How much of cyanobacterial mortality is due to viral infection and how does this influence the population dynamics and diversity of both the cyanobacteria and cyanophages? How do changing environmental conditions impact these interactions? Once a virus meets its host, how does it go about taking over host metabolic processes? What defense mechanisms do the hosts employ against infection? What are the roles and importance of interesting phage genes on the infection process? In our work we combine oceanographic field sampling, laboratory experimentation and state-of-the-art molecular technologies to analyze these interactions.
Debbie Lindell received her BSc, MSc and PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and carried out her MSc and PhD research at the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences (IUI) in Eilat. During her MSc research she found pronounced seasonal succession between different phytoplankton populations in the Red Sea. In her PhD she studied nitrogen utilization in marine cyanobacteria and developed a gene expression method for assessing the nitrogen status of Synechococcus field populations. Lindell carried out postdoctoral research training at MIT in the USA working on the physiological and evolutionary implications of photosynthesis genes in phages that infect the cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus. Lindell is currently a Professor in the Faculty of Biology at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, where she studies host-virus interactions between marine cyanobacteria and cyanophages.