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Welcome to the Michaeli lab

cell biology, biochemistry, and physiology of

plant senescence and ripening



The Michaeli lab is part of the Institute of Postharvest and Food Sciences @Volcani Institute (Agricultural Research Organization), which is situated at the heart of Israel, at the north tip of Rishon LeZion (only 15 minutes drive from Tel-Aviv).

Our hope to delay aging goes back to the dawn of humanity. Plants, especially trees, are masters of extended lifespan, some reaching hundreds and even thousands of years.

Understanding plant aging is critical for our environment, agriculture and food security.


Senescence and Ripening of Plant Produce for Increased Food Security

One of the current grand challenges of humanity is to maintain global food security for an ever-growing population, while global temperatures are rising. On one hand, scientists try to find ways to increase crops yield. However, this is only part of the equation. The other important aspect is the prevention of food loss, which may be achieved by delaying plant produce postharvest senescence and regulating fruit ripening.



Leaf Senescence and Fruit Ripening Regulation by Cellular Degradation Pathways

Biosynthesis (of metabolites, macro-molecules, cellular organelles, etc) is essential for all life forms on earth. In parallel, degradation mechanisms must ensure the dismantling and recycling of these substances for proper cellular homeostasis (energetic balance). When this balance is interrupted, senescence, aging, disease, and eventually death occur. Plants (and other eukaryotes) possess several cellular degradation pathways. Two of these include autophagy and the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS). These pathways exhibit a major role in lifespan modulation. For instance, autophagy deficiency results in earlier plant senescence, whereas constitutive autophagy prolongs lifespan.

We will identify molecular mechanisms that govern fruit ripening and leaf senescence, and harness our knowledge to increase plant produce lifespan (shelf life).


Molecular Biology, Leaf and Fruit Physiology analysis, Biochemistry, Genetics (including gene editing), Proteomics and Live Microscopy Imaging.

Our Experimental subjects:

Arabidopsis (model organism), Rocket leaves (crop), Tomato (crop and model) and Banana fruit (crop).

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Simon Michaeli, Ph.D.

Group leader

Simon obtained his Ph.D. at Tel-Aviv University, where he studied the cross-membrane transport of GABA in Arabidopsis. Simon then joined the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot as a postdoc, where he identified selective autophagy of chloroplast proteins during leaf senescence. To further investigate how viruses evolved to subvert autophagy, simon then moved to France (CNRS Montpellier and Strasbourg). Later, Simon returned to the Weizmann Institute, where he was involved in developing methods for advanced live microscopy imaging of plants and phytoplankton. Today, Simon is a group leader at the Postharvest Department of the Volcani Institute, trying to solve some unknown mysteries of leaf senescence and fruit ripening with the rest of the gang below. Being also a father of three, Simon`s main current hobby is drinking coffee.

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Sharon Alkalai-Tuvia

Lab manager

More info will be added soon...


Dr. Jyoti Devi

Postdoctoral Fellow

A Plant Biotechnologist by profession. I enjoy dipping into stories that connect to my love of science and eventually satisfy end-users. I completed my Ph.D. from CSIR-IHBT Palampur, India, where I worked on adventitious root culture technology to produce industrially important red naphthoquinone pigments from the medicinal plant Arnebia euchroma. At the moment, I am interested in the role autophagy plays in fruit ripening


Dr. Sergey Mursalimov

Guest Scientist

Sergey completed his Ph.D. at the Institute of Cytology and Genetics in Novosibirsk, Russia, where he studied the phenomenon of cytomixis in the male meiosis of higher plants. He has gained experience working as an invited researcher at the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research in Gatersleben, Germany, and the National Institute for Physiological Sciences in Okazaki, Japan. Sergey's primary interest lies in utilizing advanced light and electron microscopic techniques to investigate plant reproduction biology.

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Dr. Pradeep Kumar Pathak

Postdoctoral Fellow

Pradeep completed his Ph.D. at the National Institute of Plant Genome Research, New Delhi, India, where he worked on the role of hypoxia-induced Nitric oxide in plant protection against Pathogens. Currently, Pradeep is interested in deciphering the autophagy-ethylene crosstalk.

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Ebenezer Quandoh

M.Sc. student

EQ completed his BSc in Food Science and Technology from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana, where he worked on isolating and characterizing sorghum starches from different varieties, exploring their potential applications. Currently, EQ is a master's student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and is interested in the effect of autophagy modulators on tomato fruit ripening. In between, EQ likes to play football.


Gil Feinberg

M.Sc. student

More info will be added soon...

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Meryl Getti


Meryl is from Chicago and is currently a fourth-year student at the University of Vermont in the United States studying Biology. She has an interest in ecology and the food industry.

Petri Dishes


Potential student/postdoc

We are constantly looking for curious students to join our group.

If you are interested in doing your M.Sc. or Ph.D. training with us, don't hesitate to contact Dr. Simon Michaeli:



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Dept. of Postharvest Science, Institute of Postharvest and Food Sciences, Volcani Institute, ARO, P.O.B 15159, HaMaccabim Road 68, Rishon LeZion 7505101, Israel.

Tel: +972-(0)3-968-3618


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