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The MRB lab

We study molecular ecology of aquatic microbes

Life on Earth depends on microbes, especially those that live in the hydrosphere. These microscopic organisms catalyze global geochemical cycles, making life sustainable. They sequester carbon, produce vast biomass, and help larger organisms to gain nutrition from much otherwise-inaccessible food sources through symbioses. They produce bioactive compounds. Microbes affect and are being affected by global climate change. We focus mainly on microbes that can assimilate inorganic carbon or methane, especially those that fuel the astonishing deep-sea chemosynthetic habitats.

The Team

We are a young lab at IOLR, Haifa, Israel. We are looking for talented Ph.D. and M.Sc. students.

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Dr. Maxim Rubin-Blum

Head, the MRB lab

Researcher at the IOLR

Research interests:
- Molecular ecology of marine microbes
- Marine animal-microbe symbioses
- Microbial degradation of fossil hydrocarbons (gas and oil)
- Carbon fixation
- Deep-sea ecosystems


Yana Yudkovsky

Lab technician

Specialist in molecular biology,

In charge of the molecular lab.

Yana is also a specialist in DNA barcoding of biota in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea


Lina Ratinskaya

M.Sc. student

I am joint M.Sc. student with Dr. Tal Luzzatto Knaan, the head of the Functional Metabolomics lab @The Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences (CSMS), University of Haifa.


Lyuba Shmakova

Biolgist, protist specialist

Specialist in the biology of protists and small metazoans.

Revived permafrost microbes!!!


Amit (Barkai) Yanai

M.Sc. student

Fascinated by the world of microbes.

I study the rare bacteria that fix inorganic carbon via more than one metabolic pathway.

In my spare time, I love to kitesurf.

Co-advisor: Prof. Laura Steindler,

University of Haifa


Tal Zvi Kedem

Ph.D. student

I am studying deep-sea chemosynthetic ecosystems offshore Israel. I look into trophic webs and animal-bacteria symbioses.

Co-advisor: Prof. Dan Tchernov, 

The University of Haifa


Zoya Harbuzov

Marine biologist

Marine molecular biology specialist.

Our representative at scientific cruises.

A meiofauna taxonomist. Can extract DNA/RNA from any life form. 


Stas Malavin

Ph.D. student/bioiformatician

Stas uses omics and bioinformatics to study chemosynthetic habitats. One of his quests is to look for the eukaryotes in these systems. Stas previously worked on permafrost, retrieving a 25K years old rotifer. 


Dr. Coco Koedooder

Postdoctoral researcher

I am interested in the interactions between microbes, asking how such interactions can affect iron uptake mechanisms and metabolism.

I focus on Red SeaTrichodesmium populations.

Co-advisor: Prof. Yeala Shaked

Hebrew University of Jerusalem


Ximena Dubinsky-Velasquez

Ph.D. student

Ximena is a Ph.D. student in the lab of Dr. Tamar Gut-Haim, who collaborates with us in the field of molecular ecology in petroleum spills.


Dr. Sophi Marmen

Alumni PostDoc

Sophi studied the deep-sea gas seeps offshore Israel, developing methods for DNA/RNA extraction from low-biomass samples, as well as library preparation.

Now Sophi is a project manager at LabGuru


Avia Ben-Ishai

Alumni M.Sc. student

I study the response of microbial populations to a gas condensate spill in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

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