“Science Talk over the counter” led by faculty PI Oded Beja – “Bacteria, metagenomics and solar energy harvesting”
19/12/2022 19:00
Prof. at the Faculty of Biology Oded Beja


  • What are “Light Sensing” proteins and how were they discovered in the waters of the Sea of Galilee, for the first time since 1971?
  • What is “harvesting solar energy”, what is the connection to photosynthesis, and how are these indirectly related to the visual system of various animals and also humans?
  • What are rhodopsins? What are bacteria and how is the color “deep purple” related to them?

The main way through which energy enters the food webs on Earth is with the help of protein systems that absorb energy from sunlight. Beja laboratory investigates the various systems with which microorganisms “harvest” energy from sunlight to satisfy their energy requirements.

In the lecture, I will talk about new families of light-sensing proteins (rhodopsins) that were discovered in the waters of the Sea of Galilee. Proteins that are responsible for harvesting solar energy (using solar energy to create chemical energy). Processes carried out by various microbes. I will describe the role of proteins in absorbing light of different colors and turning it into energy available to cells.

In the lecture, I will also talk about the field of “metagenomics”. A method that allows us to look at the genomes of bacteria and viruses without the need to grow them.
Usually, when you want to study the genomes of bacteria and small creatures – you are required to grow them in what is called a “pure culture” in the laboratory. And since 98% of those marine microbes cannot be grown in the laboratory, you have to find other ways to look at their genomes and make predictions about what they do for a living in the sea.

location: The Nola Sox Bar, 4 Shalom Aleichem St., Ziv Center Haifa.

Entry is free, you must reserve places in advance here in the form

The lecture would be given in Hebrew.