The laboratory studies the building blocks of regeneration — stem cells and the signals that they respond to — using comparative genomics, imaging, and functional gene studies.
Dr. Wurtzel began his studies as a medical student at Tel Aviv University, but felt drawn to doing science, not just absorbing it. His wife suggested that he sit in on a microbiology seminar, which eventually led to his career as a scientist. In the MD-PhD program at the Weizmann Institute of Science, he discovered a novel RNA-regulatory mechanism, the Excludon, which simultaneously activates and represses divergent genetic programs.
Following his doctorate, he decided to pursue his long-time scientific interest in tissue regeneration. In his postdoc at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, he studied how simple organisms, planarian flatworms, can recover from virtually any injury by using tissue regeneration. Through the study of highly regenerative organisms, Dr. Wurtzel’s research aspires to unravel principles of stem cell biology and tissue healing in higher organisms, such as humans, where only certain organs and cell types can regenerate.
Dr. Wurtzel believes that his life experiences have taught him that a diversity of viewpoints is essential for creativity, and that a clear sense of purpose fosters enthusiasm that is key to success. He strives to bring these attitudes to his lab at Tel Aviv University.