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Prof. Iftach Yacoby, PhD - Head of Laboratory 

Iftach was born on a farm in Israel, growing Mangos and Avocados. He completed his B.Sc., M.Sc. in Biology and Biotechnology in 2001 and 2003. He received his PhD in Microbiology and Biotechnology from Tel Aviv University (TAU) in 2007.  As a doctoral student with Itai Benhar he developed a means of immune-targeting photogenic bactria and cancer using filamentous phages.  As a postdoctoral fellow with Shuguang Zhang (2008-2011) at MIT he worked on the development of fusion proteins of hydrogenase.  Back at TAU, Iftach is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Life Sciences, School of Plant Sciences, and Food Security. He teaches undergraduate students the beauty of photosynthesis and metabolic diversity in microbes. In the lab, Iftach enjoys fixing broken equipment that the students constantly provide and helping a bit with every project.

Dr. Oren Ben-Zvi, Senior Scientist & Lab Manager

Oren completed his B.Sc. in Marine Science at Michmoret Maritime College. As an undergraduate Oren studied suspension feeders interaction with the SAR11 marine bacteria. Joining the energy lab at 2013, Oren engineered a novel Hydrogenase-SuperOxide Dismutase fusion protein, capable of catalyzing hydrogen gas at high rates. Oren's Ph.D. thesis interests in employing fusion technology to tackle one of the greatest challenges of photosynthetic hydrogen production, Hydrogenase high sensitivity to molecular oxygen. His work in the energy lab is supported by the Israel Science Foundation (ISF). Oren is first author on our study describing The In-vitro enhancement of FeFe Hydrogenase activity By Superoxide Dismutase in the International Journal of Hydrogen Energy.

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Dr. Tamar Elman, Post Doctoral researcher

Tamar completed her B.Sc in life science at TAU and proceeded to M.Sc in the Cell Research & Biotechnology school, where she explored the field of cell cycle regulation. After discovering the wonders of basic biology mechanisms, she decided to combine her two passions, molecular biology, and the environment. 

Tamar joined the Yacoby group as a Ph.D. candidate, and currently, she is working on targeted protein expression that could serve as a biotechnological application for anoxic niches, ideal for the activity of oxygen-sensitive enzymes. Alongside, she is trying to introduce CRISPR-CAS9, a powerful and essential DNA editing tool, to our algal model for further research and development in the lab.

Sara Jaehnert, PhD Candidate

Sara was born and raised in Berlin, Germany, and lives in Israel since 2014. She originally completed a B.A. in Business and Economics while working at a medical startup, in collaboration with Tel Aviv University. In 2019 and 2020, Sara completed various courses in Biology before starting her M.Sc. in Biotechnology. Today, Sara is a member of the Energy Lab. Her research focuses on increasing in vivo enzyme efficiency in green algae by finding electron hotspots in the photosynthetic machinery.

Jade Marcus, PhD Candidate

Jade finished her B.Sc. at Tel Aviv University in 2021. As an undergraduate student, she studied biology, with a student project focusing on ecology and evolutionary biology to examine host-parasite interactions in crustaceans. After falling In love with marine animals she decided to explore the field of micro algae and joined the energy lab in 2021 as a M.Sc. candidate.
Jade’s research focuses on enhancing the hydrogen production in our model algae by manipulating one of the photosynthetic apparatuses and the electron transport within. In hopes to harness the world's greatest power (the sun) to fuel the world's growing population.

Shira Artman, PhD Candidate

Shira finished her B.Sc. at Tel Aviv University in 2021. As an undergraduate student, she studied biology with an emphasis on biotechnology, with a student project examining the effects of an oncolytic virus on melanoma cells. After learning about the great potential of hydrogen production in microalgae, she decided to explore this field and joined the energy lab in 2021 as a M.Sc. candidate.
Shira's research focuses on inhibiting an enzyme that competes with hydrogenase for electrons, in the hopes of shifting the energy flow toward increased hydrogen production.

Tom Tsur, MSc Candidate

Tom completed her B.Sc. in Marine Science. As an undergraduate student, she studied Marine Biology with an emphasis in Marine Biotechnology. After learning about microalgae and its benefits for green energy, she decided to explore this field and joined the energy lab in 2022 as a M.Sc. candidate.
Tom's study focuses on bypassing the bottlenecks in photosystem II under anaerobic conditions.

Michael Kikoine, MSc Candidate

Michael finished his B.Sc at Tel Aviv University in 2023. As an undergraduate student, he studied a double major in chemistry and biology. After hearing about the potential of biofuels and specifically hydrogen from microalgae, he decided to apply for a student project in the lab in his last year of the bachelor’s degree. Eventually staying after the project now as an M.Sc candidate. Michael’s research focuses on WT microalgae from around the country, screening and profiling outstanding features and metabolites that may have biotechnological applications.

Bar Sutker, MSc Candidate

Bar earned his B.Sc in Agroecology and Biotechnology from the Hebrew University. During his third year, he secured an internship at the Strauss Group, where he served as a Cellular Agriculture Tech Intern under the guidance of the Chief Technology Officer. This invaluable experience not only provided him with hands-on knowledge but also paved the way for him to pursue a role as a process development researcher at one of the world's leading food-tech companies.
After gaining two years of valuable industry experience, Bar made the decision to further elevate his expertise and leadership capabilities. He joined the Yacoby lab to pursue his PhD, aiming to acquire additional tools and knowledge that would empower him to further breakthroughs in the field of Bio-Tech.
Bar’s research objectives: Understanding the factors that activate and switch metabolic pathways in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii green algae, focusing on Biomass production and Hydrogenase protein activation. 



Dr. Yuval Milrad, PhD

Efrat Hurwitz, M.Sc

Dr. Liat Young, PhD - Lab Manager

Dr. Eldad Hoch Postdoc

Dr. Noam Shahr, PhD

Eyal Dafni, M.Sc

Yael Feldman, M.Sc

Shira Schweitzer, M.Sc

Dr. Haviva Eilenberg - Lab Manger

Dr. Nina Kemnaya  PostDoc

Dr. Marina Kozuleva PostDoc

Dr. Iddo Weiner, PhD

Dr. Pini Marco, PhD 

Rinat Semyatich, PhD Candidate

Dr. Oded Liran, Post Doc

Mariana Shifrin, MSc

Dan Alon, MSc

Tal Kadosh, MSc


visiting students

Elisa Boemeke - Technical University of Munich, TUM - Germany​

Meital Avitan - University of California, Berkeley - United States​

Malenie Abrahams - Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT - United States​

Ashlin Rose Michell - New York University, NYU - United States

Lila Bear - McGill University - Canada

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