Research Area / Fields

  1. Signaling pathways in host-pathogen relationships in fungal diseases of plants.

Short Bio

Benjamin A. Horwitz was born in 1955. He is a professor at the Faculty of Biology at the Technion – Israel Institute of Biology. Benny received his BSc from Tel Aviv University in 1976 and PhD in 1984 from the Weizmann Institute of Science. After postdoctoral work at Syracuse University (Department of Physics) and the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Plant Biology, he joined the Faculty (then Department) of Biology at Technion in 1987. Trained as a photobiologist, his PhD research sought to identify blue light receptors by a combination of genetic and spectroscopic tools. The unifying theme of his work at Technion is to unravel the molecular signaling pathways by which fungi sense their environment; for pathogens this includes the presence of a host. Fungal pathogens of plants cause huge losses to agriculture. Moreover, the principles of fungal interactions with their hosts holds medical promise. Building on these motivations, with a pathogen of maize as a genetic model system, the Horwitz lab elucidated redox sensing by a dedicated transcription factor unique to fungi. Current interests in the lab are the molecular details of stress sensing in fungal-plant interactions. Another line of work addresses the signaling dialog between crop plants and a beneficial soil fungus that suppresses plant pathogens which attack the plant via its roots, as well as priming the above-ground parts of the plant for better defense against pathogens.

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Motti Koren
Director of Business Development, Life Sciences