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The good bacteria in the body can be the basis for new medicine

This is what Dr. Naama Geva Zatorski, winner of the UNESCO-L'Oréal Prize for Women in Science, says about the postdoctoral work she is going to do at Harvard

Dr. Naama Geva-Zatorski
Dr. Naama Geva-Zatorski

What is the therapeutic effect of the good bacteria in the body that live with us and complement our immune system, this will be the subject of the postdoctoral research conducted by Dr. Naama Geva-Zatorski at Harvard University. Geva-Zatorsky recently completed her third degree at the Weizmann Institute, and this week she won a generous scholarship of NIS 50 that will help her with her post-doctoral studies at the prestigious American University - the UNESCO-L'Oréal Scholarship for Women in Science.

"I believe that in the future it will be possible to use the products of these bacteria or even the bacteria themselves for new medicine - a complement to existing medicines." Dr. Zatorski explains the subject of her choice in Prof. Dennis Kasper's laboratory at Harvard.

"There are 10 times more bacterial cells than our cells in the body. There are 10 to 13 human cells and 10 to 14 bacterial cells. This is possible because a bacterial cell is about one micron in diameter compared to a human cell that is between 10 and 20 microns in diameter and in the case of nerve cells it can even reach a length of meters. We acquire the bacteria from the moment we are born from our first exposures, from the birth canal, from exposure to family members and in general from exposure to the world that all contains bacteria. The bacteria live in symbiosis with us - for example, they supplement our digestion, breakdown products of food that we are unable to digest, they digest for us and in return produce proteins that contribute to us. The laboratory I go to discovered a polysaccharide produced by one of the good bacteria that can cure and prevent intestinal diseases."

Is this related to your dissertation?
Dr. Geva-Zatorsky: "Doctoral research and postdoctoral research are not the same. In my doctoral research, I researched cancer in Prof. Uri Alon's laboratory. In teamwork with several colleagues from the laboratory, including Dr. Ariel Cohen, Dr. Eran Aden, Dr. Erez Dekal, Dr. Ron Milo, Dr. Alex Siegel, Ms. Tamar Danon and Dr. Lydia Cohen, we set up a system where you can track proteins inside cancer cells while they are alive. In fact we acted like a fly on the wall of the cell, we watch what is happening inside the cell without disturbing the cell. With this system we characterized the mechanism of action of one of the anti-cancer drugs whose analogues are used in the clinic.
In a second study that examined the dynamics of the proteins in response to drugs and their combinations, we developed a mathematical formula with which it is possible to predict how cocktails of drugs will affect the cells and the proteins while saving experiments.

"I hope that with the insight and systemic thinking that I acquired in Prof. Uri Alon's laboratory, I will be able to contribute to the research field of symbiotic bacteria (the good bacteria), especially in the digestive system. I can already see from conversations with the future supervisor that we complement each other in our ways of thinking. I hope to come with new ways of thinking and with new glasses, to explore the ecosystem of the good and bad bacteria and us (the host) - what is the interplay between all these factors and perhaps also to discover new, natural molecules produced by the good bacteria that can contribute to us.. "

In her lecture on stage, Dr. Geva-Zatorsky, a mother of two, dedicated the challenge of scientific work combined with parenthood and thanked her husband and the rest of her family, Prof. Alon, as well as the Weizmann Institute, which provided a supportive and equal environment, enabling the integration of career and family - both in terms of infrastructure such as breastfeeding rooms in the wards , kindergartens inside the institute, extended maternity leave. And also thanks L'Oreal and UNESCO for the scholarship that encouraged her and helped her continue her career.

More on the subject on the science website


12 תגובות

  1. Hahaha.. a supportive and equal environment. The main thing is that the word "husband" is used here. Who needs enemies?

    I don't understand the women who agree to all this male language and these male surnames.

    If you can even call them women..

  2. Wins a scholarship for women in science and still has a super masculine, long and tiring last name.
    Geva = a man's name.
    Zatorski = a man's name plus ski-masculine suffix instead of ska. That is, masculinity times 3.

    I don't understand how women go with so many masculine surnames with masculine meaning that perpetuate men.

    You will never find a man with a last name like "Bat Sarah" or a feminine ending/Ska, but only a woman with a last name like "Ben David".
    And today it is even worse. This is Dana Davidovski, son of Moshe Mitelman (6 masculine elements in the long and exhausting last name)

    If it's already a long and tiring name, then replace the last name with the first name of the mother, grandmother or any other feminine/neutral name.

    The main thing is that they win scholarships...

  3. to AR
    More and more it turns out that an environment that is too "clean" is not good for a person. More or less known cases are the fashion that was practiced in Sweden, to filter the air at home, and within a few years it turned out that the number of asthma cases among children jumped amazingly.
    Suspicions are becoming more and more established that people who drive too clean habits are more exposed to auto-immune diseases in which the body attacks itself.
    I assume that a person in his current condition would not be able to live at all without bacteria, while a theoretical, future person, engineered to live without bacteria, would be a completely different race.

  4. Stunning and very interesting and good luck. The dichotomous division into good and bad hurts me a little
    I am sure that someday we will find a bacteria that mostly does us harm but also a little good, and we will learn the true (and sometimes "bad") face of the "good" bacteria

  5. It's actually an interesting idea
    Especially if we pull him further in the direction of adapting to new food sources. One example is the transition to a plant-based diet of carnivores or omnivores. It is several orders of magnitude easier to get the evolution of bacteria that break down cellulose than the evolution of cows that break down cellulose.

  6. AR It has been proven that babies raised in a sterile environment developed an extremely shallow immune system, which caused them difficulties throughout their lives and increased their chances of complications from simple diseases. It's really not the smartest thing you want to do, and doctors today even recommend not preventing children from coming into contact with common bacteria.

  7. Is it ever possible for a hypothetical situation where the human body will be completely sterile / germ-free?
    For example, if a person lives on the moon from birth to death, will the amount of bacteria in his body be significantly lower than in Israel.
    In other words, who needs all these bacteria...without favors

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