Yael Mandel-Gutfreund

Research Interests: 

Our main goal is to understand the underlying principles of co-regulation in the gene expression pathway in human cells. Specifically we are interested in deciphering the rules of nucleic acid (DNA and RNA) recognition and to develop tools towards identifying novel proteins and  targets which are involved in  the  pathway.

Main projects in the lab:

Cross talk and cross-regulation in the gene expression pathway: We are employing network approaches to study the co-regulation between splicing and transcription regulation in human cells. Overall, our results imply that regulatory proteins in the cell are controlled preferentially by the specific regulation they conduct.

Studying the role of  DNA methylation in the gene body: We are investigated the relationship between DNA methylation and histone modifications at intragenic exons and the exon expression in Human tissue culture and primary cells. We have identified a group of hypo-methylated exons widespread in the genome that have a unique epigenetic signature positively correlated with expression.

The unique features of binding motifs: Recent studies suggest that on average 99.8% of transcription factor binding motifs in the human genome are unbound by the respective transcription factor. In our lab we are investigating what distinguishes a “binding motif” from another similar motif which does not bind protein within the same genomic environment.

Identifying functional sites in proteins and RNA using a multilevel alphabet: We have developed a new approach that translates protein and RNA sequences  into a new alphabets which considers  simultaneously sequence and structure information. We have employed the new alphabets to identify enriched sequence/structure motifs in proteins and protein-RNA interaction sites.

The role of RNA conformations in RNA-protein recognition: We are studying the role of RNA conformation on  protein-RNA recognition. Specifically we have examined the contribution of unique and rare nucleotide conformations for specific recognition of RNA via  the RRM domain.

Developing novel geometric approach for quick detection of binding interfaces: We are developing novel geometric based approaches for  representation of the protein surfaces that enables rapid and accurate identification of surface similarity and interface complementarity.

Are there any open positions in the lab?

Open positions for excellent and enthusiastic PhD/MSc students or Postdocs with the appropriate background are available.

Lab website: http://yaelab.technion.ac.il/