane

proteins. They seek to identify new components of the machinery, and to understanding

how ribosomes target and associate with the membrane, and how membrane protein

synthesis is regulated. Z. Elazar is investigating intracellular protein traffic in eukaryotic

systems. His work has led to the identification of new factors that couple transport

vesicles to cytoskeletal elements. Delivery of lipids to the cell membrane and their role

in neuronal growth is being studied by A. Futerman and his colleagues, with particular

emphasis on related diseases such as Gaucher, Tay-Sachs, and Niemann-Pick disease.

Together with I. Silman and J. Sussman he recently solved the structure of cerezyme, the

enzyme given to Gaucher disease patients. In addition, he is working on mechanisms of

ceramide signaling and has characterized a gene family involved in regulating ceramide

synthesis.


4. Signal transduction, and molecular pathogenesis

Biological Chemistry 7

Several researchers in the department are interested in problems related to signal

transduction, chemotaxis and pathogenesis. Michael Eisenbach’s group is investigating,

at the molecular level, how bacteria navigate according to chemical cues (chemotaxis),

and how human sperm cells are guided to the egg. They found that phosphorylation and

acetylation, which activate the excitatory response regulator of chemotaxis in E. coli, are

linked and co-regulated. They also found that sperm guidance involves at least two

steps: a long-range thermal guidance (thermotaxis) from the cooler sperm storage site in

the female genital tract to the warmer fertilization site, and a short-range chemotaxis step

to substances secreted from the egg. The group of D. Wallach is studying mechanisms

that control cell death, and involve the caspase cysteine-protease family, and

transcription factors of the NF-κB family. They have cloned and characterized several

proteins that participate in the mechanism and regulation of signaling for cell death and

inflammation by receptors of the TNF/NGF family. Their studies on the function of

these proteins, using transgenic mouse models, are currently focused on elucidating the

contribution of these proteins to skin pathology. Retrograde signaling complexes which

govern neuronal growth and regeneration are being investigated by Michael Fainzilber

and his co-workers. They have identified new targeting and scaffolding proteins that

enable axon-cell body communication in neurons. D. Mirelman and his co-workers are

characterizing regulatory mechanisms that control the expression of virulence factors in

the human intestinal protozoan parasite, Entamoeba histolytica. Other studies, in

collaboration with the group of M. Wilchek, focus on the therapeutic properties of the

biologically active garlic molecule Allicin. Y. Shechter is exploring the mechanism of

action of insulin, with emphasis on post-receptor defects in adipose and muscle tissues

that lead to insulin-resistance, and therefore connected to Diabetes type II and obesity in

humans. In addition he developed technologies to prolong the life-time of peptides and

protein drugs in vivo, and a therapeutic approach for overcoming states of insulin

resistance in NIDDM patients. R. Miskin is studying the plasminogen activation system,

and is utilizing transgenic animals to reveal biological roles of this system. Therapeutic

and pathogenic signals of the cell membrane are being examined by M. Shinitzky in

tumor cells subjected to hydrostatic pressure. In addition, he investigates the effect on

differentiation in breast cancer cells and neuoronal cells of cyclic phosphates, signaling

molecules that originate from phospholipid degradation. E. Shapiro's group is using a

high-level computer process description language, Stochastic Pi Calculis, to

mathematically specify and simulate signal transduction pathways. The overall goal of I.

Chet's research is to understand molecular mechanisms by which opportunistic plant

symbionts, with Trichoderma harzianum strains as the model organisms, induce

resistance to various plant pathogens.

5. Genome maintenance and function: DNA repair and gene expression

Z. Livneh and his co-workers are exploring the molecular mechanisms of DNA repair

and mutagenesis. They study DNA polymerases that are specialized in replicating

damaged DNA with the concomitant production of mutations, as well as the role of

DNA repair in human cancer susceptibility. Recently they discovered that reduced


8 Biological Chemistry

activity of the DNA repair enzyme OGG1 is a risk factor in lung cancer, and that the

combination of smoking and reduced OGG1 activity causes extra-susceptibility to this

disease. Two groups are studying mechanisms mediating regulation of gene expression.

R. Dikstein and her associates are investigating the molecular mechanism of

transcription regulation by TAFs, a highly conserved group of proteins that together with

TBP (TATA-binding protein) constitutes the transcription initiation factor TFIID. M.

Walker and colleagues are studying regulation of specific gene expression in the insulinproducing

pancreatic beta cell. Recent studies have revealed that activity of a novel beta

cell receptor, GPR40 helps explain the important, yet poorly understood connection

between obesity and diabetes.

6. Biolmolecular computers and computation-based cell lineage analysis

E. Shapiro and his team are investigating the engineering of computers made of

biological molecules. They succeeded to construct a finite automaton made of DNA and

enzymes, which is capable of sensing and diagnosing molecular disease symptoms, and

in response releasing a drug-like molecule in a test-tube model system. In a different

direction, advanced computational techniques combined with somatic mutation analysis

are used for reconstructing cell lineage trees in cultured cells and in mice.

http://www.weizmann.ac.il/Biological_Chemistry/

Research Staff, Visitors and Students

Professors

Ilan Chet, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Institute Professor

Michael Eisenbach, Ph.D., Tel Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel

The Jack and Simon Djanogly Professor of Biochemistry

Anthony H. Futerman, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Joseph Meyerhoff Professor of Biochemistry

Haim Garty, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Hella and Derrick Kleeman Professor of Biochemistry

Steven J.D Karlish, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The William D. Smithburg Professor of Biochemistry

Ephraim Katchalski-Katzir, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Institute Professor

The Theodore R. Racoosin Professor of Biophysics

Zvi Livneh, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Maxwell Ellis Professor of Biomedical Research

David Mirelman, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel (on extension of

service)

The Besen-Brender Professor of Microbiology and Parasitology


Biological Chemistry 9

Yechiel Shai, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Harold S. and Harriet B. Brady Professor of Cancer Rrsearch

David Wallach, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Professors Emeriti

S. Roy Caplan, Ph.D., University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

David Danon, Ph.D., University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland

Carlos Gitler, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison, United States

Zippora Gromet-Elhanan, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Ora Kedem, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Shmuel Malkin, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Israel R. Miller, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Nathan Sharon, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Meir Wilchek, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Ada Zamir, Ph.D., Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel

Associate Professors

Ed Bayer, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Eitan Bibi, Ph.D., Hadassah Medical School, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem,

Israel

Rivka Dikstein, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Zvulun Elazar, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Michael Fainzilber, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Incumbent of the Daniel E. Koshland Sr. Career Development Chair (until November

2005)

Uri Pick, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Charles and Louise Gartner Professor

Ziv Reich, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Incumbent of the Abraham and Jennie Fialkow Career Development Chair (until

November 2005)

Eitan Reuveny, Ph.D., Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, United States

Gideon Schreiber, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Yoram Shechter, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Charles H. Hollenberg Professor of Diabetes and Metabolic Research

Michael Walker, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Marvin Myer and Jenny Cyker Professor of Diabetes Research

Senior Scientist

Dan Tawfik, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Incumbent of the Elaine Blond Career Development Chair


10 Biological Chemistry

Senior Staff Scientists

Rivka Adar, Ph.D., Tel Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel

Carol Asher, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Rina Barak, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Talia Miron, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Daniel M. Tal, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Associate Staff Scientist

Elena Bochkareva, Ph.D., Institute of Protein Research, Academy of the USSR, Pushchino,

Russian Federation

Assistant Staff Scientists

Elena Appel, Ph.D., Medical School, Novosibirsk, Russian Federation

Tamar Paz-Elizur, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Yael Pewzner-Jung, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Ada Viterbo-Fainzilber, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Junior Staff Scientists

Swetlana Adamsky, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Yoav Barak, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Ruti Kapon, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Special Contract

Asael Herman, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel (left May 2005)

Consultants

Diana Bach

Amir Braunstein, ImmunoBar Ltd., Tel-Aviv, Israel

Dean E. Brenner, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI., USA

Dov Gefel, Barzilai Hospital, Ashkelon, Israel

Alexander Heifetz, Predix Pharmacenticals Ltd., Ramat Gan, Israel (left April 2005)

Ron Kasher, Faculty of Agriculture, Solid and Wather Sciences, Israel

Halina Lis

Ruth Miskin


Visiting Scientists

Biological Chemistry 11

Moshe Balass

Nicholas Harper, University of Leicester, UK

Rose Johnstone, McGill University , Montreal, Canada

Roni Kasher, Hebrew University , Rehovot, Israel

Haichun Pan, Shandong University, PR China

Jiangke Yang, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, PR China

Laiqun Zhang, Beijing Normal University, PR China

Postdoctoral Fellows

Noga Alagem, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Gil Amitai, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Xiaohui An, Ph.D., Medical School of Xi'an Jiaotong University, China

Gali Arad, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Fabian Arditti, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Katya Arnold, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Adam Ben-Shem, Ph.D., Tel-Aviv University, Israel

Yakov Blumenstein, Ph.D., Tel-Aviv University, Israel

Yariv Brotman, Ph.D., Bar-Ilan University, Israel

Eytan Cohen, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Shay Covo, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Mirit Dahan-Fumbar, Ph.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Yael Fridmann-Sirkis, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Moshe Goldsmith, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Tanya Goncharov, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Kay Gottschalk, Ph.D., Technical University of Munich, Germany

Stephen Gould, Ph.D., University of Nottingham, United Kingdom

Elena Grimberg, Ph.D., Tel-Aviv University, Israel

Shlomit Hanz, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Elena Iavnilovitch, Ph.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Hanna Jaaro, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Marina Jmoudiak, M.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Tae Bong Kang, Ph.D., Konkuk University, Korea

Irene Kholmyansky, Ph.D., Tel-Aviv University, Israel

Jonathan Eric Kohn, Ph.D., University of California Santa Barbara

Andrey Kovalenko, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Oded Lewinson, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Yan Li, Ph.D., Shandong Agricultural University, China

Adi Mesika, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Izhak Michaelevski, Ph.D., Tel-Aviv University, Israel

David Nakar, Ph.D., Tel-Aviv University, Israel

Reinat Nevo, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Rony Oren Benaroya, Ph.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel


12 Biological Chemistry

Sergio Peisajovich, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Tal Peleg - Shulmam, Ph.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Eran Perlson, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Parameswaran Ramakrishnan, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Merav Revach, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Avi Rimler, Ph.D., Tel-Aviv University, Israel

Ayala Saul, Ph.D., Bar-Ilan University, Israel

Ziv Sevilya, Ph.D., Tel-Aviv University, Israel

Hagit Shapiro, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Michal Shoresh, Ph.D., Tel-Aviv University, Israel

Nobuhiko Tokuriki, Ph.D., Osaka University, Japan

Wangxia Wang, Ph.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Jianshe Yan, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Laiqun Zhang, Ph.D., China agriculture University, China

Research Students

Sheera Adar Nira Amar

Liat Amir-Zilberstein Michael Anbar

Gali Arad Sharon Avkin

Dorit Avrahami Liat Bahari

Anat Bahat Reut Bartoov

Roy Bekerman Talya Belogus

Keren Ben Yaakov Tehila Ben-Moshe

Efrat Ben-Zeev Shimon Bershtein

Yonathan Caspi Silvia G. Chuartzman

Eytan Cohen Mati Cohen

Galit Cohen-Ben-Lulu Shay Covo

Noam Diamant Elizabeta Dinitz

Yudin Dmitry Asa Eitan

Rofa Elfakess Ephraim Fass

Dan Frumkin Maria Gabriella Fuzesi

Anna Gakamsky Leonid Gaydukov

Kfir Gazit Doron Gerber

Binyamin Gil Lyubov (Luba) Ginzburg

Michal Golan-Mashiach Tanya Goncharov

Shlomit Hanz Liraz Harel

Haim Haviv Ayal Hendel

Shachar Iwanir Lior Izhar

Diego Jaitin Jin-Hyuk Jung

Jaakov Kacher Eyal Kalie

Shai Kaplan Alon Karpol

Olga Khersonsky Jin Chul Kim


Biological Chemistry 13

Noga Dalia Kowalsman Noga Kozer G.

Sujoy Lahiri Premkumar Lakshmanane

Anat Lavi Itzkovitz Elena Levin

Oded Lewinson Orna Liarzi

Yael Lifshitz Moshit Lindzen

Irina Lubarski Arik Arie Makovitzki

Elinor Malul Adi Mesika

Bracha Naim Ilit Noach

Niv Papo Yakov Paz

Avishay Pelah Eran Perlson

Ofer Rahat Akhil Rajput

Parameswaran Ramakrishnan Ophir Rav-Hon

Adi Raveh Dana Reichmann

Merav Revach Gabriela Ridner

Inbal Riven Peter Rohac

Laila Catalina Roisman Cintia Roodveldt

Kelly SackettR ona Sadja Gertner

Neta Sal-Man Ruth Scherz-Shoval

Yael Segal-Ruder Hagit Shapiro

Saroj Shekhawat Hagai Shorer

Elena Shvets Nadejda Sigal

Indranil Sinha Selena Trajkovic-Bodennec

Tal Varsano Roberto Ventrella

Adam Wasserstrom Hilla Weidberg

Nomy Wender Yael Wexler- Cohen

Itamar Yadid Jianshe Yan

Ganit Yarden Ido Yosef

Administrator

Maanit Zibziner


Molecular Genetics

Adi Kimchi, Head

The Helena Rubinstein Chair in Cancer Research

The Department of Molecular Genetics focuses on molecular and genetic mechanisms

underlying basic biological processes occurring either in the context of the entire organism or

at the level of single cells. A wide range of biological problems are being addressed in the

fields of development, cell biology, and human/mouse genetics, and on the structure,

expression, stability and function of proteins. Additionally, the fields of bioinformatics and

computational biology, which are being developed in the department, provide powerful

genome wide approaches to address some of these biological issues.

The lab of Benny Shilo continued to focus on EGF receptor signaling in Drosophila. An

intricate machinery for processing the activating ligands was uncovered. Interestingly, the

amount of ligand that is secreted can be regulated by altering the intracellular compartment in

which processing takes place. Once the ligand is secreted, distinct threshold responses are

established. In a combination of experimental and computational work, a novel mechanism for

creating such response thresholds was identified. In a different research avenue, novel insights

into the mechanism of cell fusion during muscle development, and the involvement of the

microfilament system in the process were uncovered. Talila Volk's lab focuses on mechanisms

controlling tissue formation and organogenesis, during embryonic development of Drosophila.

In the past year they have discovered that a splicing-dependent mechanism is a critical step in

the induction of terminal differentiation of tendon and glial cells, and that this step is mediated

by the RNA-binding protein HOW in both cell types. The molecular basis for this process is

currently being analyzed. In addition, their research is directed to identify factors controlling

muscles migration and adhesion towards tendon cells. In this direction they discovered that the

extra cellular matrix protein Thrombospondin is essential for the specific adhesion of muscles

with their corresponding tendon cell.

Mouse model systems are being approached for studying embryonic development and genetic

diseases. Elazar Zelzer studies genetic and epigenetic mechanisms that regulate bone

development. Their previous finding that VEGF is required for angiogenesis into developing

bones, initiated their interest in this gene. By analyzing the effect of loss of VEGF function in

different tissues involved in bone development, they have identified several unpredicted novel

roles of VEGF during bone development. First, VEGF regulates early chondrogenesis during

limb bud development. It also regulates chondrocytes survival. Finally, it stimulates bone

formation by increasing the activity of osteoblasts, both in intramembr anous and

endochondral bones. By studying the expression patterns of VEGF they have identified a

dynamic expression in skeletal tissues, consistent with its roles during several steps of bone

15


16 Molecular Genetics

development. Thus, the VEGF study has become a portal to greater understanding of skeletal

development. Developmental aspects in the mammalian brain are being studied by Orly

Reiner’s lab. One typical feature of the mammalian brain is that neurons are born in a region

which is different from their final position. Their group is researching normal and abnormal

processes of neuronal migration using a combination of mouse genetics, in utero

electroporation, biochemistry, and cell biology methods. In particular they are involved in

dissecting the role of lissencephaly-associated gene products (LIS1 and doublecortin, DCX).

Their research has indicated to their importance in mediating signaling pathways, and

regulating the microtubule and actin cytoskeleton during neuronal migration. Yoram Groner

research focuses on disease conditions in which genetic predisposition of individual

chromosome 21 genes play role. That is, how an extra copy of otherwise normal genes

produces pathophysiological conditions in humans particularly in patients with Down

syndrome. Gene-Knockout mice of individual genes are used to investigate the consequences

of functional inactivation of candidate genes. Currently much of the studies focused on the

biology of the transcription factors Runx1 and Runx3 that are master regulators of linage

specific gene expression in developmental pathways using in vitro transfected cells and in vivo

genetically modified mouse models.

Basic cellular processes are being approached from the molecular angle, both in mammalian

cells and in yeasts by several groups. The lab of Jeff Gerst focuses on how cells establish and

maintain polarity in order for directed growth and cell division to occur. They are using the

yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, as a model system for the study of these processes in

eukaryotic cells and have three major projects. The first examines the role of signaling

pathways in the control of exocytosis at the level of membrane fusion and studies the role of

kinases and phosphatases in regulation of the exocytic apparatus. The second focuses on the

role of SNARE-binding proteins in endosomal protein sorting and the onset of human diseases

involving defects in lysosomal storage. The third examines the role of mRNA trafficking in

polarity establishment and secretion. Programmed cell death, is another fundamental process

in cell biology which is being studied in the lab of Adi Kimchi, by proceeding from ‘single

gene’ study towards global network analysis in mammalian cell systems. During the last year,

the lab extended the study of the individual pro-death DAP proteins by identifying interacting

proteins, specific substrates and upstream regulators, as part of the efforts to construct the

network topology around these genetically selected genes and to understand their cellular

function. The DAP-kinase Knockout mice which were analyzed for their in vivo stress

responses established a role for this gene in ER stress where it functions as a switch in the

apoptotic/autophagic cell death junction. The group has recently developed a new

methodology that assesses the dynamics of cell death networks by measuring the functional

weight of individual nodes, via single and double silencing perturbations, using RNA

interference. The lab of Ari Elson studies the roles of protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) in

regulating physiological processes. Their goals are to uncover detailed molecular-level

mechanisms, by which specific phosphatases affect discrete physiological outcomes by

dephosphorylating specific substrates. Their current studies focus on PTP Epsilon; they are

using molecular, cellular, and whole-animal systems to uncover the role of this PTP in

regulating malignant transformation, myelination, and bone metabolism.


Molecular Genetics 17

Cytokine signaling is an additional studied theme. The lab of Leo Sachs continues their work

on the cytokine mediated control of multiplication, differentiation and apoptosis of

hematopoietic cells. In a recent study they showed that human cancers overexpress genes that

are specific to a variety of normal human tissues. Michel Revel's group studies the

differentiation of the cells producing the myelin sheaths around nerves, with the aim of

developing ways to stimulate the regeneration of myelin in neurological diseases such as

neuropathies and Multiple Sclerosis. A transcription factor, Zinc binding factor ZBP99, was

shown to be required for the expression of the Myelin protein zero (MPZ) gene in Schwann

cells, and IL6RIL6 (a recombinant cytokine resulting from the fusion of IL-6 to its soluble

receptor) stimulates the binding of ZBP99 to the MPZ promoter chromatin thereby enhancing

myelin synthesis. The differentiation of Embryonic Stems (ES) cells into mature

oligodendrocytes with an extended network of branches was similarly shown to be stimulated

by IL6RIL6. The lab of Menachem Rubinstein studies the role of several transcription

factors in growth, differentiation, cell death and immune responses. In the past, they identified

a heterodimeric complex of the transcription factors C/EBP- β and IRF-1 as a mediator of

interferon-gamma immunomodulatory activities. Currently, the group studies the various

functions of the C/EBP family of transcription factor s. In particular, the role of C/EBP- β in

tumor cell survival and pre-adipocyte differentiation. The group also studies the role of

another family member – CHOP-10 in adipocyte cell death. Another research topic deals with

regulation of IFN- α

gene expression, trying to resolve the enigma of multi-gene family whose

products have a practically identical function. Also, they continue the attempts to identify

receptors of bereaved cytokines (the counterparts of orphan receptors).

Work by the lab of Chaim Kahana dissects the regulation of intracellular polyamines.

Antizyme inhibitor (AzI), a protein that displays high homology to ornithine decarboxylase

(ODC) but which retains no enzymatic activity is extensively investigated. This investigation

is conducted in two directions; the first aiming at exploring the molecular mechanism

responsible for its rapid degradation (in comparison to the degradation of ODC), the second

concerns the growth advantage this protein provides to cells. Another aspect of investigation is

the revelation of the polyamine transport system. This aspect is investigated in yeast and

recently also in mammalian cells. The last aspect concernes the possible involvement of 20S

proteasomes in mediating ubiquitin independent cellular degradation. Work by the lab of

Yosef Shaul focuses on the basic cellular processes of transcription, protein stability and

DNA-damage signaling. These processes are investigated also with respect to understanding

the molecular basis of virus-host cell interactions. They have recently described a novel

pathway of protein degradation that is active in parallel to the conventional ubiquitin system.

This pathway which does not require protein modification is executed by the 20S proteasomes

and inhibited by NQO1, an NADH regulated enzyme that plays a role of 20S proteasome

gatekeeper.

In the lab of Doron Lancet, whole-genome analyses and comparative genomics are used to

decipher the evolution of olfactory receptors, the largest gene superfamily in the human

genome. Genetic variation is studied as a tool for understanding multigenic diseases such as

schizophrenia, as well as personal variations in the sense of smell. This is aided by advanced

instrumentation for detecting single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) by robotized mass

spectrometry. Further developments of GeneCards, a widely used compendium of human


18 Molecular Genetics

genes allow one (among others) to better analyses microarray expression data. In the realm of

Systems Biology, prebiotic molecular networks are studied as a means for understanding the

emergence of life on earth. The lab of Shmuel Pietrokovski studies the relations between

protein sequence, structure and function. They pursue this goal by computational and

experimental approaches. Computationally they develop methods to compare conserved

protein sequence motifs, and to analyze protein structures. Intein protein-splicing domains and

related domains are studied integratively by experimental and computational methods. They

are exa mining the evolution, biochemical activity and cellular function of these ancient

domains that are involved in various post-translational modifications in animals and microbes.

In the lab of Naama Barkai they are trying to deduce design principles of biological networks.

The two main research programs include bioinformatics studies of large-scale data and

modeling of relatively isolated subsystems. They recently extended their bioinformatics effort

for comparative analysis of genome-wide transcription data between organisms, focusing on

related yeast species. They classified in great details inter-species differences in gene

expression pattern, and tried to identify the underlying genetic basis for these changes. In

particular, they identified a major re-wiring of the yeast transcription network, which is

connected to the emergent of anaerobic growth capacity and characterized a connection

between TATA-based regulation and evolvability of gene expression. The modeling studies

focused on two system: the spindle assembly checkpoint and gradient detection during yeast

mating. In both systems they characterized biological constraints that the respective system

need to overcome thus limiting the possible designs of the underlying biological networks. In

the lab of Tzachi Pilpel they continued their research on various mechanisms and processes

related to gene expression regulation. They studied experimentally the noise spectrum in

protein expression of dozens yeast genes in multiple growth conditions and discovered that

stress-related genes display particularly "noisy" expression whereby the same genes in

different genetically identical cells in a population may be expressed to various different

degrees. Their studies on mammalian anti-sense control has culminated in experimental

verification of their initial predictions about the involvement of such non-coding RNAs in the

p53-mdm2 switch. In parallel they began to explore translation regulatory signals in open

reading frame sequences and found extensive regulatory signals that are modulated in different

orthologous genes in various yeast species in a way that likely explains differences in their

metabolic preferences. They continued their work on genetic backup circuits and discovered

that hubs in the protein network tend to have a backup protection more frequently than lowly

connected proteins.

Altogether the department combines structural genomic approaches with functional "postgenomic"

studies. Moreover, the work with multiple model organisms (i.e., yeast, fly, mouse

and human) removes the species barrier and offers the opportunity to study a single biological

process in several systems, thus benefiting from the various genetic and molecular tools that

each system provides.

http://www.weizmann.ac.il/molgen/


Research Staff, Visitors and Students

Professors

Molecular Genetics 19

Yoram Groner, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel (on extension of

service)

The Dr. Barnet Berris Professor of Cancer Research

Adi Kimchi, Ph.D., Tel Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel

The Helena Rubinstein Professor in Cancer Research

Doron Lancet, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Ralph D. and Lois R. Silver Professor of Human Genomics

Michel Revel, Ph.D., University of Strasbourg, France (on extension of service)

The Ruth and Jerome A. Siegel and Freda and Edward M. Siegel Professor of Virology

Menachem Rubinstein, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Edna and Mickey Weiss Professor of Cytokines Research

Leo Sachs, Ph.D., University of Cabmridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom (on extension of

service)

The Otto Meyerhof Professor of Molecular Biology

Yosef Shaul, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Oscar and Emma Getz Professor

Ben-Zion Shilo, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

The Hilda and Cecil Lewis Professor of Molecular Genetics

Professors Emeriti

Alvin M. Kaye, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, United States (deceased

October 2005)

Ernest Winocour, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Associate Professors

Naama Barkai, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Incumbent of the Soretta and Henry Shapiro Career Development Chair (until

November 2005)

Ari Elson, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Jeffrey Gerst, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Chaim Kahana, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Jules J. Mallon Professor of Biochemistry

Shmuel Pietrokovski, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Incumbent of the Philip Harris and Gerald Ronson Career Development Chair (until

November 2005)

Orly Reiner, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Bernstein-Mason Professor of Neurochemistry


20 Molecular Genetics

Rabi Simantov, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Andre Lwoff Professor of Neurogenetics

Talila Volk, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Professor Sir Ernest B. Chain Professor

Senior Scientists

Yitzhak Pilpel, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Center for Complexity Science Fellowship

Incumbent of the Aser Rothstein Career Development Chair of Genetic Diseases

Elazar Zelzer, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Incumbent of the Martha S. Sagon Career Development Chair

Senior Staff Scientists

Judith Chebath, Ph.D., University of Marseilles, France

Ditsa Levanon, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Daniela Novick, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Eyal Schejter, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Associate Staff Scientist

Edna Ben-Asher, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Assistant Staff Scientists

Elena Ainbinder, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Stella Aronov, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Nili Avidan, Ph.D., Hahnemann University, Philadelphia, United States (left July 2005)

Shani Bialik, Ph.D., Division of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, United States

Devrim Gozuacik, Ph.D., Universite de Paris-Sud XI, Paris, France

Tsviya Olender, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Tamar Sapir, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Liora Strichman-Almashanu, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, United

States

Junior Staff Scientists

Levana Ben-Simchon, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel (left March

2005)

Sven Bergmann, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel (left April 2005)

Merav Yarmus, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel (left December

2005)


Engineer

Molecular Genetics 21

Joseph Lotem, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Consultants

Avshalom Elitzur, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel

Ruth Gross-Isseroff, Geha Hospital, Petach Tikva, Israel

David Horn, Tel Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel

Tsippora Iny Stein

Ron Shamir, Tel Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel

Michael Shmoish, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel

Orit Shmueli, The Agricultural Research Organization of Israel, Bet Dagan

Davidi Shoseyov, Hadassa Hospital, Jerusalem, Israel (left September 2005)

Clara Singer

Dalia Somjen, Sourasky Medical Center, Tel-Aviv, Israel (left August 2005)

Visiting Scientists

David Israeli, Sheba Medical Ctr., Tel Hashomer, Israel

Jason Levy, University of Ottawa, Canada

David Shafritz, A. Einstein College of Medicine, NY, USA

Postdoctoral Fellows

Julia Adler, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Ben Alkahe, Ph.D.,M.D., Ben-Gurion University, Israel

Stella Aronov, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Gad Asher, Ph.D.,M.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Elise Balse, Ph.D., Louis Pasteur University

Yonatan Bilu, Ph.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

David Bonfil, Ph.D., Tel-Aviv University, Israel

Arik Cooper, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Frederic Coquelle, Ph.D., Paris-Sud University, France

Gilgi Friedlander-Malik, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Gabriel Gerlitz, Ph.D., Tel-Aviv University, Israel

Dan Gottlieb, M.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Dan Gottlieb, M.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Devrim Gozuacik, Ph.D., Paris XI University, France

Tzvika Hartman, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Vladimir Hurgin, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Jan Hendrik Ihmels, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

David Israeli, M.D., Tel-Aviv University, Israel

Joy Kahn, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel


22 Molecular Genetics

Alon Levy, Ph.D.,M.D., Agriculture Faculty, Israel

Gustavo Javier Melen, Ph.D., University of Buenos Aires, Argentina

Zohar Mukamel, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Avital Regev, Ph.D., Tel-Aviv University, Israel

Nina Reuven, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Tamar Sapir, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Galit Shohat, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Shalom Guy Slutsky, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Liora Strichman-Almashanu, Ph.D., The Johns Hopkins University, USA

Hila Toledano-Katchalski, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Gloria Volohonsky, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Adina Weinberger, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Sarit Weissmann, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Ariel Werman, M.D., Ben-Gurion University, Israel

Merav Yarmus, Ph.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Research Students

Daniela Bettina Amann Roy Amariglio

Gad Asher Efrat Assa-Kunik

Daniela Bar-El Omri Bauer

Dalia Berman-Golan Antonio De Padua Castillo Flores

Ron Chen Dorit Cohen

Arik Cooper Bareket Dassa

Zohar Dor Mukamel Avital Eisenberg

Avigdor Eldar Idit Eshkar- Oren

Ofer Fainaru Ester Feldmesser

Milana Frenkel-Morgenstern Gilgi Friedlander

Galina Gabriely Tali Garin

Amos Gdalyahu Rita Gelin-Licht

Indraneel Ghosh Eliezer Gilsohn

Roni Golan - Lavi Shira Granot - Attas

Yaron Gruper Liora Haim

Shay Hantisteanu Yehudit Hasin

Vladimir Hurgin Jan Hendrik Ihmels

Michal Izrael Daphna Joseph-Strauss

Ron Kafri Amnon Koren

Judith Kraut Michal Lapidot

Dan Levy Sagi Levy

Idit Livnat Yoav Lubelsky

Lea Marash Jada (R'ada) Massarwa

Ofir Meir Idan Menashe

Amir Mitchell Amir Mitchell


Molecular Genetics 23

Helit Nabel-Rozen Alona Neimark

Ronit Nir Ziv Porat

Sharon Reef Eran Reem

Adriana Reuveny Micah Robinson

Shany Ron Dalia Rosin-Grunewald

Sivan Sapoznik Ofer Sarig

Ayelet Schlesinger Uri Shahar

Tamar Shapira-Cohen Barak Shenhav

Amir Shlomai Anat Shmueli

Galit Shohat Yishay Shoval

Tal Sines Einat Sitbon

Zohar Snapir Arul Subramanian

Zohar Tiran Itay Tirosh

Rachel Tsruya Peter Tsvetkov

Gloria Volohonsky Bess Wayburn

Eilon Woolf Liat Yakir-Tamang

Shaul Yogev Einat Zalckvar

Pei Lin Zhang Gadi Zipor

Administrator

Lea Marom


Plant Sciences

Gad Galili, Head

The Bronfman Professor of Plant Science

Understanding how plants grow and react to the environment are central to our long-lasting

endeavor to appreciate basic mechanisms that drive biological processes as well as to devising

a rational approach to secure more food, and food of better quality. This is important as plants

offer the world the main renewable resource of foods, building material and energy. Plants as

multicellular organisms have developed highly sophisticated short and long-term adaptive

mechanisms to the changing environment as a result of the simple fact that they cannot alter

their location during environmental change. Thus, the research activities in the Department of

Plant Sciences are centered around plant biology and its relation to the environment. Our

model systems study the function and regulation of isolated genes and their interactive

behavior in the context of the whole plant. To accomplish this we have developed extensive inhouse

genetic, genomic, bioinformatic, metabolomic and transgenic infrastructures that enable

us to isolate novel genes by gene trapping, knockout or map-based cloning. With the help of

bioinformatic analysis and our ability to transform whole plants, cloned genes are studied and

manipulated in the context of the whole organism.

The recent discoveries of the DNA squences of the whole human genome as well as the

genomes of few plant species revealed quite extensive similarity in many genes between these

two organisms. This discovery supported earlier studies, showing extensive conservation of a

number of processes operating in the cells of both organisms. This conservation has also

opened a new avenue to utilize plants and plant research in the battle against human diseases.

Research activities in our department are directed into utilizing plants to improve human

health. The similarity between plants and human cells allow plant cells to serve as efficient

cost-effective bioreactors for production of modern therapeutic drugs and vaccines to fight

human diseases, and extensive research activities in our department are devoted to these

processes. In addition, the unique ability of plants to harness the energy of light and transduce

its energy to biologically useful forms is used in our department to develop novel methods,

which use plant macromolecules in combination with light-mediated treatments to eradicate

tumors in the human body.

Avigdor Scherz’s group studies the role of proteins in regulating this mechanism. Using

spectroscopy and theoretical calculations of metal substituted bacteriochlorophylls he follows

and investigates charge flow between atoms, groups and whole molecules. These studies

provide insight to mechanisms that underlay chemical reactivity in biological and non-

25


26 Plant Sciences

biological systems. Other metal susbtituted Bchl that have been recently synthesized by Scherz

are used for vascular targeting photodynamic therapy of tumors and other diseases. The first of

theses novel compound is now in phase II clinical trials against prostate cancer. Studies of

quantitative structure activity relationships of the modified Bchls is in progress.

Marvin Edelman: In collaboration with Vladimir Sobolev, a structural bioinformatics

approach is being developed for molecular recognition. Contact surface area and chemical

properties of atoms are employed to predict amino acid side chain conformations on a protein

backbone and the core residues involved in metal ligation and protein - protein complex

formation. In collaboration with Autar Mattoo (Beltsville, USA), the regulation of

photosynthetic protein complexes is studied using transgenic Spirodela to analyze

photophosphorylation of chloroplast membrane proteins. Marvin Edelman’s group has

successfully induced a tissue culture cycle (callus formation and plant regeneration) in

Spirodela and developed an efficient transformation system that can deliver recombinant genes

encoding pharmaceutical proteins into this plant in the fight against human disease. In

collaboration with LemnaGene SA (Lyon, France), the Spirodela transformation system is

being developed into an environmentally safe and secure monocot biotechnology platform for

production of such pharmaceuticals.

Asaph Aharoni's group investigates regulatory networks controlling the biosynthesis of

secondary metabolites in the course of plant development and under stress conditions. New

analytical and computational tools are currently being developed that allow extensive

metabolic profiling of complex plant extracts and the integration of metabolic data with

information derived from other levels of regulation such as the transcriptome. Apart from tools

for metabolite detection, a large population of mutant tomato plants is generated in order to

link a metabolic phenotype to genotypes in metabolic pathways of interest. One of the first

targets of Asaph Aharoni's lab is to identify the regulatory genes compiling the networks coordinating

activity of metabolic pathways (in the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites) and

fruit growth during tomato ripening. A second major activity in the lab is to decipher the

regulatory networks that link primary (e.g. metabolism of amino acids) and secondary

metabolism in the model plant Arabidopsis. A third major topic is associated with the

formation of the plant surface, i.e. the cuticular layer that mediates the plants interaction with

environment. Regulation of cuticle metabolism is investigated in vegetative tissues in

Arabidopsis and tomato fruit exocarp tissue (i.e. peel). By performing the above mentioned

studies, key genetic factors controlling metabolic pathways and co-ordinating their activity

with plant development and stress response will be identified and characterized. Moreover, the

knowledge acquired could assist in the production of plants with desired levels of health

promoting compounds (as for example increased antioxidant activity) by means of classical

breeding and/or genetic engineering.

Avihai Danon studies the regulation of gene expression by redox signals. In particular, he is

investigating post-transcriptional regulation in the adaptation of plants to changing

environments. Redox reactions of two proteins involve the transfer of electron(s) from one

protein (the donor) to the other (the acceptor). His work implies that similarly to computers,

the transfer of electrons from the donor to the acceptor can be used in biology as a flow of

information. In plants, the redox signaling proteins participate in protection mechanisms


Plant Sciences 27

against the accumulation of free radicals, and regulation of protein synthesis. Danon has found

that regulatory proteins of the thioredoxin family exchange electrons along specific pathways

in the soluble compartments of the cell. His studies suggest that in contrast to computer, the

flow of electronic information in biology can take place also in solution by means of noninsulated

routes. A moss (Physcomitrella patens) and an alga (Chlamydomonas reinhardtii)

are being developed as efficient bioreactors for therapeutic proteins. Danon’s group has found

P. patens to express high levels of recombinant proteins and has isolated a number of targeting

signals that enable an engineered routing of the recombinant proteins to specific intracellular

compartments, thereby facilitating tight control of posttranslational modifications and

maximizing protein extraction from the producing plants.

The features that distinguish plants from animals are not limited to photosynthesis. Plants are

sessile, have rigid cell walls and have no fixed germ line. This means that their development

differs radically from that found in animals.

Gideon Grafi's group showed that cellular de-differentiation has ramifications in chromatin

structure. Dedifferentiation was accompanied by reorganization of specific chromosomal

domain, modifications of histone H3 and redistribution of heterochromatin protein 1 (HP1).

Retinoblastoma protein was found to regulate the formation of heterochromatin sub domains,

at least partly, via interaction with HP1.

Yuval Eshed: To understand how variation between plants occurs through evolutionary

processes, Yuval Eshed’s group study the mechanisms that shape plant organs of several

unrelated species. All plants lateral organs such as leaves and floral organs are formed at the

flanks of unique groups of organized cells called meristems. Organ formation is highly

regulated in time and space partly through communication between the meristem and the

already formed organs. Research in Yuval Eshed's lab focuses on the nature of such

communication. Two types of communication are the focus of Yuval’s group. The

juxtaposition of the upper and lower sides of leaves result in signaling inducing their

expansion. And, the resulting asymmetric leaf signals back to the meristem to determine the

position and timing of new leaf formation. Both types of signaling involve interactions

between transcription regulators and micro RNAs that counteract their activities. Minor

modifications in these relations account for some of the differences between the small

Arabidopsis and large tomato leaves. Through the study of plant development, several new

tools were developed that can be used in a wide array of applications. Methods to down or up

regulate multiple genes in specific time and place should allow precise manipulations of

endogenous or introduced traits without side effects associated with constitutive expression.

Jonathan Gressel (Emeritus): Transgenic crops as well as transgenic biocontrol agents are

beginning to play an important part in the protection of plants from insect, disease, and weed

problems. Jonathan Gressel’s group has recently demonstrated that engineering

hypervirulence genes into biocontrol agents enhances their effectiveness in controlling weeds,

and they are now stacking such genes to ascertain whether there is synergy. Often the crops or

the biocontrol agents are closely related to weeds or to pathogens of crops (respectively), and

there is a likelihood of transfer of genetic material to these relatives. He and his colleagues

have been developing the framework for assessing the risks that this will happen on a case by


28 Plant Sciences

case basis. More importantly, they are studying ways to use genetic engineering, to detect and

prevent the transfer or to mitigate the effects of such transfer, when it occurs, as well as to biobarcode

transgenic organisms to facilitate detection. The group is actively developing crops,

biocontrol agents and agrotechnologies to facilitate control of parasitic weeds, in part with

colleagues at CIMMYT in Mexico and Kenya. They have developed a technology of seed

application of small amounts of weed killer to herbicide-resistant mutant maize that kills the

parasite, on average tripling yields in infested areas, which has recently been handed over to

local seed companies for distribution to farmers.

Robert Fluhr: Cultivated plants are especially prone to disease but, importantly, plants

(especially the wild relatives of cultivated plants) have inbuilt pathogen recognition molecules

that are called resistance genes. If the genes are present the plant will recognize the pathogen

in the early stages of infection and mount successful defense. Robert Fluhr's group used

molecular genetic techniques to uncover the genes that are central for resistance to plant

vascular diseases. It turns out that many other plant resistance genes and innate human

resistance genes have common molecular features. Understanding their molecular architecture,

structure-function relationships and evolution are crucial for planning rational approaches to

plant-pathogen protection as well as furthering our understanding of human innate immunity.

The rapid adaptive responses of plants to the biotic and abiotic environment dictate their

success as organisms. One such response was shown in to include rapid activation of reactive

oxygen species produced by NADPH oxidase and the participation of a special class of

aldehyde oxidases (in collaboration with Moshe Sagi; Ben-Gurion University of the Negev).

Important parallels have been drawn to human-based disease caused by mis-regulated reactive

oxygen species produced by the same enzyme classes. Stress-related responses are multi-tiered

and also affect alternative splicing. A LAMMER-type kinase conserved in humans and plants

originally isolated in the lab as a kinase whose activity is modulated by the hormone ethylene

was shown to localize to the nucleus and regulate alternative splicing of a particular subset of

transcripts. Based on that result, important parallels and differences between plant and human

alternative splicing could be drawn.

Gad Galili: Breeders of higher yielding crops have traditionally relied on assembling the best

of what is available in nature into crop plants. But with the help of fundamental understanding

of plant metabolism, particularly amino acid synthesis, Gad Galili's group has shown that

biosynthetic and catabolic pathways can be manipulated for enhanced production of essential

amino acids. The production can be directed to special cells in the seeds. Research is directed

into genomics-based elucidation of complex regulatory networks linking between amino acids

metabolism and other metabolic networks and regulatory processes that control seed

development and germination. In addition, a new research has been initiated to elucidate how

metabolism in plant seeds interacts with and regulated by metabolic networks in vegetative

tissues.

Plants are essential elements for human health, serving both as food srouces as well as

bioreactors for modern therapeutic drugs. Improving the quality of plants for human health

requires the modulation of metabolic networks in plant cells, and research activity in Gad

Galili's group is targeted at these issues.


Plant Sciences 29

Plant growth requires continious re-medeling of its metabolic networks in response to various

stresses imposed by the changing evnironment. This re-modeling is regulated by a number of

different intra-cellular processes, one of which, called autophagy, has been implicated to

protect plants against nutrient stresses. Yet, Gad Galili's group has recently shown that the

autophagy process operates not only under nutrient stress, but also under normal plant growth,

implying a broader function of this pathway.

Avraham Levy: Coping with the environment has both short and long-range implications. It

has long been appreciated that even the basic plant genome architecture, which dictates the

most fundamental aspect of plant biology can evolve rapidly Avraham Levy's group is

studying the mechanisms contributing to this fluidity. This includes the effect of mobile genes

on genome structure and expression, the effect and regulation of DNA repair and homologous

recombination. These mechanisms are harnessed to develop new technologies for precise

modification of the plant genome such as gene targeting, the homologous recombination

between a genomic target and an introduced DNA sequence.

Bread wheat is a polyploid organism (2n=6x=42; genome BBAADD). Recently it was found

by Moshe Feldman (Emeritus) and Avraham Levy’s groups that polyploidization (interspecific

or inter-generic hybridization followed by chromosome doubling) induces rapid

cardinal genetic and epigenetic changes affecting non-coding as well as coding sequences. The

mechanism involved in bringing about these changes as well as the biological significance are

currently under investigation. One aspect of these changes is the instantaneous differentiation

of the genetically related chromosomes of the different genomes. An interesting mechanism of

epigenetic regulation is the transcriptional activation of retrotransposons. As a result of this

activation neighbor genes can be silenced (by antisense-mediated silencing) or activated.

Moshe Feldman’s (Emeritus) group has recently developed a naturally modified wheat

genome that facilitates hybrid wheat production. In addition, wild germplasm contains

untapped useful genes that can be hybridized into the cultivated wheat. Special lines have been

produced that facilitate the identification and mapping of useful qualitative and quantitative

genes in wild wheat and transfer them to cultivated background.

The brief foray into the salient features of our research efforts show the integration of

methodologies from genetics, physiology, biochemistry, structural botany, molecular biology

and protein modeling. What has become clear, is that investigating plants not only provides

important starting points for their improvement but as an "outsider" organism their study

presents fresh scientific viewpoints in general biology.

http://www.weizmann.ac.il/Plant_Sciences/


30 Plant Sciences

Research Staff, Visitors and Students

Professors

Marvin Edelman, Ph.D., Brandeis University, Waltham, United States (on extension of

service)

The Sir Siegmund Warburg Professor of Agricultural Molecular Biology

Robert Fluhr, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Gad Galili, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Bronfman Professor of Plant Science

Avigdor Scherz, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

The Robert and Yadelle Sklare Professor in Biochemistry

Professors Emeriti

Dan Atsmon, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Moshe Feldman, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Esra Galun, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Jonathan Gressel, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison, United States

Associate Professors

Avihai Danon, Ph.D., University of Arizona, Tucson, United States

Gideon Grafi, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot, Israel (until October

2005)

Avraham Levy, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Gilbert de Botton Professor of Plant Sciences

Senior Scientists

Asaph Aharoni, Ph.D., Wagenigen University, Wagenigen, Netherlands

Yigal Allon Fellow

Incumbent of the Adolfo and Evelyn Blum Career Development Chair of Cancer

Research

Yuval Eshed, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Incumbent of the Judith and Martin Freedman Career Development Chair

Senior Staff Scientists

Vlad Brumfeld, Ph.D., University of Bucharest, Romania

Vladimir Sobolev, Ph.D., Institute of Catalysis, Siberian Branch of the Academy of Sciences,

Siberia, Russian Federation


Assistant Staff Scientists

Plant Sciences 31

Cathy Bessudo, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Olga Davydov, Ph.D., Rsearch Institute for Essential Oil Plants, Crimea, Ukraine

Ron Vunsh, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel (left March 2005)

Junior Staff Scientist

Hadas Zehavi, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Special Contract

Sergey Gerzon, M.Sc., Novosibirsk State University, Novosibirsk, Russian Federation

Engineer

Zohar Hagbi, B.A., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Consultants

Varda Belkin, Steba Laboratories Ltd., Rehovot, Israel

Hagit Ben Meir, "Eden", Rehovot, Israel (left October 2005)

Alexander Brandis, Steba Labs, Rehovot, Israel

Gideon Grafi, The Volcani Center, Beth-Dagan, Israel (from November 2005)

Alexander Heifetz, Predix Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Ramat-Gan, Israel (left April 2005)

Eitan Millet, Tel Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel

Julia Vilensky, Veterinary Clinic, Rishon-Lezion, Israel

Visiting Scientists

John Alvarez, Monash University, Australia

Yariv Brotman, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Postdoctoral Fellows

Hani Al-Ahmad, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Olubukola O. Babalola, Ph.D., University of IBADAN, Nigeria

Aaron Fait, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Yoav Herschkovitz, Ph.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Yael Katz, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Alexander Levitan, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

David Panikashvili, Ph.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Ilana Rogachev, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel


32 Plant Sciences

Meir Sagit, Ph.D.

Hezi Shaked, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Silvia Slavikova, Ph.D., Institute of Cell Biology, Abroad

Roie Yerushalmi, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Research Students

Hani Al-Ahmad Ruthie Angelovich

Shira Avital Sharon Ayal

Mariana Babor Eyal Blum

Ofra Chen Inbal Dangoor

Eyal Emmanuel Eran Eyal

Aaron Fait Neta Filip Granit

Rina Glozman Eran Goldberg

Ruth Goldschmidt Alexander Goldshmidt

Hege Hvattum Divon Maxim Itkin

Michal Kenan-Eichler Oksana Kerner

Nardy Lampl-Saady Hadar Less

Alexander Levitan Laurence Libs

Michal Lieberman Hadas Ner-Gaon

Irena Pekker Vladimir Potapov

Efrat Rubinstein Ilan Samish

Dadi Segal Hezi Shaked

Asya Stepansky Sarit Weissmann

Elizabeth Yehuda Roie Yerushalmi

Assaf Zemach Yehudit Zohar

Administrator

Maanit Zibziner


Biological Services

Chaim Kahana, Head

The Jules J. Mallon Professor of Biochemistry

The Department of Biological Services provides specialized facilities and services to more

than 700 scientists and students in the areas of bioinformatics, molecular biology, protein

analysis, cell biology, bacteriology, genomics and immunology. The specific services include

DNA sequencing, Protein sequencing, Mass spectroscopy analysis (including peptide

synthesis quality control, protein molecular mass determination, protein identification and

identification of post translational modifications), Oligonucleotide synthesis, Peptide

synthesis, Bioinformatics consaltation (given as 1:1 consultation or in the format of lectures

and workshops), Cell sorting (analytical and preparative), Antibody preparation (polyclonal

and monoclonal), Bacterial fermentation, irradiation of cells, animals and other biological

materials, Gene expression profiling by DNA array analysis and maintenance of electronic

equipment and computers.

In addition, staff members of various units of the Biological Services provide courses through

the Fienberg Graduate School. Example of such courses are programming, basic

bioinformatics analysis, DNA array handling and results analysis and cell sorting. The

Bioinformatics unit hosts the Israeli National Node (INN), which maintains a comprehensive

collection of DNA and protein databases and programs. Together with the Genome Center the

Bioinformatics unit works on the development of tools used for databases searching.

Most of our services are available to scientists from other academic institutions and to the

industry. Public databases are freely accessible through the web.

During the last year we have replaced two old irradiation facilities were replaced with two

state of the art irradiators that are designed for self-operation a feature that will result in saving

manpower. In addition a new cell sorter was installed that will enable a much faster and more

efficient cell separation. The Bacteriology unit was moved from its old temporary location to a

new highly equipped facility.abilities. A new DAPSAS computer, which was installed last

year, was activated.

http://bip.weizmann.ac.il/serv.html

33


34 Biological Services

Research Staff

Professor

Chaim Kahana 1 , Ph.D., The Weizmann Institute of Science

The Jules J. Mallon Professor of Biochemistry

Senior Staff Scientists

Ora Goldberg, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Jaime Prilusky, Ph.D., National University of Cordoba

Aharon Rabinkov, Ph.D., Leningrad Institute of Evolutionary Physiology and Biochemistry,

Russian Federation

Associate Staff Scientists

Shifra Ben-Dor, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Orith Leitner, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Alla Shainskaya, Ph.D., Palladine Institute of Biochemistry, Ukraine Academy of Sciences,

Kiev, Ukraine

Ayala Sharp, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Irina Shin, Ph.D., Semenov Institute of Chemical Physics of the USSR Academy of Sciences,

Moscow, Russian Federation

Assistant Staff Scientists

Shirley Horn-Saban, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Ghil Jona, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Ron Ophir, Ph.D., Tel Aviv University, Rehovot, Israel

Bassem Ziadeh, Ph.D., Cornell University, Ithaca, United States

Engineer

Marilyn Safran, M.Sc., Boston University, Boston, United States

Consultant

Leon Esterman

1 Department of Molecular Genetics


The Avron-Wilstätter Minerva Center

for Research in Photosynthesis

Avigdor Scherz, Director

The Robert and Yadelle Sklare Professor in Biochemistry

The Minerva Foundation, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJ) and the Weizmann

Institute of Science (WIS) established the Avron-Minerva center for Photosynthesis in 1995.

The center was outset to promote research in the chemical, physical, technological and

regulatory aspects of photosynthesis from the molecular to the global level. Importantly, the

Minerva foundation has aided the global need for crops suitable to arid areas by establishing a

high profile research in Israel in both at the fundamental and technological aspects of plant

growth. To fulfil these goals the Minerva foundation has provided a generous gift for a new

center in the HUJ, whose research aims include photosynthesis regulation. The new center was

merged with the older, Wilstätter-Minerva center that was established earlier, in WIS, and

originally aimed at understanding of solar energy conversion in photosynthesis.

The recent genomic revolution combined with the development of bio-informatics and

proteomics, have opened a new frontier in the research of photosynthesis. It is possible now to

integrate data from the genotype to the phenotype levels utilizing a multi-disciplinary array of

methodologies that deal with a broad range of questions in order to understand the molecular

foundation of the photosynthetic machinery as a whole, the clockwork of membrane and

globular protein formation, assembly and communication and the related adaptation of the

photosynthetic organism to the eco-system. Moreover, products and principle components of

the photosynthetic machinery are now used for medicine (like in photodynamic therapy of

cancer) and nutrition (carotenoids).

Such progress requires the establishment of research arena which enables integrative

application of different disciplines to molecular, cellular and multi-cellular systems.

The activities of the Avron-Minerva center planed for coming years should implement and

exploit these new developments. Thus, three major research lines have been selected: (1)

photosynthetic protein complexes: Bio-synthesis, assembly into functional units, and cellular

organization into supra-structures; (2) acclimation of photosynthetic organisms to

environmental stress: (3) development of novel technologies such as photodynamic therapy of

different diseases using chlorophylls or bacteriochlorophyll and light, and production of

carotenoids derivatives. The principles discovered here are applied to other research fields as

well.

35


36 The Avron-Wilstätter Minerva Center for Research in Photosynthesis

Following this rational, the center provides seed money for multidisciplinary research

programs (1-3 years), international meetings and exchanges of German and Center's members.

On the Israeli side, travel support is mainly provided to students and post-doc fellows.

Research funds are limited to members of the center. Four new members have recently joined

the center.


The Y. Leon Benoziyo Institute for Molecular Medicine

Ben-Zion Shilo, Director

The Hilda and Cecil Lewis Professor of Molecular Genetics

The full budget of the Y. Leon Benoziyo Institute for Molecular Medicine (BIMM) which

became available during the fiscal year 2003/2004 has made possible a wide range of activities

within this Institute. The Benoziyo Institute provides a lifeline to the Life Sciences at the

Weizmann Institute in terms of prioritizing and supporting outstanding high caliber research

projects which focus on Molecular Medicine. In parallel, we are able to purchase top of the

line equipment which facilitates these studies.

In 2004/2005, the Y. Leon Benoziyo Institute of Molecular Medicine continued the previous

year’s support of the work of several research groups, covering a number of research areas,

including autoimmune diseases, stem cell differentiation and its relationship to cancer, defects

in brain development; and viral diseases. In addition, the support of several new projects was

also initiated: nerve injury and regeneration; artherosclerosis and heart infarcts; the resistance

of cancer cells to chemotherapy; and signaling between cells during embryonic development.

While all these grants directly support biomedical research, it is interesting to point out that

they cover a wide range of disciplines, representing the multidisciplinary and collaborative

environment of the Weizmann Institute. The different approaches include manipulation of

model organisms, mostly mice but also flies, cell culture studies, and the elaborate biochemical

manipulations of proteins.

In addition to the direct support of research activities of selected groups, the Benoziyo Institute

promotes biomedical research throughout the Weizmann Institute by participating in the

purchase of sophisticated scientific equipment, which will serve many groups in their varied

research projects.

While the road may be long and difficult, our belief is that a deep understanding of the basic

molecular processes underlying disease is invaluable for the final successful outcome. The

Weizmann Institute of Science, being primarily a basic research institute, provides an ideal

setting for initiating and advancing such studies.

In conclusion, the contribution of the Y. Leon Benoziyo Institute for Molecular Medicine to

the activities of the Life Science Faculties at the Weizmann Institute is enormous. To promote

the continued impact, we will strive to maintain the balance between focused support of

outstanding groups on the one hand, and broad support of equipment and facilities that will

influence not only the work of these groups in particular, but also the capability of the Life

37


38 The Y. Leon Benoziyo Institute for Molecular Medicine

Sciences in general. We also strive to maintain the balance between the support of established

groups who are leaders in their fields, and the projects of outstanding young scientists who are

at the initial stages of their independent career. These scientists are not only the promise for the

future of the Weizmann Institute, but in many cases they are the source of original and novel

ideas and approaches, that will bear fruit in the coming years.


The Dr. Josef Cohn Minerva Center

for Biomembrane Research

Zvi Livneh, Director

The Maxwell Ellis Professorial Professor of Biomedical Research

The Josef Cohn Center for Biomembrane Research was officially inaugurated in 1988 to

commemorate Dr. Cohn's major contributions to the scientific links between Germany and

Israel. Through its activities, special attention has been given by the Center to promoting

contacts with German scientists.

Scientific Aim

The aim of the Center is to initiate and promote interdisciplinary scientific research of

biomembranes, with emphasis on processes involved in transfer of information across

membranes of living cells.

This aim is achieved by provision of funds for original and innovative research activities and

for purchase of specific equipment, by fellowships to young investigators (primarily from

Germany and East Europe), and by supporting workshops on hot topics in this field in order to

disseminate among young scientists current problems in that field and attract their research

attention.

Research funds are granted competitively, on the basis of scientific merits, judged by an

internal scientific committee of the Center. Initially the Center supported the research activities

of up to 10 investigators per year, each receiving a very modest seed grant. In recent years the

policy has been changed. Now, only 2-3 projects are supported, but larger grants are provided.

This type of support is primarily for research projects that have the potential to significantly

advance the field, but are at a too early stage for obtaining support from regular funding

agencies. Funding is provided on a matching basis, i.e., partial coverage of expenditure for

fellowships, purchase of equipment, and scientific meetings. Young scientists have priority in

obtaining research support and in integration into the Center.

The Center was initially directed by Prof. Israel Pecht (1988-1994), followed by Prof. Michael

Eisenbach (1994-1999), and Prof. Haim Garty (1999-2000). Since 1.1.2001 the director is

Prof. Zvi Livneh from the Department of Biological Chemistry.

39


40 The Dr. Josef Cohn Minerva Center for Biomembrane Research

The administration of the Center

The director operates the Center with the help of an advisory scientific committee. Two

members of this committee are from the Department of Biological Chemistry, and the third is

from another department. Awards are made annually during January. The administrator of the

department functions as the administrator of the Center, and secretarial help is provided by the

Department.


The Crown Human Genome Center

Doron Lancet, Director

The Ralph D. and Lois R. Silver Professor of Human Genomics

The center has been inaugurated in 1998 in order to advance genome research at the Weizmann

Institute. The center addresses the challenges posed by the worldwide enormous progress in

DNA sequencing of various genomes. This now includes a whole array of genomes of higher

organisms, such as human, mouse, rat, dog, chicken and fish, as well as numerous model

genomes, such as those of numerous bacteria and yeasts, the nematode C. Elegans and the

Drosophila fruitfly. Also, plant genomes, e.g. that of Arabidopsis, are topics of inter-center

collaborative research at Weizmann.

The Crown Center, in close collaboration with the Department of Biological Services, helps

provide Weizmann scientists with the following infrastructure activities: 1) Large scale DNA

sequencing of genomic segments, including the identification and purchase of genomic clones.

2) DNA microarray technologies, including an Affymetrix instrument with photolithographygenerated

oligonucleotide arrays, which analyses mRNAs expression patterns or genomic

mutations in thousands of genes from different species. In this scope, the GeneNote project,

supported by the Abraham and Judith Goldwasser fund is aimed to discover the basic patterns

of gene expression in human tissues over the entire genomic gamut of ~40,000 genes. 3)

Computational genomics, including know-how on the utilization of the complete, diversely

annotated human genome sequence, as well as other completed genomes, in terms of genomic

maps and gene repositories. This includes access to external databases and internal data

structures such as GeneCards and its affiliated databases.

The Sequenom MassArray system for discovering and scoring human genetic variations

(Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms - SNPs) is highly successful, and has been upgraded in

2003 to allow pooling of hundreds of individuals. This technology is becoming a central topic

of genomic research, aimed at understanding variations among individuals within a species. A

multiple sclerosis pharmacogenetics project has been initiated through Yeda with Teva

Pharmaceutical Industry and the Technion, based on this instrumentation. Nearly a dozen other

collaborative projects are aimed at understanding how small genetic variations culminate in

causing diseases, from cancer to schizophrenia, are also ongoing.

Gene discovery projects, performed in collaboration with medical establishments throughout

Israel, have so far led to the discovery of 7 novel genes that underlie human inherited diseases.

These include a gene for a mental retardation gene, mucolipidosis 4, a gene for muscular

dystrophy (HIBM), the PVT gene, whose mutations cause childhood heart failure, the USH3A

gene that underlies a debilitating blidness-deafness condition and the CDA1 gene that causes

41


42 The Crown Human Genome Center

an unusual hereditary anemia. Last year, a gene for male sterility, CatSper2 has been

discovered. The Center also harbors a program in evolutionary genomics, including the

evolution of the sense of smell, whereby novel information on extreme genetic diversity has

been uncovered, relevant to the fragrance and flavor industry. Also, a program in prebiotic

evolution is ongoing, aiming at solving one of the most important open questions of science:

how life evolved on planet earth. Such computer-based early evolution studies focus on the

analogy to biochemical networks. This is one of many links with the new realm of Systems

Biology, and the Genome Center is thus in close interaction with the newly inaugurated Center

for Systems Biology at Weizmann, directed by Prof. Eytan Domany.

The Crown Human Genome Center activities receives support from the Crown Family, the

Abraham and Judy Goldwasser Fund, the Israel ministry of Science and Technology (National

Knowledge Center for Genomics) and from a Magneton project of the Ministry of Industry and

Trade.

Home page: http://bioinfo.weizmann.ac.il/genome_center/


The Mel Dobrin Center for Nutrition

Gad Galili, Director

The Bronfman Professor of Plant Science

Increasing plant productivity and nutritional quality are a major human interest. The Dobrin

Center provides a coordinating and supportive framework for various activities aimed at

increasing our understanding of the genetics, biochemistry, and physiological processes that

may lead to improvements in crop plants.

During the past year, the Center supported novel approaches for the production of nutritionally

improved plants, and reducing crop plants losses caused by biotic and environmental stresses.

In addition, the Center has continued to provide support for the exchange of scientists and for

the participation of young scientists in international conferences that deal with plant nutrition.

43


The Leo and Julia Forchheimer Center for Molecular Genetics

Adi Kimchi, Director

The Helena Rubinstein Professor of Cancer Research

The functions of the center, which was established by the Forchheimer foundation of New

York in January 1982, are to promote Molecular Genetics in general, and recombinant DNA

technologies in particular, and to probe into the molecular mechanisms of life processes using

cutting edge strategies of genetic engineering.

During 2005, a significant part of the Forchheimer Center’s support has been dedicated to

enlarging scientific services on campus, among them the laboratory for the production of

transgenic and gene "knock-out" mice. The Center’s support has also led to the establishment

of advanced facilities for DNA analysis and protein identification by mass spectrometry. This

equipment enables the Institute’s molecular geneticists to perform genetic studies in vertebrate

model organisms, and to conduct functional studies on isolated genes and proteins.

In addition, the Forchheimer Center’s critical support advances research into molecular

genetics by allocating funds for promising and innovative projects, and by enabling the

purchase of needed instrumentation. During the past year, the Center provided valuable

assistance to the following scientific undertakings:

1. Under the auspices of the Center, we provided support to Dr. Elazar (Eli) Zelzer, who

focuses on the genetic and developmental mechanisms that regulate bone development.

Dr. Zelzer joined the Department of Molecular Genetics as a young faculty member.

The support helped him to purchase the necessary scientific equipment necessary for the

establishment of his new laboratory, and also enabled him to bring to the Weizmann

Institute from abroad, the various transgenic and "knock-out" mice colonies which he

utilizes in his research.

2. The Forchheimer center also supported Prof. Yosef Shaul, to advance his studies on

protein degradation and DNA damage signaling.

3. In addition the Center also helped Prof. Shmuel Pietrokovski, in a study which combines

computational and biochemical- based approaches to investigate how a protein’s

sequence determines its structure and function.

45


46 The Leo and Julia Forchheimer Center for Molecular Genetics

The Center also helped in the purchase of new equipment for the recently-renovated

Meyer Building. This instrumentation was critical to the recent expansion of the

Department of Molecular Genetics into the third floor of that Building. In addition,

Forchheimer Center support continues to be put toward expansion of the centralized

plasmid collection, increasing its usefulness to Institute scientists. An updated list of

available plasmids is posted on the Web, so that our researchers, upon request, have easy

access to both established and newly-available expression vectors.


The Kekst Family Center for Medical Genetics

Yoram Groner, Director

The Dr. Barnet Berris Professor of Cancer Research

The Kekst Family Center for Medical Genetics was established by Gershon and Carol Kekst.

The Center's main objective is to promote the investigation of medical aspects of genetics,

with the aim of understanding the molecular mechanisms of life processes, and its subsequent

application to medicine.

The Center provides financial assistance to investigators embarking on new projects in the

field of molecular medicine, as well as to cross-disciplinary research collaborations between

groups from different departments. It also supports the organization of international and local

conferences and workshops aimed at disseminating and promoting communication between

researchers in fields related to medical genetics. Funds are allocated to support the purchase of

new equipment with the aim of upgrading the technical infrastructure of medical genetics at

the Institute.

The activities of the Center are coordinated by a steering committee, comprised of Yoram

Groner (Department of Molecular Genetics), Benjamin Geiger (Department of Molecular Cell

Biology) and Ben-Zion Shilo (Department of Molecular Genetics).

47


The Charles W. and Tillie K. Lubin Center

for Plant Biotechnology

Gad Galili, Director

The Bronfman Professor of Plant Science

The Charles and Tillie K. Lubin Center for Plant Biotechnology supports research directed at

solving problems in plant growth and productivity, studies that aim at improving the

understanding of biological processes in plants and the application of these studies for

improving crops. Plants accumulate a large number of special metabolites (called secondary

metabolites), which help them tolerating various stresses, such as high light intensity and

pathogen attacks. These metabolites are also important parts of the nutritional quality of plants

because of their antioxidant activities and other health properties. Dr. Asaph Aharoni of the

department of Plant Sciences is studying the control of production of secondary metabolites

and is also developing modern technology to identify these compounds.

The major organ of crop plants that is used as food is the seed, and therefore understanding the

biological processes of seed development, and how seeds adjust their metabolism for efficient

production of sugars, oil and protein is of particular interest for basic sciences and their

agronomical adaptations. The group of Prof. Gad Galili of the Department of Plant Sciences

utilizes modern molecular and metabolic profiling approaches to study how do seeds regulate

their metabolism in accordance with regulating their development.

Modern molecular research in plants, which are based on genetic engineering and functional

genomics approaches, is translated into agronomical food production through the use of

transgenic plants, namely plants containing genetically engineered genes in their genomes.

Along with the development of such genetically engineered transgenic plants, parallel gold

standard "safety" methods should be established to prevent the transfer of the genetically

engineered genes from cultivated crops to wild plant relatives. The group of Prof. Jonathan

Gressel of the Department of Plant Sciences is developing a novel approach to significantly

prevent the transfer of the genetically engineered genes from cultivated to wild plant relatives

on the basis of expressing specific sets of gene combinations.

The Charles W. and Tillie K. Lubin center supported this year research programs associated

with the above issues as follows:

1. Regulation of metabolic pathways and its coordination with development in plant

biology.

2. Metabolic networks regulating the transition of plant seeds from the stage of reserves

accumulation to desiccation and subsequent germination.

3. Safely enhancing agricultural productivity with transgenic crops.

49


50 The Charles W. and Tillie K. Lubin Center for Plant Biotechnology

Metabolic Networks Regulating the Transition of Plant Seeds from the Stage of Reserves

Accumulation to Dessication and Subsequent Germination (Gad Galili, Aaron Fait and

Ruthie Angelovici)

Seed maturation is characterized by the switch from a maternal to filial metabolic regulation, a

process that is dedicated to reserves synthesis and is coupled with the initiation of a nutrient

uptake from the canopy. Maturing seeds of some plant species also gain photosynthetic

capacity, which elevates the internal O 2 levels and lead to a partial relief of low oxygen

conditions and ameliorates the energy status. At the metabolic level, the relatively O 2 -poor

stage of reserves accumulation initiates by a transient stimulation of anaerobic metabolism and

continues with a switch from energy-costly to energy-saving sugar metabolism. As opposed

the seed maturation, the process of seed germination is associated with degradation and

mobilization of the reserves that were accumulating during seed maturation and subsequent

preparation for efficient growth of the seedlings.

Despite the biotechnological importance of plant seeds as the major food sources worldwide,

and the biological importance of plant seeds in the plant life cycle, very little is known about

the metabolic networks that regulate seed development and germination. To address this, we

analyzed the metabolic status of seeds of the model plant Arabidopsis through all of these

stages, using several distinct methods. The period or reserve accumulation was associated with

a significant reduction of most sugars, organic acids and amino acids, signifying their efficient

incorporation into reserves. Yet, the content of fumarate and succinate were significantly

elevated at this period, implying a specific role for these metabolites. This period was also

associated with elevation of mRNA levels of distinct metabolism-associated genes. The

transition from the period of reserve accumulation to seed desiccation was associated with a

major re-program of the metabolic status, resulting in significant accumulation of distinct

glucose-derived sugars, organic acids, nitrogen-rich amino acids as well as metabolites of the

shikimate pathway. Imbibition of seeds for three days at 4 o C in the dark (vernalization period)

was associated with increases of distinct intermediates of sugar metabolism, distinct

precursors of secondary metabolism and redox-related compounds and decreases in other

metabolites, including trehalose and γ

-amino butyric acid. The subsequent early germination

stage (prior to radicle protrusion) was associated with a boost in the levels of many metabolites

as well as major changes in mRNA levels associated with physiological and metabolic

processes, as determined by a bioinformatics approach. Our results imply that the metabolic

preparation of seeds for germination initiates already during seed desiccation and continues by

distinct re-programs of metabolism during the vernalization and very early germination

periods to enable efficient seedling establishment.

Genetic Regulation of Metabolic Pathways and its Co-Ordination with Development in

Plant Biology (Asaph Aharoni and Ilana Rogachev)

Plants produce several thousands of substances or metabolites which help them in building

themselves and cope with changing environmental conditions. The production of these

chemicals in cells is effected through a step-by-step process called a metabolic pathway. In

order to form thousands of substances, a plant cell (or any other cell) will activate a large

number of pathways simultaneously, resulting in a huge network of pathways. Nowadays, it is


The Charles W. and Tillie K. Lubin Center for Plant Biotechnology 51

clear that the activity of these pathways is very intensely co-coordinated with developmental

programs. One out of many examples for such kind of coordination in plant biology is the

development and ripening of fleshy fruit (e.g. tomato fruit). This process entails a

developmental program related to fruit growth that is very tightly synchronized with activation

of metabolic pathways that provide the fruit, at a precise stage of development, its

characteristic color, aroma, flavor and texture. The main activity of our laboratory is to

identify the network of proteins that control metabolism-development crossroads. By doing

so, we will unravel the genetic regulation of basic plant biological processes such as fruit

ripening. On the applied side, understanding the mechanisms controlling these pathways and

the interaction with developmental programs will assist in breeding plants with desired levels

of for example plant derived nutrition- and health-promoting compounds such as antioxidants.

A main request to pursue this promising research direction is to develop the non-trivial

capability to rapidly and reproducibly detect, quantify, and, in some cases, identify a large

number of metabolites from plants. In her work, Dr. Ilana Rogachev is setting-up multiple

analytical platforms that allow extensive metabolic profiling of plant extracts. These include

several high-end instruments combining chromatography with mass-spectrometry techniques

that permit a wide coverage of the plant metabolic repertoire. Purchasing the required

instruments as for example a Gas-Chromatograph Mass-Spectrometer (GC-MS) and operating

them was financially supported by the Plant Science department. In parallel, mutant

populations are also generated, as for example in tomato, that could be screened using the

facility described above for plant lines with altered metabolic profiles. At this stage of Ilana's

work (approximately a year), a few methodologies for the metabolic profiling of plant extracts

have been established and validated. In the coming year we are expected to utilize these

different approaches for answering biological questions regarding metabolic changes in

different plant genotypes generated by the different research projects in the laboratory. This

approach will finally result in the discovery of key genes that mediate the activity of

metabolic pathways in coordination with developmental programs in plants.

Safely enhancing agricultural productivity with transgenic crops (Jonathan Gressel)

Transgenic crops have proven to be excellent at increasing agricultural productivity, in the

field while requiring far less pesticides (corn, cotton, etc. with the Bt gene killing insects) or

have been environmentally friendly (using glyphosate resistant soybeans and corn, to use

glyphosate, an innocuous herbicide to allow planting crops in erosion preventing stubble).

Such eco-friendly and cost-effective approaches are problematic with crops that have wild or

weedy relatives living in close proximity. It is undesirable to have genes flow from the crops

into such relatives, especially if the genes could confer a competitive advantage on the

relatives, causing them to be "superweeds". Prof. Jonathan Gressel, in the Plant Sciences

Department developed a concept of how to transgenically mitigate the effect of such inevitable

gene flow. He proposed to add plant genes of choice (insect and disease resistance, herbicide

resistance) with genes that are good or neutral for the crop but would be deleterious for the

wild relative. Then graduate student Hani Al-Ahmad took up this idea and demonstrated its

efficacy in the laboratory and greenhouse, with a lab model system (tobacco) and a truly

agricultural model (oilseed rape or canola) with the related weed, wild mustard. He attached a

dwarfing gene to a gene herbicide resistance and engineered the tandem genes into both crops.


52 The Charles W. and Tillie K. Lubin Center for Plant Biotechnology

Thus, wherever the gene of choice goes, the dwarfing gene followed. When the transgenic

tobacco or oilseed rape were cultivated alone, they were far more productive than the

untransformed. This well-known phenomenon was the basis for the green revolution – dwarf

plants invest less energy in making stems, the energy goes into making seed. He demonstrated

(in a series of six peer-reviewed publications) that when the transgenic crop fertilized wild

relatives, and the offspring had to compete with tall siblings, the dwarf siblings were totally

non-productive and did not even produce flowers. Thus, even though there is gene leakiness to

the wild, the offspring cannot establish because they cannot compete with the wild relatives.

With (then) graduate student Sarit Weissmann, and colleagues, they showed that there is

sporadic natural gene flow from wheat to wild species in a closely related genus. They have

derived a method that should prevent such transgene flow, by transforming wheat directly near

a chromosome that will prevent gene flow between such species.

The findings allowed the group to propose how such techniques could be used for other crops

with related weeds, or even to mitigate gene flow to other varieties of the same crop, as well as

from crops grown for special purposes such as phytoremediation.


The M.D. Moross Institute for Cancer Research

Yoram Groner, Director

The Dr. Barnet Berris Professor of Cancer Research

The M.D. Moross Institute for Cancer Research, established in November 1998 with a

generous founding endowment made by the Manfred D. Moross Foundation, will be dedicated

to the promotion of excellent cancer research at the Weizmann Institute.

The M.D. Moross Institute aims to promote, facilitate and enhance cancer related research at

the Weizmann Institute. To this end the M.D. Moross Institute will work as an umbrella

institute encompassing other Weizmann Institute centers and some major funds that are

involved in cancer research, in order to achieve a campus-wide synergy in cancer research.

Cancer related research constitutes more than half of all Weizmann Institute activities in the

Life Sciences, involving close to 50 groups (approximately 350 people). This breadth is a

result of the Institute's inherently interdisciplinary nature, and is a feature that is likely to

become even more prominent in the years to come, as disciplines overlap each other's domains

and coalesce to create new areas of expertise. Seminal contributions of Weizmann Institute

scientists often cannot be realized due to a hiatus in critical funding during the post-discovery

period. The M.D. Moross Institute for Cancer Research will provide this timely and significant

support.

The main areas of support include:

• Special support for the acquisition of new trans-disciplinary technologies aimed at

encouraging research collaboration between different groups.

• Funding collaborative research projects between various cancer researchers at the

Weizmann Institute, and between these scientists and clinicians at the Tel Aviv

Sourasky-Ichilov Medical Center with the aim of translating basic Weizmann laboratory

research into clinical application in the hospital.

• Supporting scientists who have submitted or resubmitted large, ambitious research plans

to significant external granting agencies, to cover their research expenses for the interim

period between submission and acceptance.

• Life Science Colloquia in the field of cancer research, to which distinguished scientists

are invited to present an Institute-wide lecture on their research, and to spend a few days

on campus for meetings and discussion with faculty and students.

http://www.weizmann.ac.il/moross-icr/

53


The David and Fela Shapell Family Center

for Genetic Disorders Research

Yoram Groner, Director

The Dr. Barnet Berris Professor of Cancer Research

The David and Fela Shapell Family Center for Genetic Disorders Research was established by

David and Fela Shapell in honor of Jacob Shapell, their beloved grandson, to support research

on Down syndrome and other genetic disorders. The Center's main objective is to promote the

investigation of molecular genetic aspects of Down syndrome and other genetic disorders,

with the aim of understanding the molecular mechanisms by which altered genotype leads to

altered phenotype.

The Shapell Center provides financial assistance to investigators embarking on new projects in

the field of molecular genetics, as well as to interdisciplinary research collaborations between

groups using the infrastructure of the Facility for Genetically Modified Animals (FGMA).

Funds are also allocated to facilitate research activities in FGMA and to the purchase of new

equipment with the aim of upgrading the technical infrastructure of FGMA.

The Shapell Center also supports the organization of international and local conferences and

workshops aimed at disseminating and promoting communication between researchers in

fields related to medical genetics.

The activities of the Center are coordinated by a steering committee, including Yoram Groner

(Department of Molecular Genetics), Ori Peles (Department of Molecular Cell Biology), Ari

Elson (Department of Molecular Genetics) and David Wallach (Department of Biological

Chemistry).

55


The Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Center

for Plant Molecular Genetics Research

Gad Galili, Director

The Bronfman Professor of Plant Science

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Center for Plant Molecular Genetics supports research in

plant sciences that focuses on solving problems both of plant growth and productivity. Its

resources are directed toward the support of Weizmann Institute plant scientists as well as their

ongoing research, purchase of scientific equipment, and support services such as cell culture

and plant growth infrastructure. In keeping with the charter of the Harry and Jeanette

Weinberg Foundation, research funded by the Center for Plant Molecular Genetics Research,

addresses and problems of the hungry, the needy, and the sick, and focuses its efforts on

promoting the welfare of humankind, through improving human nutrition, human health and

the environment.

Crop productivity is also strongly dependent on the efficiency of plants to capture energy from

the sun and translate it into a build up of organic carbon, by the process of photosynthesis. This

is regulated by compound processes, which take place in several intra-cellular locations and

are regulated by redox signaling cascades. Understanding the mechanisms of redox signaling

cascades and their interactive functions in different intra-cellular organelles is of significant

importance for understanding how plants grow and how do they regulate photosynthesis. The

group of Prof. Avihai Danon of the Department of Plant Sciences is studying the regulation

and importance of redox signaling cascades in different intracellular organelles, using modern

molecular, microscopic and functional genomics approaches.

The process of photosynthesis is quite complex, involving the capture of light energy via

electron transport through specific molecules termed chlorophylls. Prof. Avigdor Scherz of the

Department of Plant Sciences is studying the compound biochemical and physical aspects of

this process.

Scientific reports on the progress of the above two studies follows. In addition to research

grants for these two projects, the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Center’s income was used to

fund scientific support staff, infrastructure and supplies.

Robert and Yadelle Sklare professorial Chair In Biochemistry (Prof. Avigdor Scherz)

During the last years we have been searching for definitions and molecular mechanisms of

photosynthesis acclimatization, particularly that of solar energy conversion into useful

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58 The Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Center for Plant Molecular Genetics Research

chemical energy, to ambient temperatures. Adjustment of catalytic activity in response to

diverse temperatures is fundamental to life on earth. A critical example is provided by

photosynthesis where solar energy is converted into electro-chemical potential that drives

oxygen and biomass generation, as well as carbon dioxide consumption, right through the

temperature spectrum from frigid Antarctica to scalding hot springs. The energy conversion

comprises concerted mobilization of electrons and protons upon photo-excitation of reaction

center protein complexes. Following physico-chemical paradigms, the rates of imperative

steps in this process were predicted to increase exponentially with the temperature, providing

very different yields at the physiological temperatures of mesophiles and exteremophiles. In

contrast, here we show meticulous adjustment of the energy conversion resulting in similar

rates and yields at those temperatures, and unveil the underlying molecular details. Native

fluorescing chlorophylls were utilized as activity reporters in intact cells. The key players in

the temperature adjustment are a hitherto unrecognized protein cavity and adjacent packing

motif that jointly impart crucial localized flexibility to the reaction center proteins. Mutations

that increase residue bulkiness within the packing motif of mesophiles promote thermophilic

behavior. The novel biomechanical mechanism accounts for the slowing of the catalytic

reaction above physiological temperatures that appears contradictory to the Arrhenius

paradigm. It also provides new guidelines for researching and manipulating acclimatization of

enzymes to diverse habitats. At the same time it exposes novel elements of potential

significance for regulating structure-activity relationships in both globular and membrane

proteins.

Unique Features of Redox Regulation in Plant Organelles (Avihai Danon and Alexander

Levitan)

Redox reactions of two proteins involve the transfer of electron(s) from one protein (the donor)

to the other (the acceptor). Similarly to computers, the transfer of electrons from the donor to

the acceptor can be used in biology as a flow of information. In contrast to computer, however,

the flow of electronic information in biology can take place also in solution by means of noninsulated

routes. The redox signaling proteins that facilitate the flow of biological information

have been shown to function in systems as simple as bacteria and as complex as humans,

where they are involved in regulation of cell proliferation. In plants, the redox signaling

proteins participate in protection mechanisms against the accumulation of free radicals, and

regulation of protein synthesis.

In our laboratory, we have isolated a unique class of redox signaling proteins and are currently

studying the means by which these proteins influence the plant. Alex has been studying how

one such protein is delivered to its unique location within the cell; how does the protein redox

status change; and how does this protein respond to the transfer of the plant from darkness to

light. In his work Alex combines different scientific methodologies ranging from biochemistry

to functional genomics. We believe that elucidating how these proteins operate in plants is

critical to our understanding of how plants fight the accumulation of free radicals or control

protein synthesis, and may enable the use of this type of biological flow of electronic

information in invention of novel devices.


Faculty of Biology

Dean: Benjamin Geiger

The Professor Erwin Neter Professor of Cell and Tumor Biology

Michael Sela, Ph.D.

(The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Institute Professor

The W. Garfield Weston Professor of Immunology


Faculty of Biology

Dean: Benjamin Geiger

The Erwin Neter Professor of Cell and Tumor Biology

The Faculty of Biology is one of two faculties of Life Sciences at the Institute. Originally, the

sister Faculty of Biochemistry concentrated on research at the molecular level, whereas the

Faculty of Biology focused on the cell and organism level. Although this distinction has many

exceptions, the four scientific Departments of the Faculty of Biology dedicate their efforts to

understanding biological processes in their normal and pathological settings. The efforts of

two of our scientific departments are almost entirely oriented at organs or tissues. These are the

Department of Neurobiology and the Department of Immunology, which concentrate on the

nervous system and all aspects of the body's defense mechanisms, respectively. The research

groups of the Department of Molecular Cell Biology are linked by a common interest in

function and structure at the cellular level. Our youngest department, Biological Regulation,

was established at the end of 1995 as part of a reorganization in the Life Sciences. A large

variety of regulatory processes, including the transduction of biological signals at the cellular

level and at the organism level is addressed by the Department's scientists.

Complementing the physical organization of the Faculty into Departments, interdisciplinary

Research Institutes and Centers coordinate campus-wide research projects. The Einhorn

Dominic Institute for Brain Research and its associated centers The Nella and Leon Benoziyo

Center for Neurosciences and The Murray H. and Meyer Grodetsky Center for Research of

Higher Brain Functions support and fortify studies of the most fascinating and least understood

organ, the brain. The Yad Abraham Center for Cancer Diagnostics and Therapy supports work

aiming primarily to implement the basic knowledge generated at the Weizmann towards better

diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Studies on aging, a major focus of interest in contemporary

Western societies, are supported by the Meller Center for the Biology of Aging. Clinically

important aspects of our immune system are also being explored: the Robert Koch Center for

Research in Autoimmune Disease is studying the consequences of malfunction of the immune

system and is exploring ways to intercept such unwelcome processes, while the Rich Center

for Transplantation Biology Research is supporting work aimed at increasing the success of

bone marrow transplantation in the treatment of cancer and other life threatening diseases. The

Willner Family Center for Vascular Biology supports the study of angiogenesis (new blood

vessel formation) and of functional aspects of our blood system.

The Faculty considers as its major aim to foster biological studies both at the organism and at

the molecular level, by using state of the art technologies. Accordingly, we are constantly

streamlining services that help research groups generate animal models, including geneknockout

and transgenic animals. In parallel, we seek to enhance our research activities that

61


62 Faculty of Biology

use sophisticated imaging methods, including digital light microscopy, functional MRI and

EEG, to follow the function of cells, internal organs, tumors and the brain. In anticipation of

changes in the directions of biomedical research in the 21st century, the Faculty is encouraging

research in the field of biological physics and systems biology, bringing together researchers

trained in physics and in the life sciences.

Our other major challenge is to attract and recruit outstanding young scientists. In an age of

constantly growing complexity of unanswered biological questions and ever increasing

competition for discoveries, we consider it our shared responsibility to provide optimal

conditions for the creativity of our promising junior faculty

members.

Our only service Department, the facility for Preclinical Research, has recently undergone

dramatic changes that bring the Weizmann Institute into the cutting edge of modern biological

research. Both the new and the extensively renovated facilities host our laboratory animals

under improved disease-free conditions and allow more efficient research of mammals. Of

particular importance is the Facility for Genetically Modified Animals. This state of the art

facility is providing Weizmann Institute researchers with a powerful timely tool for developing

animal models of human diseases.


Biological Regulation

Nava Dekel, Head

The Philip M. Klutznick Professor of Developmental Biology

The regulation of processes responsible for the concerted action of cells, tissues, vascular

networks and organs is being carried out in our department. Our studies include the

identification of signaling pathways involving hormones, growth promoting factors, as well as

programmed cell death and survival factors. We also characterize specific receptors, target

cells, and the multiple mechanisms involved in the transmission of signals as well as

processing and regulation of developmental and differentiation events. In these investigations

we apply a diverse range of methodologies in different in vitro and in vivo systems: namely,

biochemical, molecular biology, and physiological methods in tissue cultures, organs and

whole animals. We also focus on developing non-invasive imaging technology by the

utilization of optical means, as well as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and spectroscopy

(MRS). Since changes in the regulation of such processes are a cause for many human diseases

(cancer, infertility, heart failure, stroke etc.), we further apply our results to develop new

modes of treatment, such as photodynamic cancer therapy, and drugs for pharmacological

intervention.

Nava Dekel: Studies in our laboratory are directed at identification and characterization of

molecular events that regulate reproduction and early development. Of major interest is the

control of the meiotic status of the mammalian oocyte. Attempts to disclose this issue include

investigation of the gating mechanism of the gap junctions that mediate the communication of

the inhibitory cAMP from the somatic cells of the ovarian follicle to the oocyte and the

response of the ovarian gap junction protein connexin 43 (Cx43) to gonadotropins. Search for

complementary mechanisms that ensure the efficiency of a timely alteration between meiotic

arrest and resumption of meiosis include cloning and characterization of an oocyte-specific

PKA anchoring protein (AKAP) responsible for sequestration of this enzyme and its possible

colocalization with the oocyte phosphodiesterase, PDE3A. Potential downstream regulators

that are subjected to the PKA-mediated cAMP action are examined and their hierarchy is

explored. Specific interest is directed at the role of the anaphase-promoting complex (APC) in

degradation of such proteins, in particular, those that participate in regulation of chromosome

segregation. A list of ovarian and endometrial genes, the expression of which is upregulated in

association with ovulation and implantation, respectively have been recently generated by

suppression subtructive hybridization (SSH) and microarray analysis. Further attempts to

characterize and identify the specific function of a selected group of these genes are presently

performed. Our studies on implantation and early embryonal development are also directed at

exploration of signals that control the extensive angiogenic response of the uterus to the

implantic embryo and its possible association with Cx43 expression.

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64 Biological Regulation

Hadassa Degani: This year, our lab focused on investigating hormonal regulation of breast

cancer, monitoring and searching the steps associated with breast cancer metastasis, as well as

discovering molecular and biochemical processes associated with breast malignant

transformation. The experiments were performed on human breast cancer cells growing in

culture, as well as on orthotopic tumors of these cells implanted in experimental animals in

vivo. In addition, we extended our studies to lung cancer cells and tumors growing in the lung,

searching for the distinct properties of the microvascular network of this cancer. In the course

of these investigations we developed novel, non invasive methods for monitoring cancer

progression and metastasis by means of magnetic resonance and fluorescence imaging . For

example, we developed a method which enabled us to map the distribution of the interstitial

fluid pressure and thereby determine the barriers to drug delivery, and resistance to

chemotherapy. Moreover, in collaboration with Prof. David Milstein, Organic Chemistry, we

synthesized and demonstrated the application of novel molecular MRI probes for mapping in

vivo the expression of the estrogen receptor in breast cancer tumors and rat uteri. In

collaboration with Medical Centers in the US and Taiwan we continued our clinical MRI

investigations of prostate cancer staging and breast cancer response to chemotherapy.

Atan Gross: Our lab is primarily focused on characterizing the role of the pro-death BID

protein in cell life and death decisions. In the first line of research, we are exploring its

activities at the mitochondria by studying its interaction with a novel and uncharacterized

protein named mitochondrial carrier homolog 2 (Mtch2). We have recently revealed that

Mtch2 is an important component of the BID-death pathway, and our future goals are to

determine its exact function at the mitochondria and the importance of its function in-vivo

using an Mtch2 knockout mouse. In a second line of research, we are exploring the activities of

BID in the response of cells to DNA damage. We have recently revealed that DNA damage

induces the phosphorylation of BID by the ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM) kinase, and

that this phosphorylation is important for cell cycle arrest at the S phase and for inhibition of

apoptosis. Our future goals are therefore to determine the mechanistic details of its activities in

the DNA damage pathway, and to define the importance of these activities in-vivo using a BID

knock-in mouse, in which the endogenous BID gene has been replaced with a gene that drives

the expression of a non-phosphorylatable BID protein. In a third line of research, we are

studying the role of the caspase proteases in the rat ovary during atresia (apoptosis) and

ovulation. We have recently revealed that gonadotropins induce caspase activation in ovarian

follicles and that this activation is coupled to steroid production. Our future directions are to

further explore the caspase-steroid linkage, and to determine its role and importance for

atresia/ovulation in-vivo.

Moti Liscovitch: We are studying the molecular cell biology of caveolin-1 in human breast,

colon and lung cancer cells. Specifically, we explore the role of caveolin-1 in mediating

survival signaling of cancer cells that are denied matrix attachment or are exposed to genotoxic

stress. In addition, we study the role of caveolin-1 and other constituents of lipid rafts in drug

export, drug response and trafficking of multidrug transporters. Another topic of our research

is the induction of caveolin-1/2 expression by PPAR-g ligands and its relation to PPAR-ginduced

cell differentiation in colon cancer cells. In parallel studies we are trying to elucidate

the functions of phospholipase D isozymes in yeast and mammalian cells by employing gene

knockdown approaches and to identify molecular targets of phosphatidic acid, the lipid


Biological Regulation 65

messenger product of phospholipase D. Finally, we are developing the novel Ligand

Interaction Scan method for engineering ligand-regulatable recombinant proteins that would

be useful in drug target validation and generation of ligand-sensitive transgenic organisms.

Ami Navon: In both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, most proteins are degraded in an ATPdependent

manner. In eukaryotes ATP-dependent degradation is executed by the 26S

proteasome, which hydrolyzes ubiquitin-conjugated and certain non-ubiquitinated

polypeptides. Its primary function is the turnover of damaged or misfolded proteins. In

addition, the proteasome affects the cell cycle and other processes through the degradation of

regulatory components and transcription factors. The proteasome is important for immune

system as well through processing of NFkB, a key factor in the inflammatory response, and in

generating peptides used for MHC class I presentation. Furthermore, the proteasome plays a

crucial role in the pathogenesis of degenerative diseases, such as Parkinson and ALS,

presumably through its failure to degrade specific proteins, which form deleterious aggregates.

Currently, our lab is investigating three aspects related to proteasomal degradation. The major

effort of the lab is invested in understanding the molecular mechanism underlining the

function of the proteasome regulatory ATPase complex, which is responsible for substrate

recognition, unfolding and translocation into the 20S proteasome. In addition, we also study

the significance of the N-linked-glycans removing enzyme PNGase, for the proteasome

associated MHC class I antigen presentation. Recently, we became interested in the

mechanistic reasons for the failure of the 26S proteasome to degrade certain substrates under

specific physiological conditions. This may result in the accumulation of aggregated proteins

and lead to degenerative diseases such as Parkinson and ALS. To address these scientific aims,

we use an integrative approach of biochemistry, structural biology and cell biology.

Michal Neeman: Application of MRI and optical imaging for elucidation of the regulatory

pathways that control the recruitment of endothelial capillaries (angiogenesis), vascular

maturation, and remodeling of the lymphatics. Studies aim to reveal the contribution and

interplay between environmental, hormonal and growth factor mediated signaling pathways.

Specific steps in the process are detected by monitoring hemodynamic properties, vascular

permeability and changes in the extracellular matrix. Vascular remodeling is followed in a

range of biological models including reproduction, embryonic development, repair of

ischemic injuries, tumor progression and metastatic dissemination.

Yoram Salomon: Vascular targeted photodynamic therapy (VTP) is a local anti vascular

treatment modality of solid tumors that uses light and Pd-bacteriochlorophyll derivatives as

photosensitizers. The anti tumor action is delivered by a local burst of cytotoxic reactive

oxygen species that leads to the treatment endpoint - blood stasis within minutes and

consequent tumor eradication. The mechanism of vascular destruction by VTP is the major

objective of the research. Online imaging by fMRI based on photoinduced BOLD contrast is

being developed as means of treatment-follow up and guidance. Intravital microscopy studies

in combination with MRI aim at elucidation of the hemodynamic and photochemical basis of

the BOLD contrast. The immunological response of the treated mice associated with the

healing of the VTP induced injury is also being examined. This work was done in

collaboration with Michal Neeman, Dept. of Biological Regulation and Avigdor Scherz, Dept.

of Plant Sciences.


66 Biological Regulation

Rony Seger: The characterization of the intracellular transmission of extracellular signals by

seven distinct signaling pathways: four MAP Kinase cascades (ERK, JNK, p38 and BMK) two

PI3K dependent cascades (AKT and S6K) and the PKA cascade. These studies included (i)

identification of novel components, (ii) cross-talk between the distinct cascade, (iii)

intracellular localization of components of the cascades, and are aimed to elucidate how the

signaling network formed by these signaling cascade regulate gene expression, proliferation,

and differentiation.

Alex Tsafriri: Ovulation in mammals is a preferable target for contraception and fertility

regulation. We investigate two of the ovulatory processes: (i) Oocyte maturation, including the

differential regulation and expression of phosphodiesterases in the germ cells and somatic

compartments in the ovary; and the role of meiosis activating sterols (MAS). (ii) Follicular

rupture at ovulation and the involvement of proteolytic cascades (plasmin activating system,

and collagenases), eicosanoids and other paracrine regulators. In collaboration with Michal

Neeman we examine the role of revascularization in uptake of transplanted ovarian fragments

to allow restoration of fertility after chemo/radiotherapy.

Eldad Tzahor: The nature of the instructions leading to a specific cell fate is one of the most

puzzling questions in biology. The fates of embryonic progenitor cells and their patterning

require a molecular “dialogue” between adjacent cell populations, yet the details of these

molecular interactions remain elusive. For the past few years, we have focused on the

characterization of signaling molecules that regulate both heart and craniofacial muscle

formation during early vertebrate embryogenesis (Tzahor et al., 2003; Tzahor and Lassar,

2001). Heart and skeletal muscle progenitor cells are thought to derive from distinct mesoderm

regions during early embryogenesis. The recent identification of the secondary heart field in

vertebrate embryos led us to consider the contribution of the secondary heart field to cardiac

development. What might be the relationship between the cranial paraxial mesoderm (the

precursors of the skeletal muscles in the head) and this newly discovered myocardial lineage?

Utilizing fate mapping studies, gene expression analyses, and manipulations of signaling

pathways in the chick embryo, both in vitro and in vivo, we have demonstrated that cells from

the cranial paraxial mesoderm contribute to myocardial and endocardial cell populations

within the cardiac outflow tract. Furthermore, BMP signals, which block head muscle

formation, act as potent inducers of the secondary heart field lineage (Tirosh-Finkel et al.,

2006, accepted for publication). These findings support the notion that the cells within the

cranial paraxial mesoderm play a vital role in cardiogenesis. Based on our past and ongoing

studies, we propose that the developmental programs of progenitor populations that contribute

to the head muscles and the anterior pole of the heart are tightly linked, indicative of a single

cardiocraniofacial morphogenetic field. During vertebrate craniofacial development,

progenitor cells derived from the mesoderm fuse together to form a myofiber, which is

attached to a specific skeletal element derived from the cranial neural crest (CNC) in a highly

coordinated manner. To investigate this exquisitely tuned process, we employ both mouse

genetic models and the avian experimental system to explore the molecular crosstalk between

CNC and mesoderm progenitor cells during vertebrate head development. Thus far, loss- and

gain-of-function experiments in both mouse and avian models demonstrate that skeletal

muscle patterning and differentiation in the head are precisely regulated by CNC cells (Rinon

A, Lazar S, & Tzahor E, in preparation). Our studies on cardiac and skeletal muscle

specification during vertebrate embryogenesis are expected to provide valuable and original


Biological Regulation 67

insights that may contribute to our understanding of normal as well as pathological aspects of

heart and craniofacial development.

Yosef Yarden: Growth factors enable clonal expansion and fixation of genetic aberrations by

ensuring unlimited proliferation of transformed cells (tumor growth), attraction of blood

vessels (angiogenesis) and colonization of new sites (metastasis). One of the best examples is

provided by a group of polypeptides sharing an epidermal growth factor (EGF) motif. EGFlike

peptides stimulate cells by binding to plasma membrane receptors of the EGFR/ErbB

family, whose intracellular portions harbor enzymatic activity, a protein kinase with specificity

to tyrosine residues. Several mechanisms elevate the tyrosine kinase activity of EGFR, thereby

leading to malignant growth. They include a recently discovered cluster of mutations within

the kinase domain of EGFR (in lung cancer), large deletions of extracellular and intracellular

portions of the receptor (in glioblastomas and in various carcinomas), overexpression of

EGFR (e.g., in head and neck cancer) and abnormally high levels of specific EGF-like

peptides (e.g., in gastrointestinal cancer). The dependence of the respective tumors on EGFR

signaling makes them vulnerable to a series of novel drugs that block signal transduction (e.g.,

tyrosine kinase inhibitors and monoclonal anti-EGFR antibodies). Once activated by growth

factors, receptor tyrosine kinases simultaneously launch both positive signals, which lead to

cell stimulation, and negative signals, which regulate the amplitude and duration of these

positive signals. A delicate balance between positive and negative signals is critical for normal

cellular homeostasis, and its disturbance is often implicated in disease development. Rapid

internalization of ligand-receptor complexes usually terminates signaling by targeting

receptors to intracellular degradation. The process is initiated at the cell surface by the

recruitment of several adaptor proteins linking ErbB receptors to clathrin-coated regions of the

plasma membrane. Endocytosis is accelerated by three E3 ubiquitin ligases called c-Cbl, AIP4

and Tal, and culminates in the degradation of active receptors in lysosomes. Two sorting

events control receptor’s fate: the first takes place at the entry into the clathrin-coated pit, and

the other occurs when vesicles pinch into the lumen of a pre-lysosomal compartment called the

multi-vesicular body. This late endosomal sorting is controlled by a complex of an E2-like

molecule, the Tumor Suppressor Gene 101 (Tsg101) and an E3 ubiquitin ligase we named Tal.

More recently, our interest in negatively-acting pathways led us to the investigation of the

genetic program activated upon stimulation of EGFR/ErbB-1 and other receptor tyrosine

kinases. Apart from the early-induced group of genes, we identified a large group of lateinduced

genes, which carry primarily regulatory roles. The group contains several

transcriptional repressors, protein phosphatases, as well as an enzyme that cleaves certain

messenger RNAs. Along with characterization of the integrative mechanism of signal

desensitization, we concentrate on several late-induced genes, which seem to play important

roles in the regulation of cell migration and invasiveness downstream to growth factoractivated

MAPK pathways.

http://www.weizmann.ac.il/Biological_Regulation/


68 Biological Regulation

Research Staff, Visitors and Students

Professors

Hadassa Degani, Ph.D., State University of New York, Stony Brook, United States

The Fred and Andrea Fallek Professor of Breast Cancer Research

Nava Dekel, Ph.D., Tel Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel

The Philip M. Klutznick Professor of Developmental Biology

Mordechai Liscovitch, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Harold L. Korda Professor of Biology

Michal Neeman, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Yoram Salomon, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

The Charles W. and Tillie K. Lubin Professor of Hormone Research

Alexander Tsafriri, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel (on extension of

service)

The Herman and Lily Schilling Foundation Professor

Yosef Yarden, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Harold and Zelda Goldenberg Professor of Molecular Cell Biology

Associate Professor

Rony Seger, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Senior Scientists

Atan Gross, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Incumbent of the Armour Family Career Development Chair of Cancer Research

Ami Navon, Ph.D., Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel

Eldad Tzahor, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Incumbent of the Gertrude and Philip Nollman Career Development Chair

Associate Staff Scientist

Batya Cohen, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Assistant Staff Scientist

Edna Haran Furman, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Junior Staff Scientists

Catherine Brami, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Galia Maik-Rachline, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Dalia Seger, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel


Special Contract

Biological Regulation 69

Gal Gur, Ph.D., Tel Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel (left October 2005)

Consultants

Fortune Cohen

Joseph Friedman, Kupat Holim, Petach-Tikva, Israel

Eliezer Girsh, American Medical Center, Rishon Lezion, Israel (left October 2005)

Irit Granot, Kaplan Hospital, Rehovot, Israel

Ariel Hourvitz, Sheaba Medical Center, Tel-Hashomer, Israel

Jaakov Lavie, Proteoptics Ltd., Haifa, Israel

Yael Rosen (left February 2005)

Visiting Scientists

Yuval Bar Yosef, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Israel

Tamar Gottesman, Wolfson Hospital, Yaffo, Israel

Yoav Yinon, Sheba Medical Ctr., Tel Hashomer, Israel

Postdoctoral Fellows

Idan Ashur, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Ami Citri, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Yulia Gnainsky, Ph.D., Agriculture Faculty, Israel

Gal Gur-Shachar, Ph.D., Tel-Aviv University, Israel

Yael Kalma, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Shlomi Lazar, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Galia Maik-Rachline, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Nimrod Maril, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Eran Neumark, Ph.D., Tel-Aviv University, Israel

Hagit Niv, Ph.D., Tel-Aviv University, Israel

Michal Ortal-Schwartz, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Shlomo Oved, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Julia Penso, Ph.D., Bar-Ilan University, Israel

Dana Ravid, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Keren Shtiegman, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Joachim Troost, University of Mainz, Germany

Seunghee Yoon, Ph.D., Korea University, Korea

Research Students

Ido Amit Avital Beer

Sarit Bendetz-Nezer Dekla Berko


70 Biological Regulation

Xiumei Cao Dana Chuderland

Ami Citri Miriam Cohen-Kandli

Maya Dadiani Chetrit Iris Edry

Judith Elbaz Galit Eliyahu

Oran Erster Yoav Gal

Eran Gershon Itai Glinert

Dorit Granot Michal Grinberg-Fuchs

Yaron Hassid Ronit Hirsch

Tomer Israely Iris Kamer

Edith Kario Menachem Katz

Bose S. Kochupurakkal Gila Lustig

Galia Maik-Rachline Galit Mazooz

Yaron Mosesson Shmulik Motola

Elisha Nathan Galia Oberkovitz

Shlomo Oved Adi Pais

Vicki Plaks Yehudit Posen

Dina Preise Dana Ravid

Ariel Rinon Chanan Rubin

Sagit Sela-Abramovich Maria Shatz

Yoav Shaul Helena Sheikhet-Migalovich

Liora Shiftan Ketty Shkolnik

Keren Shtiegman Lilach Tencer Herschkovitz

Libbat Tirosh Yael Chagit Tzuman

Keren Yacobi Keren Ziv

Yaara Zwang

Administrator

Rachel Benjamin


Immunology

Zelig Eshhar, Head (until July 2005)

The Marshaal and Renette Ezralow Professor of Chemical and Cellular Immunology

Yair Reisner, Head (from August 2005)

The Henry H. Drake Professor of Immunology

The exponential growth of research activity in the life sciences has immunology in its center:

The wide range of research activities in our Department covers a spectrum of studies in

immunology ranging from fundamental aspects of antigen recognition and intracellular

signaling to intercellular communication as well as immune-cell differentiation, migration and

homing. Naturally, the progress made in resolving the basic principles underlining the mode of

operation of the immune system is also applied to furthering the understanding of its disorders

such as autoimmunity and allergies, as well as to the design of new immunotherapeutic

modalities to fight cancer and infectious diseases.

Among the different interesting advances made during the recent years is the effective

collaborations that have evolved amongst several researchers of the Department in studying

the relationship between migration and adhesion of immune cells and their regulation during

the functional maturation of the immune system.

The activities of the different research groups are briefly summarized below:

R. Alon's studies focus on the molecular basis and cellular mechanisms by which vascular

adhesion molecules (selectins, integrins and their respective ligands) operate to tether and

arrest circulating leukocytes on vascular endothelium under shear flow. The group investigates

the crosstalk between these adhesion receptors and chemokine receptors on recruited

leukocytes, facilitating their emigration to specific tissues both in normal and pathological

immune processes. A new focus of the lab is the role of mechanical signals, transduced to

adherent leukocytes by shear flow, and their function in the translation of biochemical signals

from vascular endothelial cells into productive transendothelial leukocyte migration.

R. Arnon studies focus on antigenicity and vaccine development: Epitope-based synthetic

vaccines; as well as autoimmune diseases: Experimental allergic encephalomyelitis,

mechanisms of its suppression by basic copolymers of amino acids and relevance to multiple

sclerosis (collaboration with M. Sela, R. Aharoni); Neurogenesis induced by copolymer I

(with R. Aharoni); Exploitation of Copolymer I for additional application including

inflammatory bowel diseases; Use of Cop1 in the prevention of transplant rejection

71


72 Immunology

(collaboration with M. Sela and R. Aharoni). In addition, she studies antigen-specific T-cells

efficacy in cancer.

A. Ben-Nun demonstrated new primary target antigens (MOG, MOBP and OSP) in multiple

sclerosis and their implications for pathogenic processes and immune-specific therapy; He

studies multi-epitope/multi-antigen-directed, altered peptides-mediated, immune-specific

therapy of ‘complex EAE’ associated with multiple pathogenic autoreactivities. The

mechanisms of T cell modulation; T cell receptor and ligand interaction in autoimmune

disease; Non-superantigenic bacterial toxins, T cell subsets and autoimmune diseases; Effect

of encephalitogenic myelin-specific T cells and demyelinating antibodies on nerve conduction

in the central nervous system in vitro and mechanisms of myelin/neuronal repair by adult stem

cells.

G. Berke investigated the regulation of tumor immunity emphasizing tumor escape from

immune attack. Along this line, he has addressed the regulation of expression and function of

the death receptor Fas and its Ligand in tumors. He studied the binding to and activation of

tumor specific T lymphocytes by tetrameric MHC – peptide complexes and showed direct

activation of the lymphocytes by the bound tetramers. He developed a novel procedure to

determine tumor cell susceptibility to anticancer drugs. Finally, he provided evidence that

hypoxia predisposes the heart to myocardial damage induce by the death receptor Fas, a

finding with implication to the mechanism of myocardial damage following myocardial

infarction.

I.R. Cohen's research activities concentrate on the following topics: Autoimmune diabetes:

Pathogenesis and clinical trials; Autoimmunity to hsp60 and the development of subunit

vaccines against infectious diseases; Innate receptors for hsp60; Bio informatics: antigen chip

(with Eytan Domany), modeling languages (with David Harel, Amir Pnueli), and T-cell

repertoire chip; Regulation of immune inflammation by small carbohydrate molecules

(originally done with Ofer Lider) and by lipoid molecules (with Meir

Shinitzky);Autoimmunity to p53 and the development of systemic lupus erythematosus (with

Varda Rotter).

L. Eisenbach tumor progression results in the emergence of highly metastatic cells

disseminating to distal organs. We are studying the interaction between malignant cells and the

cellular immune system. In particular: a) Identification and characterization of human Tumor

Associated Antigen (TAA) peptides derived from differentially expressed genes. Differentially

expressed genes are discovered through genomic methods (DNA chips, SAGE) or molecular

methods. TAAs from breast, colon, prostate and bladder tumors are the focus of our studies b)

Design of anti-tumor peptide vaccines. c) Design of anti-angiogenic vaccines d) The role of

interferon inducible genes in tumorigenesis e) Antigen presentation in tumor Immunity. f)

Brain tumors (together with Prof. I. Cohen) g) Genetically manipulated tumor cell vaccines.

Z. Eshhar pursues the Immuno-gene therapy of tumors by redirecting effector lymphocytes

using chimeric receptors and focusing on human prostate and breast carcinoma models. The

process of homing of the genetically engineered lymphocytes, their fate, as well as the optimal

gene transfer procedure are studied and optimized. In parallel, the diversity of prostate cancer


Immunology 73

as reflected by its antigenicity, sensitivity to different therapeutic modalities as well as

aggressiveness is studied (in collaboration with Prof. E. Domany and Prof. A. Orr-Urtreger,

Sourasky Medical Center).

S. Fuchs studies immunoregulation of experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis (EAMG)

and the relation between myasthenia gravis and acetylcholine receptor (AChR); Structure,

function and signal transduction of dopamine receptors and their presence in peripheral tissues

in health and disease.

S. Jung investigates the in vivo origin and functional organization of the mononuclear

phagocyte (MP) system, a body wide network of myeloid cells including macrophages and

dendritic cells, as well as organ specific cell types such as bone osteoclasts and brain

microglia. To study the differential functions of MP subsets in homeostasis and under

pathogen challenge his research team uses the combined application of adoptive precursor cell

transfers and conditional in vivo cell ablation in the intact organism. A particular focus is

given to the host/pathogen interface at mucosal surfaces such as the respiratory and digestive

tract.

T. Lapidot T. Lapidot pursues the identification of cytokines, chemokines, stromal cells,

proteolytic enzymes and adhesion molecules that mediate and regulate the migration and

developmental program of human stem cells, both normal and leukemic, in a functional in

vivo assay as well as the applications for human gene and cancer therapy. In particular,

mechanistic insights into the pleotropic roles of the Chemokine SDF-1 and its receptor

CXCR4 in stem cell migration (homing and mobilization) and retention in the stem cell niche

as well as interactions between Osteoclasts and Osteoblasts in these processes are investigated.

O. Lider Died, July 2004. His group's activities are being supervised by Prof. I. R. Cohen.

Prof. Lider's students are continuing his studies on how the immune system operates under

inflammatory conditions. They analyse the effects of cytokines on lymphocyte migration, cell

surface adhesion receptor function. They also attempt to evaluate the enzymatic machinery

required for leukocytes migration as well as examine the capacities of these enzymes to

generate natural small molecular weight inhibitors of inflammation.

E. Mozes studies, on the cellular-functional and on the molecular levels, the mechanisms

underlying the down regulation of a) myasthenia gravis (MG) by an altered peptide ligand

based on two myasthenogenic T cell epitopes of the human acetylcholine receptor and b)

systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) by a peptide based on the CDR of a pathogenic anti-DNA

autoantibody. The role of regulatory T cells, cytokines and chemokines, costimulatory

molecules, various pathways of apoptosis and of molecules involved in signal transduction is

investigated.

I. Pecht investigates the process of recognition performed by immunoreceptors and the

mechanism of their signalling. Specifically how the coupling between these receptors' stimuli

and cellular responses is initiated and controlled. The model employed for the latter process is

that of mast cell response by secretion of inflammatory mediators and its Fc receptor coupled

cascade. T-cell antigen recognition is the main system where the immunological recognition


74 Immunology

processes are studied. In addition, the rather different problem of internal electron transfer in

proteins is investigated.

Y. Reisner investigates a new approach for tolerance induction, using megadose stem-cell

transplants to overcome MHC barriers in sublethally irradiated recipients; the mechanism(s) of

tolerance induction by different veto cells is investigated; also human/mouse chimera are used

to study the potential use of early embryonic kidney, pancreas and liver as a new source of

transplantation.

I. Schechter investigates the regulation of stage specific genes during the life cycle of

schistosome (the parasite causing bilharzia) by alternative splicing, a mechanism that

generates structural diversity causing changes in gene function at different developmental

stages, as well as the function of stage-specific proteins.

M. Sela collaborates with E. Mozes on mechanism of action of peptides inhibiting

experimental myasthenia gravis, with R. Arnon on mechanism of action of Copolymer 1, a

drug against experimental allergic encephalomyelitis and multiple sclerosis, and on its use in

prevention of transplant rejection and with Y. Yarden on monoclonal antibodies to ErbB2 and

their respective B cell epitopes, their roles in potential anti-tumor strategy.

I. Shachar studies homing, maturation and function of immature B cells. In order to fully

mature and to participate in the humoral response, immature B cells first migrate into specific

areas in the spleen, where they mature, while their arrival to other compartments is restricted.

Her research is focused on the mechanisms controlling homing of immature B cells to the

spleen and the differentiation to mature B cells in this compartment.

http://www.weizmann.ac.il/immunology/

Research Staff, Visitors and Students

Professors

Ruth Arnon, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel (on extension of

service)

The Paul Ehrlich Professor of Immunology

Gideon Berke, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Isaac and Elsa Bourla Professor of Cancer Research

Zelig Eshhar, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Marshall and Renette Ezralow Professor of Chemical and Cellular Immunology

Edna Mozes, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel (on extension of service)

The Heinrich G. Ritzel Professor of Immunology

Yair Reisner, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Henry H. Drake Professor of Immunology

Michael Sela, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Institute Professor

The W. Garfield Weston Professor of Immunology


Professors Emeriti

Immunology 75

Irun R. Cohen, Ph.D., Northwestern University Medical School

Michael Feldman, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel (deceased

March 2005)

Sara Fuchs, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Nechama Haran-Ghera, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Roald Nezlin, MD., Ph.D., Academy of Medical Sciences, Moscow, Russian Federation

Israel Pecht, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Israel Schechter, MD., Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Associate Professors

Ronen Alon, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Avi Ben-Nun, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Eugene and Marcia Applebaum Professor

Lea Eisenbach, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Georg F. Duckwitz Professor of Cancer Research

Tsvee Lapidot, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Idit Shachar, Ph.D., Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel

Senior Scientist

Steffen Jung, Ph.D., Universitaet zu Koeln, Germany

Yigal Allon Fellow

Incumbent of the Pauline Recanati Career Development Chair of Immunology

Associate Staff Scientists

Rina Aharoni, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Liora Cahalon, Ph.D., Tel Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel

Sara W. Feigelson, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Alexander Kalinkovich, Ph.D., Pirogov Moscow Medical Institute (PMMI), Russian

Federation

Esther Lustig, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Assistant Staffs Scientists

Tamar Ben-Yedida, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel (until April 2005)

Anat Faber Elmann, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel (left December

2005)

Tali Feferman, Ph.D., Macquarie University Sydney, Sydney, Australia

Dmitry Gakamsky, Ph.D., Institute of Physics, Minsk, Belarus


76 Immunology

Orit Kollet, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Shlomit Reich-Zeliger, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Elias Shezen, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Junior Staff Scientists

Rina Falb, Ph.D., Tel Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel

Polina Goichberg, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Engineer

Esther Tzehoval, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Consultants

Bejamin Almog, Souraski Medical Center, Tel-Aviv, Israel

Tamar Ben-Yedida, BiondVax Pharmaceuticals, Rehovot, Israel (from May 2005)

Alain Berrebi

Alexander Brill, Hadassah Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel (left September 2005)

Sahar Elhanan (left September 2005)

Karmi Geler-Bernstein, Kaplan Hospital, Rehovot, Israel (left January 2005)

Amiela Globerson

Rinat Goren

Valentin Grabovsky, Biokine Therapatics Ltd., Israel

Iris Hecht (retired January 2005)

Yonatan Leor, Sheba Medical Center, Tel-Hashomer, Israel

Yotvat Marmor, IDF, Israel

Felix Mor, Rabin Medical Center, Belinson Campus, Betach-Tikva, Israel

Alpha Peled

Yael Pewzner-Jung

Bilha Schechter

Alexander Shtabsky, Tel Aviv Medical Center, Tel-Aviv, Israel

Dvora Teitelbaum

Visiting Scientists

Yaacov Adar, Israel Inst. of Bio. Rese., Nes Ziona, Israel

Hava Azulai, Kaplan Hospital, Rehovot, Israel

Sonia Berrih-Aknin, Marie Lannelongue Hosp., Le Plessis Robinson, France

Michal Dekel, Ichilov Medical Ctr., Tel Aviv, Israel

Ole Farver, Royal Danish School of Pharmacy, Copenhagen, Denmark

Kalman Filonovsky, Assaf Harofe Hospital, Zrifin, Israel

Nicole Kerlero De Rosb, University of Auckland, New Zealand

Amos Neheman, Carmel Medical Center, Israel


Miriam Souroujon, Open University, Raanana, Israel

Merav Toledano, Ichilov Hosp., Israel

Scot Wherland, Washington State University, Seattle, USA

Postdoctoral Fellows

Immunology 77

Revital Aricha (Geffen), Ph.D., Bar-Ilan University, Israel

Dorit Avrahami, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Aruna Venkataratnam Badiga, Ph.D., Bharathidasan University, India

Shirly Becker- Herman, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Ayelet Dar, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Benjamin Dekel, M.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Noam Erez, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Doron Gerber, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Rinat Goren, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Guy Lapidot Tal, M.D., Tel-Aviv University, Israel

Yifat Levy, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Renuka Menon, Ph.D., Cochin University of Science and Technology

Annalisa Michal Miglioli, M.D., Universita Di Bologna, Italy

Shlomit Reich-Zeliger, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Liora Shiftan, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

David Stepensky, Ph.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Eilon Woolf, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Alexandra Zanin-Zhorov, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Research Students

Jakub Abramson Lilach Agemy

Shraga Aviner Efrat Avraham

Emilia-Alina Barbu Hava Ben David Turgeman

Tal Birnberg Michal Cohen

Vered Daniel Carmi Ayelet Dar

Eran Elinav Smadar Even-Tov Friedman

Liat Flaishon Lilach Friedman

Ofir Goldberger Yael Gore

Gili Hart Gil Hecht

Joy Kahn Helena Katchman

Nathali Kaushansky Itai Kela

Limor Landsman Neta Madar

Victoria Malina Eugenia Manevich

Assaf Marcus Avihai Meiraz

Oren Milstein Dinorah Morvinski

Nathalie Moyal-Amsellem Ronit Pasvolsky

Naama Peshes Limor Regev


78 Immunology

Sarit Samira Anita Sapoznikov

Uri Sela Revital Shamri

Amir Sharabi Shoham Shivtiel

Ilya Sotnikov Asaf Spiegel

Diana Starlets David Steiner

Dalit Tchorsh Yaron Vagima

Ilan Volovitz Lior Zangi

Alexandra Zanin-Zhorov Ming-Chao Zhong

Administrator

Pnina Carmi


Molecular Cell Biology

Varda Rotter, Head

The Norman and Helen Asher Professor of Cancer Research

The molecular and genetic mechanisms underlying cell proliferation, differentiation,

dynamics, and death, and their involvement in embryonic development, and cancer are the

primary topics of interest of the Department. These include studies on the mode of action of

growth factors and the nature of signals triggered by them in target cells. Growth regulation is

also approached through the study of either tumor suppressors, such as p53, which inhibit cell

proliferation and can drive cells towards differentiation or apoptosis or the characterization of

growth-activating genes and signaling networks. These studies also address the basis for

cancerous transformation either due to deregulated growth or to failure to undergo apoptosis.

Advanced gene screening techniques and the study of genetically modified experimental

animals are used to identify and characterize specific genes which are involved in normal and

malignant growth. In addition, there is broad interest in the molecular mechanisms of cell

adhesion and motility and in their involvement in the regulation of cellular and embryonic

morphogenesis as well as in the spread of tumor metastases. These studies include

characterization of the mechanism of adhesive interaction, the role of sugars in adhesive

processes, cell-cell interactions in the nervous system, the binding of surface-associated

adhesion molecules to the cytoskeleton and the involvement of cytoskeleton-bound adhesions

in cell motility and signaling. Recently, we have also addressed questions in development

using the zebrafish as vertebrate model organism for the study of the dopaminergic (DA)

neural specification. Adaptation of this experimental model is expected to open new direction

in development at large. The scope of topics is outlined below.

1. The regulation of cell growth and death

Cell proliferation and programmed cell death is studied by several research groups in the

department.

The group of Moshe Oren is studying the role of the p53 tumor suppressor protein in the

regulation of growth inhibition and cell death induced by genome damage and by

oncogenic stimuli. They have shown that p53 can mediate cell death by transactivating

the transcription of target genes, as well as by transactivation-independent mechanisms.

Present studies address the analysis of factors that favor selective transactivation of proapoptotic

genes, thereby favoring the choice of apoptosis over cell cycle arrest in

response to p53 activation. Cross-talk between p53 and other cancer-associated

pathways is also being explored.

79


80 Molecular Cell Biology

David Givol's group is using DNA microarrays to analyze global gene expression in

experimental systems related to p53, cancer and stem cells. They analyzed several cell

lines with inducible p53 to understand its function as a transcription factor. They showed

a distinction between direct and secondary targets of p53. They analyzed differences

between cell lines that do, or do not undergo p53-dependent apoptosis. This allowed

detection of Apaf-1 as a direct target of p53. Apaf-1 is central to the apoptosis process by

complexing with cytochrome C and Caspas-9 to form the apoptosome which activates

caspases. They showed that p53 may cooperate with Zac-1 in transactivation of Apaf-1.

They also analyzed the transcription profile of the inhibition of p53-driven apoptosis by

IL-6 and other factors. In this study they could demonstrate that the transcription activity

of p53 is not impaired significantly by IL-6 and the inhibition of apoptosis is due to IL-6

activated genes which somehow inhibit apoptotic activity downstream, in-spite of

induced expression of the p53 apoptotic pathway. The p53 homologue gene p73, is

known to activate p53 target genes but nevertheless is not involved in tumor suppression

as p53. Rather its importance is in brain developmental processes. They compared the

transcription profile of induced p73 with that of induced p53, and were able to show that

p73 and p53 activate both common and distinct genes. The distinct p73 activated genes

are being explored for their importance in development. They were shown to be direct

targets of p73 by chromatin immunoprecipitation.

Recently they analyzed the effect of UV irradiation on keratinocytes as a model for

development of skin cancer. The results show several aspects of DNA damage, DNA

repair and apoptosis as important steps in skin cancer formation. They are using now

gene expression profile to compare stem cells from different sources for common and

distinct genes between human embryonic stem cells (ESC), hematopoietic and epidermis

stem cells. It is assumed that the genes which are common to stem cells from various

origins are important for their stemness. They show that ESC gene expression is more

complex than that of adult tissues. Upon differentiation many ESC gene are downregulated

whereas the target tissue genes are up-regulated. They propose that this is

related to the pluripotency of ESC.

Apoptosis in the mammalian ovary is studied by the group of Abraham Amsterdam,

with a special emphasis on the selection of the dominant follicle and regression of the

corpus luteum. The investigation is focused on the complex crosstalk between

hormones, growth factors, the extracellular matrix, oncogenes, survival genes and tumor

suppressor genes which determine cell fate. The lab explores the role of cell-cell

contacts, intracellular communication and organization and expression of the

cytoskeleton, both during differentiation and apoptosis of granulosa cells, which

comprise the main bulk of the ovarian follicle. Most recently Amsterdam's group is

investigating the modulation of gene expression in these ovarian follicular cells

stimulated by gonadotropins, the major regulants of folliculogenesis, in order to identify

novel genes involved in the control of reproduction. They found that expression of a

novel apoptotic repressor (ARC) which could protect mitochondrial destruction is

elevated following gonadotropin stimulation and that granzyme like proteins, normally

reside in T cytotoxic lymphocyte and natural killer cells, are expressed and activated in

granulosa cells. Thus the apoptotic signals could bypass mitochondrial signalling for


Molecular Cell Biology 81

apoptosis, which can preserve their steroidogenic activity until complete cell

destruction.

Another project of the Amsterdam's group is investigating novel markers for early

diagnosis of ovarian cancer, and creating in vitro and in vivo models for ovarian cancer

by injection of the cancer cells into the ovary. Two major aspects are investigated: a)

Combined chemotherapy such as cisplatin and theophylline which were found to

synergize in inducing apoptosis in the cancer cells, reducing the side effects of

chemotherapy. b) The suppressive effect of short polypeptides, corresponding to sites on

laminin α and α chains, on tumor development and metastasis. This tumor regression

involves down regulation of the oncogene mdm2 and the survival gene BCL2. c) Most

recently they found using DNA microarrays that gonadotropic hormones elevate

dramatically the expression of tyrosine kinase growth factors and their receptors, elevate

the activity of specific oncogenes and tumor markers and attenuate the expression of

tumor suppressor genes. The group has discovered that specific novel EFG like growth

factors, namely Epiregulin (Ep) and Amphiregulin (Ar) were the growth factors that

were elevated most dramatically by gonadotropic hormones. These growth factors could

be activated by metaloproteinases of the ADAMs family. While ADAMs expression

was down regulated concomitantly with upregulation of Ep and Ar in normal ovarian

cells. Their activity was not altered in SV40 transformed ovarian cells. This would

suggest that Ep and Ar have no autocrine activity in normal cells, in contrast to

transformed cells where they may serve as a catalizator of ovarian neoplastic

transformation. All in all excess of gonadotropin in the circulation in menopausal

women and fertile women in the case of treatment with exogeneous gonadotropins to

stimulate their cycle and the ovulatory process (IVF patients), may elevate the risk for

ovarian, breast and other types of cancers.

Mesenchymal stromal cells in the bone marrow regulate hemopoietic stem cell renewal,

adhesion, migration, differentiation and death. The group of Dov Zipori is studying

these processes using in vivo and in vitro models with the aim of delineating the role of

members of the transforming growth factor (TGF)β superfamily in the regulation of

hematopoiesis. One such member, activin A, was found to be a negative regulator of B

lymphocyte generation. The mode by which activin A affects its target cells involved

antagonism with interleukin (IL)-6. Since multiple myeloma cells strictly depend for

their survival, IL-6 signaling, it was anticipated that activin A could be a useful means to

combat this incurable human disease. Studies performed by Dov Zipori, in collaboration

with Nehama Haran-Ghera, from the Department of Immunology, indicate that

mesenchymal cells, genetically modified to overexpress activin A, may be used as a

therapeutic modality for multiple myeloma, in an animal models system. These

experiments overcame the complications of systemic administration of activin A.

Since little is known on molecules specific to the mesenchyme that mediate stromal cell

functions, the research group of Dov Zipori in now involved in a gene discovery effort

aimed at identifying novel proteins that account for the biological activities of

mesenchymal cells. An unexpected finding related to this gene discovery effort was that

the T cell receptor (TCR) complex, expected to be expressed by T lymphocytes only, is


82 Molecular Cell Biology

found in mesenchymal cells: primary mesenchyme, as well as mesenchymal cell clones,

express T cell receptor (TCR)β mRNAs, lacking the variable region. Immunological and

genetic evidence support the expression of a corresponding TCRβ protein. Additionally,

mRNAs encoding TCR complex components including CD3 and pTα chain are present.

The level of expression of the mesenchymal TCR, by mesenchymal cell clones,

correlated with growth properties and tendency to form tumors, implying association of

mesenchymal TCR with cell growth control. This unexpected gene expression pattern

seems to be part of a general phenomenon related to stem cell plasticity: Stem cells

express a large number of genes, at a low level, and are thus in a “stand by” state, ready

to assume differentiation to many directions, without the need to activate silenced genes.

2. The genetic basis for cancer

p53, the tumor suppressor gene that functions as the "guardian of the genome" plays a

pivotal role in "sensing" damaged DNA and in regulating critical decisions of whether a

cell should repair the damaged DNA or undergo apoptosis. Mutant p53 has lost these

activities and thus permits the proliferation of cells which carry damaged DNA,

eventually leading to their malignant transformation into cancerous cells. The research in

Varda Rotter's laboratory focuses on two main issues: the deciphering of the function

of wild type p53 in the normal cell, and the understanding of how mutant p53 acts in

tumor cells. The combined results obtained from these two complementary research

directions shed light on the basic mechanism of malignant transformation and suggests

possible new approaches for cancer therapy that involve p53-dependent gene

replacement. It is well possible that in addition of p53 being associated with the initial

steps of recognizing damaged DNA; p53 also takes part in the DNA repair process itself.

It appears that following genotoxic stress p53 functions as a modulator that determines

the pattern of BER activity and apoptosis in a cell cycle specific manner. Interestingly,

involvement of p53 in BER is independent of the transcriptional activity of the p53

molecule. A relationship between p53 and the maintenance of genomic integrity is also

suggested by the physical interaction between p53 and the Werner (WRN) helicase.

Mutations in WRN are responsible for the Werner syndrome, a human disorder

resembling premature aging. It is believed that WRN prevents premature aging by

reducing the incidence of certain types of genomic damage.

The groups of Oren and Rotter are also studying the effect of p53 mutations on the

cellular response to chemotherapy. They have shown that particular human cancerassociated

p53 mutations give rise to a protein that can inhibit the killing of tumor cells

by certain anti-cancer drugs. The group of Varda Rotter have shown that the ability of

mutant p53 to block apoptosis is dependent on its transcriptional activity. A core domain

mutant p53 (143 Val to Ala) in which two N-terminal residues (22,23) essential for

transactivation were also mutated (Leu to Glu and Trp to Ser, respectively), was

examined. While p53 containing the core mutation only, efficiently interfered with druginduced

apoptosis, further modification at the N-terminus abolished this blocking

activity. In addition, wild-type p53, mutated in the N-terminus (22,23), was unable to

induce apoptosis by itself. Nevertheless, it synergized with drugs in the induction of

apoptosis. This suggests that the integrity of the N-terminus is essential for both the


Molecular Cell Biology 83

activity of wild-type p53 in apoptosis and for mutant p53 mediated block of druginduced

apoptosis. Thus supporting the notion that core p53 mutants act via a

mechanism of "gain of function". A related direction of studies is the mechanism of

cancer promotion by the mdm2 oncogene. Oren's group have found that mdm2 can

block p53-mediated apoptosis, and thereby prevent cancer cells from being killed. They

are presently studying the regulation of Mdm2 function by cancer-related stress

signaling pathways. They are also exploring additional molecular targets of Mdm2,

which are distinct from p53. In addition, they are investigating the involvement of p53 in

the cross-talk between tumor cells and their surrounding non-tumorous stroma.

Eli Canaani's laboratory is studying the molecular basis for human infant acute

leukemia. This neoplasm is triggered by a series of chromosome translocations resulting

in the fusion of the ALL-1 gene to each of a variety of partner genes. One of the major

projects was the application of DNA microarrays technology to identify targets for the

leukemogenic ALL-1 fusion proteins. Such Analysis was recently completed, showing

that acute lymphoblastic (ALL) and myeloblastic (AML) leukemias with ALL-1

rearrangements have unique transcription profiles involving genes associated with

cancer. Moreover, in collaboration with Eitan Domany's group, application of statistical

methodologies enabled subclassification of these leukemias into groups with distinct

expression patterns. In a second major project we have recently shown that the normal

ALL-1 protein is a histone methyltransferase and assembles a very large multiprotein

complex of around 30 proteins. Most of these proteins are components of known

complexes involved in chromatin alterations, transcription inhibition, or RNA

processing. The assembled complex is subsequently recruited to promoters of target

genes.

The research in Avri Ben-Ze'ev's group focuses on the integration between signaling by

cell-cell adhesion and the regulation of gene expression and its disruption in tumor cells.

They study molecules of the armadillo family of proteins, in particular β -catenin, since

this unique molecule has a dual role in the cell. On the one hand, it is a pivotal

component of cell-cell adhesions linking transmembrane adhesion receptors of the

cadherin family to the cytoskeleton. In addition, β -catenin is a major component of the

Wnt signaling pathway that regulates developmental processes, and its aberrant

activation is common in colorectal cancer, melanoma, breast cancer and a variety of

other cancers. The oncogenic activity of β -catenin is believed to result from constitutive

activation of its target genes thereby leading to overt cell proliferation and

tumorigenesis. Consistent with this view, the Ben-Ze'ev lab found that a key regulator of

the proliferative stage in the cell cycle, cyclin D1, is a target gene of the β -catenin

signaling pathway and its expression is enhanced in colon cancer cells. Another effort of

the Ben-Ze'ev lab is directed towards identifying novel target genes of the β -catenin

pathway that might be involved in its oncogenic activity and development of model

systems of human colon cancer cell invasion and metastasis. Such studies revealed that

by modulating colon cancer cell culture density, it is possible to mimic the changes in β

-

catenin signaling and E-cadherin localization in human colorectal cancer tissue. Sparse

cultures of colon cancer cells resemble the invasive phenotype in colon cancer tissue


84 Molecular Cell Biology

with strong nuclear localization and signaling by β -catenin, but no E-cadherin

expression. E-cadherin transcription in such cells is inhibited by Slug, a novel β -catenin

target gene. Dense cultures of colon cancer cells, on the other hand, mimic the central

differentiated part of tumors with membranal localization of β -catenin and E-cadherin,

but no β -catenin signaling, or Slug expression. Such cells express high levels of

junctional E-cadherin. Additional studies from the Ben-Ze’ev lab have identified several

other novel β -catenin target genes that contribute to the development of the invasive and

metastatic phenotype of colon cancer cells. Among them, Nr-CAM and L1-CAM, are

cell adhesion receptor that were previously described only in the brain. The Ben-Ze'ev

lab found that Nr-CAM is expressed in human melanoma at an advanced stage, but not

in melanocytes and both Nr-CAM and L1 are prevalent in human colorectal cancer

tissue, but not in normal colon tissue. Expression of Nr-CAM in fibroblasts conferred

tumorigenesis and enhanced motility, and therefore Nr-CAM appears to be a key

component in tumor development that involves aberrant β

-catenin activation. L1-CAM

expression was also detected in human colorectal cancer tissue, but only in a

subpopulation of invasive cells at the malignant front of tumors together with the

metalloproteinase ADAM10 that is involved in the cleavage and shedding of the L1

extracellular domain. L1 and Nr-CAM may therefore represent an example of how

cancer cells induce genes used in normal cellular processes and utilize them

opportunistically to enhance cancer cell invasion and metastasis. The mechanisms by

which these Ig-CAM cell adhesion molecules promote human colorectal cancer invasion

are currently under investigation.

The heterogeneity and self renewal properties of tumor cells is being analyzed in David

Givol’s lab by fractionation of patients’ leukemia, or glioblstoma tumor cells according

to defined biomarkers. They find that a small population (2-10%) of the tumor cells bear

stem cells markers of the tissue of origin of the tumor. This “cancer stem cells” fraction

is isolated and compared for gene expression with the rest of the tumor cells to identify

new unique targets for cancer.

3. Quantitative analysis of cell structure and dynamics

The cytoskeleton is anchored in the cell membrane at multiple sites, especially in regions

of cell-cell and cell-matrix adhesions via a battery of transmembrane receptors and

cytoplasmic cytoskeletal proteins. To characterize the molecular interactions and

complexity in these regions, Zvi Kam and Benjamin Geiger have developed and

applied digital microscopic approaches, which provide quantitative information about

the distribution and dynamics of different adhesion- and cytoskeleton-associated

molecules and characterized their inter-relationships. These studies indicated that

adhesion sites are highly diversified at the molecular level, with respect to their

composition, dynamics and signaling capabilities. Using different mathematical

approaches for image segmentation and clustering they have been able to define new

molecular sub-domains within cell-matrix adhesions, involved in the extension of

adhesions or in their turn-over, and determine their specific roles in such processes as

cell motility and assembly of the cytoskeleton. Zvi Kam had further developed novel


Molecular Cell Biology 85

tools for multidimensional microscopy that enables to simultaneously detect and analyze

spatial and temporal changes in the 3-dimensional distribution of multiple molecules in

cells and embryos. An automated version of such microscope is currently used by the

Kam-Geiger team for a genome-wide screening for genes encoding new components of

adhesion sites or new modulators of cell motility. Similar experimental approach is also

applied for screening of libraries of small molecules that can affect cell migration and

adhesion.

4. Control of gene expression

The group of Moshe Oren is studying the regulation of p53 protein stability, which is

the major mechanism responsible for the in vivo modulation of p53 function. They

found that the proteolytic degradation of p53, which occurs through the ubiquitin/

proteasome pathway, is largely controlled by the Mdm2 protein (product of the mdm2

oncogene). Mdm2 acts as a ubiquitin ligase for p53. The ability of Mdm2 to promote

p53 degradation is controlled by phosphorylation events occurring on both p53 and

Mdm2. Moreover, the activation of p53 by β

-catenin is mediated by another important

tumor suppressor protein, known as ARF. Additional factors that control the

ubiquitination of p53, as well as additional targets for ubiquitination by Mdm2, are

presently being explored. Further work is aimed at understanding how the activity of p53

as a sequence-specific transcription factor is controlled, as well as investigating the

involvement of p53 in the regulation of microRNA expression.

Gad Yagil is using computers to analyze special DNA sequences in prokaryotic and

eukaryotic genomes. Special binary DNA sequences are found to be highly overrepresented

in human chromosomes 14 and 21 as well as in other sequenced genomes.

Evidence that these special sequences serve as DNA unwinding centers controlling gene

expression rates has been brought. In another direction, a formal approach to

biocomplexity has been formulated and applied to the analysis of biopattern

specification.

The laboratory of Uri Alon uses a combined experimental and theoretical approach to

reverse-engineer genetic regulation circuits. Using the bacterium Escherichia coli as a

model system, they have developed GFP-based methods for assaying gene expression on

a genomic scale. The aim is to develop the concepts and algorithms needed to map the

regulation circuitry of an entire cell in terms of modular multi-gene systems and

subsystems and their interactions. The circuit diagrams are then tested experimentally

using bacterial genetic methods. Current projects also aim at experimentally and

theoretically mapping protein circuitry in mammalian cells, using a novel proteomics

living-cell array.

In order to understand the building blocks of complex networks, work in the Alon lab

defined 'network motifs': these are patterns of connections that occur many times

throughout the network, at numbers that are significantly higher than in suitably

randomized 'control' networks. It was found that the transcription network of E. coli is

built of three types of network motifs. Each motif was found to have a unique role in


86 Molecular Cell Biology

information processing, such as filtering fluctuations in external stimuli or generating

temporal expression patterns. The same motifs were then found in the transcription

network of yeast, as well as in higher organisms. Much of the experimental work in the

lab is focused on understanding the function of the network motifs using accurate kinetic

gene expression measurements and theoretical models. Intriguingly, network motifs are

also found in other biological networks, such as the neuron synaptic connection network

of C. elegans. Similar motifs in transcription and neuronal networks may reflect similar

design aimed at information processing between sensory and motor components.

5. Transmembrane signaling by cytokines and growth factors

Yehiel Zick's group investigates insulin resistance Failure of target cells to respond to

insulin, a state known as insulin-resistance, is a major cause for pathological

manifestations associated with diabetes- an ever-increasing "epidemic of the 21st

century". Yehiel Zick's group investigates the role of Ser/Thr phosphorylation as a

molecular basis of insulin resistance. These studies revealed that agents that induce

insulin resistance such as TNFα, exploit phosphorylation-based negative feedback

control mechanisms, otherwise utilized by insulin itself, to uncouple the insulin receptor

(IR) from downstream effector proteins such as the IRS proteins, and thereby terminate

insulin signal transduction. These studies implicate PKC ζ

and its downstream targets

IKKβ as potential IRS kinases. These results may lead to potential pharmacological

interventions in disease states where this mechanism can be the underlying cause of

insulin resistance, such as the prevalent form of obesity-induced diabetes.

To study the temporal and spatial communication of IRK with downstream effectors,

attempts were made to identify novel elements involved in regulating IR trafficking. It

was found that IR endocytosis occurs independent of phosphorylation of the IRS

proteins, however, actin, ECM molecules, and annexin-II are key candidate players in

regulating insulin receptor trafficking.

Galectin-8 A second aspect of Zick's group work involves studies of galectins, with a

special emphasis on galectin-8, a secreted, surface-expressed mammalian lectin cloned

by this group. The studies revealed that immobilized galectin-8 promotes cell adhesion,

spreading, and migration, by forming protein-sugar complexes with integrins. Adhesion

to galectin-8 triggers integrin-mediated signaling cascades including Tyr

phosphorylation of FAK, Paxillin and P130cas; and activation of a Rho-family GTPases,

MAPK and PI3K cascades. In contrast, soluble galectin-8 forms complexes with

integrins and fibronectin that negatively regulate cell adhesion. Such a mechanism

allows local signals emitted by secreted galectin-8 to specify territories available for cell

adhesion and migration. Due to its dual effects on the adhesive properties of the cells and

its association with fibronectin, galectin-8 might be considered as a novel type of a

matricellular protein.

Secreted Galectin-8 induces the expression of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors

(CDKIs) p21 and p27 and negatively regulates cellular growth. Studies in progress are


Molecular Cell Biology 87

aimed at identifying the cell surface receptor that mediates the growth-inhibitory effects

of soluble galectin-8.

6. Cell adhesion and adhesion-dependent signaling

Several groups in the department investigate the structure, dynamics and signaling

properties of cell-matrix and cell-cell adhesions. In Benjamin Geiger's laboratory, the

molecular mechanisms underlying the assembly of adhesion sites and their role in the

organization of the cytoskeleton are investigated. The Group is specifically studying the

involvement, in adhesive interactions, of tyrosine phosphorylation events, mechanical

perturbation, cellular contractility and migration as well as the adhesion-dependent

activation of diverse signaling and oncogenic pathways. Together with Lia Addadi

(Structural Biology) the Geiger group addresses the earliest stages inadhesive surface

recognition. They demonstrated that adhesion consists of a fast and apparently direct

step of surface recognition, mediated by hyaluronan, followed by more stable

interactions, mediated via transmembrane receptors of the integrin family. The assembly

of integrin-mediated adhesion during cell migration was shown to involve the sequential

recruitment of several adhesion-associated proteins, followed by cytoskeletal

interactions, induces by local contractile activity. Using micro- and nano-patterned

adhesive surfaces the nature of local and global factors regulating the adhesive

interactions is investigated. The roles of specific molecular constituents of matrix

adhesions, as well as of local tyrosine phosphorylation of adhesion sites are studies using

specific knock-out and RNA-inactivated cells, as well as the application of inhibitors to

different signaling pathways. Cell adhesion is also studied in unique cellular systems,

where cell-matrix or cell-cell adhesion have a particularly important physiological role,

such as migrating endothelial cells, bone-resorbing osteoclasts, cadherin-associated cells

and the various cellular components of the outflow pathway in the eye, whose malfunction

is involved in the development of glaucoma.

The group of Alexander Bershadsky is studying interplay between cell signaling, cell

adhesion, and cytoskeletal dynamics. Formation of integrin-mediated cell-matrix

adhesions (focal adhesions) depends on coordinated activity of the cytoskeletal systems

that is in turn regulated by small G-proteins of Rho family. Studies of Bershadsky group

showed that a formin homology protein mDia1, a major target of Rho A, is

indispensable for the focal adhesion formation, and at the same time strongly affects

microtubule dynamics. These results shed a new light on the mechanisms of cross talk

between microtubules and focal adhesions. Studying the interrelationship between cellcell

adhesions formation and cell motility revealed that a cytoplasmic partner of

adhesion receptor cadherin known as p120 catenin (p120ctn) can control cell motility by

activating Rho family G-proteins, Rac and Cdc42, which in turn activate actin

polymerization, lamellipodia and filopodia formation and cell migration. p120ctn was

shown to localize to the dynamic actin arrays assembled in lamellipodia and associated

with motile endocytotic vesicles. Overexpression of p120ctn led to increase in the

velocity of these vesicles, while reduction of p120ctn level by corresponding RNAi -

diminished the vesicle velocity. Moreover, correlation was found between p120ctn level

and the cell migration activity. Thus, p120ctn may function as a link between cell-cell


88 Molecular Cell Biology

junction formation and cell motility regulation.

Yehiel Zick's group has shown that galectin-8, a secreted mammalian lectin, promotes

cell adhesion, spreading, and migration, by forming protein-sugar complexes with

integrins. Affinity chromatography over immobilized galectin-8 revealed that a major

galectin-8 binding-protein is alpha 3 beta 1 integrin. Furthermore, endogenous galectin-8,

secreted from 1299 cells, forms complexes with alpha 3 beta 1 integrin. These findings

suggest that galectin-8 is a novel matricellular integrin binding-protein that modulates

interactions of integrins with the extracellular matrix and thus regulates cell adhesion

and cell survival. Accordingly, adhesion to immobilized galectin-8 triggers integrinmediated

signaling cascades including Tyr phosphorylation of FAK, Paxillin and

P130cas; and activation of a Rho-family GTPases, MAPK and PI3K cascades. In

contrast, soluble galectin-8 forms complexes with integrins and fibronectin that

negatively regulate cell adhesion. Such a mechanism allows local signals emitted by

secreted galectin-8 to specify territories available for cell adhesion and migration. Due to

its dual effects on the adhesive properties of the cells and its association with fibronectin,

galectin-8 might be considered as a novel type of a matricellular protein that regulates

cell adhesion and growth. Indeed, secreted Galectin-8 induces the expression of cyclindependent

kinase inhibitors (CDKIs) p21 and p27 and negatively regulates cellular

growth. Studies in progress are aimed at identifying the cell surface receptor that

mediates the growth-inhibitory effects of soluble galectin-8.

The laboratory of Elior Peles focuses on several molecular aspects of myelinated axons,

myelinating glial cells, and neuron-glia communication. The reciprocal interactions

between neurons and glial cells are crucial for many aspects of neuronal development.

These interactions modulate fundamental processes that are required for the correct

wiring of nerve cells and are involved in the coordinated differentiation of axons and

myelin-forming cells. This lab is studying the molecular mechanisms involved in the

development and maintenance of myelinated nerves. They study neuron-glia interactions

that are mediated by the Caspr proteins, a family of novel cell recognition molecules,

which link axons to their myelinated glial cells. These studies include characterization of

the role of the different Caspr proteins during development using microscopic

localization, identification of the molecular targets of these proteins that couple them to

the axonal cytoskeleton, development of transgenic and knock-out animal models and

the use of C. elegans as a genetic model to study the role of two Caspr-like proteins in

cell-cell interactions.

7. Molecular genetics of human diseases

Analysis of the structure, evolution and function of products of the dystrophin gene,

which is defective in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), is carried out by the group

of Uri Nudel and David Yaffe. Gene inactivation techniques are used to study the

function of Dp71, the major non-muscle product of the DMD gene, and its possible

involvement in development and learning capacity. Cloning and analysis of the

homologous genes from sea urchin and drosophila have important implications with

regard to the evolution of the DMD gene family and function of the DMD gene products.


Molecular Cell Biology 89

Additional studies are directed towards the prenatal diagnosis of DMD on the basis of

dystrophin expression in amniotic fluid and chorionic villi cells, and a project related to

muscle stem cells, the stability of the differentiated state and trans differentiation. The

possible application of some of the findings for DMD gene therapy is being investigated.

In the laboratory of David Givol, a mouse model for achondroplasia was generated by

introducing the human mutation (glycine 380 to arginine) into the mouse FGFR3 by a

"knock-in" approach using gene targeting. This resulted in dwarf mice that share many

features with human dwarfism. David Givol's group found that the FGFR3 locus is

sensitive to the presence of neomycin selection marker (Neo) after gene targeting. Neo

caused improper RNA expression and functional inactivation of the gene. Mice

homozygous with targeted FGFR3 behaved like FGFR3 knockout phenotype with bone

overgrowth due to the lack of properly spliced RNA. This bone overgrowth can be

inhibited by constitutively active MEK1 indicating that regulation of bone growth by

FGFR3 is mediated by the MAPK pathway. Transgenic mice with overexpression of

MEK1 show achondroplastic phenotype, similar to the mutant FGFR3 (collaboration).

Removal of Neo by Cre/lox recombination resulted in regain of FGFR3 mutant function

and dwarfism.

8. Mechanism of cellular patterning and specification

The group of Gil Levkowitz is utilizing zebrafish as vertebrate model organism for

dopaminergic (DA) neural specification. These neurons are implicated in several

neurological-psychiatric illnesses and are specifically lost in Parkinson's disease. The

group is taking advantage of the amenability of zebrafish to genetic manipulations to

identify molecules that instruct immature DA neurons to survive and communicate with

specific brain areas. Recently, Gil Levkowitz and co-workers have undertaken a genetic

approach, that resulted in the molecular characterization of a zebrafish mutant, denoted

too few (tof), in which the number of DA neurons is significantly reduced. tof's DA

deficiency was due to a recessive mutation in the gene encoding for the Fezl zinc finger

(ZF)- containing protein. tof/fezl was identified as an essential component in a novel

pathway controlling the development of monoaminergic (dopaminergic and

serotonergic) neurons in vertebrates. Currently, the Levkowitz group is attempting to

identify the molecular mechanism that underlie the too few/fezl gene. The group is also

undertaking forward and reverse genetics approaches to identify additional

physiological signals and tissue interactions that control fate decisions, migration,

survival and target innervations of DA neurons.

http://www.weizmann.ac.il/mcb/


90 Molecular Cell Biology

Research Staff, Visitors and Students

Professors

Abraham Amsterdam, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel (on

extension of service)

The Joyce and Ben B. Eisenberg Professor of Molecular Endocrinology and Cancer

Research

Avri Ben-Ze'ev, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

The Samuel Lunenfeld-Reuben Kunin Professor of Genetics

Eli Canaani, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, United States

The Harry Kay Professor of Cancer Research

Benjamin Geiger, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Professor Erwin Neter Professor of Cell and Tumor Biology

Moshe Oren, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Varda Rotter, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Norman and Helen Asher Professor of Cancer Research

Yehiel Zick, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Marte R. Gomez Professor of Photosynthesis

Professors Emeriti

David Givol, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

David Yaffe, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Associate Professors

Uri Alon, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Minerva Junior Research Group on Biological Computation

Alexander D. Bershadsky, Ph.D., Cancer Research Center, Moscow, Russian Federation

The Joseph Moss Professor of Biomedical Research

Doron Ginsberg, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel (left October 2005)

Incumbent of the Recanati Career Development Chair of Cancer Research (until October

2005)

Zvi Kam, Ph.D., Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel

The Israel Pollak Professor of Biophysics

Uri Nudel, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Elias Sourasky Professor

Elior Peles, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Dov Zipori, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Joe and Celia Weinstein Professor


Senior Scientist

Molecular Cell Biology 91

Gil Levkowitz, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Incumbent of the Tauro Career Development Chair in Biomedical Research

Associate Staff Scientists

Janna Blechman, Ph.D., Moscow University, Moscow, Russian Federation

Tatiana A. Rozovskaia, Ph.D., Institute of Molecular Biology, USSR Academy of Sciences,

Moscow, Russian Federation

Assistant Staffs Scientists

Konstantin Adamsky, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Anat Bren, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Dan Michael (Michalovitz), Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Natalie Perzov, Ph.D., Tel Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel

Rachel Sarig, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Junior Staff Scientist

Irina Lavelin, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Consultant

Jair Bar, Scheba Medical Center, Tel-Hashomer, Israel

Visiting Scientists

Galit Ben Shushan, Shalvata Hospita, Israel

Ido Ben-Ami, Assaf Harofe Hospital, Zrifin, Israel

Amir Cooper, Assaf Harofe Hospital, Zrifin, Israel

Monica Corada, Inst. Mario Negri, Milano, Italy

Alexander Damalas, Regina Elena Cancer Inst., Roma, Italy

Wolfram Liebermeister, Max Planck Inst., Berlin, Germany

Ido Nachmany, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Israel

Dan Piestun, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

David Sidransky, Johns Hopkins University , Baltimore, USA

Barry Trink, Johns Hopkins University , Baltimore, USA


92 Molecular Cell Biology

Postdoctoral Fellows

Yael Aylon, Ph.D., Tel-Aviv University, Israel

Sigalit Boura-Halfon, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Damian Brockschnieder, Ph.D., University of Hamburg, Germany

Letizia Carramusa, Ph.D., University of Palermo, Italy

Marie Chaussepied, Ph.D., Universite Denis Diderot, France

Jacob (Kobi) Cohen, Ph.D., Tel-Aviv University, Israel

Miriam Cohen, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Yossi Cohen, M.D., Hadasa Jerusalem College, Israel

Cellina Cohen-Saidon, Ph.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Alexandros Damalas, Ph.D.

Erez Dekel, Ph.D., Technion, Israel

Neta Erez, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Liat Flaishon, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Sarit Freimann, Ph.D., Tel-Aviv University, Israel

Masha Khoutorsky, Ph.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Bose Skaria Kochupurakkal, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Vladimir Kotala, Ph.D., Palacky University in Olomouc

Irina Lavelin, Ph.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Wolfram Liebermeister, Ph.D., Inst. of Biophysics, Humboldt University Berlin

Revital Maor-Aloni, Ph.D., Ben-Gurion University, Israel

Ron Milo, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Michael Milyavsky, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Helit Nabel-Rosen, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Mirjam Nordling, M.D., Karolinska Institutet, Sweden

Kira Orlovsky, Ph.D., Bar-Ilan University, Israel

Reshmi Parameswaran, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Yael Paran, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Dan Piestun, Ph.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Beatriz Galit Piestun (Neves), Ph.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Shirley Polager-Modan, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Tatyana Ponomariyov, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Nina Raver-Shapira, Ph.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Nir Shani, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Lilach Weisz, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Sabina Winograd, Ph.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Research Students

Suha Abu-Amara-Naffar Katya Arnold

Vered Bar Ido Ben-Ami

Niva Blum Shlomit Boguslavsky


Molecular Cell Biology 93

Yossi Buganim Ariel Cohen

Miriam Cohen Noam Erez

Yael Eshed Konstantin Feinberg

Nancy Gavert Naama Geva-Zatorsky

Inna Grosheva Diana Gurevitch

Avia Herschkovitz Tzippi Hershko

Navit Hever Gil Hornung

Ido Horresh Irina Issaeva

Shalev Itzkovitz Shiraz Kalir

Eyal Kalo Anna Kaplan

Nadav Kashtan Ira Kogan

Elad Landau Smadar Lapter-Gertel

Ayelet Laronne Efrat Lidor

Chen Luxenburg Yossy Machluf

Shmuel Mangan Ron Milo

Michael Milyavsky Neri Minsky

Vered Morad Neta Moskovitz

Liat Nadav Yaara Ofir

Reshmi Parameswaran Meirav Pevsner-Fischer

Shirley Polager Shani Raveh

Nitzan Rosenfeld Reut Shalgi

Nir Shani Igor Shats

Guy Shinar Ayelet Shmueli

Timor Shuster Alexander Sigal

Ivo Spiegel Perry Stambolsky

Yuval Tabach Xiaohu Tang

Liat Topper Haklai Lilach Weisz

Ronen Zaidel-Bar Amir Zalcenstein

Alon Zaslaver Yuliya Zilberman

Baruch Zimerman

Administrator

Pnina Carmi


Neurobiology

Yadin Dudai, Head

The Sara and Michael Sela Professor of Neurobiology

Research in Neuroscience in the Department of Neurobiology encompasses a wide variety of

subjects, in areas including cellular and molecular biology, neuroanatomy, brain imaging

(including functional magnetic resonance imaging; fMRI), physiology, pharmacology,

psychophysics, and computational sciences. Nearly 20 groups of researchers carry out both

independent studies and collaborative research with colleagues from within the Department

and outside it.

The research of the various groups of the Department covers many topics, including:

• Analysis of the molecular and cellular basis of neuronal cell activity and synaptic

function. Imaging of neuronal activity underlying higher brain functions.

• Tracing and characterization of neuronal communication profiles.

• Characterization of the nervous system response to trauma and lesion; developing

molecular and cellular therapeutic agents.

• Determination of the underlying processes and mechanisms of vision, perception,

learning, and memory in behaving rodents and primates.

• Computer modeling of brain function.

In the Neurobiology Department, the structure, function, development, and plasticity of the

nervous system are studied at various levels of analysis, using different types of cell and

experimental animal models. The groups studying neuronal function at the molecular and

cellular levels use mostly in vitro systems, ranging from non-neuronal and neuronal cell lines

to primary neuronal and glial cells of cerebellar, hippocampal, and cortical origin. In many

cases, the cells studied are transfected with genes of interest. These cell systems allow the

study of the roles of various components of the nervous system, including cell surface

membrane components, specific enzymes, neurotransmitters, neuromodulators, growth

factors, neuroreceptors, lipid components, ionic channels, and cytoskeletal constituents.

Algorithms for synaptic plasticity between neurons, and the role of ion channels in synaptic

input and information processing, are also being studied. Injury models of nerve lesion and

oxidative stress paradigms are applied to examine the principles of neural regeneration, rescue

from ischemia and stroke, and apoptotic cell death and senescence.

95


96 Neurobiology

The groups studying the CNS at the system level are striving to understand the complex

neuronal mechanisms underlying learning, memory, and sensory processing (vision, taste,

smell), and to determine the relationship between brain and mind. Using track-tracing

methods, the rules governing the interconnections in the visual cortex are being unraveled.

Behavioral studies focus on principles of learning and consolidation, cortical information

processing, learning disabilities, and addiction. Functional brain imaging of the human visual

cortex is being studied by various techniques, including fMRI. Psychophysical approaches are

being used to define processes involved in image segmentation, learning and memory skill

acquisition, motor control, and language.

http://www.weizmann.ac.il/neurobiology/

Research Staff, Visitors and Students

Professors

Yadin Dudai, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Sara and Michael Sela Professor of Neurobiology

Irith Ginzburg, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Sophie and Richard S. Richards Professor of Cancer Research

Amiram Grinvald, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Helen Norman Asher Professor in Brain Research

Rafael Malach, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, United States

The Barbara and Morris Levinson Professorial Professor in Brain Research

Dov Sagi, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

The George Zlotowski Professor

Michal Schwartz, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Maurice and Ilse Katz Professor of Neuroimmunology

Menahem Segal, Ph.D., California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, United States

The Harry and Leona Levine Professor of Neurosciences

Vivian I. Teichberg, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Louis and Florence Katz-Cohen Professor of Neuropharmacology

Michail Tsodyks, Ph.D., L.D. Landau Institute of Theoretical Physics, Moscow, Russian

Federation

The Gerald and Hedy Oliven Professor in Brain Research

Zvi Vogel, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Ruth and Leonard Simon Professor of Cancer Research

Ephraim Yavin, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel (on extension of

service)

The Bee Wiggs Professor of Molecular Biology


Professors Emeriti

Neurobiology 97

Yitzhak Koch, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Uriel Littauer, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

David Samuel, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Israel Silman, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Izchak Z. Steinberg, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Associate Professors

Ehud Ahissar, Ph.D., Hadassah Medical School, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem,

Jerusalem, Israel

The Helen and Sanford Diller Family Professor of Neurobiology

Shabtai Barash, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Sima Lev, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Incumbent of the Helena Rubinstein Career Development Chair (until November 2005)

Senior Scientists

Alon Chen, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Ilan Lampl, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Incumbent of the Carl and Frances Korn Career Development Chair in the Life Sciences

Abraham Zangen, Ph.D., Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel

Incumbent of the Joseph and Celia Reskin Career Development Chair

Senior Staff Scientist

Amos Arieli, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Associate Staff Scientists

Knarik Bagdasarian, Ph.D., Orbeli's Institute of Physiology of Armenian Academy of Science,

Armenia

Eduard Korkotian, Ph.D., University of Yerevan, Armenia

Special Contract

Adela Juknat Geralnik, Ph.D., University of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Engineers

Daniel Goldian, B.Sc., Coventry University, Coventry, United Kingdom

Naama Rubin, M.Sc., University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, United States


98 Neurobiology

Consultants

Yael Adini

Yaacov Ashani

Yoram Bonneh

Annette Brand

Alexander Cooperman

Ilya Fleidervish, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Michael Gutnick, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Sebastian Haiderleu

Jonathan Kipnis, University of Nebraska Medical Center, NE, USA (left August 2005)

Faina Kuperstein (left July 2005)

Gennady Landa, Kaplan Hospital, Rehovot, Israel

Mia Levite (left April 2005)

Daniel Levy, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel

Uri Nevo (left September 2005)

Uri Polat

Revital Shani

Oren Shriki, Israel Arts and Science Academy, Jerusalem, Israel

Eduard Yakobov, Tel Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel

Visiting Scientists

Anna Katharina Braun, University of Mageburg, Germany

Linda Friedman, Seton Hall University , NJ, USA

Kalanit Grill-Spector, Stanford University, USA

Etan Markus, University of Conneticut, Storrs, CT, USA

Nava Rubin, NYU, Center for Neural Science, USA

Adolfo Talpalar

Postdoctoral Fellows

Irit Akirav, Ph.D., Haifa University, Israel

Avraham Avital, Ph.D., Haifa University, Israel

Yoram Bonneh, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Oleg Butovsky, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Yossi Chalamish, Ph.D., Technion, Israel

Dori Derdikman, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Dan Drai, Ph.D., Tel-Aviv University, Israel

Mark Eisenberg, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Ittai Flascher, Ph.D., University of Connecticut

Sharon Furman, Ph.D., Tel-Aviv University, Israel

Matthieu Guitton, Ph.D., Universite Montpellier I, France

Shiraz Kalir, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel


Neurobiology 99

Rachel Katz-Brull, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Jonathan Kipnis, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Maya Koronyo-Hamaoui, Ph.D., Tel-Aviv University, Israel

Devorah Matas, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Angela Matuzany-Ruban, Ph.D., Ben-Gurion University, Israel

Armenuhi Melikyan, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Roy Mukamel, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Andrey Nikiforov, Ph.D., Institute of Cytology, Russian Academy of Sciences

Sree Kumar Ramachandran, Ph.D., Mahatma Gandhi University, India

Revital Shani-Hershkovich, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Oren Shriki, Ph.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Jimmy Stehberg, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Debora Steiner, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Alexander Sterkin, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Marcin Szwed, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Sidegonde Thippeswamy, Ph.D., Gulbarga University, Gulbarga

Erika Toth, Ph.D., Semmelweis University of Medicine, Hungary

Pawel Ryszard Zdunek, M.D., The Medical University of Warsaw

Research Students

Roee Atlas Hila Avidan

David Backlash-Omer Sharon Bakalash

Omri Barak Dmitry Bibichkov

Jacob Blumenthal Elena Butovsky

Oleg Butovsky Nitzan Censor

Emiliano Cohen Katayun Cohen-Kashi

Naomi Coslovsky Litichver Nili Dahan

Eran Dayan Dori Derdikman

Mark Eisenberg Evan Elliott

Lior Fisch Ianai Fishbein

Moshe Fried Orit Furman

Efrat Furst Yonatan Ganor

Hagar Gelbard Roman Gersner

Sharon Gilaie-Dotan Ilan Goldberg

Jaime Heiss Miriam Ivenshitz

Mikhail Katkov Yonatan Katz

Yael Klin Per Magne Knutsen

Tali Kobilo-Moav Maria Korman

Yael Kuperman Orly Laufman

Dino Levy Gil Lewitus

Vladimir Litvakla Alex Loebel

Nicola Maggio Ofer Melamed


100 Neurobiology

Avi Mendelsohn Yael Minai

Roy Mukamel Shmuel Naaman

Uri Nili Yuval Nir

Yaron Penn Maciej Pietr

Yair Pilpel Sonne Preminger

Joseline Priya Ratnam Asya Rolls

Li-Raz Rom Noga Ron

Avraham Saig Ester Miriam Schallmach

Tamar Debora Schirman - Hildeshei Hadas Schori

Iftach Shaked Amalia Shalom Gothilf

Revital Shani-Hershkovich Erez Simony

Ronen Sosnik Jimmy Stehberg

Debora Steiner Anna Sterkin

Marcin Szwed Xiaolan Wang

Yin Wang Chunxiu Yu

Yaniv Ziv

Administrator

Michal Hirschberg


Veterinary Resources

Alon Harmelin, Head

The Department of Veterinary Resources provides services and facilities to the life science

faculties. The department has a staff of 55. Its activities include breeding and maintenance of

laboratory animals and the operation of specialized facilities.

http://www.weizmann.ac.il/vet/

Staff

Senior Staff Scientist

Alon Bernstein, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Associate Staff Scientist

Raya Eilam-Altstadter, Ph.D., Hadassah Medical School, The Hebrew University of

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Rebecca Haffner-Krausz, Ph.D., University of London, London, United Kingdom

Veterinarians

Alon Harmelin, BVsc. MRCVS, University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort, School of Veterinary

Medicine, R.S.A., Diplomate Eclam

Ori Brenner, B.V.Sc., University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort, School of Veterinary Medicine,

Diplomate ACVP

Bella Finarov, D.V.M., Moscow Veterinary Academy, Moscow

Alina Maizenberg, D.V.M., Latvia, Riga

Noa Stettner, D.V.M., Koret School of Veterinary Medicine, The Faculty of Agriculture, Food

and Environmental Quality Sciences of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot

Administrator

Kaduri Abudi

101


The Helen and Norman Asher Center

for Human Brain Imaging

Yadin Dudai, Director

The Sara and Michael Sela Professor of Neurobiology

The Center for Human Brain Imaging will utilize an ultra modern facility dedicated to the

imaging and understanding of human brain function. The Center will support the operations of

the most advanced neuroimaging technology available, including a 4-tesla f-MRI (Functional

Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machine. This equipment will allow unprecedented research

and diagnostic inroads into the functions and malfunctions of the human mind.

Beyond its implications for basic science, however, the potential for clinical and biomedical

applications based on this research is enormous. Initially, the f-MRI's high resolution as an

imaging tool will allow for much greater precision in mapping the brain (the f-MRI greatly

improves upon existing technologies, for example, in locating and assessing the effects of

brain tumors and tissue damage caused by cerebral events or head injuries). In the longer term,

increased understanding of the causes of such mental disorders as depression, schizophrenia,

autism, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, epilepsy, stroke, dementia and countless others, will lead to

the development of currently unimaginable diagnostic tools and treatment modalities.

With the physical facilities of the program now in place, and good progress towards the

procurement of its major equipment, the Center’s support of the f-MRI operations will enable

the translation of the potential of the f-MRI into scientific reality by fostering inter-disciplinary

research programs that combine several complementary approaches.

103


Benoziyo Center for Neurological Diseases

Menahem Segal, Head

The Harry and Leona Levine Chair of Neurosciences

The Nella and Leon Benoziyo Center for Neurological Diseases (BCND) was established in

late 2003. Its mission is to promote research and understanding of the molecular basis of

neurological diseases. Under this umbrella are several devastating and yet unsolved brain

diseases, including developmental disorders of the brain, e.g. fragile X syndrome and Down

syndrome as well as neurodegenerative diseases of the aging brain, including Parkinsonism

and Alzheimer's disease. In between are affective disorders, likely to originate as a

developmental defect of the brain, but that are lasting through the entire human life. The

common denominator of these diseases is that they are unique to the human brain, and thus are

hard to tackle in model systems and many if not most seem to involve an intricate array of risk

factors and defected genes.

The mission of the Center will be achieved through several avenues:

A. The Center provides financial support to scientists of the Weizmann Institute, who are

actively conducting research in this field, or are about to initiate Neurological Diseaseoriented

research. Grant applications submitted before the deadline of December 1,

2005, will be evaluated by an ad-hoc committee, and the decisions and financial support

will be announced by the end of December, 2005. Specific instructions for application

are listed below (*).

B. Emergency funds. These will be provided especially towards the end of the financial

year, when money runs out and funds are needed to keep an ongoing operation. In this

respect, funds will also be provided, in coordination with other Centers at the Institute, to

allow scientists who applied to external granting agencies and failed, to keep working

and produce sufficient preliminary results so as to better compete for these external

sources next time.

C. The BCND will promote interactions among WIS scientists, and between WIS scientists

and medical leaders in Israeli Hospitals, aimed at expanding the knowledge relevant to

Neurological Diseases. As part of this mission, the BCND organizes an annual

symposium on emerging issues in Neurological Diseases. The First Benoziyo

symposium on the Molecular Basis of Neurological Diseases took place on the 17th and

18th of October, 2004 at the Botnar Auditorium with 6 overseas participants and 18

Israelis. The 2nd Benoziyo symposium was held on the 25th of September, 2005, with

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106 Benoziyo Center for Neurological Diseases

two prominent scientists from abroad and 15 local scientists. These symposia

contributed to the development of collaborative studies among scientists at the

Weizmann and other research/medical institutions in Israel and abroad.

D. The BCND provides financial assistance for students to participate in international

meetings devoted to the study of neurological diseases. Applications for assistance will

be accepted all year round.

(*) Applications for support should include:

A. a 2-3 page summary of the proposed research, including objectives, methods, proposed

experiments, preliminary results, proposed budget, selective references, and list of

publications of the applicant for the past 5 years.

B. Please provide a summary of all (i) current and (ii) pending support, (including subjects,

funding agency, amounts, duration). Also include (iii) Institutional support for the past 5

years.

C. The recipients of the BCND grants will acknowledge the support of the center on their

publications. BCND will publish names of grant recipients on its web site.

D. All applications should be submitted via e-mail + attachments.


The Nella and Leon Benoziyo Center for Neurosciences

Yadin Dudai, Director

The Sara and Michael Sela Professor of Neurobiology

The Nella and Leon Benoziyo Center for Neurosciences was established in 1978. Since its

creation, this center has been geared toward the promotion and support of studies of the

nervous system at molecular, cellular, and multicellular levels. The Benoziyo Center supports

the research of scientists in a wide range of fields at the Weizmann Institute, allowing them to

unravel structure-function-activity relationships in the brain and to understand the complex

neuronal mechanisms underlying learning, memory, and sensory processing (vision, taste,

smell), as well as the relationship between brain and mind. Much time, intellectual effort, and

financial resources still need to be devoted to further elucidate the mechanisms underlying

neuroplasticity, neurosignaling cascades, network patterns, memory, and cognitive

psychophysics. Solving the molecular basis of human brain disorders, such as Alzheimer's

disease, is high on the list of priorities of the Benoziyo Center. The Center provides financial

assistance to scientists initiating new projects and to some students in need of salaries. In

addition, it provides a means for reknowned world neuroscientists to visit the Weizmann

Institute, and supports travel of students to international or local Neuroscience meetings.

107


The Carl and Micaela Einhorn-Dominic Institute

for Brain Research

Yadin Dudai, Director

The Sara and Michael Sela Professor of Neurobiology

The Einhorn-Dominic Institute of Brain Research was inaugurated in November 1996. Among

its primary missions was the initiation of new activities in brain research at the Weizmann

Institute, particularly those requiring collaborations among several disciplines in several

faculties. This year we focused on the planning of WIS new human brain imaging facility (F-

MRI and Electroencephalography) and supported joint molecular and cellular brain research.

The Einhorn-Dominic Institute policy is to encourage brain research in the Department of

Neurobiology and all other faculties at the Weizmann Institute of Science targeted at the

studies of higher brain functions. Funding decision are made by the Brain Research Institute's

ad-hoc Committee. The Committee will assign higher priority to support multi-disciplinary

research collaborations among scientists from different departments and faculties at the WIS.

The current policy is to provide a few large grants. Such support may be granted for a few

years, depending on the research progress accomplished after the first year.

This year the Dominic Institute funds were allocated to five researchers: Yadin Dudai, Efraim

Yavin ,Ehud Ahissar, Misha Tsodyks, Henry Markram, Shabtai Barash and Amiram Grinvald.

In addition the Institute also hosted a number of eminent scientists from around the world, who

gave lectures in our weekly Seminars. Visiting lecturers came to our campus from Freiburg

University, The Hebrew University, Carnegie Mellon University, MIT, New York University,

Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Bar-Ilan University, Brandeis University and Cornell

University.

109


General Activities

The Murray H. and Meyer Grodetsky Center

for Research of Higher Brain Functions

Amiram Grinvald, Director

The Helen and Norman Asher Professor of Brain Research

The research focus on the principles underlying perception and cortical processing, higher

brain functions, and the so-called "neural code," a term referring to the strategies employed by

neuronal networks in the brain to accomplish their remarkable function. In order to "see" how

the brain functions, two optical imaging techniques were used, one based on voltage-sensitive

dyes, and the second on intrinsic signals. These explorations are combined with traditional

neuroanatomical and neurophysiological techniques, and are guided by computational theories

and modeling.

The combination of "real time" optical imaging and single unit recording has enabled us to

directly visualize the workings of neuronal assemblies, as well as the architecture and

functioning of the mammalian cortex, in unprecedented detail. As a result, we can directly

"see" how the brain works, and some longstanding questions related to perception and higher

cognitive functions were resolved.

111


The Belle S. and Irving E. Meller Center

for the Biology of Aging

Zelig Eshhar, Director (until July 2005)

The Marshaal and Renette Ezralow Professor of Chemical and Cellular Immunology

Yair Reisner, Director (from August 2005)

The Henry H. Drake Professor of Immunology

Center, established in 1979, aims to further research that will contribute to our understanding

of the fundamental biological processes related to the phenomena of aging and its pathology.

Areas of research supported concentrate on the cellular interactions in the immune system, and

related aspects of the structure and function of the vascular system, connective tissues, the

molecular genetics of differentiation, and the molecular basis of malignant transformation.

To achieve its aims, the Center provides support for research performed at the Institute's

department of Immunology and also contributes to certain activities in the field of gene

targeting and transgenic animals, which constitute powerful tools for studying the molecular

basis of the immune system as well as various disorders that are involved in the aging process.

113


The Gabrielle Rich Center

for Transplantation Biology Research

Yair Reisner, Director

The Henry H. Drake Professor of Immunology

The center supports the research of Prof. Tsvee Lapidot, Prof. Dov Zipori and Prof. Yair

Reisner, dedicated to hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.

Highlights of these studies last year were as follows:

Prof. Tsvee Lapidot

To obtain the healthy stem cells for transplantation - either from a healthy donor or from the

patient himself before or during treatment with chemotherapy - these cells must be

"encouraged" to come out of the marrow into the bloodstream (in other words, they must be

"mobilized"). To understand how this happens, we probed the turn of events in the bone

marrow and found that stem cells in the marrow are freed into the blood via an "anchors

aweigh" mechanism.

The findings put a key protein into focus – SDF-1. This protein had previously been found by

this and other research teams worldwide to anchor stem cells inside the marrow by activating

adhesion molecules (molecules that serve as "glue"). We now have found that SDF-1 must be

degraded for stem cell mobilization to take place and uncovered the underlying degradation

mechanism. This finding which was published this year in the prestigious journal Nature

Immunology, Is not only important for the understanding of the biology of stem cell

transplantation but it may also lead to improved collection of stem cells for clinical

transplantations.

Prof. Dov Zipori

Our studies on the interactions between hemopoietic cells and the organ me senchymal stroma

indicate that transforming growth factor (TGF) β cytokines are involved in the formation of

restrictive microenvironments. Activin A, one member of the TGF β

family, was initially

found to cause apoptotic death of tumor B lineage cells. We have now found that activin A

specifically restrains the differentiation of normal precursor B cells: activin A caused

accumulation of B lineage cells at early stages of differentiation both in vivo and in vitro. This

restrictive activity is not exerted on other hemopoietic lineages. The expression of such lineage

specific restrictive molecules may assure the control of adult pluripotent stem cells, which

occur in multiple organs and tissue types, to prevent their differentiation into directions that

may endanger the integrity of the tissue.

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116 The Gabrielle Rich Center for Transplantation Biology Research

Prof. Yair Reisner

Clinical studies continue with the implementation of our new approach, making use of ‘mega

dose‘ stem cell transplants, which enables the use of mismatched family members. Although

we have adequately shown the efficacy of this approach in more than 300 patients, it must be

analyzed properly, the same as for any new drug by formal multi-center clinical trials in

Europe and in the USA, and we are presently in the middle of this important final step.

This month we are happy to launch a web site which will serve as a quarterly bulletin, showing

update of clinical and scientific data for the benefit of patients and doctors who might be

interested in our approach. The site address is: http://www.haplo.org/index.php

In addition, we are focusing our efforts on a new application of stem cell transplantation for

patients with diseases that could be cured by transplantation but who are not at immediate risk

from their disease and, therefore, should not be exposed to the current risky protocols. Thus,

the challenge is how to overcome graft rejection following mild radiation or chemotherapy

based protocols. To that end, based on encouraging results in the mouse model, we are

currently developing new cell preparations which could be given in conjunction with the stem

cells in order to facilitate engraftment of the latter cells under such safe conditions.


The Willner Family Center for Vascular Biology

Nava Dekel, Director

The Philip M. Klutznick Professor of Developmental Biology

The Willner Family Center for Vascular Biology was officially inaugurated on November 3rd,

1999. The Center was designed to focus on the regulation of angiogenic processes and on the

identification of signaling pathways and the mechanisms involved in the transduction of these

signals in biological systems. Since de-regulation of such processes are a cause for many

human diseases (e.g., cancer, heart failure and stroke), an effort is made to use our results to

develop tools for early diagnosis of these ailments, and for the design of new drugs for

pharmacological intervention.

Designed by Prof. Shmuel Shaltiel, who was the first Director of the Center, the long-range

goals of the Center are: (i) to support innovative ideas, while still in their seeding stage, when

it is not yet possible to obtain financial support from conventional funding agencies; (ii) to

nurture budding research of young outstanding investigators before their reputation is

established; (iii) to finance research that requires an inter-disciplinary effort; (iv) to encourage

collaboration with hospitals and with other centers of excellence in Israel and abroad; (v) to

train doctoral and post-doctoral students in bioregulation and vascular biology.

The Center supported this year the scientific work of the following groups:

Prof. Moti Liscovitch ($34,500) – "Rafts and Caveolae: Platforms for Launching Signaling

Cascades and Plasma Membrane Terminals for Drug Transport": Our work is directed towards

understanding the cell and molecular biology of phospholipase D and its role(s) in control of

cell growth, differentiation and function. We have been studying the cellular and molecular

physiology of eukaryotic phospholipase D isozymes, including their localization, mechanisms

of activation and possible functions. Currently, we are engaged in identification and cloning of

a second yeast phospholipase D gene; we study the differential localization of mammalian

phospholipase D isozymes in specific membrane microdomains; we investigate the possible

role of phospholipase D2 in caveolae-mediated endocytosis and signaling; and we explore the

action(s) and target(s) of phosphatidic acid as a mediator of specific cellular events.

A second, related subject involves the role of caveolin in cancer multidrug resistance.

Multidrug resistance severely impairs the efficacy of cancer chemotherapy. Several protein

transporters that mediate drug export have been identified, but additional adaptations appear to

be necessary for a full-fledged drug resistance. We have recently shown that caveolae and the

caveolar coat protein caveolin are dramatically up-regulated in multidrug resistant cancer cells

and that the multidrug transporter P-glycoprotein is localized in caveolae-like domains. We are

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118 The Willner Family Center for Vascular Biology

studying the possible involvement of caveolin-dependent mechanisms in mediating drug

resistance and the impact of high caveolin expression on the phenotypic transformation of

multidrug resistant cancer cells. In addition, studies are underway aimed to elucidate the

molecular basis for targeting P-glycoprotein, a multispan integral membrane protein, to

caveolae-like domains.

Dr. Atan Gross ($10,000) – "BID: a master regulator of cell life and death decisions":

Apoptosis is essential for both the development and maintenance of tissue homeostasis in

multicellular organisms. Thus, defects in apoptosis contribute to a variety of diseases including

cancer, AIDS, neurodegenerative diseases, stroke and autoimmune disorders. Proteins in the

BCL-2 family are critical regulators of the commitment to apoptosis, yet their cell death

regulatory function remains a mystery. We have picked to focus our studies on BID, a proapoptotic

member of this family. Mitochondria are a major site of action for BID, yet a detailed

understanding of its actions at this organelle is lacking. We have recently found that in intact

mitochondria prepared from apoptotic cells BID interacts with a novel, uncharacterized

mitochondrial protein named Mtch2 that is related to a family of mitochondrial channels

involved in energy metabolism. Most interestingly, knocking down the expression of Mtch2

sensitizes cells to BID-induced apoptosis. Thus, inhibiting/modulating the function of Mtch2

might be an important step in activating the mitochondrial apoptotic program. In a second line

of research, we have found that BID is also localized to the nucleus and most surprisingly also

plays a pro-survival role in the response of cells to DNA damage. We revealed that DNA

damage induces the phosphorylation of BID by the DNA-repair kinase ATM, and that this

phosphorylation is essential for cell cycle arrest and inhibition of apoptosis. Thus, BID is an

excellent candidate to coordinate/balance between genotoxic stress responses and apoptotic

cell death. A better understanding of BID’s function at the mitochondria and in the nucleus

will most likely yield critical insights for manipulating the apoptotic and DNA repair processes

in the treatment of cancer and other diseases.

Eldad Tzahor ($10,000) – "Developmental Biology": The nature of the instructions leading to

a specific cell fate is one of the most puzzling questions in biology. The fates of embryonic

progenitor cells and their patterning require a molecular "dialogue" between adjacent cell

populations, yet the details of these molecular interactions remain elusive. For the past few

years, we have focused on the characterization of signaling molecules that regulate both heart

and craniofacial muscle formation during early vertebrate embryogenesis (Tzahor et al., 2003;

Tzahor and Lassar, 2001). Heart and skeletal muscle progenitor cells are thought to derive

from distinct mesoderm regions during early embryogenesis. The recent identification of the

secondary heart field in vertebrate embryos led us to consider the contribution of the secondary

heart field to cardiac development. What might be the relationship between the cranial

paraxial mesoderm (the precursors of the skeletal muscles in the head) and this newly

discovered myocardial lineage? Utilizing fate mapping studies, gene expression analyses, and

manipulations of signaling pathways in the chick embryo, both in vitro and in vivo, we have

demonstrated that cells from the cranial paraxial mesoderm contribute to myocardial and

endocardial cell populations within the cardiac outflow tract. Furthermore, BMP signals,

which block head muscle formation, act as potent inducers of the secondary heart field lineage

(Tirosh-Finkel et al., 2006, accepted for publication). These findings support the notion that

the cells within the cranial paraxial mesoderm play a vital role in cardiogenesis. Based on our


The Willner Family Center for Vascular Biology 119

past and ongoing studies, we propose that the developmental programs of progenitor

populations that contribute to the head muscles and the anterior pole of the heart are tightly

linked, indicative of a single cardiocraniofacial morphogenetic field.

During vertebrate craniofacial development, progenitor cells derived from the mesoderm fuse

together to form a myofiber, which is attached to a specific skeletal element derived from the

cranial neural crest (CNC) in a highly coordinated manner. To investigate this exquisitely

tuned process, we employ both mouse genetic models and the avian experimental system to

explore the molecular crosstalk between CNC and mesoderm progenitor cells during

vertebrate head development. Thus far, loss- and gain-of-function experiments in both mouse

and avian models demonstrate that skeletal muscle patterning and differentiation in the head

are precisely regulated by CNC cells (Rinon A, Lazar S, & Tzahor E, in preparation). Our

studies on cardiac and skeletal muscle specification during vertebrate embryogenesis are

expected to provide valuable and original insights that may contribute to our understanding of

normal as well as pathological aspects of heart and craniofacial development.

Ami Navon ($10,000) – Prior work establishes that: a) proteasomes are the source of most

peptides presented to the immune system on MHC-class l molecules, and thus the proteasome

plays a key role in immune surveillance against viruses and cancer; b) the critical event in

triggering the inflammatory response, the activation of the transcription factor NFkB, requires

both proteasome-mediated destruction of its inhibitor, IkB, and proteolytic processing of its

105kDa precursor; and c) the muscle atrophy that accompanies denervation, sepsis, or cancer

is due primarily to excessive protein degradation by the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway.

Understanding how cells selectively degrade abnormal proteins is also of special relevance to

many genetic diseases where mutant proteins are rapidly degraded (e.g. CFTR in cystic

fibrosis) or fail to be degraded and accumulate in a ubiquitinated form associated with

proteasomes (e.g. Huntington’s disease and related disorders). Thus, our study of the

mechanistic aspects of ATP-dependent protein breakdown should provide insight into the

molecular mechanism underlying these diseases. It is our hope that these studies will help

facilitate the development of therapies for neurodegenerative disorders, muscular

degeneration, cancer and other diseases associated with the ubiquitin-proteasome system.


The Women's Health Research Center

Varda Rotter, Director

The Norman and Helen Asher Professor of Cancer Research

The Woman's Health Research Center is interested in promoting studies on gender -related

physiology and disorder leading to specific pathologies. The center, focused on issues

concerning fertility, cancer and osteoporosis, is trying to bridge between between basic

research and clinical studies. The center supports basic research in ovarian function, such as

the regulation of female germ cell development into an ovum, capable of fertilization and

embryonic development. Any impairment in these processes may lead to infertility. Basic

research in this area led to remarkable achievements in the development of assisted

reproductive techniques and offers high hope improve human health through advances in stem

cell research and therapeutic cloning. Another focus of the center are gender specific

malignancies. It is well accepted that various cancer types are greatly dependent on hormonal

control and thus better understanding of the relationship between gender specific tumors and

hormones that may contribute to better diagnosis and therapy of such tumors. Support of the

center of basic research on the structure and development of bones is directly pertaining to the

development of osteoporosis and its potential cure.

121


The Yad Abraham Research Center

for Cancer Diagnostics and Therapy

Varda Rotter, Director

The Norman and Helen Asher Professor of Cancer Rsearch

The Yad Abraham Research Center for Cancer Diagnostics and Therapy was established in

1998 to promote cancer research, and in particular for the development of new avenues for

early detection of malignant processes and of novel therapeutic approaches. The Center

supports research projects focusing on the genetic basis for cancer, including the

characterization of oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes and studies on the relationships

between cancer and programmed cell death. Special attention is given to studies concerning

the relationship between malignant processes studied in vitro and in experimental animals and

those associated with human cancer. The Center promotes interdisciplinary studies combining

molecular approaches at the cellular level with studies at the level of the intact organism.

The Center supported in 2003 studies on the regulation of p53 and its target genes in human

cancer. It promoted development of new approaches for harnessing ovarian cancer and address

the role of cell-cell and cell-matrix adhesion in cancer and in cancer metastasis.

The center is currently supporting a series of seminars organized by Prof. Dov Zipori on stem

cell biology.

123


Faculty of Chemistry

Dean: Mordechai Sheves

The Ephraim Katzir-Rao Makineni Professor of Chemistry

Israel Dostrovsky, Ph.D.

(University of London)

Institute Professor

The Agnes Spencer Professor of Physical Chemistry


Faculty of Chemistry

Dean: Mordechai Sheves

The Ephraim Katzir-Rao Makineni Professor of Chemistry

Department of Chemical Physics

The department consists of theoreticians and experimentalists working at the interface between

physics and chemistry. The experimental research is focused, in general, on the understanding

of the interaction of matter with different kinds of radiation or charged particles. The effect of

the chemical environment on this interaction is investigated by methods such as magnetic

resonance, laser spectroscopy, electron tunneling, and electron transmission. New

experimental techniques are developed and then applied to a variety of problems in chemistry,

physics and biophysics such as catalysis, dynamics of molecules in confined space, enzymatic

reactions, the study of protein folding through single molecule spectroscopy, and the study of

molecules as possible candidates for electronic devices. The manipulation of chemical

reactions by lasers is studied both theoretically and experimentally and the effect of strong

laser fields on matter is probed. Extensive theoretical research is also devoted to the

complexity of nature and non linear dynamics, reaction dynamics in condensed matter,

electron transfer reaction in solutions and quantum optics.

Department of Environmental Sciences and Energy Research

The research at the department is focused on understanding the complex inter - relationships

among the major Earth systems and between the human need for alternative energy source and

the consequent impact on the Earth's environment. The efforts are equally split between field/

experimental work and theoretical studies.

The research into climate change and the atmospheric greenhouse effect takes several

directions, including climate dynamics, oceanic circulation, paleoceanography and the study

of past climatic patterns, plant-environment interaction and atmospheric chemistry, earth

system dynamics and geophysics. These topics are studies as the basic means to understand

and predict global changes.

In Hydrology, the research activity has centered on combination of field and laboratory studies

with theoretical models to understand flow of water and chemicals from the ground surface,

through the unsaturated zone into the geological saturated formations.

127


128 Faculty of Chemistry

The Solar Energy research is focused on all aspects of using concentrated solar light. It

includes the development of new hybrid solar thermal systems, solar fuels, concentrated

photovoltaic systems and solar lasers. A technology transfer to the industry was initiated as a

result of this work.

Our main objective for the future is to develop scientific activities based on experimental

studies providing the basis for integration of field observations into mathematical models. The

dynamic of the atmosphere and the lithosphere, environmental analytical chemistry, field

hydrology, eco-physiology and climate prediction are among the main fields that we want to

develop in the near future.

Department of Materials and Interfaces

The Department of Materials and Interfaces of the Weizmann Institute of Science is an

interdisciplinary scientific unit composed of physicists, chemists and materials scientists. A

common theme of much of the research done in the department is the design of materials from

elementary units with unique, pre-designed functionality. A complementary effort involves the

understanding of the functionality of various materials, based on their supramolecular

architecture. This leads naturally to foussing on nanomaterials, from synthesis to

characterization and eventually to their applications in variety of fields. In addition to new

insights in how materials properties can be understood from their atomic, molecular and

macromolecular composition and structure, this strategy permits the development of new high

performance materials and nanocomposites for numerous applications.

Some recent accomplishments include: charged polyelectrolyte molecules tethered to surfaces

(polymer brushes) were shown to result in ultra small friction coefficients typical of living

systems. Genetic circuit elements were constructed in vitro by engineering transcriptional

activation and repression cascades, in which the protein product of each stage is the input

required to drive or block the following stage. Spontaneous enantio-selective polymerization

of polypeptides inside crystals was accomplished and its relevance to the origin of life was

hypothesized. Self-assembly of chains that can branch and form networks with branching

points (junctions) in gels, wormlike micelles, dipolar fluids, and microemulsions has been

theoretically studied. The mechanism of membrane fusion and formation of the nuclear pore

complex in eukaryotic nucleus has been elucidated. Extension of the constructive

nanolithography into the micrometer-millimeter dimension range has been demonstrated. New

nanotubes from noble metals and from various layered compounds have been synthesized.

New strategies towards the realization of molecular transistors were contemplated. Novel

quasi-amorphous piezo-electric films were produced and their unique structure and properties

studied. The mechanical behavior of individual carbon and inorganic nanotubes was studied

offering numerous applications. The relationship between superconductivity and the size of

lead nanoparticles was determined; Dating of archeological lead artifacts using the

superconductivity of this metal was undertaken. Chemisorption of cyanide moieties onto CdSe

nanoparticles surface was shown to increase the quantum confinement of the exciton

wavefunction and hence to enhance theire optical properties. Electronic mapping of the cross

section of polycrystalline n-CdS/p-CdTe solar cells was performed and a model explaining

their high efficiency was proposed.


Research in the Department of Organic Chemistry

Faculty of Chemistry 129

The areas of research in the Department of Organic Chemistry include synthetic and

mechanistic organic, inorganic and organometallic chemistry involving novel reactions for

organic synthesis; syntheses of physiologically active compounds; polymeric reagents; bond

activation studies; homogeneous catalysis by specifically designed metal complexes; selective

oxidation catalysis by polyoxometalates; creation of organic films with desirable electronic

and optical properties and the development of molecule-based technologies. Bioorganic

chemistry includes the studies of plant antiviral agents; the molecular mechanism of action of

rhodopsin; artificial ion carriers and molecular sensors. Biological chemistry includes studies

on structure, function, and mode of action of biologically active peptides and proteins;

thermophilic enzymes; enzymes involved in DNA repair, DNA and RNA processing; and

studies of ordered, compact states of nucleic acids. Methods for very accurate ab initio

calculations of molecular properties are being developed and applied.

Department of Structural Biology

The Department is committed to research in the major areas of structural biology and is

investigating biological systems from the atomic to the cellular level of organization. The

ultimate goal is to obtain a complete picture of biological structures in their complexity, with a

continuity at all length scales, from Angstroms to millimetres. The structures of biological

macromolecules and their complexes are studied at the length scale of Angstroms by X-ray

diffraction from crystals, and in solution by advanced spectroscopic techniques such as nuclear

magnetic resonance and EXAFS. Electron microscopy, electron tomography and atomic force

miscroscopy are imaging techniques used that span the range between nanometers and

microns, i.e. from single molecules to macromolecular assemblies and whole tissue

organization.

The elucidation of the relations between structure and function of key components in main

biological pathways is one of the generalized goals of the research conducted in the

Department. One such pathway is the translation of the genetic code from DNA to proteins. A

highlight in recent years has been the continued progress in determination of different

structures of the ribosome also in complex with antibiotics. These most significant

achievements crown the titanic efforts of tens of years of research aimed at elucidating the

structure and mechanism of action of ribosomes. Ribosomes are giant particles composed of

RNA and more than 50 proteins that are the principal protein synthesis machinery of the cell.

The mechanism of translation of the code into proteins is also investigated by X-ray

crystallography of tRNA synthetases and their complexes. Additional research in this area

includes work on helicases that unwind RNA and elucidation of the 3-D structure of DNA and

of DNA-protein complexes. Work is also being carried out on chaperones and enzymes that

catalyze disulfide bridge formation. These factors assist protein folding which constitutes one

of the last 'steps' in the pathway from DNA to functional proteins.

Structural and dynamical aspects of enzyme and protein function and recognition constitute

another focal point of activity. Examples are studies on the mechanism of acetylcholinesterase,

a key enzyme in the transmission of nerve impulses, on proteins regulating membrane-fusion


130 Faculty of Chemistry

and virus entry into the cell and on metalloproteins. Antibody-antigen recognition is studied

using NMR and the tools of molecular biology to unravel the energetic contributions of single

interactions, and through antibodies interacting with monolayer and crystal surfaces.

Studies on the relations between organic and mineral components and between structure,

function and mechanical properties of mineralised tissues including bone, teeth and shells, and

on the nanomechanics of hearing, are performed over the whole range of hierarchical

organizations. The development of new techniques in archeological chemistry provides

information about human life conditions and technologies in prehistoric times .

The X-ray and NMR facilities are now state-of-the-art. A major upgrade in the electron

microscopy facility has also taken place with the addition of two high resolution transmission

electron microscopes and an environmental field emission scanning electron microscope.

http://www.weizmann.ac.il/chemistry/


Chemical Physics

Shimon Vega, Head

The Joseph and Marian Robbins Professor

The research in the Department of Chemical Physics covers a wide range of interdisciplinary

subjects, combining the fields of chemistry, physics and biophysics.

Lasers and their interaction with matter are being studied both theoretically and

experimentally. Light-matter interactions (quantum optics) and their applications for quantum

information are being investigated theoretically by Gershon Kurizki in periodic structures,

cavities, cold atom gases and condensates. Ilya Averbukh and Yehiam Prior study, both

theoretically and experimentally, various aspects of nonlinear optical interactions, including

excitation and detection of atomic and molecular wavepackets prepared by shaped

femtosecond pulses, nonlinear optical interactions under the tip of a scanning near-field optical

microscope, femtosecond laser material processing and molecular alignment and orientation

by strong laser fields, atom optics and atom lithography applications. Moshe Shapiro is

investigating, theoretically and experimentally, the coherent control of chemical reactions and

the purification by optical means of racemic mixtures of optical isomers and the construction

of decoherence-free spaces for quantum computation. David J. Tannor is studying,

theoretically, femtosecond control of chemical reactions, optimal control of laser cooling,

design of pulse shapes for quantum computation, and dissipative quantum mechanics.

Ron Naaman is investigating the use of molecules as components in electronic devices and

sensors. This includes studying the electronic properties of organized thin molecular films and

investigating information transfer through them. Gilad Haran uses fluroescence and Raman

microspectroscopy to probe single-molecule dynamics, and studies processes ranging from

protein folding to adsorbate diffusion on nanoparticles

Eli Pollak is developing new methods for the computation of real time quantum dynamics in

complex systems. Applications include ab-initio chemistry, surface scattering, electron

transfer, photoinduced processes and more. The fluorescence quenching by electron transfer

assisted by diffusion and spin conversion in radical ion pairs as well as for triplet production

and annihilation are being studied by Anatoly I. Burshtein within the original integral

encounter theory, beyond the rate concept. The complexity in nature and the scaling and

geometry of turbulence advection are being investigated by Itamar Procaccia and Victor Lvov.

Fractal growth patterns were studied using iterated conformal maps, thus solving some old

open problems. Recent research considered fracture of material and drag reduction in turbulent

flows. The physics of motion of the active cytoskeleton and of membranes and cells is

developed and its coupling to cell metabolism is investigated by Nir Gov.

131


132 Chemical Physics

Electron spin resonance (ESR) and double resonance spectroscopic (ENDOR) techniques are

developed and applied by Daniella Goldfarb for the characterization of metal active sites in

porous inorganic catalysts and metalloenzymes and for the study of the formation mechanism

of the mesostructured mesoporus materials. Microimaging, solid-phase and liquid-state NMR

techniques are also being developed for the investigation of metabolism, of new materials and

of biological structure and dynamics by Lucio Frydman. NMR methods are also used by Zeev

Luz to investigate ordering and dynamics processes in condensed phases. Molecular motion at

the solvent-surface interface inside mesoporous materials is studied and new experimental

approaches for improving solid state proton-NMR are developed and tested in terms of

bimodal Floquet theory by Shimon Vega.

http://www.weizmann.ac.il/chemphys/

Research Staff, Visitors and Students

Professors

Ilya Averbukh, Ph.D., USSR Academy of Science Russia, Moscow, Russian Federation

The Patricia Elman Bildner Professor of Solid State Chemistry

Lucio Frydman, Ph.D., University of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Daniella Goldfarb, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Gershon Kurizki, Ph.D., University of New Mexico

The George W. Dunne Professor of Chemical Physics

Ron Naaman, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Aryeh and Mintzi Katzman Professor

Eli Pollak, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

The Sam and Ayala Zacks Professor

Yehiam Prior, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, United States

The Sherman Professor of Physical Chemistry

Itamar Procaccia, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

The Barbara and Morris L. Levinson Professor of Chemical Physics

Moshe Shapiro, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

The Jacques Mimran Professor

David Joshua Tannor, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, United States

Shimon Vega, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Joseph and Marian Robbins Professor

Professor Emeritus

Zeev Luz, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Weizmann Institute of Science,

Israel


Associate Professor

Chemical Physics 133

Gilad Haran, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Incumbent of the Benjamin H. Swig and Jack D. Weiler Career Development Chair

(until November 2005)

Senior Scientist

Nir Gov, Ph.D., Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel

Incumbent of the Alvin and Gertrude Levine Career Development Chair of Cancer

Research

Senior Staff Scientist

Peter Stern, Ph.D., The City University of New York, United States

Associate Staff Scientists

Mark Keil, Ph.D., California Institute of Technology, California, United States

Abraham Kofman, Ph.D., Institute of Chemical Kinetics and Combustion, Novosibirsk,

Russian Federation

Alexander Milner, Ph.D., Ukrainian Academy of Science, Ukraine

Assistant Staff Scientists

Shifra Kababya, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Anna Pomyalov, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Special Contract

Victor Lvov, Ph.D., Academy of Sciences of the USSR, Novosibirsk, Russian Federation

Engineer

Naomi Raz, M.Sc., University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada

Consultants

Anatoly Burshtein

Aaron Joseph Gilboa (left January 2005)

Reuven Ianconescu, Scopus Network Technologies, Rosh Haayn, Israel (left March 2005)

Yonathan Japha, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel

Raphael Poupko

Avraham Rosenberg (left August 2005)

Josi Rosenfeld (left May 2005)

Lian Yu, Vulcany Center, Beit Dagan, Israel


134 Chemical Physics

Visiting Scientists

Eshel Ben Jacob, Tel-Aviv University, Israel

G.E. Hentschel, Emory University , Atlanta, GA, USA

Anatoly Ivanov, Volgograd State University, Russia

Nikita Lukzen, Inst. of Tomography , Novosibirsk, Russia

Perunthiruthy Madhu, TIFR, Mumbai, India

Yrii Abramovich Makhnovskii, Russian Academy of Science, Moscow, Russia

Igor Mazets, Ioffe Institute, St. Petersburg, Russia

Nandakumar Patincharath, University of Stuttgart, Germany

Arnold Raitsimring, University of Arizona, USA

Santanu Sengupta, CSIC, Madrid, Spain

Trina Valencich, University of Montana, Missoula, USA

Norman Zabusky, Rutgers University , NJ, USA

Postdoctoral Fellows

Reit Artzi-Gerlitz, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Arie Bar-Haim, Ph.D., Tel-Aviv University, Israel

Rangeet Bhattacharyya, Ph.D., Indian Institute of Science, India

Ilan Degani, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Rodislav Driben, Ph.D., Tel-Aviv University, Israel

Adina Golombek, Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University, USA

Supratim Guha Ray, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Changjin Hu, Ph.D., University of Science and Technology of China, China

Ariel Kaplan, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Frank Kramer, Ph.D., Technische Universitat Munchen

Ting Shek Lo, Ph.D., The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Eva Maria Martin Fierro, Ph.D., University of La Laguna

Kuppala Venkata Narasimhulu, Ph.D., India

Arun Ranganathan A., Ph.D., Agriculture Faculty, Israel

Sefi Raz, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Dvira Segal, Ph.D., Tel-Aviv University, Israel

Shlomo Sklarz, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Alexander Veksler, Ph.D., Ben-Gurion University, Israel

Hongmei Wang, Ph.D., The Chinese academy of sciences, China

Ling Wang, Ph.D., Fudan University, China

Research Students

Tal Amitay- Rosen Reit Artzi-Gerlitz

Debbie Baute Ido Ben-Dayan

Eran Bouchbinder Erez Boukobza

Eyal Capua Raanan Carmieli

Sharly Fleischer Zeev Fradkin


Chemical Physics 135

Inbal Friedler Vladislav Gladkikh

Yair Goldfarb Goren Gordon

Supratim Guha Ray Royi Kaufmann

Gregory Kopnov Yosef Yehuda Kuttner

Mor Mishkovsky Moshe Naoz

Iftach Nevo Yuri Paskover

Dana Peled Alexey Potapov

Marina Radoul Oleksii Rudenko

Sharon Ruthstein Boaz Shapira

Timur Shegai Eilon Sherman

Assaf Tal Mark Vilensky

Kaiyin Zhang Guy Ziv

Administrator

Varda Katzir


Environmental Sciences and Energy Research

Dan Yakir, Head

Research in the department includes both experimental/field & theoretical studies focused on

understanding the complex inter-relationships among the major Earth systems, and on the

human need for non-polluting energy sources.

Scientists in the department have expertise in a range of Earth-Science disciplines, including

climate dynamics, oceanic circulation, hydrology, paleoceanography and the study of past

climatic patterns, plant-environment interaction, atmospheric chemistry, earth system

dynamics and geophysics. These disciplines, and topics studied in each one of them, are

ultimately integrated as a means to understand and predict local, regional and global changes.

Our main objective for the future is to develop scientific activities that explore the critical

interfaces coupling the Earth systems. These include the biosphere—atmosphere, ocean—

atmosphere, ocean—sediment, and land surface—ground water interfaces. We also aim to

offer alternative energy sources to those which are adversely affecting our environment.

Research topics in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Energy Research include:

Atmospheric chemistry: Analytical chemistry of the atmosphere; Aerosol physics and

chemistry including surface and heterogeneous chemistry; Aerosol-climate interactions, Nanoparticle

chemistry in the atmosphere (Principal investigator: Yinon Rudich)

Clouds and cloud-aerosol interactions: Using remote sensing to study the radiation transfer

in the atmosphere, cloud microphysics, inversion of the physical properties of the clouds and

aerosols. Remote sensing and patterns and texture in clouds are also used to estimate manmade

impacts on the radiation and the thermodynamic balance of the atmosphere, as well as on the

water cycle. (Principal investigator: Ilan Koren)

Hydrology: Integration of laboratory and field studies with theoretical models to understand

flow of water, and transport of conservative and reactive chemicals, from the ground surface,

through the unsaturated zone, and within saturated geological formations. Transport in porous

media. Development of chemical methods for remediation of contaminated water. (Principal

investigator: Brian Berkowitz)

Biogeochemistry: Plant-atmosphere interactions; Environmental influence on the exchange of

trace gases and energy between land ecosystem and the atmosphere; Climatic influence on the

137


138 Environmental Sciences and Energy Research

natural abundance of carbon; oxygen and hydrogen isotopes in CO 2 , H 2 O and organic

materials; Scaling biological processes from cellular to global scales. (Principal investigator:

Dan Yakir)

Physical Oceanography and climate dynamics: Interactions between ocean biota and

climate; Climate dynamics and paleoclimate; Dynamics of the Gulf of Eilat; Radio-wave

oceanography. (Principal investigator: Hezi Gildor)

Chemical oceanography: Global climate change reconstructions from stable isotope records

in marine and continental sediments; Southern Ocean paleoceanography. Oxygen isotopes in

biogenic silica; Stable isotopes in diatom records; Carbon and oxygen stable isotopes in corals.

(Principal investigator: Aldo Shemesh)

Geophysics: Dynamics of the solid Earth. Applying computer modeling and experiments to

processes of geological plate movements from the grain to the global scales; Brittle and

chemical compaction; experiments and models of pressure solution; granular dynamics; flow

and initiation of landslides. (Principal investigator: Einat Aharonov)

Energy Research: Focusing mainly on finding methods of utilization of concentrated solar

radiation for efficient, cost-competitive solutions affecting

• Electricity production

• Energy storage

• Energy transportation

This includes the development of new solar thermal systems; solar derived ‘clean’ fuels;

concentrated photovoltaic systems; high temperature receivers; novel solar optical systems;

high temperature water splitting; high temperature catalytic processes. (Principal investigator:

Jacob Karni)

http://www.weizmann.ac.il/ESER/

Research Staff, Visitors and Students

Professors

Brian Berkowitz, D.Sc., Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel

The Sam Zuckerberg Professor

Israel Dostrovsky, Ph.D., University of London, London, United Kingdom

Institute Professor

The Agnes Spencer Professor of Physical Chemistry

Dan Yakir, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem at Rehovot, Rehovot, Israel


Professors Emeriti

Environmental Sciences and Energy Research 139

Joel R Gat, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Martin M. Halmann, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot, Israel

Associate Professors

Jacob Karni, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, United States

Yinon Rudich, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Aldo Shemesh, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

The Barry Rymer Family Professor

Senior Scientists

Einat Aharonov, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, United States

Incumbent of the Anna and Maurice Boukstein Career Development Chair

Hezi Gildor, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Incumbent of the Rowland and Sylvia Schaefer Career Development Chair

Ilan Koren, Ph.D., Tel Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel

Associate Staff Scientists

Irina Vishnevetsky, Ph.D., Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russian Federation

Ruth Yam, Ph.D., Tel Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel

Assistant Staff Scientists

Ishai Dror, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem

Regina Katsman, Ph.D., Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel

Eyal Rotenberg, Ph.D., Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Rehovot, Israel

Engineer

Ruth M.J. Benmair, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Consultants

Yosef Ashkenazy, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel

Eli Galanti, Tel Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel

Ellen Graber, Volcani Center, Bet Dagan, Israel

Emanuel Mazor

Harvey Scher

Bruno Yaron, Volcani Center, Bet Dagan, Israel

Jacob Yeheskel, Nuclear Research Center, Beer-Sheva, Israel


140 Environmental Sciences and Energy Research

Visiting Scientists

Miriam Diamond, University of Toronto, Canada

Ellen Graber, Vulcani Center, Beit Dagan, Israel

Rakesh Karn, Banaras Hindu University ,Varanasi, India

Yoram Kaufman, NASA, Greenbelt, MD, USA

Abraham Kogan, Technion, Haifa, Israel

Jae Il Lee, Korea Ocean & Rese. Dev. Inst., Ansan, Korea

Amos Nur, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Royi Sayag, Harvard University , MA, USA

Postdoctoral Fellows

Tareq Abu Hamed, Ph.D., Gazi University, Turkey

Nurit Agam, Ph.D., Ben-Gurion University, Israel

Alon Angert, Ph.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Regina Katsman, Ph.D., Technion, Israel

Tamar Moise, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Elza Nelkenbaum, Ph.D., Technion, Israel

Michael Rosenfeld, Ph.D., Tel-Aviv University, Israel

Jacob Silverman, Ph.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Leonid Sokoletsky, Ph.D., Bar-Ilan University, Israel

Dana Yaron-Marcovich, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Research Students

Yury Alioshin Elad Dinar

Simon Emmanuel Alla Falkovich

Gidon Fridman Ilia Gelfand

Liran Goren Hanna Klein

Leehee Laronne Ben-Itzhak Kadmiel Maseyk

Hanita Ovdat Naama Raz Yaseef

Aya Schneider Mor Olga Singurindy

Ilya Taraniuk

Administrator

Neomi Baumann


Materials and Interfaces

Reshef Tenne, Head

The Drake Family Professor in Nanotechnology

The Department of Materials and Interfaces of the Weizmann Institute of Science is an

interdisciplinary scientific unit composed of physicists, chemists and materials scientists. A

common theme of much of the research done in the department is the design of materials from

elementary units with unique, pre-designed functionality. A complementary effort involves the

understanding of the functionality of various materials, based on their supramolecular

architecture. In addition to new insights in how materials properties can be understood from

their atomic, molecular and macromolecular composition and structure, this strategy permits

the development of new high performance materials for numerous applications.

Some recent accomplishments include: The rehological properties of water confined between

two close (< 2.5 nm) mica surfaces was shown to defy conventional wisdom and remain a

Newtonian fluid. Genetic circuit elements were constructed in vitro by engineering

transcriptional activation and repression cascades, in which the protein product of each stage is

the input required to drive or block the following stage. Spontaneous enantio-selective

polymerization of polypeptides inside crystals was accomplished and its relevance to the

origin of life was hypothesized. Self-assembly of chains that can form networks with

branching points (junctions) in gels, wormlike micelles, dipolar fluids, and microemulsions

has been theoretically studied. A rational pathway for antimalaria drug design has been

proposed based on quinoline adsorption to malaria pigment crystals. The mechanism of plant

infection by agrobacterium was elucidated. Extention of the constructive nanolithography into

the micrometer-millimeter dimension range has been demonstrated. New nanotubes from

noble metals and from various layered compounds have been synthesized. The adhesion

energy of an indvidual carbon nanotubes to a polymer matrix and organic liquids was

determined. New strategies towards the realization of molecular transistors were

contemplated. Novel quasi-amorphous piezo-electric films were produced and their unique

structure and properties studied. The mechanical behavior of individual carbon and inorganic

nanotubes was studied offering numerous applications. The relationship between

superconductivity and the size of lead nanoparticles was determined; Dating of archeological

lead artifacts using the superconductivity of this metal was undertaken. Chemisorption of

cyanide moieties onto CdSe nanoparticles surface was shown to increase the quantum

confinement of the exciton wavefunction modifying their optical properties. Electronic

mapping of the cross section of polycrystalline n-CdS/p-CdTe solar cells was performed and a

model explaining their high efficiency was proposed.

http://www.weizmann.ac.il/materials/

141


142 Materials and Interfaces

Research Staff, Visitors and Students

Professors

David Cahen, Ph.D., Northwestern University, Evanston, United States

The Rowland and Sylvia Schaefer Professor in Energy Research

Jacob Klein, Ph.D., University of Cambridg, Cambridge, United Kingdom

The Hermann Mark Professor of Polymer Physics

Shimon Reich, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel (on extension of service)

The Robert W. Reneker Professor of Industrial Chemistry

Israel Rubinstein, Ph.D., Tel Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel

Samuel Safran, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, United States

The Fern and Manfred Steinfeld Professor

Jacob Sagiv, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Reshef Tenne, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

The Drake Family Professor in Nanotechnology

Daniel Hanoch Wagner, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

The Livio Norzi Professor

Professors Emeriti

Zeev Alexandrowicz, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Joseph Jagur-Grodzinski, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Meir Lahav, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Leslie Leiserowitz, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Moshe Levy, Ph.D., State University of New York, Syracuse, United States

Joost Manassen, Ph.D., University of Amsterdam

Associate Professors

Michael Elbaum, Ph.D., University of Washington, Seattle, United States

Gary Hodes, Ph.D., Queen's University of Belfast

Senior Scientists

Roy Bar-Ziv, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Incumbent of the Beracha Foundation Career Development Chair

Ernesto Joselevich, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Incumbent of the Dr. Victor L. Erlich Career Development Chair

Leeor Kronik, Ph.D., Tel Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel

Incumbent of the Delta Career Development Chair

Igor Lubomirsky, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Incumbent of the Helen and Milton A. Kimmelman Career Development Chair


Senior Staff Scientists

Materials and Interfaces 143

Rivka Maoz, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Alexander Vaskevich, Ph.D., Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys, Moscow, Russian

Federation

Isabelle Weissbuch, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Associate Staff Scientist

Rita Rosentsveig, Ph.D., Leningrad Technological Institute, Russian Federation

Assistant Staff Scientists

Nir Kampf, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Alla Milner, Ph.D., National Polytechnical University, Kharkov, Ukraine

Ilija Zon, Ph.D., Academy of Science USSR, Moscow, Russian Federation

Junior Staff Scientist

Asa Barber, Ph.D., Univeristy of London, London, United Kingdom (left October 2005)

Engineer

Baruch Ittah, M.Sc., Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel

Consultants

Olga Girshevitz

Haim Grunbaum, Tel Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel

Haim Leader, Israel institute for Biological Research, Ness-Ziona, Israel

Gideon Levin

Jose Geraldo Nery

Lev Rapoport, Holon Institute of Technology, Honon, Israel

Ana Yaron Albu

Ella Zak, Nanomaterials Ltd, Rehovot, Israel

Visiting Scientists

Julian Barejdo, University of North Texas, Forth Worth, USA

Ilka Bischofs, Max Planck Inst., Postdam, Germany

Antoine Kahn, Princeton University , NJ, USA

Jianmin Li, Nanyang Tech. University, Singapore

Sylvia Piperno, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel


144 Materials and Interfaces

Boris Rozenberg, Russian Acad. of Sci., Moscow, Russia

Baruch Vainas, Soreq Nuclear Center, Yavne, Israel

Postdoctoral Fellows

Thorsten Auth, Ph.D., University of Cologne, Germany

Tatyana Bendikov, Ph.D., Technion, Israel

Devasish Chowdhury, Ph.D., Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati

Rumi De, Ph.D., Indian Institute of Science

Rivka Elbaum, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Daphna Frenkiel-Krispin, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Tao He, Ph.D., Institute of Chemistry, The Chinese Academy, China

Nir Kampf, Ph.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Aurelie Lachish-Zalait, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Luqi Liu, Ph.D., Chinese Academy of Sciences, China

Alexander Margolin, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Jose Geraldo Nery, Ph.D., Univ. of Sao-Paulo & Santa Barbara, USA

Sven Ruhle, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Oliver Seitz, Ph.D., Versailles University

Zvi Tlusty, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Rachel Turgeman, Ph.D., Bar-Ilan University, Israel

Amir Zalcenstein, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Assaf Zemel, Ph.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Ella Zimmerman, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Research Students

Ovadia Abed Tali Aqua

Maya Bar Sadan Aviad Baram

Tsevi Beatus Amnon Buxboim

Yaron Caspi Liraz Chai

David Ehre Ran Eliash

Jamal Ghabboun Olga Guliamov

Guy Hed Ariel Ismach

Ifat Kaplan-Ashiri Sari Katz

Ronen Kopito Frieda Kopnov

Anna Kossoy Aurelie Lachish-Zalait

Adi Makmal Rachel Malka

Alexander Margolin Doron Nave

Lior Nissim Dikla Raz-Ben Aroush

Izhar Ron Irina Rubinsein

Sven Ruhle Adi Salomon

Shaibal Kanti Sarkar Christoph Schuffenhauer


Materials and Interfaces 145

Lior Segev Tali Sehayek

Hagay Shpaisman Ronit Snir

Inna Solomonov Sarah Sultan

Meni Wanunu Shira Yochelis Gov-Ary

Assaf Zeira

Administrator

Yehudit Rousso


Organic Chemistry

David Milstein, Head (until September 2005)

The Israel Matz Professor of Organic Chemistry

Ronny Neumann, Head (from October 2005)

The Rebecca and Israel Sieff Professor of Organic Chemistry

The research in the Department of Organic Chemistry spans a wide range of topics, including

synthetic-, mechanistic and structural aspects of organic, inorganic-, organometallic-, polymer-

, bioorganic-, biological- and computational chemistry.

Soluble metal oxide clusters termed polyoxometalates are being investigated and developed as

homogeneous oxidation catalysts by Ronny Neumann. Polyoxometalates have the ability to

activate environmentally benign oxygen donors such as molecular oxygen, hydrogen peroxide,

nitrous oxide and ozone. In the presence of hydrocarbons, selective oxidation reactions can be

carried out. Catalytic oxidation reactions which are being investigated include the epoxidation

of alkenes, the hydroxylation of alkanes, oxydehydrogenation of alcohols and other substrates

and oxyhalogenation. Mechanistic and kinetic studies using a large variety of spectroscopic

and chromatographic techniques allow the identification of active intermediates, the

determination of different modes of activation of oxygen donors and the preparation of

improved catalysts.

The team of Milko van der Boom is working to create novel films with desirable electronic and

optical qualities. The formation of organic thin films is at the forefront of nanotechnology

research. His team is hoping to replace today's conventional inorganic materials with organic

compounds, which would be much easier to modify, thus offering far better, cheaper devices.

The challenges of creating these films, however, are considerable - from effectively integrating

custom-designed organic and metal-organic molecules into thin films, to creating materials

that are highly ordered and smooth as well as thick enough to efficiently convey optical

signals.

The group of Michael Bendikov who has joined the department recently, explores the

structure–property relationship in conducting polymers and their oligomers, aiming at the

design of novel electronic materials. The chemical reactivity of carbon-nanotubes is also

explored. The research combines synthesis, physical measurements and theoretical quantum

mechanical studies.

147


148 Organic Chemistry

The computational chemistry group of Jan (Gershom) Martin is engaged both in the

development of highly accurate ab initio computational thermochemistry methods (W1 and

W2 theory) and in the methodology and applications of density functional theory, with a

particular focus on organometallic reaction mechanisms relevant to homogenous catalysis.

Theoretical vibrational spectroscopy beyond the harmonic approximation and basis set

development (the SDB-cc-pVnZ basis sets) are subsidiary research interests.

Electron-rich complexes of transition metals, capable of insertion and activation of some of the

strongest bonds are being developed by David Milstein. The selective insertion of a metal into

a simple carbon-carbon bond presents new prospects for selective hydrocarbon

functionalization. Activation of N-H and O-H bonds opens new directions for the selective use

of ammonia and water. Facile activation of bonds to carbon by specifically-designed

complexes has led to new catalytic reactions of significance to the chemical and

pharmaceutical industries, including highly efficient carbon-carbon bond formation. A new

approach towards catalysis based on the ordering of metal complexes in thin films was

demonstrated (with Meir Lahav, Materials and Interfaces). The use of metals for the

generation, stabilization and controlled release of biologically relevant, unstable organic

transients is being studied. New ligands and complexes for MRI imaging, which are receptor

specific, are being developed (with Hadassa Degani, Biological Regulation).

Biological activity of visual pigments and bacteriorhodopsin is related to a photocycle during

which both the retinal and the opsin moieties undergo a series of structural changes. The

molecular changes and their correlation with the corresponding biological functions are of

primary importance. The use of artificial pigments, model compounds and spectroscopic

methods by Mudi Sheves has resulted in the clarification of the role that single and double

bonds play in the photocycle; protein-chromophore interactions in the binding site; the role of

water and light in retinal protein activity; cations-protein interaction in bacteriorhodopsin; and

the mechanism of rhodopsin light activation.

In Abraham Shanzer's group the principles of Biomimetic Chemistry are being applied to

mimic bioactive molecules with emphasis on natural iron-carriers that are recognized by

microbial receptors and consequently transported into the living cells. When labeled with

fluorescent markers, these carriers proved to be useful diagnostic kits. When linked to a

cytotoxic agents, they are envisioned as a new generation of anti microbial agents. Molecular

electronics is being persued, including: (a) Preparation of molecules with desired optical,

electronic and magnetic properties, and their assembly on gold surfaces (with Israel

Rubinstein, Materials and Interfaces); (b) Sensors based on imidazolyl ligands capable of axial

coordination of metalloporphyrins in a predetermined location above the conductive surfaces

have been developed and used as sensors for oxygen, NO and CO; (c) Design and preparation

of devices acting as static and dynamic molecular switches for memory storage and Molecular

Logic-Gates for executing algebraic operations.

The structure, function and thermal stability of thermophilic enzymes are being studied by

Yigal Burstein, aiming at understanding the mechanisms of adaptation of enzymes to extreme

environment and for designing novel enzymes for biotransformations in organic chemistry. A

family of highly homologous alcohol dehydrogenases that span the phenotypic range of


Organic Chemistry 149

temperature in microorganisms, is investigated. Structural elements conferring thermal

stability were identified and analyzed employing genetic engineering methods.

Chemical, biological and clinical studies of modulatory peptides including immunomodulator

antibacterial anticancer and neuroactive compounds are being carried out by Mati Fridkin.

Novel technologies for drug delivery and stabilization have been developed and applied to

several proteins (e.g. insulin, growth hormone, interferon), peptides (e.g. GnRH ,exendin ) and

small molecules ( antibiotics and anticancer drugs ). The clinical-pharmaceutical potential of

several compounds are being evaluated. A novel approach toward Fe- chelation in relation to

neuroprotection is being developed. En route to anti-Alzheimer and anti-Parkinson drugs.

Design, synthesis, structure and function of aminoglycoside-arginine conjugates (AACs),

novel HIV-1 inhibitors of viral entry and transactivation of the viral transcripts by Tat protein,

are being studied by Aviva Lapidot aiming at understanding the mechanisms of inhibition of

the diversity functions of Tat protein, which might be critical for anti-AIDS strategies.

DNA organization and survival under stress is being studied by Avi Minsky. Morphological

changes that occur within living cells, following their exposure to various stress conditions are

being studied by electron microscopy and X-ray scattering. Under such conditions, genomic

DNA undergoes either a spontaneous or a protein-promoted phase transition into highly

packed and ordered structures in which the DNA molecules are sequestered and effectively

protected. A new and general mode of protection through biocrystallization is indicated. The

structural properties of stress-induced DNA-binding proteins that are involved in these

structural transitions are being studied. Ultrasensitive calorimetrical methods are used to

assess the effects of the large intracellular crowding and viscosity upon the thermodynamic

features of interactions between macromolecules, such as DNA and proteins.

The group of Yossi Sperling is studying the structure and function in pre-mRNA processing of

supraspliceosomes. These huge macromolecular assemblies contain, in addition to premRNAs,

all known components required for their post-transcriptional processing (capping,

polyadenylation, editing and splicing). Hence, they can be regarded as representing the nuclear

RNA processing machinery. A new mechanism that regulates splicing by affecting splice site

selection has been discovered. This discovery implies that the reading frame of mRNAs can be

recognized in the nucleus prior to splicing. A model derived from structural studies of

supraspliceosomes by electron microscopy is being developed to explain this unexpected

finding.

Research Staff, Visitors and Students

Professors

Yigal Burstein, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel (on extension of

service)

The Maynard I. and Elaine Wishner Professor of Bio-Organic Chemistry and Malignant

Diseases Research


150 Organic Chemistry

Matityahu Fridkin, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel (on extension of

service)

The Lester B. Pearson Professor of Protein Research

Gershom (Jan) Martin, Ph.D., University of Antwerp, Wilrijk, Belgium

The Margaret Thatcher Professor of Chemistry

David Milstein, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

The Israel Matz Professor of Organic Chemistry

Abraham Minsky, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

The Professor T. Reichstein Professor

Ronny Neumann, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

The Rebecca and Israel Sieff Professor of Organic Chemistry

Abraham Shanzer, Ph.D., Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Charlotsville, United States

The Siegfried and Irma Ullmann Professor

Mordechai Sheves, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Ephraim Katzir-Rao Makineni Professor of Chemistry

Joseph Sperling, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel (on extension of

service)

The Hilda Pomeraniec Memorial Professor of Organic Chemistry

Professors Emeriti

Mario D. Bachi, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusaelm, Jerusalem, Israel

Valeri A. Krongauz, Ph.D., L.Y. Karpov Physical Chemistry Institute, Moscow, Russian

Federation

Aviva Lapidot, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Abraham Patchornik, Ph.D., The Hebrew Univesity of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Senior Scientists

Michael Bendikov, Ph.D., Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel

Incumbent of the Recanati Career Development Chair of Energy Research

Boris Rybtchinski, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Milko Van Der Boom, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Yigal Allon Fellow

Minerva Junior Research Group on Molecular Materials and Interface Design

Incumbent of the Dewey David Stone and Harry Levine Career Development Chair

Senior Staff Scientist

Alexander M. Khenkin, Ph.D., Academy of Science, Russian Federation


Associate Staff Scientists

Organic Chemistry 151

Irena Efremenko, Ph.D., Kazakh National Academy of Science, Alma-Ata, Russian

Federation

Edward E. Korshin, Ph.D., Kazan State University, Russian Federation

Moshe Peretz, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Assistant Staff Scientist

Galina Melman, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Special Contract

Yana Sheynin, Ph.D., Moscow State University, Moscow, Russian Federation

Consultants

Herzel Ben-Hur, Kaplan Hospital, Rehovot, Israel

Ofer Blum, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel

Virginia Buchner

Shlomo Dukler

Amihai Eisenstadt, Teva, Petach-Tikva, Israel

Alfred Hessner, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel

Amiram Hirshfeld

Yitzhak Ittah, Synthos Ltd., Israel

Edna Schechtman, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel

David Segev, Segev Labs Ltd, Israel

Irina Zeltser (left July 2005)

Oren Zimhony, Kaplan Medical Center, Rehovot, Israel

Visiting Scientists

Daniel A. Boese, University of Cambridge, UK

Edward Rosenberg, University of Montana, Missoula, USA

Yosef Scolnik, Citramed, Ashkelon, Israel

Yaakov Yavin, University of Pretoria, South Africa

Postdoctoral Fellows

Itsik Bar-Nahum, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Gunanathan Chidambaram, Ph.D., Bhavnagar University

Sara Cohen-Krausz, Ph.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Mario De Bruyn, Ph.D., Belgium

Tamar Eliash, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel


152 Organic Chemistry

Christian Frech, Ph.D., Department of Inorganic Chemistry University of Zu

Mark Gandelman, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Sylvain Gatard, Ph.D., University Bordeaux I, France

Tarkeshwar Gupta, Ph.D., DDU Gorakhpur University

Ravi Hegde, Ph.D., University of Mysore, India

Yongdong Jin, Ph.D., Chinese Academy of Sciences, China

Vladimir Kogan, Ph.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Akkisani Ravikumar Reddy, Ph.D., Sri Krishnadevaraya University

Rotem Sertchook, Ph.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Atindra Shukla, Ph.D., Bhavngar University, India

Alexander Tarnopolsky, Ph.D., Bar-Ilan University, Israel

Maxym Vasylyev, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Sanjio Shankarrao Zade, Ph.D., Indian Institute of Technology Bombay

Guoyan Zhang, Institute of Chemistry,Chinese Academy of Sciences, China

Jing Zhang, Nanjing University, China

Hailin Zheng, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Research Students

Marc Altman Itsik Bar-Nahum

Eyal Ben-AriI rit Ben-Avraham

Olena Branytska Keren Carmi

Tali Dadosh David Dangoor

Irakliy Ebralidze Joseph Englander

Moran Feller Galit Fridman-Marueli

Edi Goichberg Adina Haimov

Mark Alan Iron Berith Isaac

Eyal Kamhi Amir Karton

Gideon Kass Marina Konorty

Elizaveta Kossoy Vered Lev-Goldman

Galia Maayan David Margulies

Gal Meiri Keren Mevorat Kaplan

Anat Milo Michael Montag

Emanuel Perugia Elena Poverenov

Kikkeri Raghavendra Hiyam Salem

Yamit Sharaabi Maria Shoshan

Dorit Sloboda Rozner Maxym Vasylyev

Yair Wijsboom Galit Yahalom

Uri Zadok Nathan Moise Zauberman

Olena Zenkina Hailin Zheng

Tatiana Zubkov

Administrator

Tiki Rosen


Structural Biology

Amnon Horovitz, Head

The Carl and Dorothy Bennett Professor of Biochemistry

The Department is committed to research in the major areas of structural biology and is

investigating biological systems from the atomic to the cellular level of organization. The

ultimate goal is to obtain a complete picture of biological structures in their complexity, with a

continuity at all length scales, from Ångstroms to millimeters. The structures of biological

macromolecules and their complexes are studied at the length scale of Ångstroms by X-ray

diffraction from crystals, and in solution by advanced spectroscopic techniques such as nuclear

magnetic resonance and EXAFS. In addition, imaging techniques that span the range between

nanometers and microns, such as electron microscopy, electron tomography and atomic force

microscopy, are being used to study single molecules, macromolecular assemblies and whole

tissue organization.

The elucidation of structure-function relationships of key components in main biological

pathways is one of the general goals of the research conducted in the Department. One such

pathway is the translation of the genetic code from DNA to proteins. A highlight of recent

years has been the continued progress in determination of different ribosome structures also in

complex with antibiotics. These significant achievements crown the titanic efforts of tens of

years of research aimed at determining the structure and mechanism of action of ribosomes.

Ribosomes are large particles composed of RNA and more than 50 proteins that are the

principal protein synthesis machinery of the cell. The mechanism of translation of the code

into proteins is also investigated by X-ray crystallography of tRNA synthetases and their

complexes. Additional research in this area includes work on helicases that unwind RNA and

elucidation of the 3-D structures of DNA molecules and DNA-protein complexes. Research is

also being carried out on molecular chaperones and catalysts of disulphide bridge formation

that assist protein folding which is the one of the last stations in the pathway from genes to

functional proteins.

Structural and dynamical aspects of enzyme and protein function and recognition constitute

another focal point of activity. Examples are studies on the mechanism of acetylcholinesterase,

a key enzyme in the transmission of nerve impulses, and on proteins regulating membranefusion

and virus entry into the cell. Antibody-antigen recognition is being studied using NMR

and molecular biology tools in order to unravel the structural basis and energetics of these

interactions. Antibody-antigen recognition is also being studied using antibodies that interact

with monolayer and crystal surfaces.

153


154 Structural Biology

Studies on the relationships between organic and mineral components and between structure,

function and mechanical properties of mineralized tissues including bone, teeth, shells and

many others, are performed over the whole range of hierarchical organizations. The

development of new techniques in Archeological Chemistry provides information about

human life conditions and technologies in prehistoric times.

The X-ray and NMR facilities are state-of-the-art. A major upgrade was recently made in the

electron microscopy facility with the addition of two high resolution transmission electron

microscopes and an environmental field emission scanning electron microscope.

http://www.weizmann.ac.il/sb/

Research Staff, Visitors and Students

Professors

Lia Addadi, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Dorothy and Patrick Gorman Professor

Jacob Anglister, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Joseph and Ruth Owades Professor of Chemistry

Amnon Horovitz, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

The Carl and Dorothy Bennett Professor of Biochemistry

Zippora Shakked, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Helena Rubinstein Professor of Structural Biology

Joel L Sussman, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, United States

The Morton and Gladys Pickman Professor in Structural Biology

Stephen Weiner, Ph.D., California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, United States

The Dr. Walter and Dr. Trude Borchardt Professor of Structural Biology

Ada Yonath, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel (on extension of service)

The Martin S. and Helen Kimmel Professor

Professors Emeriti

Henryk Eisenberg, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Wolfie Traub, Ph.D., University of London, London, United Kingdom

Edward Trifonov, Ph.D., Moscow Physico-Technical Institute, Russian Federation

Associate Professors

Mark Safro, Ph.D., Academy of Sciences of the USSR, Moscow, Russian Federation

The Lee and William Abramowitz Professor of Macromolecular Biophysics

Irit Sagi, Ph.D., Georgetown University, Washington, United States

The Maurizio Pontecorvo Professorial Professor


Senior Scientists

Structural Biology 155

Deborah Fass, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, United States

Incumbent of the Lilian and George Lyttle Career Development Chair

Itay Rousso, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Incumbent of the Robert Edward and Roselyn Rich Manson Career Development Chair

Senior Staff Scientist

Tamar Unger, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Associate Staff Scientists

Shira Albeck, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Anat Bashan, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Orly Dym, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Naama Kessler, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Yoav Peleg, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Assistant Staff Scientists

Arkady Bitler, Ph.D., Leningrad State University, Leningrad, Russian Federation

Harry-Mark Greenblatt, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Brenda Mester, Ph.D., University de la Republica, Uruguay

Dror Noy, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Junior Staff Scientists

Maggie Kessler, Ph.D., University of North London, United Kingdom (until September 2005)

Haim Rozenberg, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Consultants

Ilana Agmon

Muszkat Alexander

Ben Zion Amarant, Prospec Technogene, Nes-Ziona, Israel

Rina Arad-Yellin, Semorex, Park Rabin, Nes-Ziona, Israel

Arkadi Bitler, Tel Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel (retired February 2005)

Simone Botti, Biostrx Ltd., Ramat-Gan, Israel

Maggie Kessler, Banner Chemicals Ltd., Runcorn, UK (from October 2005)

Ron Unger, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel


156 Structural Biology

Visiting Scientists

Harvey Goldberg, University of Western Ontario, London Ont., Canada

Ruth Gross, Hebrew University , Mount Scopus, Jerusalem, Israel

Osnat Herzberg, University of Maryland, USA

John Moult, University of Maryland, USA

Fred Naider, CUNY, Staten Island, Island

Ron Shahar, Hebrew University , Mount Scopus, Jerusalem, Israel

Emanuel Yakobson, Sheba Medical Ctr., Tel Hashomer, Israel

Postdoctoral Fellows

Tamar Auerbach, Ph.D., Free University Berlin

Emanuel Blumenzweig, Ph.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Yael Diskin Posner, Ph.D., Tel-Aviv University, Israel

Einav Gross, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Derk Joester, Ph.D., Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Switzerland

Premkumar Lakshmanane, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Ilan Levy, Ph.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Claude Nogues, Ph.D., CNRS, France

Dror Noy, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Niv Papo, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Dalia Rivenzon-Segal, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Remo Rohs, Ph.D., Freie University, Germany

Yael Sagi, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Avraham Samson, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Tzvia Selzer, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Ruth Shahack-Gross, Ph.D., Washington Art & Sciences, USA

Inna Solomonov, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Eli Sone, Ph.D., Northwestern University, USA

Marianna Tsvitov, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Yechun Xu, Ph.D., Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, China

Research Students

Barak Akabayov Maya Amit

Maya Bar Meir Max Barak

David Baram Adi Behar-Eliyahu

Avi Ben Shimon Zohar Biron

Boris Brumshtein Ilit Cohen-Opri

Oded Danziger Rivka Elbaum

Racheli Fachima Igal Finarov

Gabriel Frank Micha Gladnikoff

Einav Gross Nimrod Heldman


Structural Biology 157

Yakov Kipnis Malka Kitayner

Olga Kogan-Kotik Nitzan Kol

Avital Levy-Lior Orna Man

Inbal Mermershtain Adi Moseri

Eran Noah Orly Noivirt

Fabio Nudelman Aviv Paz

Yael Politi Erez Pyetan

Sabine Quadt Lior Regev

Osnat Rosen Gabriel Rosenblum

Noa Rubin Avraham Olivier Samson

Luana Scheffer Netta Sela-Passwell

Liat Shimon Roy Sirkis

Ariel Solomon Oded Suad

Elvira Vitu Raz Zarivach

Paul Zaslansky Tzvia Zeev Ben-Mordehai

Roy Ziblat

Administrator

Tiki Rosen


Solar Research Facilities Unit

Jacob Karni, Scientist-in-Charge

Michael Epstein, Head

The Solar Research Facilities of the Weizmann Institute of Science (WIS) are among the most

advanced laboratories in the world for concentrated solar energy research. A major feature of

the Unit is a Solar Power Tower containing a field of 64 large, multi-faceted mirrors

(heliostats), each measuring 7 ×

8 meters. A picture of the Solar Tower is shown in Figure 1.

Each heliostat tracks the movement of the sun independently and reflects its light onto a

selected target on a 54-meter high tower containing five separate experimental stations, each of

which can house several experiments. Light can be reflected toward any or all of these stations,

allowing a number of experiments to be carried out simultaneously. This is the only Solar

Tower facility in the world located on a campus of a research or academic institute and is

solely dedicated to scientific work. WIS invested over $15M in the construction and

maintenance of this laboratory.

Recently a new optical feature was added in the form of a 75 m 2 reflector attached to the tower

at about 45 m above ground level. Using this reflector about one megawatt of concentrated

sunlight can be beamed down onto a ground target. This is a unique feature existing only at the

Weizmann Institute Solar Tower. WIS is presently upgrading the heliostat mirrors to improve

their optical performance. The cost of this renovation project to the Institute is about $1M.

Research Projects Conducted at the Solar Research Facilities Unit

Our goal is to explore solar-driven thermal and chemical processes, enabling power

production, fuel alternatives, long-term storage and convenient transportation options. Work at

WIS is diverse and evolves based on the scientists’ vision and imagination. At present, our

research programs address the following topics:

1. Electricity production – developing cost effective ways for environmentally clean, solardriven

electricity production. The scientists involved in this program are Jacob Karni and

Michael Epstein.

2. Hydrogen production – WIS scientists work on several methods to produce hydrogen (a

clean and efficient fuel) using solar energy. These methods include: (i) hydrocarbon

reforming, (ii) methane decomposition, and (iii) solar thermal-electrochemical

159


160 Solar Research Facilities Unit

dissociation of water at high temperatures. The scientists involved in these programs are

Abraham Kogan, Michael Epstein, Alexander Berman and Jacob Karni.

3. Biomass gasification – developing means to use solar energy to convert biomass (such as

organic waste) to fuel. The scientists involved in this program are Roman Adinberg,

Michael Epstein and Jacob Karni.

4. Developing of high temperature stable catalyst for steam reforming of methane. The

scientists involved are alexander Berman, Rakesh Kumar Karn, Michael Epstein and

Jacob Karni.

5. Solar reduction of metal oxides, for example, the production of zinc from zinc oxide, for

developing a clean process to provide zinc for fuel cells and for the production of

hydrogen. The scientists involved in this program are Michael Epstein, Irina

Vishnevetsky, Tareq Abu-Hamed and Jacob Karni.

6. Developing of heat storage in a phase change material (PCM) medium. Scientists

involved are Roman Adinberg and Michael Epstein.

Staff

Professor

Jacob Karni 1 , Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, United States

Associate Staff Scientists

Roman Adinberg, Ph.D., Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russian Federation

Alexander Berman, Ph.D., Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russian Federation (until October

2005)

Engineers

Rami Ben-Zvi, M.Sc., Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel

Michael Epstein, B.A., Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel

Doron Lieberman, M.Sc., Ben-Gurion Univesity of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel

Consultant

Alexander Berman (from November 2005)

Postdoctoral Fellow

Rakesh Kumar Karn, Ph.D., Banaras Hindu University, India

1 Department of Environmental Sciences and Energy Research


Department of Chemical Research Support

Brian Berkowitz, Head

The Sam Zuckerberg Professor

Chemical Research Support, comprising 14 major units, offers advanced and routine facilities

for analytical and preparative chemical techniques to Institute scientists.

Each unit is headed by a Research Fellow or a Staff Scientist and is operated by qualified

technical staff. The development program for Chemical Services and its mode of operation is

supervised by Users Committees and by scientific advisors.

Chemical and Biophysical NanoSciences (Person in charge: Shirley Daube)

The objectives of the unit are to promote research in processes and phenomena in

(bio)chemistry, (bio)physics and materials research on the nm scale, which cannot be

addressed within the existing facilities of the WIS. An important aspect of this development is

technological need for miniaturization. Fundamental scientific issues are addressed in the

areas of synthesis of nanomaterials, nanomanipulation of matter, chemistry and physics of

mesoscopic objects and of biomaterials.

More specifically we refer to the emerging capability to design and prepare systems, showing

predetermined heterogeneity at the atomic and molecular levels. Towards this, conceptual

capabilities of molecular control and self-assembly (ready-made components) are combined

with those of sturdy supra- or non-molecular components.

The center of the unit is a class 10,000 clean room complex, including facilities for optical and

electron beam lithography, a mask aligner MA-6, and a dry etching ICP apparatus. The facility

has, in addition, apparatus for thermal and electron beam evaporation of metallic and dielectric

films. It has a confocal optical microscope, and equipment for characterization of surfaces

(wettability/contact angle, a Rudolf ellipsometer, a surface profiler-Dektak 3ST). A chemical

hood inside the clean rooms provides capabilities for a broad range of chemical manipulations.

In order to advance research towards implementation of biologically active molecules as

integral components in inorganic devices, the center includes a Nano Bio lab. The Nano Bio

team aid physicists and chemists in the design and performance of their research involving

biological molecules. In addition, the Nano bio lab provides the means to perform experiments

and produce pre-designed biological molecules using basic molecular biology and biochemical

techniques. The lab is equipped with a variety of centrifuges, gel electrophoresis apparatus of

nucleic acids and proteins, an AKTA basic FPLC protein purification apparatus, a PCR

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162 Department of Chemical Research Support

machine, NanoDrop and GeneQuant spectrophotometers, gel imagining apparatus, equipment

for bacterial growth including a sonicator, etc. A workstation for 32 P and 35 S radioactive work

is also available.

Electron Microscopy Unit (Person in Charge: Konstantin Gartsman)

The staff of the Electron Microscopy Unit provides analytical services to all of the departments

of the Weizmann Institute and other institutes, and helps scientists to carry out their own

research using the units equipment. The unit provides on-the-spot practical training in electron

microscopy and sample preparation.

For general applications, there are three high resolution (HR) scanning electron microscopes

(SEM), ESEM FEI, ULTRA-55 ZEISS and a SUPRA-55 VP ZEISS with a new

nanomanipulator and Electron Beam Induced Current (EBIC) imaging system. The ESEM and

the SUPRA microscopes are equipped with EDS systems for elemental analysis. There is a

high resolution TEM microscope Tecnai F-30 FEI for materials science applications

(resolution of 1.7A), equipped with a double tilt holder. Attached to this 300kV microscope

there is a post column Gatan Imaging mFilter (GIF) which enables EELS measurements

(electron energy loss spectra) and elemental mapping at nanometer scale. An additional TEM

for materials science, CM-120 PHILIPS, is equipped with EDS for elemental analysis. For

samples of biological interest there are three more TEMs, TECNAI T-12 FEI, TECNAI F-20

FEI and CM-12 PHILIPS. The TEMs are suitable for low-temperature applications and they

are equipped with digital slow-scan cameras (CCDs) for low-dose work. The newest cryocapable

TEM, TECNAI F-20 FEI, also includes a computer-controlled sample stage and highresolution

4k x 4k CCD camera (TVIPS), for automated tomographic applications.

In addition, various pieces of auxiliary equipment for sample preparation are available in the

unit. These include polishing apparatus, dimpling and ion milling machines, sputter, and

physical evaporation apparatus, a critical point dryer, and several ultramicrotomes. The EM

unit is also equipped for conventional as well as low-temperature preparation of biological

samples and immuno-labeling. There is equipment for cryo-applications such as high-pressure

freezing, cryo-plunging, freeze substitution and cryo-sectioning.

Image processing facilities include Unix workstations, and several Macintosh and PC

computers, with advanced software for image analysis, 3-D reconstruction and visualization.

A laser optical bench allows for quantitative analysis of negatives, and there is one highresolution

scanner for digitization of images.

Electron Microscopy Unit Website:

http://www.weizmann.ac.il/Chemical_Research_Support/EM_Unit/

Electron Spin Resonance (ESR) (Person in Charge: Lev Weiner)

The Electron Spin/Paramagnetic Resonance (ESR/EPR) Unit is equipped with a Bruker

ELEXYS 500 (X and Q bands, 9.5 and 35 GHz) and ER 200 D SRC (9.5 GHz, X band)

spectrometers. The various techniques for measuring the structure and properties of free


Department of Chemical Research Support 163

radicals and paramagnetic ions in solid state and in solution are available for a wide range of

temperatures.

The ESR Unit provides consultation and training for scientists interested in techniques for the

detection and quantitation of oxidative stress in chemical and biological systems.

Site directed spin labeling of mutants of diamagnetic proteins provides unique information

about properties of biopolymers under physiological conditions (pH, temperature, etc.)

A novel spin-tapping technique has been developed for quantitating and monitoring the

kinetics of appearance of short lived reactive oxygen species and carbon-centered radicals in

chemical, photochemical and biological systems. The technique can also be used to distinguish

between the various reactive oxygen species, which include superoxide and hydroxyl (OH)

radicals, as well as singlet oxygen ( 1 O 2 ). The ESR technique is applicable to strongly

scattering and stained systems,such as organ homogenates and cell cultures.

A novel ESR approach has been developed for the quantitative determination of sulfhydryl

groups (down to 10 -12 moles) in chemical and biological systems.

Laboratory for Magnetic and Electrical Properties of Materials (Person in Charge:

Gregory Leitus)

The unit provides research services for scientists who develop new materials or devices with

special physical properties. The investigation in the Unit is based on Quantum Design's

Magnetic Property Measurement System (MPMS2) which is amplified with various additional

devices and systems. The MPMS2 provides DC (direct current) and AC (alternative current)

magnetic measurements. It involves:

1. Temperature Control System provides precision control of the sample temperature in the

range 1.8 to 350 K.

2. Magnet Control System provides magnetic fields from zero to positive and negative 1 T.

The superconducting magnet can be operated in either persistent or non-persistent

modes, and several charging option can be selected by the user.

3. Superconducting SQUID Amplifier System (SQUID detector) provides reset circuitry,

auto-ranging capability, a highly balanced second-derivative sample coil array and

environment magnetic influence protection.

4. Sample Handling System. Ability to step the sample smoothly through the detection coil

without transmitting undue mechanical vibration to the SQUID. It allows for varied scan

lengths and options.

5. Computer Operating System (upgraded in 2004). All operated features of the MPMS and

external devices are under automated computer control including individual functions

and measurement sequences.


164 Department of Chemical Research Support

The MPMS has expanded by Kethley's and SRS's external devices which together with

Manual Insertion Utility Probe are organized in:

6. DC resistivity and Hall effect measurements System provides 4-probes and van der

Pauw electric transport measurement in direct current range from 0.1 pA to 5 mA

7. AC conductivity measurements System provides electric transport measurement in

alternative current ranges: amplitude from 2 pA to 5 mA, frequency range from 1 mHz to

100 kHz.

In the near future the MPMS will be expanded to include:

8. Reciprocating Sample Option (RSO) employs small-amplitude, periodic displacement

(down to 0.5 mm) of a sample inside MPMS' second-order gradiometer. High sensitivity:

absolute: 10 -8 emu, relative: 5x10 -9 emu at field: 0-1 T and low frequency: 0.5 to 4.0 Hz.

9. Continuous Low Temperature Control (CLTC)/Temperature Sweep Mode provides

sweep with definite rate: 0.001 - 10 K/min, continuous operation below, upper and over

4.2 K (over 45 hours at 1.8 K), and temperature stability of +/-0.005K in the whole of

temperature range.

10. Fiberoptic Sample Holder (FOSH) allows user to illuminate a sample with an external

light source during magnetic measurements.

Mass-Spectrometry and Chemical Analysis (Person in Charge: Arye Tishbee)

The Chemical Analysis Laboratory, provides training, consultation and method development

for measurement, separation, purification, and isolation of a wide range of Organic compounds

by Gas Chromatography, Mass Spectrometry, High-Performance Liquid Chromatography

(HPLC), Amino Acids, Atomic Absorption spectrophotometry, RAMAN ,Micro RAMAN,

Infra Red (IR), Micro IR spectroscopy, and Rapid Kinetics monitoring using Stopped Flow

instrument.

The RAMAN unit provides Raman measurements, using 1064 µm 1.5W Laser excitation With

a target area of 100 µm.

Available equipment: Bruker FT RAMAN - RFS 100/S Ge Diode detector Spectral range of

3600 - 70 cm -1 . (stokes shift) and 100-2000 (anti-Stokes shift) . Controlled by PC based OPUS

spectral software.

The Micro RAMAN unit provides micro Raman measurements, using 780 nm and or 633nm

laser excitation, magnification range from x5 to x100, for a verity of samples, including

temperature controlled stage with operating range of - 200 to + 500°C.


Department of Chemical Research Support 165

Available equipment : Renishaw Micro Raman Imaging Microscope Controlled via a PC base

software, with temperature control, moving xyz stage, dual lasers 633 and 780nm, and Grams

2c spectral manipulation software.

The IR unit provides standard IR measurements

Available equipment: Nicolet IFS - 66. Controlled by PC based OPUS spectral software.

The Micro IR unit provides micro IR Transmission and reflection measurements.

Available equipment: VECTOR 22 FT-IR instrument attached to an IR/Optical Microscope.

IRscope II, with Transmission and reflection, measurement modes. 15X IR Objective

Measured Area: 20 µm Minimum. Mid Range MCT detector 7000-600 cm -1 .

Rapid Kinetic Instrument unit provides Stopped Flow measurements, for enzyme reactions,

Single, double, triple mixing with intermediate ageing, variable mixing ratio and dilution,

µvolume operation using absorbance, fluorescence, or circular dichroism.

Available equipment: BioLogic MOS-450 with MPS 60. Consists of 4 syringes 10 - 2,5 ml,

Min. Dead Time 0.98 ms, Min Ageing Time 1.63ms. Light source : 150W Xe , reflective

achromatic monochromator , 180 to 800 nm. 1 nm. Steps. slits :2,4 or 8 nm, data acquisition

rate, 50 ms/sample to 1000s/sample. Acquisition time 50 ms to 20s/nm .

The Mass Spectrometry Unit provides mass spectra for the determination of molecular weights

and structure elucidation of organic compounds up to 4000AMU including labile metal

complexes, and for Peptides and proteins up approx. 40,000AMU Detection limit approx. 50

pg.

Analyses of complex mixtures of volatile organic compounds up to 1000 AMU with system

peak matching and library search and MS/MS capability. Detection Limit approx. 10pg.

Available equipment: HPLC - MS Micromass ZMD 4000 Mass Spectrometer equipped with

ESI and APCI probes for Electrospray and APCI analysis.Connected to a MassLynx data

station. UPLC - MS Micromass Q-TOF Premier, Quadrupole Time Of Flight High Resolution

Mass Spectrometer equipped with ESI for Electrospray analysis. Connected to a Masslynx

data station.High Sensitivity GCQ Polaris Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer with MS/

MS capabilities for volatile compound, connected to Xcalibur data station equipped with NIST

Library search capabilities.

The Amino Acid Analyzer Unit provides qualitative and quantitative Analysis of protein and

peptide hydrolyzates. Detection Rage of 100-3000 pmoles, using OPA and FMOC pre column

derivatization, monitoring at UV, using reverse phase separation. Detection range of 5 - 3000

pmole using AccQ.Tag pre column derivatization and monitoring Fluorescent emission.

Available equipment : Waters PicoTag Work Station for gas phase Hydrolysis Hewlet Packard

1090 HPLC equipped with Diode array Detector and autoinjector with a PC based


166 Department of Chemical Research Support

Chemstation database, utilizing Amino Quant chemistry for the analysis. Waters 2690 Alliance

HPLC equipped with fluorescence and Diode Array detectors and autoinjector , utilizing

AccQ.Tag and or Pico Tag chemistries for the analysis of Hydrolizates and some physiological

Amino acids.

The Atomic Absorption unit provides Analysis for a verity of elements in sensitivity of few

mg/L depending on the analyte, a wide range of lamps is available for different elements. Both

Flame and Graphite Oven atomizers are available.

Available equipment : Perkin Elmer 5100 atomic absorption unit equipped with HGA Graphite

furnace, and PC based gem software to control the instrument.

Molecular Modeling Unit (Person in Charge: Miriam Eisenstein)

This unit offers diverse structure analysis and molecular modeling services to many groups in

the Chemistry and Biology faculties. These include homology modeling for proteins, proteinprotein

docking and conformational analysis of organic molecules. The available equipment is

a 2-processor PC equipped with a high-end graphics card and a Silicon Graphics Octane work

station. Several different computer programs and packages are in constant use: For example,

the Accelrys InsightII package for display, homology modeling, energy minimization and

molecular dynamics. The protein-protein docking program MolFit, originally developed by M.

Eisenstein, I. Shariv and E. Katchalski-Katzir, is continuously being improved and extend by

Dr. Eisenstein.

MolFit Website:

http://www.weizmann.ac.il/Chemical_Research_Support/molfit/

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) (People in Charge: Peter Bendel and Tali Scherf)

The Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Unit comprises five High-Resolution NMR

spectrometers ranging from 250-800 MHz, as well as a 400 MHz widebore spectrometer and a

horizontal bore Biospec system used mainly for imaging.

The low-field NMR instrument (Bruker DPX-250) is used primarily for routine identification

and standard work with small organic molecules. Equipped with the QNP (5 mm) probe for

1 H, 13 C, 19 F, and 31 P measurements.

The Bruker Avance DRX-400 spectrometer includes seven different probes (5 and 10 mm).

The selective 1 H dedicated (5 mm) probe (high sensitive); a QNP (5 mm) probe, switchable by

computer for 1 H, 13 C, 19 F, and 31 P nuclei; a BB (5 mm) broad band probe; a TBI (5 mm)

Inverse with Z-gradient; a TXI (5 mm) Inverse(triple-channel) with Z-gradient; a BB (10 mm)

multinuclear probe covering the range 107 Ag to 31 P; a BB (10 mm) low-frequency probe ( 39 K

- 193 Ir). It mainly serves scientists in the Department of Organic Chemistry.


Department of Chemical Research Support 167

A new Bruker AV-500 spectrometer was recently installed at the Institute. It also serves mainly

scientists in the Department of Organic Chemistry and provides a modern facility for their

analyses. This instrument has three channels and is equipped with four uniqe probes: a micro,

2.5mm Triple-Resonance Inverse TXI probe,( 1 H, 13 C, 15 N) equipped with Z-gradients; a 5mm

multinuclear, Broad Band probe in the low frequency range (BBO), 109 Ag to 31 P,equipped

with an automatic tuning and matching (ATM) as well as Z-gradients; a 5mm Inverse Tripleresonance

probehead in multinuclear version, TBI ( 1 H, 31 P, BB) with Z-gradient. The BB

range is 109 Ag- 31 P; a 5mm multinuclear ( 109 Ag- 31 P) Inverse probe (BBI) that includes zgradient,

an automatic tuning and matching (ATM) as well as a special tuning for 103 Rh.

The high-field NMR instrument, Bruker AM-500, was upgraded to the "Advance DMX"

version. It is used mainly for specialized research, including 2D NMR and biologically

oriented work. The instrument is equipped with dedicated NMR probes for 1 H, 2 H, 13 C, 15 N,

and 31 P measurements, as well as for "inverse" experiments, and a 13 C CP-MAS probe. It has

a new, 5mm Triple-Resonance Inverse CryoProbe, TXI, ( 1 H, 13 C, 15 N) equipped with Zgradients.

The 800 MHz high-resolution spectrometer (Bruker, DRX Avance-800) provides access to the

highest magnetic field currently available of commercial spectrometers, enabling state-of-theart

high-resolution experiments for macromolecular structure determination. The accessories

include a multi-nuclear TXI probe with z gradient ( 15 N, 13 C, 1 H, 5mm), a multi-nuclear QXI

probe with x, y and z gradients ( 15 N, 13 C, 31 P, 1 H, 5mm), and two solid-state MAS probes

covering both low and high multi-nuclear frequency ranges.

In addition, a Bruker 400-DMX widebore spectrometer is used for NMR microscopic imaging.

Spectroscopic capabilities include 1 H and broad band multi nuclei probes and an automatic

QNP probe, switchable by computer. Imaging is provided by two systems: a microscopy probe

includes actively shielded gradients (up to 200 G/cm) with 5 mm rf coils for 1 H, 1 H/ 13 C and

1 H/ 31 P. A microimaging probe with actively shielded gradients (up to 20 G/cm) includes a 5

cm birdcage 1 H coil and is used for imaging samples of 5 mm-3 cm (including small mice).

NMR measurements can be performed with cardiac or respiratory gating. The spectrometer is

used mainly for research in biology for non-invasive physiological and metabolic

measurements of small samples.

The Biospec laboratory contains an NMR spectrometer (Bruker) based on a 4.7 Tesla magnet

with a 30 cm horizontal bore. The system was upgraded during 1996 to the "Advance DBX"

version with fully broadband dual-channel operation, self-shielded gradients and an

assortment of resonators and surface coils with active coil detuning for crossed-coil operation.

The system performs NMR spectroscopy and imaging experiments on animals, plant systems

and other large and heterogeneous samples and specimens. It is being used by researchers from

the Chemistry and Biology faculties for investigating tumors implanted in mice, models for

angiogenesis of tumor blood vessels, spinal cord vessels, spinal cord damage and its treatment


168 Department of Chemical Research Support

in rats, and characterizing flow and transport in three-dimensional porous media and rock

fracture models.

High-Resolution NMR Website:

http://www.weizmann.ac.il/Chemical_Research_Support/highres_NMR/

Organic Synthesis Unit (Person in Charge: Veronica Frydman)

The Organic Synthesis Unit provides a service to all the scientists in the Institute who need

non-commercial chemicals in order to perform their research work. The Unit carries out upon

request the synthesis and characterization of a wide variety of organic compounds, including

(but not limited to) polymers, porphyrins, steroids, isotopically-labeled oligopeptides, spinlabeled

chemicals, etc. Synthezised quantities range from small to medium scale. The Unit

counts with a fully equipped organic synthesis laboratory, and uses the facilities provided by

other units (e.g., NMR, ESR, MS, etc.) to characterize the intermediates and final products.

The staff also provides consultation about experimental procedures and techniques.

Radiocarbon and Cosmogenic Isotopes Laboratory (Person in Charge: Elisabetta Boaretto)

The laboratory activity is focused on environmental and archaeological research using

radiocarbon and other cosmogenic isotopes (Tritium, 10 Be and 26 Al). The facility is equipped

with three Liquid Scintillation Counters 1220 Quantulus for tritium and radiocarbon dating.

For mg size carbon samples, Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) analysis is used. The

samples are sent abroad.

For radiocarbon dating the lab is particularly involved in finding independent methods to

assure the quality of the sample material prior to dating. Infrared spectroscopy and Raman

micro-spectroscopy are used for monitoring the purity of the material after pre-treatment. The

laboratory has much expertise characterizing charcoal, bone collagen, wood and parchment.

As the field context and preservational states of the samples are very important, many of the

studies also involve field work.

Cosmogenic isotopes, such as Beryllium-10 and Aluminum-26 are applied for provenance/

mining studies on flint tools from Palaeolithic caves to determine the exposure history of the

raw material.

Solar Optics Design; Mathematical Modeling (Person in Charge: Akiba Segal)

This unit offers assistance in the modeling of the solar optics systems connected with the main

research around the utilization of concentrated solar energy at high temperatures. In this range

we have a remarkable experience in the development of the non-imaging secondary optics

devices. As example, we designed a new optical feature, which was added as a 75 m 2 reflector

attached to the Solar Tower at 49 m above ground level. Using this reflector, about one

megawatt of concentrated sunlight can be beamed down onto a ground target. This is a unique

feature exists only at the Weizmann Institute. We also designed the biggest solar energy

concentrator in the World, which was also built, according to our design, at the Weizmann


Department of Chemical Research Support 169

Institute. Both the tower reflector and the big concentrator are currently used in various

researches that are recognized as between the most advanced solar researches in the World. We

have also capabilities to design small energy concentrators, providing big light energy

concentration, which can be used for various chemical processes, studied in the Faculty

laboratories, which need high temperatures. These concentrators will use the solar energy with

an appropriate optical system from the Institute's solar facilities, or, in laboratory, using an

adequate light source as simulator of energy. Also we can offer assistance in conceiving

mathematical models for various chemical processes that are in study by the scientists from the

Faculty in order to complete and finish their research work. This means that we can provide

consultation and development of methods for solving the various mathematical models and,

eventually, the mathematical optimization of the results.

Spectroscopy Unit (Person in Charge: Leonid Konstantinovski)

Infrared (IR) Spectroscopy consists of a Nicolet 460 single beam infrared Fourier transform

spectrophotometer (FTIR) fully operated by a Nicolet computer (512K RAM, 13" highresolution

color monitor) equipped with two internal 3.5 inch disk drives for programming and

data storage. The optical bench provides a maximal resolution of 2 cm-1 over the complete

spectral range from 4000 to 400 cm -1 and contains a sample compartment built especially for

introducing various IR accessories, such as gas cell, ATR, and so forth. This equipment is

suitable for a large variety of analytical IR applications, offering high sensitivity and

photometric accuracy and computerized data manipulation capabilities.

In addition, the Spectrometry Unit provides facilities for measuring optical absorption, optical

rotatory dispersion (ORD) and circular dichroism (CD) at a wavelength range of 180-1000 nm

and at a temperature range of -190°C to 70°C.

Available equipment : Aviv Model 202 spectropolarimeter, UV-visible diode array

spectrophotometer, Beckman DU-7500.

The Unit for Radioactive Counting provides facilities for scintillation counting of bradioactive

sources. The unit is equipped with a Beckman Model LS7500 b-scintillation

counter.

Surface Analysis Unit (Person in Charge: Sidney Cohen)

The surface analysis group provides the means for a variety of surface-sensitive

measurements. These include chemical composition of the exposed atomic layers, atomic

scale surface topography, electronic and mechanical surface properties, and detection of

adsorbed molecules.The various units of this group are housed in two laboratories and include

facilities for rudimentary sample preparation and cleaning, such as ozone cleaner, clean hood,

and so forth.

The Ultrahigh Vacuum Unit is a multifaceted system for surface analyses at pressures below

10 -9 torr. The main analysis chamber includes a Kratos Axis HS photoelectron spectrometer,

which detects elements and determines their chemical state on the surface at depths up to 3 nm


170 Department of Chemical Research Support

with sensitivity of 0.1%. The system includes an ultraviolet lamp for valence band

measurements, monochromator for high resolution work, ion gun for sputtering the surface,

and flood gun for insulating samples. In addition, an electron gun for performing electron

energy loss spectroscopy has been installed. A second vacuum chamber attached to the

analysis chamber contains a VG Low Energy Electron Diffractometer to determine the surface

crystalline state.

The Scanned Probe Microscopy Unit contains three separate scanning tunneling/scanning

force microscopes (Digital Instruments Nanoscope, NT-MDT P47/LS and NTEGRA) that

enable determination of surface topography and mechanical and electrical properties at

resolutions ranging from tens of microns down to atomic scale. Liquid cells,heated/cooled

stages, and a gas inlet allow working in different media and under controlled temperature and

humidity.

Surface Analysis unit Website:

http://www.weizmann.ac.il/Chemical_Research_Support/surflab/

X-Ray Crystallography (Person in Charge: Linda Shimon)

The X-ray Crystallography Laboratory of the Weizmann Institute is both a service and user

facility. It is well equipped for the single crystal diffraction experiments needed for structural

biology and chemistry research. We apply a variety of experimental methods to these

investigations.

Since each crystal is unique, we tailor each experiment to the individual sample and offer

expertise in the following areas:

1. Air sensitive crystals

2. Unusually small crystals

3. Low-temperature data collection

4. Disorder or twinning

5. Absolute structure determinations, including all-light atom structures

6. Database searches

A structure determination of molecular crystals will typically involve the following:

1. Crystal Sample inspection under the polarizing microscope

2. Determination of unit cell parameters, crystal system and space group

3. Structure solution and refinement

4. Creation of tables in CIF and other formats

5. Publication-ready molecular and packing plots

The measurements of organic and organometallic materials are performed using a Nonius

KappaCCD diffractometer mounted on a FR590 generator Mo radiation. Measurements may

also be performed on a Nonius Mach3 Kappa diffractometer mounted on a FR590 generator

with Cu radiation. Inorganic materials are measured on a Rigaku AFC5R 4 circle


Department of Chemical Research Support 171

diffractometer mounted on a Rigaku RU300 rotating anode. Measurements may be performed

at either LN or ambient temperatures Low temperature has many benefits for X-ray structure

determination, including better quality data in less time than room-temperature work and the

ability to handle highly reactive compounds with minimal fuss. We typically collect data at

120K, but on occasion, destructive phase transitions force data collection at higher

temperatures.

For the Structural Biologists, the X-ray laboratory is a user facility. Macromolecular

crystallographic measurements are made on two R-Axis IV++ systems. The image plate

detectors are mounted on RU-H3R Rigaku rotating anode generators equipped with Osmic

confocal focusing mirrors. One of these systems is outfitted with a 2-theta stage allowing high

resolution data collection. Both systems are equipped with Oxford cryostream cooling systems

for LN, low-temperature measurements. Also available in the laboratory are light-microscopes

for sample inspection and mounting as well as a digital camera for crystal photography.

Training is available for users, so that they can perform their own experiments.

X-Ray and Light Scattering (Person in Charge: Ellen J. Wachtel)

The aim of the laboratory for X-ray and light scattering is the structural characterization of

both natural (organic and inorganic) and synthetic materials in a variety of forms and

aggregational states and in a variety of environments. These materials include powders, thin

films, dilute solutions, dispersions, microemulsions, liquid crystals, fibres and fibrous tissues,

polymer composites.

X-ray diffractometry is a non-destructive, powerful yet simple technique capable of obtaining

information on the structure of a material at the atomic level. Crystalline or semi-crystalline

powders and thin films may be studied. Our instrumentation includes a Rigaku D-Max/B

horizontal goniometer fitted with a diffracted beam graphite monochrometer , and a Rigaku

RU200 rotating anode X-ray generator (12kW) with Cu target. Data acquisition is computer

controlled and data analysis is performed on a separate platform with Jade5.0 software.Search/

match protocols use the Powder DIffraction FIle of the ICDD (International Center for

Diffraction Data) on CD-Rom.

Small angle and wide angle X-ray scattering (SAXS and WAXS) cameras are available on an

Elliott GX6 rotating anode generator (3kW) with copper target. Sample temperature may be

controlled between 0 to 200°C, and 7kG and 13kG rare earth permanent magnets are used for

alignment of macromolecules. Data acquisition is via a linear position sensitive detector of the

delay line type with computer interface or imaging plates. Software is provided for calculating

Guinier fits and Patterson-like functions and for determining structure factors. Simple

modeling programs are also available.

The light scattering apparatus consists of a Spectra Physics argon ion laser; goniometer and

index matching bath; temperature controller (5-40°C); photomultiplier tube selected for

photon counting; Brookhaven Instruments correlator 2030AT and software for calculation of

hydrodynamic size distributions via the inverse Laplace transform (CONTIN algorithm).The


172 Department of Chemical Research Support

instrumentation is used to characterize the hydrodynamic size and/or molecular weight of

biological macromeolecules in aqueous solution; of synthetic polymers in organic solvents; of

micellar or liposomal preparations; and of microemulsions.

In March 2006 the laboratory will take delivery of two theta-theta diffractometers: the sealed

tube generator-based ULTIMA III (Rigaku) and the rotating anode generator-based TTRAXS

III (Rigaku). These instruments will add significant new capabilities: texture determination

using pole figure measurements; measurement of residual stress; measurement in inert

environment; variable temperature control; capillary sample holders; thin film reflectivity.

http://www.weizmann.ac.il/Chemical_Research_Support/

Staff

Professor

Brian Berkowitz 1 , D.Sc., Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel

The Sam Zuckerberg Professor

Senior Research Fellow

Arye Tishbee, Ph.D., University of Houston, Houston, United States

Senior Staff Scientists

Peter Bendel, Ph.D., State University of New York, Stony Brook, United States

Hagai Cohen, Ph.D., Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel

Sidney Cohen, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Miriam Eisenstein, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Konstantin Gartsman, Ph.D., Physical Technical Institute, Russian Federation

Eugenia Klein, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Leonid Konstantinovski, Ph.D., Rostov University, Rostov on Don, Russian Federation

Ronit Popovitz-Biro, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Akiba Segal, Ph.D., Jassy University, Romania

Linda J.W. Shimon, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Vera Shinder, Ph.D., Moscow University, Biochemical Institute, Academy of Science

Ellen Wachtel, Ph.D., Yale University, New Haven, United States

Lev Weiner, Ph.D., Institute of Catalysis, Novosibirsk, Russian Federation

Sharon G. Wolf, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

1 Department of Environmental Sciences and Energy Research


Associate Staff Scientists

Department of Chemical Research Support 173

Elisabetta Boaretto, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Shirley Daube, Ph.D., University of Oregon, Eugene, United States

Yishay (Isai) Feldman, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Tali Scherf, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Assistant Staffs Scientists

Veronica Frydman, Ph.D., University of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Grigorii Leitus, Ph.D., Metallurgy Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russian

Federation

Eyal Shimoni, Ph.D., ETH, Zurich, Switzerland

Engineer

Alexander Yoffe, M.Sc., University of Tashkent, Russian Federation

Consultant

Yuri Rosenberg, Tel Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel (left September 2005)

Postdoctoral Fellow

Ayelet Vilan, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel


The Center for Energy Research

Jacob Karni, Director

The Energy Research Center was established in 1980 to promote and encourage research in all

aspects of energy-related research. Energy research covers a broad range of disciplines, and all

the Faculties in the Institute are involved. The basic philosophy of the Center is to keep the

various energy projects within the framework of the departments in which they originated as

long as possible and to promote close contact between scientists working in the various fields,

thereby encouraging innovation.

The Center provides facilities shared by all the research groups, holds seminars and

disseminates information.

Most of the energy research work done in the Institute is related to the exploitation of solar

radiation. There are research projects in the direct conversion area, in thermal electricity

generation, in thermally driven chemical processes, and in photochemistry.

Within the commissioning of the Canadian Institute for the Energies and its Solar Research

Facilities Unit, and the operation of the Schaeffer Solar Furnace, it became possible to carry

out many new projects.

Solar fuels

Research on the gasification of carbonaceous materials was continued. In this program,

concentrated solar light is used for gasification of low value materials like heavy oil, coal and

urban waste. At high temperature of the solar receiver, the carbonaceous materials are reacted

with Zn oxide to produce CO and Zn vapor. The reaction products are then reacted with water

to produce hydrogen and recover the Zn oxide.

High temperature receivers

A new generation of receivers that can reach higher temperatures by direct heating of

compressed gas is being developed. The goal of the research is to achieve temperatures above

2000°C. These receivers will be used in the future to operate a new generation of thermal

machines or chemical systems that are now under development.

175


176 The Center for Energy Research

Novel solar optical systems

The goal of this project is to achieve peak solar concentrations above 20,000 in solar central

receiver systems. This goal will be achieved by closed loop continuous tracking of the sun by

heliostats, improved imaging optics and new concepts of nonimaging optics. High peak solar

concentration will improve the performance of existing solar thermal systems, and will allow

in the future achieving higher temperatures with the newly developed solar receivers.

Solar-pumped lasers

Work on solar-pumped lasers continued. The focus of the present research is to develop phase

conjugate mirrors for high power solar lasers to improve beam quality that will support in the

future transmission of high power lasers, and communication in space systems. In another

research, gas phase solar molecular dimer lasers are being developed. These lasers will be the

first generation of tunable directly pumped solar lasers.

Technology transfer to industry

The following major activities took place during last year:

An industrial consortium, with four Israeli industries and two universities, which was

established in 1995 as part of the MAGNET Program of the Israeli Ministry of Industry for the

industrialization of the solar technologies that were developed under the framework of the

Energy Research Center, completed its successful second year of operation. The goal of these

projects is to develop the technologies of small- and large-scale solar thermal and solar

photovoltaic electric systems, and solar lasers.

An industrial consortium based on the cooperation between American and Israeli industries

was formed under the framework of the Joint Israeli-American Commission for Advanced

Technologies. The goal of this project is to develop solar thermal plants based on the concept

of the solar reflective tower.

An industrial consortium based on cooperation between Israeli and European organizations

was established under the Fourth Framework Program of the European Union. The goal of this

organization is to develop advanced solar-assisted systems that will use synthesis gas obtained

by solar reforming to operate gas turbines and fuel cells.


The Fritz Haber Center for Physical Chemistry

Shimon Vega, Director

The Joseph and Marian Robbins Professor

The Fritz Haber Center supports various scientific activities in the fields of Physical Chemistry

and Chemical Physics. The support of the Center is given directly to research groups to help

initiate new endeavors and for ongoing activities. The support is usually dedicated to the

purchase of new scientific equipment, upgrade of operating laboratories and extension of

existing experimental systems.

In 2004/2005 the Center supported the design and purchase of the following scientific

equipment:

1. An imaging system was developed and built for measuring the angular distribution of

photoelectrons ejected from surfaces covered with organized organic layer.

2. A hardware fluorescence correlator was purchased to serve as the heart of a fluorescence

correlation spectrometer in order to detect on-line correlation functions from timedependent

fluctuating fluorescence signals.

3. A thermal gradient diffusion cloud chamber was upgraded to measure the efficiency of

aerosol activation to cloud droplets.

4. A cooling system for EPR measurements at cryogenic temperatures was purchased and

installed in the X-band continuous wave (CW) EPR spectrometer.

5. Necessary equipment for setting up a new protein purification laboratory was acquired.

177


The Ilse Katz Institute for Material Sciences

and Magnetic Resonance Research

Mordechai Sheves, Director

The Ephraim Katzir-Rao Makineni Professor of Chemistry

The Institute was established in November 2000 with a generous founding endowment made

by the Ilse Katz Foundation. The Dean of the Faculty of Chemistry is the Director.

The Institute is dedicated to the promotion of excellent research in the fields of materials and

magnetic resonance at the Weizmann Institute. Both fields represent to date spear points of

technologically advanced interdisciplinary research, encompassing topics ranging from

medicine to physics, through chemistry and biology. Large investments are required in

infrastructure and instrumentation, including support for the personnel responsible for the

laboratories. This is the main focus of the Ilse Katz Institute. In addition, the Ilse Katz Institute

encourages and supports young investigators committed to advanced research in any field of

materials and magnetic resonance.

179


The Helen and Martin Kimmel Center

for Archaeological Science

Stephen Weiner, Director

Dr. Walter and Dr. Trude Borchardt Professor of Structural Biology

Archaeology is the study of ancient cultures based on the material remains that have survived

the ravages of time. This represents a most challenging objective that requires on the one hand,

some of the most sophisticated analytical tools available, and on the other hand a keen

understanding of human culture and history. This blend of science and humanities is unique.

Israel's geographic location at the cross-roads between Africa, Europe and Asia, and its

relatively mild climate, are two of the main reasons why this small country is so well endowed

with a wonderfully rich archaeological record.

The achievements of the archaeological community of this country over the last 80 years have

contributed enormously to the overall knowledge of past human culture. The last 40 years

have, however, witnessed a shift in the way archaeological research is practised. There is an

increasing use of the scientific method, along with a dependence on more and more

sophisticated analytical capabilities. This trend in turn has exasperated a situation that exists in

Israel, and almost all western countries, namely that archaeologists are educated in the

faculties of humanities, yet the practice of archaeology in many respects is most suited to the

natural sciences.

This situation prompted the Weizmann Institute to establish the Kimmel Center for

Archaeological Science, with its primary aim for the forseeable future being the training of

students at the PhD level in both the natural sciences and archaeology. In November 1997, the

Center was formally established in a newly renovated building on the campus designed by the

famous architect, Mendelsohn.

The Center's resources are used primarily for fellowships and modest research funds for 5 to 6

PhD students. The special PhD program involves one year devoted entirely to studies, usually

in archaeology if the student has a background in the natural sciences or vica versa. The

remaining 4 years are devoted to research and some course work.

Some of the research topics currently being investigated are domestication of wheat using both

modern and ancient DNA, characterizing the genetics of a small group of Chalcolithic humans

also using ancient DNA, the structure and preservation of charcoal from archaeological sites,

the study of minerals that form as a result of exposure to high temperatures as a means of

deciphering past activities involving high temperatures, and the development of computerized

181


182 The Helen and Martin Kimmel Center for Archaeological Science

approaches to characterizing the typologies of ceramic vessels. Each summer the Kimmel

Center students and staff spend several weeks in the field at Tel Dor as part of an ongoing

project to better understand the archaeology of this important site through the materials. An

on-site laboratory is operated.

The Center also supports the maintenance and upgrading of the technological infrastructure

required for archaeological research at the Institute. The main campus facilities currently used

for archaeological research, include the Radiocarbon Laboratory, an ancient DNA laboratory, a

laboratory for archaeometallurgical research, electron microscope facilities for imaging and

elemental analyses, Raman and infrared vibrational spectrometers, and the Accelerator Mass

Spectrometry beam line in the Pelletron accelerator. The Center also supports scientific

exchanges with foreign scientists, and holds weekly meetings and seminars for scientific

communication.

http://www.weizmann.ac.il/kimmel-arch/home.html


The Helen and Martin Kimmel Center for Molecular Design

David Milstein, Director

The Israel Matz Professor of Organic Chemistry

The Helen and Martin Kimmel Center for Molecular Design was established in November

2000. It is aimed at the design and synthesis of organic and organometallic molecules of novel

properties and at the development of new synthetic methodology. Cooperation between

scientists working on various aspects of these areas is strongly encouraged.

The Center deals with the following topics:

1. The design and synthesis of novel metal-binding coordination compounds with special

chemical properties.

2. Development of methodology for the synthesis and structural modification of organic

compounds of importance for the pharmaceutical- and fine chemical industries.

3. Development of novel molecular catalysts for efficient, selective and environmentally

friendly processes of high industrial and academic interest.

4. Development and application of theoretical calculations of molecular properties and

computational studies of the reactivity of organic and organometallic molecules.

183


The Helen and Martin Kimmel Center

for Nanoscale Science

Reshef Tenne, Director

Objectives: The objectives of the Helen and Martin Kimmel center for Nanoscale Science is to

encourage research in this burgeoning scientific discipline in general, and to help establish the

links between molecular biology and nanoscale science, in particular; Another objective of the

center is to promote education of young researchers who will be the future generation

scientists in this field.

Means: To achieve these goals, the center supports the Helen and Martin Kimmel Nanoscale

Laboratories (NL) in the basement of the Perlman building, which include clean rooms;

molecular biology laboratories, and auxiliary laboratories for the characterization and

manipulation of nanomaterials. It further supports laboratories engaged in nanomaterials

synthesis and their characterization, and the activity in computations of nanomaterials. During

this first year of operation, the NL have been completed and its scientific and technical staff

has been established. The JEOL 6400 scanning electron microscope (SEM) was moved to the

NL and an electron beam lithography system was installed on it.

Highlights of the scientific activities during this year: A method for the oriented growth of

single wall carbon nanotubes along the atomic steps of a sapphire crystal was developed. The

Frontier Orbital Theory and the Woodward Hoffman rules were used to explain the difference

in the chemical reactivity of metallic and semiconducting carbon nanotubes. The force

required to separate a carbon nanotube from a solid polymer matrix and organic liquids has

been measured by performing reproducible nanopullout experiments using atomic force

microscopy. Nanotubes made of gold and palladium nanoparticles were synthesized by using

porous alumina membrane as a template. New inorganic nanotubes were synthesized like those

of Cs 2 O. The mechanical properties of indvidual WS 2 nanotubes were determined. This work

suggests numerous applications for such nanotubes, especially in high strength

nanocomposites. Cell-free genetic circuit elements were constructed in a transcriptiontranslation

extract. For this purpose transcriptional activation and repression cascades were

engineered, in which the protein product of each stage is the input required to drive or block

the following stage.

185


The Helen and Milton A. Kimmelman Center

for Biomolecular Structure and Assembly

Ada E. Yonath, Director

The Martin S. and Helen Kimmel Professor

The Helen and Milton A. Kimmelman Center for Biomolecular Structure and Assembly,

established in 1988, aims at encouraging research at the molecular level on frontier scientific

problems concerning the assembly of biological macromolecules into functionally active

intracellular units and organelles. The center is supporting the following aspects of biomacromolecular

structural research: nucleic-acids and protein expression purification,

crystallization, crystallographic data collection at international state-of-the-art facilities,

computing stations and visualization units. It also shares responsibility for various functions of

the chemical and biological services. In addition, it provides the means for key interdepartmental

common facilities.

Funds are being divided into the following categories:

1. Purchasing, installation, and development of state-of-the-art sophisticated equipment to be

used for the investigation of structural aspects of life sciences. Examples are cryo and

ambient-temperature X-ray crystallography, NMR spectroscopy, EM imaging and timeresolved

experiments at the micro-second limits. This includes also the upgrading, maintenance

and repair of the existing instrumentation on a regular basis and by emergency calls.

2. The biocrystallographic laboratory: a common facility for large scale preparations of sensitive

biological materials in purity allowing high performance of crystallographic analysis

and/or NMR studies.

3. Funding selected programs of an outstanding quality, albeit premature and/or risky to be

funded by the common agencies.

4. Assisting the first steps of young scientists as well as of more experienced new comers.

5. Providing means for the organization of conferences, seminars, courses and symposia dealing

with aspects of structural biology. Assisting short and long term visits of leading scientific

figures as well as post doctoral fellows. Facilitating the attendance of graduate

students in workshops and advanced courses, carried out in Israel and/or abroad. The center

also stimulates interactions with worldwide experts with specific skills in the area of

structural biology.

187


The Joseph and Ceil Mazer Center for Structural Biology

Amnon Horovitz, Director

The Carl and Dorothy Bennett Professor of Biochemistry

The Joseph and Ceil Mazer Center for Structural Biology, established in 1980, encourages

research and cooperation among scientists working in this area. The Center operates by (a)

direct grants to selected research projects, especially those that attempt to solve significant

albeit risky problems; (b) participation in providing biological, chemical, and crystallographic

services, in purchasing equipment and in improving experimental facilities; and (c) sponsoring

seminars, symposia, short-term visits and the participation of young scientists in schools,

workshops and meetings.

A significant part of the funds are allocated for the maintenance of the laboratory for biological

structure determination. Support was also given to Chemical and Biological Services.

189


The Gerhard M.J. Schmidt Minerva Center

for Supramolecular Architecture

Reshef Tenne, Director

The Gerhard M.J. Schmidt Center for Supramolecular Architectures was founded in 1995 to

promote interdisciplinary research in the field of condensed matter chemistry and physics.

The activity comprises experimental and theoretical studies in the field of structure and

function of thin organic films, and other soft architectures (such as micelles, vesicles and

membranes) related to the material sciences, as well as inorganic-organic nanocomposites and

mesoporous materials.

The Center supports collaborative studies among German and Israeli scientists, in general, and

of young scholars, in particular. This is done by holding joint seminars, winter schools, and

short exchange visits of graduate and post-doctoral students.

A 5th student workshop on the theme “Advances in Materials and Interfaces”, took place in

Naurod, Germany in 9-11 April 2003.

The 6th student workshop “Molecular Based Devices” will be held at the Weizmann Institute,

6-8 March 2005.

191


The Sussman Family Center for the Study

of Environmental Sciences

Dan Yakir, Director

The Center began operating in 1993. Its main goals are to promote, coordinate, and support

research on the environment in the Institute in general, and in the Department of

Environmental Sciences and Energy Research in particular.

In recent years the Center supported the acquisition and upgrading of equipment needed for a

wide spectrum state of the art environmental sciences research. This included the purchase of

computing system needed for large scale climate and geophysical modeling; instrumentation

for a new field research station in a unique semi-arid forest ecosystem at the edge of the Negev

desert; gas analysis unit for stable isotopic analyses of ocean sediments used in paleo-climate

reconstructions; purchase of components needed to upgrade research instruments in

laboratories of the Department of Environmental Science and Energy Research.

The Center supported the absorption of a new senior scientist in the field of Physical

Oceanography. And support for existing research groups in Environmental Sciences was made

by awarding several Post-doc Fellowships.

In the past year, the Center focused also on promoting international scientific interactions

between Institute scientists and prominent scientists in other major research centers around the

world. This activity aims to provide opportunities for discussion, teaching and training

associated with issues that are at the cutting-edge of global environmental research. This effort

brought to the Institute over the past year guests from places that included Harvard, NASA-

Goddard Space Flight Center, University of Toronto, Duke University, Columbia University,

University of Maine, University of Arizona, Max Plank Institute, Institut de Physique du

Globe de Paris. Visiting Scientists were involved in special Workshops, Colloquia, and

Seminars.

In the framework of promoting International cooperation in Environmental Sciences the

Center supported two workshops convened in 2004: “The 1st Annual Weizmann Geodynamics

Workshop: New results on fracture, faulting and brittle deformation of rocks”, and “Workshop

on Marine optics and ocean biogeochemistry”. In addition, the Center supported the

establishment of a new Distinguished Lecture Series In Environmental Sciences”.

The Center continued its support for Negev Planning: Environmental Reserves, Urban

Complexes, Production areas and Interconnected Scenery Roads. In this project environmental

193


194 The Sussman Family Center for the Study of Environmental Sciences

planning emphasizing natural heritage assets of the Central Negev were planned and presented

to the Government for implementation during the Negev planning for year 2020. A detailed

file is prepared for the submission to the World Heritage List of UNESCO. Other supported

activities include advising on development of Mitzpe-Ramon as an ecological city, and multilayer

GIS base of air photographs, geology, biology, satellite images, water resources, nature

reserves for environmental master for selected areas of ecological and environmental interest.

The Center will continue to allocate funds for the acquisition of new equipment, for individual

research projects, and to promote scientific interactions between scientists, post docs and

students in the institutes and in other international Centers of Environmental Research.

Applications for individual research projects, small equipment and international interactions

can be made at any time.


Faculty of Physics

Dean: Yaron Silberberg

The Harry Weinrebe Professor of Laser Physics

Haim Harari, Ph.D.

(The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Institute Professor

The Annenberg Professor of High Energy Physics


Faculty of Physics

Dean: Yaron Silberberg

The Harry Weinrebe Chair of Laser Physics

The Faculty of Physics consists of three departments: Department of Physics of Complex

Systems, Department of Condensed Matter Physics and Department of Particle Physics. The

research in the faculty is conducted by 42 faculty members, about 80 graduate students and

about 40 post doctoral fellows and visitors.

The research in the faculty covers a wide range of experimental and theoretical areas. The

experimental effort combines studies of solid state and semiconductor physics,

superconductors, plasma, radiation detection physics, nuclear and molecular physics,

hydrodynamics and optics. In addition, the faculty is involved in large scale high energy

experiments done at accelerators in Brookhaven, Geneva and in Hamburg. This activity is

carried out by some 20 experimental groups operating within the faculty, most of which

established and developed during the last decade. The faculty is now engaged in plans to

extend its activity in optics and laser physics, and to enter into new areas such as experimental

astrophysics.

Theoretical studies at the faculty cover areas like high energy physics, string theory,

mesoscopic systems, interacting electron systems, equilibrium and non-equilibrium statistical

physics and astrophysics.

In addition, a new interdisciplinary direction of research, biologically oriented physics, has

been developed within the faculty. Several research groups are engaged in theoretical and

experimental studies in this exciting direction in cooperation with groups from other faculties.

The faculty hosts The Albert Einstein Minerva Center for Theoretical Physics, The Joseph H.

and Belle R. Braun Center for Submicron Research, The Minerva Center for Nonlinear

Physics of Complex Systems, The Nella and Leon Benoziyo Center for High Energy Physics,

and the Center for Experimental Physics.

197


Condensed Matter Physics

Israel Bar-Joseph, Head

The Jane and Otto Morningstar Professor of Physics

Research in our department covers a broad range of subjects in condensed matter physics and

in astrophysics. It can be broadly divided into three main groups: Experimental Condensed

Matter Physics, Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics and Theoretical Astrophysics.

Experimental Condensed Matter Physics:

The group consists of five faculty members whose research interests include transport in lowdimensional

systems, interacting electrons in high magnetic fields, scanning probe

measurements, optical spectroscopy and superconductivity. An important part of this activity

is conducted within the Braun center for sub-micron research, which provides state of the art

fabrication and measurements facility. The experimental activities in more details are:

Israel Bar-Joseph:

- Optical spectroscopy of interacting electrons in high magnetic field (with V. Umansky

and Hadas Shtrikman).

- Near field spectroscopy of neutral and charged excitons (with M. Rappaport, V. Umansky

and Hadas Shtrikman).

- Transport through nano-particles and molecules (with A. Yacoby and J. Sperling).

Moty Heiblum:

- Controlled dephasing of electrons –‘Which Path’ type Experiments (with D. Mahalu, V.

Umansky and H. Shtrikman).

- Statistics of fractional charges in the fractional quantum Hall effect regime (with V.

Umansky and D. Mahalu).

- Phase measurements of Electrons (with D. Mahalu and H. Shtrikman).

- Growth of High Purity Semiconductors by Molecular Beam Epitaxy (with V. Umansky).

Dan Shahar:

- The fractional and integer quantum Hall effects and related phenomena.

- Electronic transport of inorganic nanotubes (with R. Tenne).

- The superconductor-insulator transition in two-dimensional films and one-dimensional

wires.

199


200 Condensed Matter Physics

Amir Yacoby:

- Electrostatic imaging of the local electronic properties of a two-dimensional electron gas

(with D. Mahalu and H. Shtrikman).

- Transport in quantum wires.(with V. Umansky).

Eli Zeldov:

- High-temperature superconductivity.

- Vortex dynamics.

- Vortex matter phase transitions.

- Magneto-optical imaging.

Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics:

This research direction in the department includes six theorists and focuses on theory of lowdimensional

systems, covering a broad range of research areas such as correlated electrons,

dephasing phenomena, quantum noise, field theory in condensed matter, the fractional

quantum Hall effect and large N interacting matrix model. The theoretical activities in more

details are:

Alexander Finkelstein:

- Metal-insulator transition in two dimensional electron systems; large N approach

- Highly correlated electrons; superconductivity near the quantum critical points.

- Spintronics devices for spin manipulations.

Yuval Gefen:

- Non-equilibrium and quantum noise.

- Electron-electron interactions in finite quantum systems.

- Tunneling of fractionally charged quasi-particles

- Spin effects in quantum dots and mesoscopic conductors - this is related to the emerging

field of Spintronics.

- Berry phase and geometric effects in mesoscopic systems, including dissipative and

"environmental" effects. This has important implications in the fast developiong field of

quantum computing.

Joe Imry:

- Electronic dephasing in mesoscopic systems (with Y. Levinson).

- Low-temperature dephasing, the special effects of low energy (e.g. two-level) modes

(with Z. Ovadyahu and A. Schiller, HU).

- Effects of interaction on localization, on single-electron resonances and A-B

interferometers (ABI) . Theory of the effect of external radiation and interactions on the

ABI (with A. Aharony and O. Entin-Wohlman, TAU and BGU).

- Mesoscopic superconductivity, including very small grains (with Y. Levinson and Y.

Oreg).

- Quantum noise and shot noise (with Y. Levinson).


Condensed Matter Physics 201

Shimon Levit:

- Large N interacting matrix models.

- Statistics of quasiparticle and quasihole levels in small interacting disordered systems -

quantum dots.

- Controlled decoherence in mesoscopic systems.

- Coupled dephasor-dephasee pairs.

- Non classical light - squeezed photons, nano-optics, microcavities.

- Semiconductor optics with non classical light.

Yuval Oreg:

- Disordered superconductors in low dimension.

- Field-theory in condensed matter.

- Luttinger liquids and multi-channel Kondo effect.

- Many body effects in nano-scale systems (e.g small quantum dots).

Ady Stern:

- The fractional quantum hall effect.

- Coulomb drag in low dimensional systems.

- Transport in novel materials (e.g., p-wave superconductors).

Theoretical Astrophysics:

This research direction in the department consists of four members who study a range of

problems in astrophysics such as black holes, modified Newtonian dynamics, Gamma ray

burst and high energy astrophysics. The activities in astrophysics in more details are:

Tal Alexander:

- Super-massive black holes in galactic centers.

- Gravitational lensing effects in the Galactic Center.

- Stellar dynamics and tidal effects near a black hole.

Moti Milgrom:

- Underlying theories for the modified dynamics.

- Black holes at the center of galaxies.

- High energy astrophysics.

- Phenomenology of galaxy dynamics.

- Quark Stars (with V. Usov).

Vladimir Usov:

- Explosion Induced by Gamma-Ray Bursters (with M. Milgrom).

- Quark Stars (with M. Milgrom).

- Physical processes in relativistic electron-positron plasma.

- Physical processes in very strong magnetic fields.


202 Condensed Matter Physics

- The theory of nonthermal radiation from compact astronomical objects (pulsars, white

dwarfs, gamma-ray bursters, etc.).

- Hydrodynamics and high-energy physics of colliding stellar winds in binary systems.

Eli Waxman:

- High energy astrophysics.

- Gamma-ray bursts: origin and underlying physics.

- Ultra-high energy cosmic-rays.

- High energy neutrinos from astrophysical sources.

- Non-thermal processes in the inter-galactic medium.

http://www.weizmann.ac.il/condmat/

Research Staff, Visitors and Students

Professors

Israel Bar-Joseph, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Jane and Otto Morningstar Professor of Physics

Alexander Finkelstein, Ph.D., Landau Institue, Moscow, Russian Federation

The Charles and David Wolfson Professor of Theoretical Physics

Yuval Gefen, Ph.D., Tel Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel

The Isabelle and Samuel Friedman Professor of Theoretical Physics

Mordehai Heiblum, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, United States

The Alex and Ida Sussman Professor of Submicron Electronics

Yoseph Imry, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel (on extension of service)

The Max Planck Professor of Quantum Physics

Shimon Levit, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Harry Kweller and Kathleen Kweller Professor of Condensed Matter Physics

Mordehai Milgrom , Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Isidor I. Rabi Professor of Physics

Vladimir Usov, Ph.D., Space Research Institute, Moscoe, Russian Federation

Eli Waxman , Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Eli Zeldov , Ph.D., Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel

The David and Inez Myers Professor

Associate Professors

Ady Stern, Ph.D., Tel Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel

Amir Yacoby, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel


Senior Scientists

Condensed Matter Physics 203

Tal Alexander , Ph.D., Tel Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel

Incumbent of the William Z. and Eda Bess Novick Career Development Chair

Ehud Altman, Ph.D., Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel

Yigal Allon Fellow

Yuval Oreg , Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Incumbent of the Louis and Ida Rich Career Development Chair

Dan Shahar, Ph.D., Princeton University, Princeton, United States

Incumbent of the Corinne S. Koshland Career Development Chair

Senior Staff Scientists

Hadas Shtrikman , Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Vladimir Y. Umansky, Ph.D., Academy of Science of the USSR, Leningrad, Russian

Federation

Associate Staff Scientist

Yuri Myasoedov , Ph.D., Franko Lvov State University, Ukraine

Assistant Staff Scientist

Jens Martin, Ph.D., Universitat Tubingen, Tubingen, Germany

Engineers

Diana Mahalu, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Olga Raslin, M.Sc., Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel

Michael Shneiderman, M.Sc., University of Tashkent, Russian Federation

Nahum Stern, M.Sc., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Consultants

Amnon Aharony, Tel Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel

Yakir Aharonov, Tel Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel

Ora Entin, Tel Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel

Denis Golosov, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Michael Golub, ExPlay Ltd., Herzeliya, Israel

Grzegorz Jung, Ben-Gurion University, Beer-Sheva, Israel

Konstantin Kikoin, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel

Yehoshua Levinson

Yigal Meir, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel

Daniel Portnoy (left February 2005)

Elad Shopen, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel

Shay Yehoshua Zuker, Tel Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel


204 Condensed Matter Physics

Visiting Scientists

Alexey G. Aksenov, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Russia

Yaroslav Blanter, Tech. University of Delft, Nederland

Yunchul Chung, Nat. University , Pusan, Korea

Moshe Elitzur, University of Kentucky, Lexington, USA

Soenke Groth, University of Heidelberg, Germany

Simon Jeol, JEOL, Paris, France

Igor Karnaukhov, Academy of Sciences, Kiev, Ukraine

Mikhail Kiselev, University of Wurzburg, Germany

Alexander Palevski, University of Tel - Aviv, Israel

Valerij Petkun, Semiconductor Physics Institute, Vilnius, Lithuania

Nikoly Pilyugin, Moscow State University, Russia

Baruch Rosenstein, Nat. Chiao Tung University , Hsinchu, Taiwan

Janusz Sadowski, University of Regensburg, Germany

Sujit Sarkar, Max Planck Inst., Dresden, Germany

Maxim Tcheremissine, University of Karlsruhe, (TKM), Germany

Felix Von Oppen, Free University Berlin, Germany

Postdoctoral Fellows

Michal Avinun-Kalish, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Sourin Das, Ph.D., Harish-Chandra Research Institute

Daniel Greenbaum, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Beena Kalisky, Ph.D., Bar-Ilan University, Israel

Beena Kalisky, Ph.D., Bar-Ilan University, Israel

Zhuo Li, Ph.D., Nanjing University, China

Alon Marcus , Ph.D., Tel-Aviv University, Israel

Eros Mariani, Ph.D., University of Hamburg, Germany

Zoltan Adam Nemeth, Ph.D., Eotvos University, Budapest

Nathaniel A. Obadia, Ph.D., Universite de Tours, France

Paulina Plochocka, Ph.D., Faculty of Physics, Warsaw University, Poland

Alessandro Romito, Ph.D., Scuola Normale Superiore, Italy

Georg Schwiete, Ph.D., Faculty of Physics and Astronomy, Ruhr-Uni Bochum

Arkady Shechter, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Swati Soman, Ph.D., Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore

Michele Zaffalon, Ph.D., University of Groningen, The Netherlands

Shay (Yehoshua) Zucker, Ph.D., Tel-Aviv University, Israel

Research Students

Hamutal Bary-Soroker Ariel Amir

Michal Avinun-Kalish Nurit Avraham

Gilad Barak Haim Beidenkopf

Rafi Bistrizer Ran Budnik


Condensed Matter Physics 205

Merav Dolev andra Elisabetta Foletti

Eran Ginossar Sarah Goldberg

Yoav Gordin Lilach Goren

Eytan Grosfeld Javier Groshaus

Tal Hazak-Verdene Clovis Hopman

Andreas Johansson Boaz Katz

Uri Keshet Maxim Khodas

Dganit Meidan Izhar Neder

Nissim Ofek Einat Peled

Hagai Perets Amir Sagiv

Yehonathan Segev Eran Sela

Arkady Shechter Hadar Steinberg

Michael Stern Basile Verdene

Oren Zarchin

Administrator

Tomer Hansen


Particle Physics

Itzhak Tserruya, Head

The Samuel Sebba Professorial Professor of Pure and Applied Physics

The Department of Particle Physics is composed of several groups which have inter-related

research directions.

In Experimental Physics, we have groups in Heavy Ions, High Energy Physics, Molecular

Physics, Nuclear Physics, Plasma Physics and Radiation Detection. In Theoretical Physics, we

have activities in Field Theory, Many Body Theory, Particle Physics and Quantum Mechanics.

The Department has a total of 16 tenured faculty members, 9 experimentalists and 7 theorists.

We also have 1 professor on extension of service and 11 professor emeriti.

Experimental Physics

Heavy Ions: the PHENIX and CERES Experiments

Led by Itzhak Tserruya, the group includes also Zeev Fraenkel and Ilia Ravinovich. The main

activity of the group is focused on the PHENIX experiment at the Relativistic Heavy Ion

Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory. RHIC is dedicated to the study of QCD

and in particular high density QCD via heavy-ion collisions at energies up to sN

= 200

N

GeV. PHENIX was designed to measure all potential signatures of the phase transition leading

to deconfinement and chiral symmetry restoration expected to take place in these collisions.

As part of its contribution to the PHENIX detector, the group is responsible for the innermost

set of pad chambers, called PC1, that are essential elements of the charged particle tracking

system. The group is particularly interested on the measurement of low-mass electron-positron

pairs which are sensitive probes of chiral symmetry restoration. The group has recently

developed a novel Hadron Blind Detector (HBD) as an upgrade of the PHENIX detector for

the measurement of low-mass electron pairs at RHIC. After a comprehensive R&D phase, the

HBD is now under construction with installation foreseen in 2006.

The CERES/NA45 (Cherenkov Ring Electron Spectrometer) experiment is devoted to

studying the production of low-mass electron-positron pairs in heavy-ion collisions at the

CERN SPS. The analysis of data taken with an upgraded spectrometer in order to elucidate the

intriguing excess of low-mass pairs previously observed by CERES in central Pb-Au

collisions, is near completion.

207


208 Particle Physics

High Energy Physics: ATLAS, OPAL, ZEUS

The group which includes Giora Mikenberg, Ehud Duchovni, Eilam Gross and Daniel

Lellouch, is mainly involved now in the preparations for the ATLAS experiment that will start

collecting data in 2007 at the LHC, situated at CERN Geneva. The hardware contribution of

the group to the experiment includes a major part of the forward muon trigger system based on

the TGC technology which was developed at Weizmann. The analysis topics in which the

group is engaged are mainly the search for a light Higgs boson and searches for physics

beyond the Standard model: supersymmetric particles and black holes in particular. The

group participated in the OPAL experiment at the LEP collider and is still analyzing some of

the data.

The group led by Uri Karshon and including also Yehuda Eisenberg, participates in the ZEUS

experiment run at the HERA accelerator which provides e-p collisions at the DESY laboratory

in Hamburg. The group is specifically involved in the analysis of the production of heavy

quarks (charm and beauty), the measurement of the gluon density in the proton and the study

of the photon structure, in particular its charm content.

Molecular Ion Quantum Dynamics

Led by Daniel Zajfman, the group works in the field of molecular astrophysics, ion trapping,

cluster physics, nanosecond and femtosecond laser and electron induced processes.

Experiments are being carried out both at the ion trap laboratory at the Weizmann Institute, and

at the Test Storage Ring, located at the Max-Planck Institut, Heidelberg, Germany. The

experiments study the internal dynamics of few body quantum systems.

Nuclear Physics

Led by Michael Hass, the group also includes Gvirol Goldring. Measurements are carried out

in two major areas: a) Nuclear Structure and electromagnetic moments in nuclei with extreme

values of isospin as exist far from the valley of stability. At the REX-ISOLDE (CERN),

GANIL (France) and GSI (Germany) centers we use various production means to reach such

exotic nuclei and measure the electromagnetic moments of ground states and isomeric states.

b) Nuclear-astrophysics experiments such as measurement at the 3~MV VDG accelerator of

the 7 Be(p, ) 8 B and 3 He( 4 He, ) 7 γ γ

Be cross sections that are essential for understanding the

issues of solar-neutrino oscillations and mass and connected to Big-Bang Nuclear-Synthesis.

Nuclear astrophysics experiments are also planned for the near future at REX-ISOLDE.

A new developing activity is the initiative to work with radioactive beams in Israel. Such

nuclear structure and astrophysics measurements may become possible in the near future with

the commencement of construction of the high-current, 40 MeV deuteron accelerator, SARAF,

at Soreq. (In collaboration with Dr. Dan Berkovits).


Plasma Physics

Particle Physics 209

Led by Yitzhak Maron, the Plasma Laboratory investigates nonequilibrium plasmas under

high energy-density and their interaction with strong, pulsed electric and magnetic fields. The

investigations include time-dependent, 3D spatially-resolved measurements of fundamental

plasma properties, ion dynamics, and the generated electric and magnetic fields in plasmas

under high current densities. The research is particularly based on the development of novel

spectroscopic methods of high spectral, temporal, and spatial resolutions that span over the

visible-UV, VUV, and X-ray bands, combined with detailed atomic physics modeling and

magnetohydrodynamic computations. The theoretical calculations allow for modelling the

effects of plasma density, radiation transport, and oscillating fields on the atomic level

populations and spectral line shapes in dense plasmas. Applications are pursued in the fields of

inertial confinement fusion, Z-pinch physics, laser-produced plasmas, high-current switching,

X-ray sources, and space physics, with implications to X-ray lasers, X-ray lithography, and

high-resolution X-ray photography.

Radiation Detection

The work led by Amos Breskin and including Rachel Chechik, Sergei Shchemelinin and Sana

Shilstein, involves study of radiation interactions with gas and solid matter and the

development of novel methods to exploit the resulting secondary charges for radiation

detection. This permits conceiving fast and accurate advanced radiation imaging detectors

equipped with novel electron multipliers and efficient radiation converters, such as

photocathodes for ultraviolet and visible light, and X-ray and neutron converters. The research

program includes both experimental investigations and theoretical modeling. An important

activity is the development of modern detection concepts for nuclear, particle and astroparticle

physics, synchrotron radiation, material science, medicine and radio-biology. New methods

are investigated for early detection of prostate cancer, positron emission tomography (PET)

and for quantifying radiation damage to DNA.

Theoretical Physics

Field Theory

The work of Ofer Aharony involves field theories, string theories, and the recently discovered

relations between them along the lines of the AdS/CFT correspondence. Particular interest is

in the study of string theory duals for non-conformal field theories like QCD, in understanding

non-gravitational non-local field theories (such as "little string theories") and in finding a

general non-perturbative definition for string theory / M theory.

The work of Micha Berkooz includes String Theories, Gravity, Field Theories, and their

interplay. It currently focuses on non-perturbative aspects of these theories such as basic nonperturbative

definitions of String Theory/Gravity, UV/IR relations, strong coupling phase

transitions, strongly coupled string theories, string theories without gravity, black holes, the

quantum behavior at singularities of spacetime, and the cosmological constant. Another

interest is in phenomenological aspects of String theory in particular in the astro-particle

context.


210 Particle Physics

The work of Doron Gepner is centered around two subjects: 1) Solving the quantum field

theory associated with manifolds of exceptional holonomy: minimal models associated with

the so called Shatashvili-Vafa algebra are investigated and smooth non-orbifold constructions

are realized in analogy with the Gepner construction. 2) Realizing pseudo conformal field

theories: these have the same fusion rules as known affine or bosonic theories, but different

modular matrix. All pseudo bosonic theories and also some of the pseudo affine theories can

be realized. The plan is to realize all affine theories by using multi-para fermions.

The work of Yitzhak Frishman includes various subjects in non-Abelian gauge theories,

perturbative and non-perturbative. In our latest work, with John Ellis, we discuss the spectrum

of exotic baryons in two-dimensional QCD, and various other properties. Two-dimensional

QCD provides overall support to the chiral-soliton picture for the structure of normal and

exotic baryons in four dimensions.

Many Body Theory

Michael Kirson works on nuclear models, within the general framework of interacting manybody

systems, and on applications of algebraic methods to the study of simplified models of

strongly-interacting many-body systems. Recent work has concentrated on systematics of

nuclear masses and radii and their implications for nuclear structure.

Particle Physics

Led by Yossi Nir, subjects include phenomenology of supersymmetric theories; grand

unification; CP violation, especially in B decays; neutrino masses and oscillations;

baryogenesis and leptogenesis.

Quantum Mechanics

The work of Shmuel Gurvitz includes multi-dimensional tunneling; quantum measurement

and decoherence; Zeno effect; quantum transport in mesoscopic systems; deep inelastic

scattering in nuclei, especially near the N = Z line and in connection with even-even ground

state systematics.

http://www.weizmann.ac.il/particle/

Research Staff, Visitors and Students

Professors

Amos Breskin, Dr. Ing., University of Grenoble, France

The Walter P. Reuther Professor of Research in the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy

Yitzhak Frishman, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel (on extension of

service)

The Amos de Shalit Professor of Theoretical Physics


Particle Physics 211

Shmuel Gurvitz, Ph.D., Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Physics, Moscow, Russian

Federation

Haim Harari, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Institute Professor

The Annenberg Professor of High Energy Physics

Michael W. Kirson, Ph.D., Cornell University, Ithaca, United States (on extension of service)

The Joseph and Bessie Feinberg Professor

Yitzhak Maron, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Stephen and Mary Meadow Professor of Laser Photochemistry

Giora Mikenberg, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Lady Davis Professor of Experimental Physics

Yosef Nir, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Itzhak Tserruya, Ph.D., Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel

The Samuel Sebba Professor of Pure and Applied Physics

Daniel Zajfman, D.Sc., Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel

The Simon Weinstock Professor of Astrophysics

Professors Emeriti

Abraham E. Blaugrund, Ph.D., State University of Utrecht

Yehuda Eisenberg, Ph.D., Cornell University, Ithaca, United States

Zeev Fraenkel, Ph.D., Columbia University, New York, United States

Gvirol Goldring, Ph.D., University of London, London, United Kingdom

Uri Karshon, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Moshe Kugler, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Harry J. Lipkin, Ph.D., Princeton University, Princeton, United States

Avraham S. Rinat, Ph.D., University of Amsterdam

Igal Talmi, Dr. Sc. Nat., E.T.H., Zurich, Switzerland

Zeev Vager, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Zeev Zinamon, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Associate Professors

Ofer Aharony, Ph.D., Tel Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel

Micha Berkooz, Ph.D., Rutgers University, Piscataway, United States

Ehud Duchovni, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Doron Gepner, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Eilam Gross, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Shaul Hanany, Ph.D., Columbia University, New York, United States

Michael Hass, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Murray B. Koffler Professor


212 Particle Physics

Senior Staff Scientists

Rachel Chechik, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Vladimir Fisher, Ph.D., Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics, Moscow, Russian Federation

Daniel Lellouch, Ph.D., University of Paris VI, Paris, France

Ilia Ravinovich, Ph.D., Yerevan Physics Institute, Armenia

Associate Staff Scientists

Vladimir Bernshtam, Ph.D., Donetsk State University, Donetsk, Ukraine

Sergei Shchemelinin, Ph.D., Leningrad University

Alexander Starobinets, Ph.D., The Institute of High Current Electronics, Russian Federation

Special Contracts

Vladimir Smakhtin, Ph.D., Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics, Novosibirsk, Russian

Federation

Leonid Weingarten, Ph.D., ivanovo State Universtiy, Ivanovo, Russian Federation

Engineers

Eliahu Elias, B.A., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Donald Hochman, Ph.D., SUNY, Stony Brook, United States

Consultants

Ron Arad, Center for Nuclear Research, Nahal Soreq, Yavne, Israel

Yosef Babichenko

Eli Cheifetz, El-Mol Technologies Ltd., Rehovot, Israel

Shmuel Elitzur, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Amnon Fisher, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel

Dimitry Fisher, Nahal Soreq, Yavne, Israel

Amnon Fruchtman, Center for Technology Education, Holon, Israel

Amit Giveon, The Hebrew University of Jerusaelm, Jerusalem

Yuval Grossman, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel

Leib Kishinevsky

Yakov Krasik, Technion - Israel Institute of technology, Haifa, Israel

Yael Shadmi, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel

Jacob Sonnenschein, Tel Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel

Natan Weiss, ELRA, Ashdod, Israel


Visiting Scientists

Particle Physics 213

Itzhak Ben-Itzhak, Kansas State University , Manhattan, KS, USA

Daniella Bigatti, Cath. University of Louvain, Belgium

Victor Granatstein, University of Maryland, USA

Germano Guedes, University of Feira de Santana, Brazil

Christiaan Hofman, Rutgers University , NJ, USA

Boris Kovalchuk, Inst. of High Current Electronics, Tomsk, Russia

Ernesto Lozano-Telleche, University Autonoma, Madrid, Spain

Liat Maoz, University of Amsterdam, Nederland

Poonam Mehta, Hari-Chandra Inst., Allahabad, India

Alexander Milov, Suny at Stony Brook, NY, USA

Daniel Savin, Columbia University , NYC, USA

Lev Shekhtman, Budker Inst. for Nuc. Phys., Novosibirsk, Russia

Alexander Tanklevsky, CERN, Euro. Org. For Nuclear Rese., Geneva, Switzerland

Xavier Urbain, Cath. University of Louvain, Belgium

Leonid Vainshtein, Lebedev Physical Institute, Moscow, Russia

Leonid Weissman, University of Conneticut, Storrs, CT, USA

Postdoctoral Fellows

Ildar Almiev, Ph.D., University of Oxford

Sreenivasa Nara Sing Bondili, Ph.D., TIFR, Mumbai University, India

Sanjay Kumar Chamoli, Ph.D., Panjab University, Chandigarh

Alexander Cherlin, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Konstantin Chirko, Ph.D., Technion, Israel

Tathagata Dasgupta, Ph.D., University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

Ramy Doron, Ph.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Anand Kumar Dubey, Ph.D., Institute of Physics, India

Igor Giller, Ph.D., Tel-Aviv University, Israel

Lev Gregorian, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Eyal Kroupp, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Matthew Lightwood, Ph.D., University College London, United Kingdom

Satabhisa Mukhopadhyay-Dasgupt, Ph.D., Rutgers University, USA

Iftach Nevo, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Shesansu Sekhar Pal, Ph.D., Utkal University, India

Andrea Soddu, Ph.D., University of Virginia

Lakshmi Soundara Pandian, Ph.D., Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai

Evgeny Stambulchik, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Hengda Zhang, Ph.D., China Academy of Machinery Science & Technology, China

Research Students

Yaron Emanuel Antebi Ofer Aviv

Alexander Cherlin Adi Diner (Naaman)


214 Particle Physics

Guy Engelhard Tamar Kashti

Alexandre Kozlov Uri Lev

Alexey Lyashenko Arie Melamed-Katz

Dirk Michael Moermann Maxim Naglis

Dmitry Osin Assaf Patir

Guy Raz Dori Reichmann

Peter Renkel Ilan Sagiv

Deepali Sharma Jonathan Toker

Konstantin Tsigutkin Tomer Volansky

Lidija Zivkovic

Administrator

Kobi Ben-Shmuel


Physics of Complex Systems

Gregory Falkovich, Head

Elisha Moses is an experimentalist studying Neuro-Physics:

We are interested in experimental investigation of physical aspects in the brain. At present we

are pursing three main directions.

1. Information flow. We construct living linear neural networks under our microscope that

allow us to follow precisely the propagation of information along a biological Shannonlike

information channel. Both one-dimensional and two-dimensional hippocampal

cultures are studied using both optical and electric detection.

2. Interaction of neurons with electromagnetism. We stimulate neurons using a noninvasive

method, both in human brains and in cultured dishes, by applying a strong and

short magnetic pulse.Applications to synchrony in the brain and the study of aspects of

Schizophrenia offer a fascinating perspective.

3. Bio-Imaging: We employ both Optical Brain Imaging and Wet Scanning Electron

Microscopy to image the activity and growth of neurons.

Joel Stavans` group is currently engaged in studies of the interaction of proteins and DNA

using single-molecule techniques, and the behavior of genetic networks in bacterial cells.

Research on protein-DNA interactions has focused on (a) the physics of recombination (b), on

the interaction of long DNA molecules and proteins associated with the bacterial chromosome

or nucleoid. These studies are conducted using single-molecule elasticity techniques as well as

fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) at the ensemble and single-pair level. The

group is also characterizing the properties of the dynamical response of small genetic networks

in bacterial cells, in both large populations and single cells. Experiments are currently being

carried out on (a) the SOS response, elicited as a result of genome damage and (b) the lambda

phage genetic network, one of the paradigms of computation in molecular biology.

Tsvi Tlusty and his group are exploring biological systems within the framework of theoretical

physics. The main focus of the group is the investigation of molecular codes in terms of

stochastic mapping that is optimized via evolution to minimize the impact of errors. A

molecular coding theory has been developed and applied to the universal genetic code and to

the transcription network. The latter system has been treated as a map between the

transcription proteins and the DNA sites they bind, and the theoretical model was supported by

a bioinformatic survey. The group is also pursuing a coding theory for protein-protein

215


216 Physics of Complex Systems

recognition processes, for example antibody-antigen interactions in the immune system.

Another biological question that is related to the general theme of evolutionary optimization is

the design of the transcription-translation to maximize fitness. The group is collaborating with

the Joel Stavans' group in analyzing genetic recombination as a stochastic molecular

computation.

Victor Steinberg's group is studying nonlinear dynamics in various systems. This year they

worked on several projects: (i) Elastic turbulence and Batchelor regime of mixing in dilute

polymer solutions; (ii) Single polymer dynamics and conformations in a random flow; (iii)

Convective turbulence in SF6 near its gas-liquid critical point; (iv) Further development of

new acoustic detection technique of vorticity distribution in turbulent flows and its application

for turbulent drag reduction; (v) Hydrodynamics of complex fluids in micro-channels: flows of

polymer solutions, solutions of vesicles, micro-emulsion near its consolute critical point.

Eytan Domany's research turned in the last few years towards problems in Biology

and Bioinformatics, with emphasis on development and application of methods for the

visualization and analysis of data from high thoughput experiments. Computers play a central

role in nearly all aspects of the group's work. Clustering and a variety of other techniques are

used to study biological data - in particular, expression profiles obtained from DNA

microarrays. We collaborate with several Weizmann research groups from the Life Sciences,

as well as with laboratories at other Israeli institutions and hospitals, and also with groups from

the US, Switzerland, France and Italy on analysis of their data (gene expression, array CGH,

SNP-chips). Our main interest is in analysis of data obtained from several kinds of cancer. Our

activities range from rigorous mathematical work on searching for binding sites of

transcription factors and estimating the robustness of outcome predictors, through

development of novel tools and their algorithmic implementation, to their application to

analyze data obtained by our collaborating labs. A certain level of activity in Statistical

Mechanics is maintained; for example, the structure of the low temperature phase of shortrange

spin glasses and properties of Hidden Markov processes are among the topics studied.

Gregory Falkovich studies systems far from equilibrium, in particular, turbulence. His main

interest on a fundamental side is in anomalies i.e. breakdown of symmetries that do not

disappear when symmetry-breaking factor goes to zero and in the multi-fractal measures. He is

also interested in relating conformal geometry of random contours to turbulence. On a

practical side he is working on the quantitative theory of rain initiation in turbulent warm

clouds.

David Mukamel's group is active in the general area of statistical physics. In particular

extensive studies of collective phenomena far from thermal equilibrium have been carried out.

Models corresponding to phase separation, wetting and roughening transitions, and coarsening

processes have been introduced and studied. Equilibrium collective phenomena are also

investigated in various contexts. The denaturation and unzipping phase transitions of DNA

molecules have been analyzed. Peculiar phenomena which are characteristic of systems with

long range interactions (such as gravitational systems) have also been investigated.


Physics of Complex Systems 217

In Uzy Smilansky's group, research on Quantum Chaos evolves around the following topics:

Quantum graphs - spectral statistics, scattering and trace formulae. The morphology of nodal

lines of billiards wave functions and the number of nodal domains are investigated, with two

aims: To establish a criterion of quantum chaos, and to determine the extent by which

knowledge of the nodal set determines the billiard shape. We have still some interest in the

following subjects: Conditions for hyperbolicity for billiards on surfaces with constant

curvatures. Quantization of billiards in homogeneous magnetic fields, and the density of

exterior and interior edge states. The classical and quantum spectral duality.

Nir Davidson's group develops new techniques for laser cooling and trapping of neutral atoms.

They are studying new optical traps that are based on repulsive light forces, in which

spontaneous emission of photons is suppressed. Such traps provide long atomic coherence

times and hence enable extremely accurate spectroscopic and dynamical measurements,

including observation of chaotic motion of ultra-cold atoms in optical "billiards". They are

also conducting experiments in a Bose-Einstein condensate including measurements of its

zero-temperature excitation spectra its ground state properties and its coherence.

Asher A. Friesem and his group are conducting basic investigations on non-conventional

elements based on diffractive and planar optics, on the resonance behavior of gratingwaveguide

structures, on the performance of special phase elements inside laser cavities, and

on new optical architectures for a variety of applications. These investigations are leading to

new laser configurations, and highly advanced optical arrangements for displays, high-speed

electro-optic devices and special biological and chemical sensors.

Yaron Silberberg and his group are studying ultrafast and nonlinear optics. Using

femtosecond optical pulses, they study how the shape of these pulses affects the interaction

between the light and atoms or molecules. In particular, the group investigates how shaped

pulses can be used in nonlinear laser spectroscopy. Shaping also affect nonclassical sources

of light, and shaping of single photon sources has been demonstrated. In another effort, the

group investigates the nonlinear microscopy - using femtosecond pules in biological

microscopy. The group has developed a new type of microscope based on third-harmonic

generation and it tests it on various types of biological specimens. Finally, the group also

works on soliton physics, and continues its studies of discrete solitons in waveguide arrays.

Adam Schwimmer continued to study various aspects of Quantum Field Theory and String

theory and their interrelation. In particular the group studied the relation between Conformal

Field Theories appearing on the boundary of AdS type space-times and the String Theory

description in the bulk. The role played by the stringy Solitons ("D-branes") in holographic

theories was elucidated.

http://www.weizmann.ac.il/complex/


218 Physics of Complex Systems

Research Staff, Visitors and Students

Professors

Eytan Domany, Ph.D., Cornell University, Ithaca, United States

The Henry J. Leir Professorial Professor

Gregory Falkovich, Ph.D., Novosibirsk State University

Elisha Moses, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

David Mukamel, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Harold J. and Marion F. Green Professor

Adam Schwimmer, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel (on extension of

service)

The Ruth Epstein Recu Professor of Theoretical Physics

Yaron Silberberg, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Harry Weinrebe Professor of Laser Physics

Uzy Smilansky, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Wolfgang Gentner Professor of Nuclear Physics

Joel Stavans, Ph.D., University of Chicago, United States

Victor Steinberg, Ph.D., Laboratory of Critical Phenomena, Moscow, Russian Federation

The Harry de Jur Professor of Applied Physics

Professors Emeriti

Ephraim H Frei, Ph.D., University of Vienna, Austria

Asher A. Friesem, Ph.D., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, United States

Associate Professor

Nir Davidson, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The Peter and Carola Kleeman Professor of Optical Sciences

Senior Scientist

Tsvi Tlusty, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Special Contract

Michael Meyklyar, Ph.D., State Institute of Applied Optics, Kazan, Russian Federation

Engineers

Rostyslav Baron, Ph.D., Institute of Low Temperatures, Kharkov's, Russian Federation

Yuri Burnishev, Ph.D., Ural Branch of the USSR Academy of Science, Russian Federation


Consultants

Physics of Complex Systems 219

Itzhak Fouxon, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Michael Golub, ExPlay Ltd., Herzeliya, Israel

Yariv Kafri, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel

Daniel Kandel, KLA-Temcor, Migdal H'aemek, Israel (left March 2005)

Ido Kanter, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel

Yossi Kedmi

Dan Oron, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Avraham Peled, Shaar Menashe Mental Health Center, Israel

Eliezer Rabinovici, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel (left August 2005)

Shimon Yankielowicz, Tel Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel

Visiting Scientists

Michael Aizenman, Princeton University , NJ, USA

Jean-Pierre Eckmann, University of Geneva, Switzerland

Martin Evans, University of Edinburgh, Scotland

Eva Jonsson

David Kutasov, University of Chicago, Il, USA

Leonid Piterbarg, University of Southern California, LA, USA

Konstantin Turitsyn, Landau Inst.., Moscow, Russia

Postdoctoral Fellows

Jacob Bock Axelsen, Ph.D., Niels Bohr Institute

Roman Brinzanik, Ph.D., Physics Department, Free University Berlin

Teodor Burghelea, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Barak Dayan, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Liat Ein-Dor, Ph.D., Bar-Ilan University, Israel

Ofer Feinerman, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Alexander Fouxon, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Iztok Hace, Ph.D., University of Ljubljana

Nestor Zenon Handzy, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University

Amiel Ishaaya, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Kavita Jain, Ph.D., Tata Institute

Enrique Lacalle Alvarez, Ph.D., Spain

Yonggang Liu, Ph.D., Chinese Academy of Sciences

Daniel Mandelik, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Avi Pe'er, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Thomas Polack, Ph.D., Ecole Polytechnique, France

Attila Gabor Rakos, Ph.D., Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest

Anat Reiner Benaim, Ph.D., Tel-Aviv University, Israel

Dror Sagi, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel


220 Physics of Complex Systems

Idit Saragusti, Ph.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Shahar Seifer, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Noam Shental, Ph.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Jordi Soriano-Fradera, Ph.D., University of Barcelona

Juan Diego Urbina, Ph.D., Germany

Yanbang Wang, Ph.D., Chines Academy of Science, Beijing

Research Students

Itai Afek Amnon Amir

Roee Amit Mikkel Andersen

Nir Bar-Gill Dafna Ben-Eli Tsafrir

David Biron Ilan Breskin

Yaron Bromberg Teodor Burghelea

Yochay Danziger Barak Dayan

Navit Dori Vardit Eckhouse

Leon Eisen Ofer Feinerman

Eugene Frumker Hilah Gal

Sergiy Gerashchenko Tzahi Grunzweig

Amiel Ishaaya Shimshon Jacobi

Vasiliy Kantsler Tsvi Katchalski

Nadav Katz Erel Levine

Nava Levit-Binnun Daniel Mandelik

Adi Natan Dan Oron

Avi Pe'er Rami Pugatch

Assaf Rotem Eitan Rowen

Dror Sagi Shahar Seifer

Tal Shay Liran Shimshi

Eran Tal Shuki Vardi

Marija Vucelja Or Zuk

Administrator

Israel Gonen


Physics Services

Daniel Zajfman, Head

The Simon Weinstock Professor of Astrophysics

The Physics Services, comprising of five different units, offers advanced services in particle

accelerators, electronics, data acquisition, vacuum and cryogenics, thin films and mechanical

workshop. These units provide services to the scientific groups throughout the institute as well

as to various external users. The structure of the Physics Services is:

1. Accelerator Laboratory (Prof. M. Hass, in charge)

Operation of the 14 MV Pelletron accelerator and the 2 MV VDG accelerator

2. Electronics and Data Acquisition (Dr. L. Levinson, in charge)

DAQ solutions to research problems

Electronics design and construction

Repair of sophisticated electronic instruments

Real-time DAQ software

3. UHV, cryogenics and thin films (Dr. M. Rappaport, in charge)

Consultation and design for experimental systems

Thin films deposition: evaporation, sputtering, electron-gun, rolling

4. Data acquisition (Dr. E. Segre, in charge)

Consultation and design of on-line data acquisition, image processing, etc...

5. Mechanics workshop (Y. Asher, in charge)

http://www.weizmann.ac.il/physics/services.html

Staff

Professor

Daniel Zajfman 1 , D.Sc., Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel

The Simon Weinstock Professor of Astrophysics

1 Department of Particle Physics

221


222 Physics Services

Senior Staff Scientists

Oded Heber, Ph.D., Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel

Lorne Levinson, Ph.D., Brown University, Providence, United States

Michael Rappaport, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, United States

Assistant Staff Scientist

Enrico Segre, Ph.D., University of Turin, Turin, Italy

Engineer

Alexander Roich, M.Sc., Technological Institute for Electricity and Communication, Tashkent


Center for Experimental Physics

Yaron Silberberg, Director

The Harry Weinrebe Chair of Laser Physics

The Center for Experimental Physics was established in 2002. The main emphasis of the

Center is to foster high-level research in all areas of experimental physics. The Center supports

experimental efforts through human-contact activities, such as experimental physicists visiting

from abroad and post-doctoral trainees working with different experimental groups in the

Institute. The Center also supports, partially or fully, small topical meetings and workshops. It

also supplies, in special emergency cases, partial help for the purchase and maintenance of

equipment.

The research in Experimental Physics at the Weizmann Institute ranges from the most basic

aspects of particle physics, usually carried in major facilities abroad, through experimental

studies, at the Faculty laboratories, of basic material properties such as semiconductors and

superconductors; of atomic, molecular, plasma and optical physics, to interdisciplinary studies

of the physics of biological systems.

223


The Nella and Leon Benoziyo Center for High Energy Physics

Giora Mikenberg, Director

The Lady Davis Professor of Experimental Physics

Although the universe in which we live looks very complex, with a large variety of different

molecules and forces that binds them together, it is commonly assumed that shortly after the

moment of creation the universe was a much simpler place. In particular, it is believed that

only a single (unified) force existed. During the expansion of the universe its temperature

dropped and the unified force was split into the four forces we know today (gravitation,

nuclear, electromagnetic and the weak force which drives the radioactive decay). First viable

models of the unification concept were suggested about 25 years ago and were experimentally

confirmed some 15 years ago. A major consolidation of this concept was later done at LEP, the

Large Electron Positron accelerator situated at CERN. Virtually all of the present knowledge

about the fundamental particles and their interaction is included in a model named 'Standard

Model. In spite of its spectacular success and its incredible predictive power, the Standard

Model cannot be the ultimate theory of particles and their interactions. Few fundamental

measurements are still to be done and few crucial questions are still to be answered. The

following projects that are supported by the Benoziyo center, address some of the more

fundamental aspects of the Standard Model.

The ATLAS Project at the LHC Accelerator

The ATLAS team of the Weizmann Institute completed the construction of all the 2400 TGC

chambers that had to be prepared for the big experiment in Geneva. Some 70% of these

chambers are already at CERN after a comprehensive set of quality tests. The rest will be

tested in Israel and will be shipped in the coming months.

The installation of the mammoth system has already begun. The installation is being carried

out at CERN by a Israeli-dominated team. 7 out of the huge 72 sectors are already fully

installed with detectors and their electronics.

The team continued working on preparations for physics analysis using simulated data. The

activity is now in few directions: In Higgs boson studies an important progress was achieved in

the study of ATLAS sensitivity to light Higgs bosons. The identification of τ

-leptons in this

region is crucial and an important tool for this study which is expected to be used by the whole

collaboration was developed [3].

225


226 The Nella and Leon Benoziyo Center for High Energy Physics

In the search or Supersymmetric particles a study of a very unique case which combines the

physics with the detector design has been initiated [4] and another one, concerning one of the

less understood scenarios was completed [5]. The physics team has also started to look into the

possibility that the LHC will become a black-hole factory and preliminary results were already

shown in conferences.

The Physics of Heavy Ions: the PHENIX Experiment

The main activity of the Heavy Ion Group at the Weizmann Institute is centered on the Phenix

experiment at RHIC, the relativistic heavy ion collider at BNL. The Phenix experiment was

specifically designed to study and characterize the quark-gluon plasma, the primordial state of

matter that formed the entire universe a few microseconds after the big-bang. The QGP is

characterized by two fundamental properties, the deconfinement of quarks and gluons and the

restoration of chiral symmetry. The Weizmann Heavy Ion Group is mainly involved in the

detection of low-mass electron-positron pairs. The goal is to further elucidate the very

interesting results obtained by the group in the previous Ceres experiment at CERN, which

could be linked to the restoration of chiral symmetry. In order to measure low-mass electron

pairs at RHIC, the Weizmann group has developed a novel “hadron blind detector”, as an

upgrade of the Phenix detector. The HBD is presently under construction and will be installed

during 2006.

Detector Development for Future HEP Experiments: THGEM

Systematic investigations of the properties of novel gas-avalanche electron multipliers were

carried out, and their potential incorporation within a new generation of fast radiation imaging

detectors has been assessed. The novel Thick GEM-like (THGEM) multipliers, consist of

metalized dielectric plates (0.4 to 3.2 mm thick) densely perforated with holes (0.3 to 1mm

diameter), etched at their rims. An intense dipole field created within the holes, under high

voltage applied to both surfaces, efficiently focuses radiation-induced electrons into the holes,

where they undergo intense avalanche multiplication.

The THGEM is characterized by a very high electron multiplication and very efficient electron

transport into and out of the holes, permitting elements cascading. Electron-multiplication

factors reaching 10 5 and 10 7 were recorded in single- and double-THGEM structures,

respectively, in various gases at atmospheric and at very low gas pressures. Operation

conditions were investigated, under which all electrons, induced by radiation in gas or emitted

from the surface of a solid converter, are focused into the THGEM and multiplied.

The avalanche mechanism is fast, with the pulse rise-time in the few-ns range; this ensures

good timing properties. Consequently, the counting rate capability is very good, permitting

radiation measurements at repetition rates above million events/mm 2 sec. The radiation

imaging performances were studied with soft x-rays, using a position-sensitive 100x100 mm 2

double-THGEM detector, operated in atmospheric pressure; sub-mm localization precision,

compatible with the hole diameter and spacing was measured. The energy resolution is

comparable to that of other gaseous multipliers. The copious avalanche-induced light emission

from the THGEM holes permits track imaging with optical means. The method is being


The Nella and Leon Benoziyo Center for High Energy Physics 227

applied to an optical-tracking Time Projection Chamber (TPC) developed for the study of rare

nuclear reactions in the field of nuclear astrophysics.

In summary, the THGEM is an attractive robust and economic electron multiplier, easily

produced, spanning a large scale of geometrical parameters. It suits applications requiring

large-area detectors with single-electron sensitivity, fast response, high repetition rates and

moderate (sub-mm) localization properties. It has been demonstrated that it permits the

efficient detection of gas-ionization electrons and of single photons, via photoelectrons

emitted into the holes from a photocathode deposited on its top surface. Possible applications

could be in Cherenkov Ring imaging (RICH) detectors, large TPC readout, charged-particle

tracking or in sampling elements in Calorimetry. While natural applications are in particle and

astroparticle physics, THGEM multipliers are currently investigated for x-ray and neutron

imaging detectors.

1. The first-level trigger of ATLAS / J. Haller incl. D. Lellouch, L. Levinson, G.

Mikenberg S. Tarem, ATL-COM-DAQ-2005-043.

2. The Certification of ATLAS Thin Gap Chambers Produced in Israel and China. E.

Etzion, L. Levinson, G. Mikenberg, Y Rozen /ATL-MUON-2005-002; ATL-

COMMUON-2004-021; CERN-ATL-COM-MUON-2004-02.

3. An Alternative Algorithm for Fast Tau Identification within ATLAS , Eilam Gross,

E G; Zivkovic, L/ATL-PHYS-INT-2005-003; ATL-COM-PHYS-2005-049.

4. Can ATLAS avoid missing the long lived stau? , Tarem, S; Bressler, S; Duchovni, E;

Levinson, L/ATL-PHYS-PUB-2005-022; ATL-COM-PHYS-2005-051.

5. Search for RPV SUSY Through its Purely Hadronic Decay Modes With Low

Luminosity , Duchovni, E; Melamed-Katz, A/ATL-PHYS-PUB-2005-025; ATL-

COMPHYS-2005-019.

6. Quark Matter 2005: Experimental Conference Summary, I. Tserruya, Nucl. Phys. A

(in press), nucl-ex/0601036.

7. Report on the Hadron Blind Detector for the PHENIX Detector, I. Tserruya, Nucl.

Instr. Meth (in press).

8. Cherenkov Counters in Heavy ion Physics, I. Tserruya, Nucl. Instr. Meth. A553, 196

(2005).

9. A Hadron Blind Detector for the PHENIX Experiment at RHIC, Z. Fraenkel et al.,

Nucl. Instr. Meth. A546, 466 (2005).

10. Advances in Thick GEM-like gaseous electron multipliers. Part I: atmospheric

pressure operation C. K. Shalem, R. Chechik, A. Breskin, K. Michaeli;. Physics/

0601115; Nuclear Instruments and Methods A, in press.

11. Advances in Thick GEM-like gaseous electron multipliers. Part II: low-pressure

operation C.K. Shalem, R. Chechik, A. Breskin, K. Michaeli, N. Ben-Haim; Physics/

0601119; Nuclear Instruments and Methods A, in press.

12. Amplification and Scintillation Properties of Oxygen-Rich Gas Mixtures for

Optical-TPC applications L. Weissman, M. Gai, A. Breskin, R. Chechik, V.

Dangendorf, K. Tittelmeier, H.R. Weller; Submitted to JINST, Feb.2006.


The Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Center for Submicron Research

Mordehai Heiblum, Director

Alex and Ida Sussman Professor of Submicron Electronics

Research activities at the Center are concentrated on fabrication and investigation of small

semiconductor structures. The energy spectrum, interactions, and dynamics of electrons in

these structures are strongly affected by the reduced dimensions. The structures are grown by

state-of-the-art molecular beam epitaxy (MBE), patterned using very high resolution electron

beam writing system and processed using advanced techniques.

Research at the Center is conducted by a staff of approximately 30 people, organized in three

scientific groups (headed by Israel Bar-Joseph, Moty Heiblum, and Amir Yacoby), and a

highly skilled professional team. Major research activities are directed toward studying the

transport properties of electrons and holes in a large parameter range: from DC to microwave

frequencies, from a temperature of a few milliKelvin above absolute zero to room temperature,

and from zero to extremely high magnetic fields. Another research effort is directed toward

studying the optical properties, with continuous waves or with short optical pulses, of twodimensional

electron gas and of highly excited one-dimensional wires. An important facet of

the research at the Center is the development of new confining structures and the fabrication of

very pure material.

The activity at the Center also involves application-oriented research. The Center was also

chosen to be a Large Scale Facility by the European Union, receiving resources to host many

scientists from Europe for periods up to three months.

Here are some of the scientific projects conducted by the different groups:

Controlled Dephasing of Electrons (which path experiments)

By observing with a sensitive detector the path an electron chooses to take interference of the

electronic waves vanishes. A biased Quantum Point Contact (QPC) in close proximity to an

Aharonov-Bohm ring interferometer induces dephasing (destruction of interference) and is

easily controlled by the QPC. Phase detection as well as current detection are being exploited.

Recently, an edge state, in the quantum Hall effect regime was employed as a ‘which path’

detector, leading to total dephasing of a two path interferometer. Moreover, by employing a

simple cross-correlation measurement between the detector and the interferometer, the phase

information was recovered. [Izhar Neder, Diana Mahalu, H. Shtrikman, Vladimir Umansky,

and Moty Heiblum].

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230 The Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Center for Submicron Research

Statistics and charge of Fractional Charges

The charge of the quasiparticles in the fractional quantum Hall effect (FQHE) regime had been

predicted to be a fraction of the electronic charge. Via shot noise measurements this charge

was measured in the FQHE regime at a filling factor 1/3 and was found to be e/3 as predicted.

More recently charges e/5 and e/7 were measured at filling factors 2/5 and 3/7, respectively.

However, at extremely low temperatures, spontaneous bunching takes place and charges e/3,

2e/5, 3e/7 were found at filling factors 1/3, 2/5, 3/7 respectively. [Yunchul Chung (Post Doc),

Vladimir Umansky, Diana Mahalu, and Moty Heiblum].

Coherence and Phase Measurements in Mesoscopic Systems

An interferometer functioning in the IQHE regime, based on edge states transport, was

constructed. It is an electronic analog of the optical Mach-Zehnder interferometer. It has a high

sensitivity and high visibility (~62%), and is going to be a useful tool to study coherent effects

under extremely high magnetic fields. Unexpected behavior was observed with the

interference pattern exhibiting strong lobe structure as function of injection energy (instead of

a monotonic type behavior) [Izhar Neder, Diana Mahalu, Vladimir Umansky and Moty

Heiblum]

Local Thermodynamic Probing of the two Dimensional Electron and Hole Gases

We use a single electron tarnsistor as a local electrostatic probe to study the underlying spatial

structure of the metal insulator transition (MIT) in two dimensions (2D). Our local

compressibility measurements reveal a striking microscopic evolution from a continuous

liquid phase to a discrete insulating phase. In contrast to the continuous compressible phase,

the new discrete phase consists of microscopic charge configurations that are surrounded by

the liquid phase and are compressible only at discrete values of the local density. The discrete

phase appears already on the metallic side of the MIT and when the density is lowered its

volume increases on account of the continuous phase. The individual charge configurations,

that comprise the discrete phase, are found to interact via quantum mechanical tunneling and

via mutual Coulomb interaction. (Shahal Ilani, Ph.D. student, Katya Teitelbaum, Ms.c. student,

Diana Mahalu, Hadas Shtrikman, and Amir Yacoby).

Tunneling Spectroscopy of One Dimensional Conductors

We have studied experimentally the tunneling conductance of a 1D wire in two different

geometry's using the cleaved edge overgrowrth method. The first consists of tunneling

between two parallel 1D wires that are separated by a 6nm barrier. Conservation of energy and

momentum in the tunneling process restricts current flow to very specific values of the relative

voltage between the wires and external magnetic field. We will show that our measurements

provide a direct way of measuring the detailed dispersion relation, E(k), of the electrons in the

wires. In the second geometry we have measured the low temperature conductance of a onedimensional

island embedded in a single mode quantum wire. The tunneling is through a

single state of the island. Our results show that while the resonance line shape fits the

derivative of the Fermi function the intrinsic line width decreases in a power law fashion as the


The Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Center for Submicron Research 231

temperature is reduced. This behavior agrees quantitatively with Furasaki's model for resonant

tunneling in a Luttinger liquid. (Ophir Auslaender, Ph. D. student, Vladimir Umansky, and

Amir Yacoby).

Near field spectroscopy of semiconductor quantum wells

We have measured the near-field photoluminescence (PL) of semiconductor quantum wells at

low temperatures. We used the PL lines of the neutral and negatively charged excitons as a

measure for the local quantum well width and the local charge, respectively. We found the

formation of elongated charged stripes along the [10] crystal orientation, which are arranged in

a quasi-periodic structure. We also investigated the behavior of the fluctuations in the quantum

well width. We found that these seemingly random well-width fluctuations actually exhibit

well-defined order --- strong long-range correlations appearing laterally, in the plane of the

QW, as well as vertically, between QWs grown one on top of the other. We show that these

fluctuations are correlated with the commonly found mound structure on the surface. (Y.

Yayon, Ph.D student, M. Rappaport, V. Umansky and I. Bar-Joseph)

Transport through nano-particles and a single organic molecule

We launched a new research program aiming at investigating transport through nano-objects:

metal or semiconductor nano-clusters and organic molecules. An important step in realizing

this object is finding a reliable technique of contacting these very small objects. We have

introduced novel approaches for both forming a nano-gap and for attaching electrical contacts

to the nano-object. The main idea in the nano-gap formation is to control the gap size with subnanometer

precision using a structure grown by molecular-beam epitaxy. Using this approach

we have demonstrated the formation of 5-50 nm gaps. In addressing the issue of contacting a

single molecule we have used gold clusters to form a dimmer structure, in which a single

organic molecule is connected in each end to a gold cluster. We have succeeded in trapping the

dimmer between metal electrodes and measured electrical transport at low temperatures. (R.

Krahne, post-doctorant fellow, T. Dadosh and Y. Gordin, Ph. D students, H. Shtrikman, A.

Yacoby, J. Sperling and I. Bar-Joseph).


The Albert Einstein Minerva Center for Theoretical Physics

Uzy Smilansky, Director (until January 2005)

The Wolfgang Gentner Chair of Nuclear Physics

Eli Waxman, Director (from February 2005)

The Albert Einstein MINERVA Center for Theoretical Physics was established in 1980 with

the generous donation of an endowment fund from the Bundes Ministerium für Forschung und

Technologie (BMFT) of the Federal Republic of Germany, through the joint committee for

German Israeli Scientific Cooperation (Minerva). The main emphasis of the Center is to foster

high level research in theoretical physics, while promoting cooperation among German and

Israeli theorists. The Center supports human contact activities, such as theoretical physicists

visiting from abroad and consultants working with different theory groups in the Institute. The

Center also supports, partially or fully, small topical meetings and workshops. Naturally, most

of the activity of the Center is related to research projects based at the Faculty of Physics, but

considerable support has also been lent to appropriate projects in the Faculty of Chemistry and,

to a lesser extent, in the Faculty of Mathematics. The support from the Center plays an

important role in almost all the research in theoretical physics at the Institute.

Visiting Theoretical Physicists

During 2005 we supported 40 visitors who came to the Institute to collaborate and to give

lectures. The visitors came from Germany (7), United States (13), England (3), France (5),

Switzerland (1), Canada (1), The Netherlands (1), Russia (2), Austria (1), India (2), Mexico

(1), China (1), Italy (1), and Belgium (1).

The Advisors (Associate Membership) Program

The advisors are theoretical physicists, with appointments in other academic institutes in

Israel, who come to the Weizmann Institute for up to 1 day per week for part or the whole of

the academic year. They collaborate with scientists from the Weizmann Institute and give

lectures here. Much joint work results.

In 2005, three advisors were in the Department of Condensed Matter Physics, eight in the

Department of Particle Physics, and four in the Department of Complex Systems. The advisors

for Condensed Matter Physics were Prof. Ora Entin-Wohlman, Tel Aviv University; Dr.

Konstantin Kikoin, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev; and Prof. Yigal Meir, Ben-Gurion

University. The advisors for Particle Physics were Dr. Yosef Babichenko; Prof. Amit Giveon,

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Prof. Barak Kol, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem;

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234 The Albert Einstein Minerva Center for Theoretical Physics

Dr. Yael Shadmi, Technion; Dr. Yuval Grossman, Technion, Prof. Yaron Oz, Tel Aviv

University; Prof. Jacob Sonnenschein, Tel Aviv University, and Prof. Shmuel Elitzur, The

Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The advisors for Complex Systems were Prof. Shimon

Yankielowicz, Tel Aviv University , Dr. Yariv Kafri, Technion, Prof. Eliezer Rabinovici, The

Hebrew University of Jerusalem; and Prof. Ido Kanter, Bar-Ilan University.

Center supported conferences (2005):

FRISNO8 - French-Israeli Symposium on Non-Linear and Quantum Optics - Ein Bokek, Dead

Sea, Israel, 20/02/2005 -25/02/2005.

Symposium in Honour of the 80th Birthday of Igal Talmi, Zeev Fraenkel and Gabi Goldring -

Weizmann Institute, Israel, 04/04/2005.

First International Workshop on Electrostatic Storage Devices, Kibutz Eilot, Eilat, Israel, May

29/05/05 - June 02/06/2005.

Einstein Colloquia

In celebration of Einstein's Annum Mirabilis centennial, a special series of physics colloquia,

the "Einstein Colloquia," was initiated and supported by the center. The colloquia were given

by distinguished physicists, describing recent progress in research related to Einstein's great

contributions of 1905.

G. 't Hooft, (Utrecht) "The Black Hole Information Paradox"

O. Schramm, (Microsoft) "Brownian Motion, Percolation, and other conformally

invariant scaling limits"

R. Kirshner, (Harvard) "The Accelerating Universe: Einstein's Blunder Undone"

M. Lukin, (Harvard) "Quantum Control of Photons and Atoms"

D. Gross, (UCSB) "The future of Physics"

S. Schweber, (Brandeis) "Community and Genius: Einstein and Oppenheimer"

A. Kitaev, (CalTech) "Quantum Computation and Anyons"

http://www.weizmann.ac.il/physics/einstein_physics.html


The Maurice and Gabriella Goldschleger Center for Nanophysics

Israel Bar-Joseph, Director

The Jane and Otto Morningstar Professor of Physics

The Maurice and Gabriella Goldschleger Center for Nanophysics was established in 2001.

Fueled by the success of the research on Mesoscopic Physics, the main goal of this center is to

promote theoretical and experimental research in Nanophysics at WIS. This is done by funding

student and postdoc fellowships, and by supporting physics students who travel to workshops

and schools in this field. An important priority of the center is enhancing the collaboration

between nano-physicists at WIS and their peers abroad. The center provides funds for visitors

and for organizing workshops in this field.

235


The Minerva Center for Nonlinear Physics of Complex Systems

Itamar Procaccia, Director

The Barbara and Morris L. Levinson Professor

The Center was established jointly by the Technion and the Weizmann Institute. It maintains

strong links with the Max Planck Institute for Physics of Complex Systems in Dresden. The

Center supports the activities of three groups at the Weizmann Institute, in addition to a variety

of exchanges, workshops, schools and seminars.

The main subjects covered by the Center in the last few years were:

Hydrodynamics, Turbulence and Pattern Formation-Theory

1. Turbulence. Our research in the last few years concentrated on understanding the

universality of turbulence, with a focus on the "anomalous" exponents that characterize

the scaling properties of correlation functions and structure functions. We had three

major lines of progress, in each of which we have achieved significant results. First,

anomalous scaling was related to the existence of "Statistically Preserved Structures",

which remain invariant (on the average) on the background of the turbulent flow. Such

invariant functions are responsible for the observed anomalous exponents that were

mysterious for decades to turbulence researchers. Now we can identify them as

eigenfunctions of eigenvalue 1 of appropriate operators. Second, we have presented a

systematic and accurate approach to peeling off anisotoropic contributions from

turbulent statistical objects. We showed how each isotropic sector exhibits its own set of

anomalous exponents which are universal. This way we have settled long standing issues

related to the decay of aniostropy as a function of length scale and Reynolds number.

Finally we have addressed the problem of drag reduction in turbulence by polymeric

additives, and proposed a rather complete theory of this mysterious phenomenon. In

particular we explained the universal "Maximum Drag Reduction" (MDR) asymptote,

and offered explanation to the non-universal cross over back to Newtonian behavior. The

theory provides an explanation to the common aspects and to the differences in drag

reduction by flexible and rodlike polymers.

2. Fractal Grourth. We considered Laplacian growth and Diffusion Limited Aggregates

(DLA). By constructing conformal maps from the unit circle to the fractal patterns we

obtained dynamical equations for the conformal maps, allowing us to solve for the

interesting patterns that evolve in these systems. We understood completely Laplacian

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238 The Minerva Center for Nonlinear Physics of Complex Systems

dynamics and developed a theory of DLA which is able to predict all the multifractal

properties from first principles. In particular we have offered a convergent calculation of

the fractal dimension of DLA, settling a long standing question whether it is fractal or

not (it is).

In the last year we have developed the dynamics of conformal maps to problems of

fracture of brittle materials. We have solved the quasi-static fracture problem and are

making progress in dynamic fracture. We have offered novel methods to analyze the

roughening of fractured interfaces, and begun to explore the physics of plasticity and its

implications on fracture.

Hydrodynamics, Turbulence, and Pattern Formation-Experimental

During the past years the main progress has been made on the following projects:

1. Elastic turbulence and Batchelor regime of mixing in dilute polymer solutions.

Significant progress has been made in our understanding of the role of elastic stresses in

hydrodynamics of polymer solutions. Statistics of global (torque and injected power) and

local (velocity and velocity gradient fields) characteristics of the elastic turbulence in a

flow of a polymer solution between two disks was experimentally investigated. Analogy

with a small scale fast dynamo in magneto-hydrodynamics and with a passive scalar

turbulent advection in the Batchelor regime was used to explain the experimentally

observed statistical properties, flow structure, and scaling of the elastic turbulence.

Next step in this project was to study turbulent mixing of very viscous fluids by adding

polymers. We studied mixing in curved channels of macroscopic size (3mm side size in

cross-section) and in a micro channel of 100 micron side size cross-section. It turned out

that these studies have besides obvious importance for application also rather important

implications in our basic understanding of chaotic mixing. Indeed, it was demonstrated

that mixing due to elastic turbulence is an ideal system to study the Batchelor regime of

mixing. The latter is a rare example of the model of dynamics of a passive scalar in a

turbulent flow, for which the analytical solution was obtained. Mixing due to elastic

turbulence regime provided quantitative verification of theoretical predictions and

further initiated theoretical activity to quantitatively understand the results.

2. Single polymer dynamics and conformations in a random flow. Single polymer dynamics

and statistics of conformation were studied in shear and random flows. Coil-stretch

transition in polymer conformation in a random flow was identified and characterized.

Dependence of the coil-stretch transition on polymer concentration and molecular

weight are studied, and also the degree of polymer stretching in a random flow on its

closeness to a wall. New fluorescent labeling technique with quantum dots is developing

in the lab in order to conduct experiments on a single polymer in various flows to

measure end-to-end vector that is used in a theoretical model. Further experiments on

synthetic polymer molecules are in progress.


The Minerva Center for Nonlinear Physics of Complex Systems 239

3. Hydrodynamics of complex fluids in micro-channels. Different regimes in dynamics of a

single vesicle in shear flow that appears between two disks and in micro-channels were

studied in details. This investigation of dynamics in other flows such as elongation and

random flows will be continued. On the next stage the hydrodynamics of concentrated

solution of vesicles will be studied by measurements of its global (pressure drop as a

function of discharge) and local (dynamics of a single vesicle) properties will be studied.

Similarly to flows of polymer solutions, solutions of vesicles are expected to show a

random flow of the elastic turbulence type, the phenomenon that is looking for. Besides,

hydrodynamics of micro-emulsion near its consolute critical point was studied in various

flow configurations.

4. Further development of new acoustic detection technique of vorticity distribution in

turbulent flows and its application for turbulent drag reduction. During the last several

years we developed a new sound scattering technique for measurements of velocity and

vorticity fields in a turbulent flow. We use this technique together with Laser Doppler

and particle image velocimetry methods, hot-wire anemometry, precise measurement of

torque, and pressure fluctuations to study turbulent drag reduction. The latter problem

we study in von Karman swirling flow between two counter-rotating disks of water or

water-sugar solutions with different concentration of PAAm 18M molecular weight.

5. Convective turbulence in SF6 near its gas-liquid critical point. Turbulent convection

was studied in a gas SF6 near the gas-liquid critical point. This unique system provides

us an opportunity to reach extremely large Raleigh numbers (up to 10 15 ) and to study the

Pr dependence over an extremely wide range (up to 500) in the same system. The

existence of the critical fluctuations provided us the possibility to perform laser Doppler

velocimetry (LDV) measurements of the velocity field in a rather wide range of the

closeness to the critical point. Using this novel technique developed in our laboratory,

we studied statistical properties of the velocity field in a wide range of Re and Pr

numbers. Together with the local temperature and global heat transfer and temperature

and velocity profile measurements it provide us complete information about convective

turbulence.

Quantum Chaos - Theory

The main problem in "quantum chaos" is to reveal the quantum mechanical implications of

classical chaos. Chaotic dynamics - a generic property in classical physics, leave universal

fingerprints in quantum physics, which are unraveled by the on going research in "quantum

Chaos". The results are relevant and applicable in Mesoscopics, Atomic, Molecular and

Nuclear physics. As a matter of fact, "quantum chaos" appears in all problems where wave

propagation is studied in the short wavelength limit. Thus, "quantum chaos" is also studied in

acoustics, electromagnetic propagation, cavities etc. The observation which brought "quantum

chaos" to the focal point of modern theoretical physics, was the intimate connection between

the distributions and statistics of many quantum observables, and the underlying classical


240 The Minerva Center for Nonlinear Physics of Complex Systems

dynamics. More precisely, it was found that the predictions of random matrix theory, a

minimum-information statistical approach, accurately reproduce the properties of simple

quantum systems, as long as the underlying classical dynamics is chaotic. In this way, the

ergodicity which is the hallmark of classical chaos is extended into the quantum domain. In our

recent research we contributed to this effort along the following lines:

1. Quantum graphs. In the quest for the simplest quantum systems which display spectral

fluctuations which are reproduce by random matrix theory, we proposed quantum

graphs, for which an exact trace formula exists, and the "classical dynamics" was shown

to be mixing. An extensive test of the spectra of simple graphs have shown an excellent

reproduction of various statistical measures derived from random matrix theory.

Moreover, the derivation of spectral correlation functions can be reduced to the solution

of combinatorial problems. With this insight, the applicability of random matrix theory

for graphs was theoretically established to better degree than hitherto achieved in any

other system. Various other problems of interest, such as isospectrality (which relates to

the question- "Can one hear the shape of a graph?"), quantum irreversibility (dephasing)

and nodal structures of wave functions on graphs are also studied. Recently we

introduced a method to construct graphs which are isospectral but are not congtuent.

2. The statistics and structure of nodal domains. Real wave functions (in 2d for simplicity)

vanish along lines which separate domains where the wave function has a constant sign.

The properties of the sets of nodal lines and nodal domains are sensitive to the

underlying classical dynamics. We revived the interest in this aspect of "quantum chaos"

by introducing a new statistical measure for the distribution of the number of nodal

domains. We derived the universal features of this distribution for quantum integrable

problems, and conjectured its behavior for chaotic ones.

3. Can one count the shape of a drum? We study the sequences obtained by counting the

number of nodal domains of wave functions ordered by increasing energies. We have

shown that these sequences of integers store geometric information on the shape of the

boundary of the "drum". Moreover, we conjectured and verified the conjecture

numerically that these sequences resolve isospectral ambiguities. Recently we proved

the validity of the conjecture for a certain class of isospectral graphs.


Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science

Dean: Zvi Artstein

The Hettie H. Heineman Chair of Mathematics

Aryeh Dvoretzky, Ph.D.

(The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Institute Professor


Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science

Dean: Zvi Artstein

The Hettie H. Heineman Chair of Mathematics

The Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science consists of two departments: the

Department of Mathematics, and the Department of Computer Science and Applied

Mathematics. The research is spread over many areas in mathematics, applied mathematics,

and computer science.

There are no clear-cut lines separating the different areas, and many projects span more than

one of them. The research itself ranges from abstract and very theoretical considerations

within mathematics and computer science, through using and applying mathematics and

computer science in other sciences, including concrete developments. It is not easy to divide

the faculty members into well identified research groups, as there is a large overlap in research

interests and expertise, an overlap that in turn contributes to the strength of the Faculty. Thus,

the best way to see what is done in the Faculty is to read the research summaries provided in

our Faculty brochure for each of the departments and for each individual scientist.

The Faculty also hosts the The Arthur and Rochelle Belfer Institute of Mathematics and

Computer Science, The John von Neumann Minerva Center for the Development of Reactive

Systems, and the Moross Laboratory for Vision Research and Robotics.

http://www.wisdom.weizmann.ac.il/

243


Computer Science and Applied Mathematics

Tamar Flash, Head

The Dr. Hymie Moross Professor

Research in computer science encompasses theoretical studies on the foundations of computer

science, experimental aspects of computer science, computer vision and robotics, and the

study of information processing by biological systems, theoretical biology and bioinformatics.

On the theoretical side, topics include computational complexity, cryptography,

algorithms, distributed computing, methods for system verification, specification and

development, logics of programs, combinatorics and number theory, combinatorial games,

information retrieval, and numerical analysis. Experimental research includes the development

of concurrent languages, visual languages, and programming environments. The study of

vision, robotics, and motor control includes both theoretical and experimental components. We

have expanded our activity at the interface of biology and computation by adding a program in

bio-informatics, and studying computations by biological machinery and modeling and

analysis of biological systems.

Research in applied mathematics includes two main themes. The first is the basic study of

applied mathematics and the development of new mathematical tools of general applicability

in science and engineering. The second theme is the use of mathematical techniques to

elucidate phenomena of interest in the natural sciences, such as biology, medicine, and

physics.

Complexity theory deals with classifying computational problems by the amount of

computational resources they require, in particular the number of processing steps and the

memory required for their solution. One recent focus is on the complexity of approximation,

that is, investigating whether efficient approximation algorithms exist for problems that are

inherently complex. Some problems were found to exhibit a threshold phenomenon: for a

particular ratio of approximation there is a transition from inefficient to efficient

approximation. Other work establishes lower bounds on the complexity of models of

computation, including Boolean circuits, communication complexity, and length of proofs.

Cryptography deals with methods for protecting the privacy, integrity, and functionality of

computer and communication systems. The research activities on the area range from

providing firm foundations to the construction of such methods to providing actual

constructions for specific needs. Correspondingly, research in Cryptography ranges from very

abstract (or theoretical) to very applied (or concrete). The full range of these activities is

represented in the Department of Computer Science at the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Recent directions include the design and analysis of practical cryptosystems, the development

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246 Computer Science and Applied Mathematics

of session-key generation based on passwords, the study of new types of zero-knowledge

proofs and of the complexity of secure function evaluation.

Randomness: Finding methods that allow a deterministic process to simulate randomness, and

using randomness for solving computational problems, including computer communication

applications, and protecting privacy in information exchange over computer networks.

Program verification: Research on the automatic verification of computer systems, including

digital circuit design, reactive and real-time systems, and reactive systems. Current research

includes the synthesis of reactive modules, automatic verification of multi-process systems,

and specification methods that combine transition systems with temporal logic.

System specification: Research on languages for the modeling and simulation of complex

reactive systems. Work focuses on visual formalisms, based on topological and geometric

constructs. It includes the semantics and implementation of Statecharts, an object-oriented

version of Statecharts, and a new language for inter-object message specification, called LSC's

(live sequence charts). Related work is on the layout of diagrams, such as undirected graphs

and blob/window hierarchies.

Distributed computing and communication networks: Work in this area includes the design of

efficient communication patterns and efficient transmission of information between sites in a

network.

Vision: Object recognition: developing methods for recognizing objects, such as faces or cars,

from their images.

Aids for the visually impaired: Using computer vision methods to help the visually impaired.

Visually guided navigation: using vision to guide mobile robots and robotic arms to reach a

desired position.

Video analysis and application: using video analysis to handle and manipulate information

from multiple video cameras imaging the same scene (either simultaneously or at different

times). Video enhancement, video indexing and browsing (e.g., over the internet),

compression (for storage and transmission), video-based surveillance and monitoring, and

multi-media applications.

Motor control and robotics: Movement control in biological and robotic systems: studying the

processes of motion planning and control in biological systems and the strategies employed by

the brain in the planning, execution and control of multi-joint movements and different motor

tasks, such as reaching, pointing, grasping and drawing. Studies of movement generation in

flexible biological and robotic arms.

Motor learning and adaptation: Investigating the rules that govern skill acquisition and

learning in humans, and developing learning algorithms and architectures for robotic systems.


Computer Science and Applied Mathematics 247

Movement disorders research: In collaboration with neurologists we investigate and

characterize the motor impairments manifested in neglect patients, Parkinson's disease patients

and other movement disorders.

Scientific computing: Developing new efficient methods for solving equations that appear in

many natural problems. Solving the mathematical equations that describe natural phenomena

in physics, chemistry, and other branches of science, is often a formidable computation task.

We are involved in developing more efficient computational methods with possible

applications in diverse areas, such as fluid dynamics, medical imaging, image processing,

astrophysics, and others. One major direction is the development of hierarchical methods that

approximate the problem in space and time simultaneously on several resolution levels.

Another direction is the analytic estimation of the errors caused in the computation by discrete

computer calculations, and developing methods for controlling such errors.

Dynamical systems, partial differential equations and applications: We develop and use

dynamical systems approach and PDE tools to analyze nonlinear evolution equations which

arise in diverse fields of interest. The applications include fluid mechanics, geophysi