The Elkouby lab is interested in understanding the cellular mechanisms of oocyte differentiation and ovarian morphogenesis in the developing ovary, during zebrafish postembryonic development. Fascinating and highly dynamic cellular organization, coordination of cellular compartments, and novel cytoskeletal arrangements and regulation, underly these mechanisms. Adequate execution of these is essential for fertility and embryonic development. Our research will help explaining how germ cell developmental defects in humans lead to infertility, ovarian disease, and germ cell tumors in adolescences and adults.
Some of the projects in the lab include:
- The role and regulation of the centrosome in oocyte symmetry-breaking.
- Mechanisms of cellular polarization by phase-separation of mRNP granules.
- Mechanisms of a unique cytoskeletal cable system in the cytoplasm that mechanically regulates meiotic chromosomal pairing in the nucleus.
- The coordination of nuclear chromosomal pairing and cytoplasmic polarization by Sun/KASH proteins and microtubules at the nuclear envelope.
- Morphogenesis of the germline cyst, a conserved cellular organization of early oocytes, by a specialized cytokinesis program.
- Mechanisms of germline stem cells maintenance and their production of oocyte lineages.
To address these questions we use a variety of genetic tools like transgenesis, CRISPR/Cas9 mutagenesis, and Cre-based technologies for conditional manipulations. We combine these with quantitative confocal microscopy, 4-dimentioanl live time-lapse imaging of cultured ovaries, and other live manipulations like FRAP and laser-ablation. In addition, we utilize proteomics and single-cell technologies to identify new regulators, and molecularly describe oogenesis and ovarian development.
We are a group of currently 12 vibrant researchers at all levels with a common passion for cell and developmental biology. Our group is international, with multi-cultural members from Israel, USA, and India, and all lab communication is in English. Our lab is well equipped, including our own Zeiss LSM880 confocal microscope, and a state-of-the-art fish facility.
We are looking for highly motivated post-doctoral researchers who share our passion for cell and developmental biology, are experienced in studying animal models in related fields, and have excellent record. Demonstrated skills in image analysis are advantageous.