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Leon Anavy 2017-2018

Institution of PhD:
Technion – Israel Institute of Technology
Academic Discipline of PhD:
Computer Science
PhD Advisor/s:
Prof. Zohar Yakhini
Dissertation Topic:
Computational Challenges in Synthetic Biology
Present Institution:
Technion – Israel Institute of Technology
Present Academic Position:
PhD Student

Leon Anavy was born and raised in Neot Hakikar, a small agricultural village just south of the Dead Sea. From a young age, he was fascinated by the miraculous technology in use on his father’s farm, which turned the barren Negev desert into fertile land that yielded exceptional produce. After three years of army service in an intelligence corps technological unit, followed by a short period in the high-tech industry, Leon started his studies at the Technion.

He completed his BSc in industrial engineering and management suma cum laude and continued for an MSc in computational biology. Under the supervision of Prof. Itai Yanai of the Technion’s Biology Department, he developed computational tools and methods for the analysis of high throughput developmental gene expression datasets. He presented the work at international conferences and published in Development. Together with Dr. Michal Levin, Leon led a world-wide collaborative project for the generation of a developmental gene expression atlas for species spanning the animal kingdom and discovered novel evolutionary constraints on animal development. This study was published in Nature.

Today, Leon is studying for a PhD in computer science, under the supervision of Prof. Zohar Yakhini. His work focuses on computational tools and methods used in synthetic biology. One such project involves the use of DNA molecules to store digital information for long-term archiving.  Other aspects of his work address the use of synthetic DNA in studying regulatory mechanisms in living cells, including the sequence determinants of promoter activity and of non-coding RNA.

Leon is also involved in teaching and other academic activities. He has been a senior teaching assistant the Technion’s course in data mining for the past 6 years, and he is involved in the the institute’s data science program. He is also a board member of the Technion Teaching Staff Organization.