Ariel Afek 2013-2014

Institution of PhD:
Ben Gurion University
Academic Discipline of PhD:
PhD Advisor/s:
Dr. David Lukatsky
Dissertation Topic:
Design Principles and Consequences of Nonconsensus Protein-DNA Binding
Institution of Postdoc:
Duke & Stanford Universities
Present Institution:
Weizmann Institute of Science
Present Academic Position:
Department of Chemical and Structural Biology

Ariel was born and raised in Jerusalem, and was fascinated by science since early childhood.  Following his army service as a medic, he attended courses at the Open University in such various subjects as anthropology, astronomy, physics and chemistry, before deciding to pursue his chemistry studies full-time at Ben-Gurion University.  He graduated both his BSc and MSc summa cum laude.

During his undergraduate studies, while working on a project as part of Dr. David Lukatsky group, Ariel became familiar with the fascinating multidiscipline area of biophysics and bioinformatics. This field currently offers a unique opportunity to explore and explain basic unknown biological processes and analyze numerous experimental data available in a click of a button.  Together with Dr. Lukatsky and the rest of the group, Ariel developed a new biophysical model, which promises to shed light on the process of protein-DNA binding; he then examined this model in various systems through extensive bioinformatics analysis. So far, Ariel’s work was published in 5 papers in leading biophysical journals, and he received several prizes and scholarships for his achievement in research.

Ariel considers scientific education to be of great national importance. He therefore dedicates much of his time to his job as a teaching assistant in the course “General Chemistry” and a lecturer in “Matlab for Chemists”; for which he was twice awarded the Rector’s and Dean’s prize of outstanding lecturer.

Ariel has participate in the new “Marie Curie” initiative, in which gifted high school students from the Negev area will get the chance and the support to attend first year university courses in Chemistry.

Ariel is currently doing his postdoctoral research in Duke University.