TAU professor Judith Berman named as new member of EMBO

Berman is an expert on Candida albicans, a pathogenic yeast used to study how can a genome change in response to stress.

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June 29, 2019 02:12
1 minute read.
HEALTH & SCIENCE

HEALTH & SCIENCE. (photo credit: JPOST STAFF)

 
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Tel Aviv University Professor Judith Berman was named one of 56 new members of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), which is one of the most respected research group in the world, a press release by American Friends of Tel Aviv University reported on Friday. 
 
Having started her scientific career at the University of Minnesota, Berman had focused for nearly 20 years on the study of drug resistance and tolerance in a type of yeast called Candida albicans. 
 
During a May interview with the podcast ‘We Talk Science’ she explained that these types of yeast “are a lot like us,” meaning humans.

However, as they evolve much more rapidly than humans it is possible to see how they adapt to drugs in the lab before your eyes, she explained. 
"We investigate the interplay between chromosome instability, membrane and cell wall dynamics," she wrote for the EMBO site. 

 



While there are six classes of drugs that can be used to treat bacteria there are only three classes of drugs that can treat Candida albicans.

As this type of yeast can seriously endanger the lives of humans who have a weak immune system, it kills hundreds of thousands of people annually around the world, it’s important to understand how it is genetically able to acquire resistance to the treatments we currently have. 
 
“While antibiotics can treat bacteria, the cell of the yeast is a lot like a human cell, and so it is much harder to find drugs that will only target the yeast and not healthy human tissues,” she explained in an interview to the science site Hayadan. 
 
"Prof. Berman's election to EMBO is a strong recognition of her research, which is at the forefront of molecular biology of pathogenic yeasts," said Prof. Abdussalam Azem, dean of the Wise Faculty.
 
EMBO will formally welcome its new members and associate members October 29-31 at the Annual Members' Meeting in Heidelberg.          


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