Bar-Ilan University

Lab Research Areas

The lab focuses on the proverbial saying, ”You are what you (and your microbiome) eat.”

In other words, we study how diet affects gut microbiome composition and activity, which in turn modulates the host physiology. In the last two decades, the roles of several microbial factors were discovered in regulating the host metabolism and immune system, including bacterial-specific metabolites, such as SCFA, indoles and secondary bile acids. Our researchers study how specific dietary components interact with gut resident bacteria in mouse models for human diseases, and gnotobiotic models (e.g. germ-free mice), to modulate the activity of bacterial proteins, resulting in changes to the host. For example, hydrogen sulfide, a gaseous molecule produced as a by-product of dietary cysteine degradation, can affect the activity of bacterial and host proteins via post-translational modification.

Our goal is to elucidate the effects of these molecules on both the bacterial and host cells.

Scholar Profile

In his lab in the Faculty of Life Sciences at Bar-Ilan University, Dr. Lior Lobel investigates the molecular mechanism by which dietary components interact with gut microbes to regulate host physiology, a top priority for colon-related diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer. Dr. Lobel and his researchers are at the forefront of cancer and microbiome science, hoping to discover novel mechanisms of diet-microbe-host interactions that could be harnessed for human diagnostics and therapeutics.

LIOR_LOBELLior Lobel earned his PhD in the Argentina Honors Program for Outstanding Students in the Direct PhD Track at Tel Aviv University. His doctoral research, in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, focused on host-microbe interactions, a topic he continues to pursue. For his PhD thesis, Lior discovered new metabolic cues that alert the model pathogen, Listeria monocytogenes, of its invasion into a host and induce the expression of virulence genes. As part of his research, he traveled to Tufts University in Boston, learning several techniques that he successfully implemented at the TAU lab. The visit initiated full collaboration between the two labs and led to a joint paper and National Institutes of Health grant.

Dr. Lobel’s postdoctoral research, at the T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard, examined how diet regulates gut microbial activity, affects host physiology, and shapes immunity. Dr. Lobel discovered a novel host-microbe interaction at a posttranslational level, induced by diet, that affects kidney function and can contribute to chronic kidney disease. Another aspect of his research there, supported by a Cancer Research Institute (CRI) postdoctoral fellowship, looking into effect of diet-microbe interactions leading to enhance anti-tumor immunity, could eventually be used to enhance immunotherapy in cancer patients.

Dr. Lobel served as a regional manager for ScienceAbroad, an organization that supports Israeli scientists outside of Israel. There he was introduced to Zuckerman representatives, and he is pleased to continue to be part of strengthening the academic link between Israel and the US.

Alon Fellowship for integration of outstanding scientists
Principal Investigator
Dr. Lior Lobel
Zuckerman Faculty Scholar
Established 2021