Associate Professor, Department of Human Biology, Faculty of Natural Sciences
University of Haifa, Israel
In my laboratory I supervise graduate students for Ph.D and for M.Sc. thesis and the recent ongoing projects related to these fields include:
1. My lab is interested in structure - function studies of Thyrotropin (TSH); identifying protein regions which are determinants for hormone specific post-translational modifications and receptor binding/biologic activity, using site-directed mutagenesis, gene fusion and mutant cell lines. Using the molecular biology techniques I will try to study the role of oligosaccharides in the structure and function of thyrotropin (TSH). This may expand our understanding in the role of oligosaccharides in the hormone function and may lead to the development of new agonists and antagonists.
2. My lab is interested in identification of pre-apoptotic factors and characterization of their molecular pathways in human cancer cells. Recently we have concentrated in indole-derivatives, derivatives that are exist in cruciferous vegetables, natural antioxidants, medicinal plants and medicinal mushrooms. The main goal of these studies is to elucidate such a novel and powerful natural compounds that can be used as an adjuvant nutritional therapy in preventing or a delaying the progression of cancer. The efficacy of these compounds will be tested in vitro using human cancer cells and in vivo using animal models. Moreover, the molecular mechanism of action of these factors will be studied in the cells using CHIP DNA analysis. These studies may lead to better understanding the biology of human cancer and may lead to the development of new strategies for prevention and treatment of human cancer.
3. The role of hormones in cancer development; studying the role of the indolic melatonin hormone in prevention of breast and prostate cancer. Over the last 120 years, increased exposure of humans to light at night imposed a long photoperiod of about 16-18 hours of light all year long, thus contributing to a of 'loss-of-seasonality'. Recent studies have linked disruption of normal circadian rhythms, via exposure to LAN, to the development of cancer. The indolic hormone melatonin (MLT) , considered as the universal regulator of biological rhythms, was found to have oncostatic and anti-proliferative effects in both in vitro and in vivo studies. Additionally, low levels of MLT may indirectly act to increase cancer risk by modulating the secretion of hormones implicated in carcinogenesis. In the current research we will determine the impact of 'loss-of-seasonality' due to long term exposure to light at night, experienced by the majority of people in the industrialized world, on the development of breast and prostate cancer in animal models. Moreover, the impact of MLT on the uptake of chemotherapeutic drugs (e.g. tamoxifen) administered during the day or night will be examined. Taken together, the results of our studies are expected to facilitate the formulation of guidelines regarding sensible use of illumination that will minimize the current risks associated with LAN without compromising our ability to work and live in a safe environment.