Oded Beja

Research Summary:

Environmental Genomics (Metagenomics/Ecogenomics) is a field that enables us to look at parts of the environment that were, until recently, masked to us. With present estimates suggesting that >99% of the microorganisms in most environments are not amenable to growth in pure culture.

These organisms can, however, be categorized into phylotypes according to their ribosomal RNA (rRNA) genes, which can be amplified directly from environmental DNA extracts, cloned, and sequenced. Although this approach has provided information on the identity and distribution of microbial species, rRNA gene sequences alone do not reveal the physiology, biochemistry, or ecological function of uncultivated microorganisms.

This problem can now be bypassed by accessing the genomes of these microorganisms and identifying protein coding genes and biochemical pathways that will shed light on their physiological properties and ecological function

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2019                                       The Henry Taub Prize for Academic Excellence, Technion-Israel

Institute of Technology.

2010                                       The Ulitzki Prize, Israel Society for Microbiology.

2008                                       The Gutwirth Award, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

2007                                       The Henry Taub Prize, Technion- Israel Institute of Technology.

2005                                       The Moshe Shilo Prize, Israel Society for Microbiology.

2003                                       EMBO Young Investigator Award (EMBO-YIP 2003).

2002                                       New Investigator Award, American Society for Photobiology.

Key Publications
  • Rozenberg, et al. (2020) Lateral gene transfer of anion-conducting channelrhodopsins between green algae and giant viruses. Curr. Biol. 30, 4910-4920.
  • Pushkarev, et al. (2018) A distinct abundant group of microbial rhodopsins discovered using functional metagenomics. Nature 558,595-599.
  • Roitman, et al. (2018) Cyanophage-encoded lipid-desaturases: oceanic distribution, diversity and function. ISME J.12, 343-355.
  • Fridman, et al. (2017) Amyovirus encoding both photosystem-I and II proteins enhances cyclic electron flow in infected Prochlorococcus cells. Nature Microbiol. 2,1350-1357.
  • Sharon, et al.(2009) Photosystem-I gene cassettes are present in marine virus genomes. Nature 461,258-262.
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