Environmental stresses, Abiotic stresses, Vesicle trafficking, RabA small GTPases, Programmed Cell Death (PCD), Reproductive Biology, Double Fertilization
About the Lab
The deteriorating growth conditions caused by global climate change negatively affects many plant species, including staple crops, imposing a major threat for global food production. Therefore, studying how plant responds to environmental stress is of utmost importance.
In my lab we mainly study the ways plants cope with drought, salinity and heat stress. We are interested in the cellular aspects of these responses, in particular the involvement of the vesicular trafficking machinery in mediating stress tolerance. We have shown how manipulations of Rab7 and RabA (Rab11) small GTPases as well as other trafficking members such as VAMP7 SNAREs docking proteins, increase plant resistance to these stress-causing conditions. We are also interested in cell death processes and how exactly autophagy mediated programmed cell death is regulated during extreme conditions of heat, salinity and drought.
In addition, we study sexual reproduction processes such as stigma-pollen and pollen tube-ovule interactions. We study the ways these interactions, which are critical for proper seed set and fruit development, are affected by abiotic stress.
The cellular responses to stress are studied through advanced microscopy techniques. In parallel, we use other experimental approaches such as transcriptomics, functional genetics and whole organism physiology.
We carry out our research in the model organism Arabidopsis thaliana as well as its closest relative from the Brassicaceae family - Camelina sativa. We also perform outdoor research and study other plant species such as Malus domestica (apple) and Pyrus communis (pear), which are important regional crops.
We believe that our various findings can reveal novel tools that can contribute to increasing global food security.
Ph.D. 2008, Department of Plant Sciences, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem
M.Sc. 2001, Department of Life Sciences, Ben-Gurion University in the Negev
B.Sc. 1995, Faculty of Agriculture, The Hebrew University, Rehovot
Academic and research experience
2008-2013 Postdoctoral fellow - the Department of Plant Biology, University of California - Davis.
2013 – Present Head of Plant Development and Adaptation laboratory MIGAL, Lecturer at Tel-Hai Academic College