Yael Elbaz-Alon 2006-2007

Institution of PhD:
Hebrew University
Academic Discipline of PhD:
PhD Advisor/s:
Prof. Shimon Schuldiner
Dissertation Topic:
Structure-Function Study of Multidrug Transporters
Year Awarded PhD:
Institution of Postdoc:
Weizmann Institute of Science
Present Institution:
University of California, Davis
Present Academic Position:
Postdoctoral Fellow


Yael Elbaz-Alon is a biochemist and postdoctoral fellow at Prof. Jodi Nunnari’s lab in The University of California, Davis, studying mitochondrial dynamics. Prior to this she did postdoctoral research at the Weizmann Institute of Science in  Dr. Maya Schuldinerb’s lab.

Yael’s PhD thesis “Structure-Function Study of Multidrug Transporters” was written under the supervision of Prof. Shimon Schuldiner in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The thesis researched multidrug transporters – ubiquitous proteins. Based on amino acid sequence similarities, they have been classified into several families. The smallest multidrug resistance proteins belong to the Smr family; they are about 110 amino acids long and extrude various drugs in exchange for protons. EmrE is a multidrug transporter from E. coli that belongs to the Smr family. EmrE serves as a good model system to investigate the mechanism of multidrug transporters and has been extensively characterized.

In her PhD research on EmrE, Yael studied its topology in the membrane and also investigated the role of Tryptophan residues on the function of the protein. She then succeeded in expressing EmrE in a cell-free system, in a fully functional state and in amounts large enough to perform biochemical and structural studies. The results of her work were published in three papers, and Yael presented her work at the prestigious Gordon Conference on Membrane Transport in New Hampshire in June 2007.

Yael has received several awards throughout her academic career, including the Dean of Faculty Fellowship from the Weizmann Institute, a short term EMBO  Fellowship used for a  collaborative  project  at  the  University, the Teva Prize for  Graduate Students and the Golda Meir Scholarship from the Hebrew University. Yael also won the Israel Association of University Woman Scholarship awarded to outstanding women in science.