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Research in the Mousssaieff laboratory

We are studying lipid metabolic perturbations during development and pathological processes.

Metabolic shifts during early embryonic development

We are studying the metabolism of the early developing embryo using cell models and clinical samples from IVF patients, with the following Aims:


Aim 1. Characterizing the early differentiation of blastocyst-derived stem cells.

The trophectoderm envelopes the embryo, and later becomes the placenta. It plays a critical role in providing the embryo the environment required for development.

We are studying the lipid metabolism of embryonic stem cells, derived from the blastocyst inner cell mass vis-à-vis their extra-embryonic counterparts - trophoblast stem cells, focusing on the metabolic signatures of early differentiation of the two cell types.


Aim 2. Unveiling the involvement of lipid metabolism in the epigenetic landscape of PSCs, and their cell fate decisions.

Aim 3. 

Characterize the effects of maternal metabolism on the pre-implantation embryo.

For this Aim, we have been studying maternal and embryonic human samples, as well as the corresponding cell systems.

In collaboration with Dr. Assaf Ben Meir (Hadassah Medical Center), we collect human maternal samples from IVF patients: follicular fluid, granulosa cells and blood samples, as well as IVF media samples. We aim to use the lipid composition of these samples to get important insights into maternal and embryonic metabolic state, and correlate them to embryo developmental potential.

Cancer metabolic heterogeneity

By utilizing the protocol we developed for the metabolic analysis of cell populations within a tissue, we study the metabolic profiles of different cancer cell populations in collaboration with professor Eli Keshet (HUJI).


Metabolic interactions of bacteria and host

​We are analyzing the changes in metabolic and especially lipid composition upon interaction with mammalian host cells, and investigating the roles of these metabolic shifts in bacteria function. In collaboration with Profs Ilan Rosenshine and Sigal Ben-Yehuda (HUJI).

Taken together, we are taking a new approach to address fundamental questions in development, cancer progression, aging and bacteria-host communication, based on shifts in metabolic, and in particular, lipid metabolic networks. 

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