The Shlezinger lab uses a multidisciplinary approach to address two broad questions: what are the mechanisms that enable fungi to overcome immune surveillance and cause infectious diseases and, conversely, how the host immune response can protect against fungal pathogens. The projects in the lab address common questions in pathogenesis and immunology at the molecular, cellular and whole-organism level. One of their main research projects focuses on viruses of fungi (mycoviruses). Mycoviruses have been implicated in modified fungal virulence, but our knowledge of the underlying mechanisms is scarce. They recently published an opinion article on this project, which is pending an ERC starting grant (reserve list 2022). The lab generates functional reporters of fungal physiology and applies cross-disciplinary techniques to monitor the outcome of individual fungal cell-host encounters within the complexities of an in vivo environment.
Neta Shlezinger earned her PhD at the George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel Aviv University. From there, she went on to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, where she was one of three recipients of their Postdoctoral Research Award (out of more than 600 postdoctoral fellows).
One of their main research projects of her lab at the Koret School of Veterinary Medicine in the Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Rehovot, focuses on viruses of fungi (mycoviruses). Mycoviruses have been implicated in modified fungal virulence, but our knowledge of the underlying mechanisms is scarce. They recently published an opinion article on this project, which is pending an ERC starting grant (reserve list 2022).
Dr. Shlezinger’s goal is to define the molecular and cellular events, both on the host and the pathogen, that lead to fungal cell death and that are critical to determining host outcomes after fungal infection. Her longstanding interest in host-microbe interactions positions her to build a multidisciplinary program investigating the interplay between innate immunity and fungal pathogens and elucidating the molecular mechanisms that enable fungal pathogens to overcome immune surveillance. She believes that this research direction, which embraces pathogen virulence as a concept that integrates both microbial and host factors, has the potential to yield new insights and novel immunotherapeutics that could potentially help to combat systemic fungal pathogenesis, often a life-threatening condition.