Design principles of biological circuits
Cells are constantly "making decisions" - monitoring their environment, modulating their metabolism and 'deciding' whether to divide, differentiate or die. For this, they use biochemical circuits composed of interacting genes and proteins. Advances over the past decades have mapped many of these circuits. Still, can we infer the underlying logic from the detailed circuit structure? Can we deduce the selection forces that shaped these circuits during evolution? What are the principles that govern the design and function of these circuits and how similar or different are they from principles that guide the design of man-made machines? The interplay between variability and robustness is a hallmark of biological computation: Biological systems are inherently noisy, yet control their behavior precisely. Research projects in our lab quantify biological variability and identify its genetic origins, examine how variability is buffered by molecular circuits and investigate whether variability can in fact be employed to improve cellular computation. We encourage a multi-disciplinary approach, combining wet-lab experiments, dynamic-system theory and computational data analysis. This is achieved through fruitful interactions between students with backgrounds in physics, biology, computer science, mathematics and chemistry.



Meyer bulding 404
Weizmann Institute of Science
Rehovot 76100

January 2016
Congratulations to Karin Mittelman for finishing her PhD Studies! From now, Dr. Mittelman!

December 2015
The lab congratulates Zvika for his recent publication in Cell Reports!

December 2015
We welcome Felix Jonas, our new postdoc! Good luck Felix!

December 2015
The lab congratulates Moshe and Eyal for their recent publication in Cell Reports!

November 2015
We welcome Rom and Yulia, our new rotation students! Good luck!

December 2015
The lab congratulates Shay for his recent publication in Plant Cell!

August 2014
We invite to register to Two2Many, the Students-organized Systems Biology conference in March 2015!

August 2014
We welcome Amir Maimon and David Lerner to the lab! Good luck with your MSc!

June 2014
The lab wishes good luck to Noam Vardi in his post-doc!

May 2014
Congratulations to Zvika, Noam and Eyal on graduating! Here's a picture from the ceremony (May 15th 2014):

May 2014
Congratulations to Inna and Danny for their amazing new paper in Development on scaling morphogen gradients during tissue growth

February 2014
Congratulations to Eyal and Yossi for handing in their M.Sc Thesis

February 2014
The Barkai Lab had a great time in Ilanit FISEB 2014! In one of the nights we went bowling...

January 2014
Congratulations to Noam Vardi on finishing his PhD! From now on - Dr. Vardi! You can read his paper from Current Biology on how yeast cells escape commitment using noise here .

January 2014
Congratulations to Zvika Tamari on finishing his PhD! Dr. Tamari!

January 2014
The Barkai lab would like to wish Mazal Tov to Noam Ohana on finishing his MSc and good luck in his future endeavors!

December 2013
Barkai lab wishes you happy holidays!

October 2013
Congratulations to the lab Vollyaball team on winning in the latest departmental tournament!

October 2013
On November the lab is going on a lab trip, to mark the departure of Ilya from the lab

October 2013
Congratulations to Noam V on his new paper in Current Biology!

September 2013
Next month Gilad will give a talk in the departmental seminar!

September 2013
The Barkai Lab wishes you a happy holiday!

August 2013
We would like to welcome Gilad Yaakov to the Barkai Lab!

August 2013
The Barkai Lab wishes good luck to Dana and Michal, our new M.Sc students!
The Cost of Protein Production
Moshe Kafri*, Eyal Metzl-Raz*, Ghil Jona, Naama Barkai
Cell Reports (2016)

The economy of protein production is central to cell physiology, being intimately linked with cell division rate and cell size. Attempts to model cellular physiology are limited by the scarcity of experimental data defining the molecular processes limiting protein expression. Here, we distinguish the relative contribution of gene transcription and protein translation to the slower proliferation of budding yeast producing excess levels of unneeded proteins. In contrast to widely held assumptions, rapidly growing cells are not universally limited by ribosome content. Rather, transcription dominates cost under some conditions (e.g., low phosphate), translation in others (e.g., low nitrogen), and both in other conditions (e.g., rich media). Furthermore, cells adapted to enforced protein production by becoming larger and increasing their endogenous protein levels, suggesting limited competition for common resources. We propose that rapidly growing cells do not exhaust their resources to maximize growth but maintain sufficient reserves to accommodate changing requirements...Read more...

Departments of Molecular Genetics and Physics of Complex Systems