16 June 2021

Completed her first, second, and third degrees at the Faculty of Biology
Currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Shenhav Cohen lab

What is your research about?

I’m part of Prof. Shenhav Cohen’s lab, where I’m studying mechanisms of proteolysis (breakdown of proteins) in muscle atrophy. Muscle atrophy, or muscle waste, is the loss of skeletal muscle mass and contraction ability due to increased breakdown of proteins, particularly contractile proteins. This can be caused by aging, starvation, denervation, and various medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, and heart failure. Therefore, it’s important to understand and figure out how these proteins are broken down. Better understanding of proteolysis processes will allow us to identify potential therapeutic targets for treating muscle atrophy.

What is your history with the lab, and how did you end up where you are today?

“End up” is a very good way to put it.

I was planning to finish my B.Sc. in Biology and then go to medical school; I had no intention to proceed to M.Sc. But toward the end of my studies, I got accepted for a research project in Prof. Shenhav Cohen’s lab, and there I discovered the world of biological research. I wanted to join Shenhav’s lab because of an elective course she taught me, called Metabolism and Human Disease. I found the course fascinating, and when I started at her lab, I realized her research was no less amazing. That research experience is what made me choose to continue to a master’s degree, and then to an accelerated Ph.D. program which I’ve completed just recently, and now I’m a postdoctoral fellow at the same lab.

Why did you choose the Faculty of Biology?

Like I said, my initial intention was to study Medicine, and I chose Biology as a preliminary subject. The reason I chose to go to the Technion was a combination of geographical proximity and the knowledge that the Technion was a prestigious world-renowned academic institution.

3 tips for balancing personal life and professional life as a postdoc?

  1. Don’t work on Saturdays.
  2. Research can be very demanding, but you shouldn’t give up the other things you like and care about. Proper time management will help you integrate them with your professional life.
  3. Proportions and prioritizing – work is important, and so is personal life. Sometimes you need to put more time and effort in your work, so that you may feel you hardly have any personal life at all, and sometimes the other way around – something important is going on in your personal life, which also affects your working ability. It’s important to take things in the right proportion, remember that hardships are temporary and that you have a goal, and not to freak out when things don’t go as planned along the way.

Any funny stories from your current research?

I suddenly feel like our research is super-serious, because I can’t think of any funny stories. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have fun or laughs in the lab! One of the best things in our lab, which hasn’t changed in all my years there, is that I’m always surrounded by amazing people who are really fun to work with. And if you want to hear our inside laughs and jokes, you’ll have to join the lab.

Any tips for new students?

I have 2 tips that I always give new students who start their undergraduate studies at the Technion: One – lower your expectations! If you’ve been a straight A student in high school, it probably won’t be the same here. You will start seeing marks you’d never seen before. It’s OK! It happens to everyone. And two – find some friends to study with! I don’t think I would’ve finished my degree, or at least finished it the way I did, without the friends I’ve made along the way. It will be much easier and much more fun.

 

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