Ronen Zaidel-BarNational University of Singapore, Singapore F1000 Faculty Member (since 09 September 2009)
Principal Investigator, Mechanobiology Institute Singapore
Assistant Professor, Department of Bioengineering, National University of Singapore
EDUCATION AND BACKGROUND:
Dr Ronen Zaidel-Bar obtained his first degree in biology from the Open University of Israel, and in 2000 went on to do his PhD at the Weizmann Institute of Science. It is there he started thinking of cells as little machines and caught the passion for live-cell imaging. Working with Professor Geiger and Professor Zvi Kam he discovered important stages in the assembly of focal complexes and their maturation into focal adhesions and uncovered the roles of force and tyrosine phosphorylation in this process. Using high resolution live-cell imaging under shear flow he elucidated novel molecular mechanisms involved in mechanotransduction.
At the end of his stay in Weizmann, collaborating with Shalev Itzkovitz from Professor Uri Alon'’s lab, he undertook a more holistic approach, constructing and analyzing the “integrin adhesome”, a systems biology view of cell-matrix adhesion.
For his postdoc Dr Zaidel-Bar wanted to continue exploring the molecules and mechanics of cell adhesion, but in the context of a whole organism. In 2006 he joined the lab of Professor Jeff Hardin at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where he applied genetics, as well as 4D embryo imaging, to the study of C. elegans development.
After acquiring the skills and way of thinking of developmental geneticists, Dr. Zaidel-Bar focused his attention on the regulation of epidermal cell-cell junction, and in particular on a unique protein that can curve membranes and regulates junction architecture.
Dr Zaidel-Bar’'s interest in “the big picture” continued during his postdoc, when he published papers on the evolution of complexity and on switches in the integrin adhesome.
In 2010, after being awarded a prestigious fellowship from the National Research Foundation of Singapore, Dr. Zaidel-Bar started his own research group at the Mechanobiology Institute in the National University of Singapore.
Dr. Zaidel-Bar’s interest lies in the cytoskeleton, cell adhesion receptors, and the complex structures that connect the two (focal adhesions and adherens junctions). In particular, he is interested in how these protein networks are assembled, structured, and regulated to allow a cell to respond to its environment and promote cell shape changes, such as those taking place during development.
Dr Zaidel-Bar‘s goal is to understand the dynamics of morphogenesis across molecular, cellular and tissue levels. To this end, the Zaidel-Bar lab employs a variety of model systems from supported lipid bilayers through cells to whole organisms. Employing genetics and proteomics to discover novel components and advanced imaging, coupled to perturbations, for functional analysis, the group is busy at work assembling piece by piece the “cadherin adhesome”.
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