Dr. Livnat Afriat-Jurnou

Dr. Livnat Afriat-Jurnou
Lecturer
Principal Investigator
Research Group Leader
PhD
Phone
972-4-7700403
972-556669613
Research Interests:

We are interested in understanding how enzymes evolve new function and biochemical traits, and how are they adopted to their environment. We  implement this knowledge to use directed enzyme evolution to design new tailor-made enzymes with improved characteristics that can be used for health environmental and agricultural applications, projects in the lab include:

1. Study the correlations between Quorum Quenching lactonases biochemical properties (e.g., specificity and stability), their environmental origin, and the ability to modulate bacterial chemical communication.

2. Identify and design new lactonases as anti-microbial treatments against bacterial infections in human and plants.

3. Design and encapsulate pesticide hydrolyzing enzymes.

4. Directed enzyme evolution of plastic degrading enzyme  towards increased stability and activity with Polyethylene terephthalate, PET.

Enzymes are extremely potent biocatalysts capable of enhancing reaction rates by up to 1019-fold (kcat/knoncat).  Despite their great proficiency, enzymes exhibit a remarkable evolutionary adaptability (evolvability). The lab is interested in understanding how enzymes evolve new function, for this we use phylogenetic and structural analysis in combination with directed enzyme evolution. Understanding the structural mechanisms that govern this molecular evolution processes can help us in better engineering tailor made enzymes with new properties for specific environmental, agricultural and industrial applications.

CV

Academic Education
2012-2013   Postdoctoral research Fellow, The laboratory of Prof. Colin Jackson, Research School of Chemistry. The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia 

2006-2012    PhD, May 2012. Thesis advisor: Prof. Dan Tawfik, the Department of Biological Chemistry, the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.

2004-2006     M.Sc. December 2006.   Thesis advisor: Prof. Dan Tawfik, the Department of Biological Chemistry, the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.

2001-2004    B.Sc., 2004, with honors.   Combined degree in Chemistry and Biology, the Faculty of Exact Sciences and the Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Academic Employment
October 2019 - Lecturer, academic senior staff, the faculty of Science and Technology, Tel-Hai Academic College, Israel 

October 2016 - Lecturer, Tel-Hai Academic College, Israel

July 2017 - Principal Investigator, Migal – Galilee Research institute, Israel.

November 2013- April 2017- Research Associate, Migal – Galilee Research institute.       

Teaching
Since 2018 - General Chemistry course, undergraduate, Exact Sciences faculty, Tel Hai College.

Since 2017 - Scientific writing seminar, undergraduate, Biotechnology, Exact Sciences faculty, Tel Hai College.

Since 2017 - General Chemistry Laboratory course, undergraduate, Exact Sciences faculty, Tel Hai College.

2016 - Organic Chemistry laboratory, undergraduate, Exact Sciences faculty, Tel Hai College.

2016 - General Chemistry academic course in "Academia" program in Galiliom-Tel Hai College.

2015 - Chemistry and Biotechnology, Sidney Warren Science Education Center for Youth, Tel Hai College.

Awards and Honors
Tel Aviv University, the Faculty of Life Science, Dean’s List, 2003.

Feinberg Graduate School of the Weizmann Institute of Science, PhD Scholarship, 2006-2011.

Awards and Honors
Tel Aviv University, the Faculty of Life Science, Dean’s List, 2003.
Feinberg Graduate School of the Weizmann Institute of Science, PhD Scholarship, 2006-2011.

Scientific Publications

Directed Enzyme Evolution and Encapsulation in Peptide Nanospheres of Quorum Quenching Lactonase as an Antibacterial Treatment against Plant Pathogen

David Gurevich , Shlomit Dor , Mayan Erov , Yoav Dan , Jehudith Clara Moy , Orly Mairesse , Mery Dafny-Yelin , Lihi Adler-Abramovich , Livnat Afriat-Jurnou
ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces
2021

Predicting nitroimidazole antibiotic resistance mutations in Mycobacterium tuberculosis with protein engineering

M. Lee B.M, Almeida D.V., Afriat-Jurnou L, Aung H.L., Forde B.M., Hards K., Pidot S.J, Ahmed H.F., A., Mohamed E., Taylor M.C., West N.P, Stinear T.P., Greening C., Beatson S.A., Cook G.M., Nuermberger E.L., Jackson C.J.
Plos Pathogen
2020

New homologues of Brassicaceae water?soluble chlorophyll proteins shed light on chlorophyll binding, spectral tuning and molecular evolution.

Prabahar, V., Jurnou, L. A., Paluy, I., Peleg, Y., & Noy, D.
Febs Journal 2019 Pages febs.15068
2019

"Directed evolution of an endoinulinase from Talaromyces purpureogenus toward efficient production of inulooligosaccharides"

Afriat-Jurnou L, Cohen R, Paluy I, Ben-adiva R, Yadid I.
Biotechnology progress
2018

The role of protein dynamics in the evolution of new enzyme function

Campbell E, Kaltenbach M, Correy GJ, Carr PD, Porebski BT, Livingstone EK, Afriat-Jurnou L, Buckle AM, Weik M, Hollfelder F, Tokuriki N, Jackson CJ
Nature Chemical Biology 2016
2016

Sequence-Structure-Function Classification of a Catalytically Diverse Oxidoreductase Superfamily in Mycobacteria

Ahmed FH, Carr PD, Lee BM, Afriat-Jurnou L, Mohamed AE, Hong NS, Flanagan J, Taylor MC, Greening C, Jackson CJ
J Mol Biol. 2015 Volume 6;427(22):3554-71
2015

Diminishing returns and tradeoffs constrain the laboratory optimization of an enzyme.” Nature communication

Tokuriki N, Jackson CJ, Jurnou-Afriat L, Tawfik DS
Nature communications
2012

Reconstructing a missing link in the evolution of a recently diverged phosphotriesterase by active-site loop remodeling

Afriat-Jurnou L; Jackson CJ; Tawfik DS.
Biochemistry 2012 Volume 51 Pages 6047-6055
2012

Conformational sampling, catalysis, and evolution of the bacterial phosphotriesterase.

Jackson CJ, Foo JL, Tokuriki N, Afriat L, Carr PD, Kim HK, Schenk G, Tawfik DS, Ollis DL.
PNAS
2009

The latent promiscuity of newly identified microbial lactonases is linked to recently diverged phosphotriesterase. Biochemistry.

Afriat L, Roodveldt C, Manco G, Tawfik DS
Biochemistry
2006