Microbial Metagenomics Division
What we do
We collaborate and provide services in the filed of microbial ecology and evolution using metabarcoding and metagenomics tools. Our location near the Dead Sea is a front row sit to extreme habitats and their microbial communities. We take an ecological approach towards the study of holobionts, in which all the aspects of an ecosystem are applicable to the host and its symbionts.
Hire Our Services
Metagenomics is a high throughput approach to understand the biological function of a pool of organisms in a sample. We can analyse your sample and predict the biological community and its biological functions in high resolution. We can test the change in the function and taxonomy following treatment or change in conditions. Find out more here.
Our laboratory is proficient in DNA metabarcoding and metagenomics techniques. We are experienced with many sample types including soil, water, or tissue from a range of organisms, and can conduct complex bioinformatic analyses. We can assist all stages of research starting with the experimental design, through data production and analysis, and ending with publication grade figures and data archiving. More information in the services page.
R & D Projects
The Acacia tree is very unique, capable of existing where most trees do not. Dr. Ashraf Al Ashhab studies it's phylosphere bacteria to understand their contribution to the tree's high durability and to harness them for use in agriculture and cosmetics. This is done in collaboration with Dr. Gideon Winters from DSASC in Hatzeva.
The Dead Sea is a unique climatotherapy location. Michael Brandwein, Prof. Zvi Bentwitch and Dr. Amir Szitenberg study the skin microbiome associated with a range of diseases, and the effect of climatotherapy on skin bacteria. This research is in collaboration with Dr. Marco Harari of the DMZ medical center, Prof. Emmilia Hodak from the Department of Dermatology, Rabin Medical Center, and Prof. Zvulunov from The Department of Dermatology, Soroka Medical Center
Root knot nematodes are a major crop pest throughout vast regions of the glob. They are known to interact with soil and plant bacteria to successfully infest plants. Dr. Amir Szitenberg is interested in the microbial soil and plant community associated with intense infestation and in ways to manipulate it in order to inhibit nematode infestation.
Fish are an extremely susceptible cultivar, with elaborate water treatment procedures usually in place. Dr Ashraf Al-Ashhab is interested in the effect of the commonly used UV treatment on the native bacterial community of fish skin, and the role of the skin community in fighting of infections. This research is a collaboration with Galit Sharon DVM, from ILOR in Eilat.
The Dead Sea basin is a unique source of biodiversity, given a range of extreme habitats. We characterize the unique microorganismal biodiversity in water bodies in the region.
Root Knot nematodes are a devastating crop parasite around the world. The Arava protected horticulture is also affected by this pest. Yet, genomic resources and microbiome information in this group is scares. Dr. Amir Szitenberg studies the genome evolution of Root Knot nematodes and their associated bacteria in order to understand their biology.
Who We Are
Delivering an oral presentation on the dynamics of microbial communities associated with root knot nematodes, and contributing to Dave Lunt's talk on sexual and asexual genomes in Meloidogyne, in the Europiean Scoiety of Nematology meeting in Ghent, Begium (find Waldo)
Another preprint showing the interaction of different human activities and land use on the freshwater microbiome. This study was conducted in Germany with collaboration from Haifa University and ADSSC
A new preprint abount eDNA of fish in England's largest lake, Lake Windermere, with Lori J Lawson Handley from the Unversity of Hull, et al.
A new paper is published investigating the soil restoration in heavily compacted arid land after a single tillage effect. A new insight of the microbiome abundance and soil physics following different tillage depth Stavi et., al 2018
Extract your own DNA in less than 5 min. Experimenting with kids, where each one extracted his/her owe DNA from saliva using soap and table salt with some Vodka!
Pi Day! The science fair at DSASC Dead Sea. In a natural selection demo with beans, kids kept picking the ones less contrasting with the background rice colour. Could Darwin have been wrong?!
By the new year, a new article is published showing the significant effect of Dead Sea climatotherapy on human skin microbiome. the result shows the dramatic changes accrue in mycobiome variations, highlighting the importance of Malassezia spp. Read more
A new paper Genome Biology and Evolution on the genome evolution of tropical apomictic root knot nematodes by Amir and collaborators, revealing an interesting mechanism for genetic diversification in the absence of meiosis.
The Dead Sea branch away day, together with DSASC management and administrative team, trying to break the shame barrier. September is almost cool enough to enjoy the outdoors.
Greetings to Dr. Ashraf Al Ashhab on his new publication at the journal of biofouling: Biofouling of reverse osmosis membranes: effects of cleaning on biofilm microbial communities, membrane performance, and adherence of extracellular polymeric substances. Biofouling:Vol. 33, No. 5,pp. 397-409. doi: 10.1080/08927014.2017.1318382
Our lab joined the ISM conference with three posters
Amir Szitenberg, Rivka Alexander Shani and Hana Dimeretz presenting a poster about the community variation in root knot nematode bacteria
Dr. Ashraf Al Ashhab presenting the Fish microbiome project
Michael Brandwein presenting a poster about the detection of cutaneous microorganisms by volatile metabolite signatures
Heavily compacted Arid soil restoration: sampling next to Sede Boker to investigate the effect of various tillage practices on soil restoration, with Dr. Ilan Stavi
Rivka Alexander Shani has a new paper about about the long term HIF-1α transcriptional activation and its essential role in heat-acclimation mediated cross-tolerance in Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol.
We are finally starting to sample soil and root bacterial communities in nematode infested horticulture. Sampling is taking place in Hatzeva, with Shimon Pivonia
We had a visit from gifted students from Shoam and the region. We discussed the importance of bacteria in the world and the delicate balance they are in. As a case study, we examined our own gut microbiome by playing the wonderful Gut Check game, created by David Coil, Erin Johnson and Prof. Jonathan Eisen, from UC Davis.
Congrats to Michael Brandwein on his first review publication, with supervisors Shiri Meshner (DSASC) and Doron Steinberg (HUJI)!
This is a review about microbial biofilms and the human skin microbiome in npj Biofilms and Microbiomes.
A new home for the ADSSC, Dead Sea Branch in Masada. The new building is designed to accommodate the needs of the Microbial Metagenomics Core Facility laboratory workflows, with dedicated environmental samples room, pre and post PCR rooms, bacterial culturing room and a sequencing suite.
A new paper for Amir, together with Dave Lunt (U of Hull), Mark Blaxter (U of Edinburgh), Soyeon Cha, Charlie Opperman and Dave Bird (NC state) about the stochastic nature of transposable elements in GBE