top TOP
Grant Recipients Home

Yifat Merbl, PhD

Yifat Merbl, PhD

Grant Status

Weizmann Institute of Science

Grant Type
ICRF-Cancer Research Institute Clinic and Laboratory Integration Program Grant

Project Title
Controlling Proteasomal Degradation for Enhancing Anti-Tumor Immunity

Tumor Types

Research Topics
Immunology and Immunotherapy, Melanoma

About the Investigator:

Working at the crossroads of biochemistry, cell biology, proteomics, and immunology, Dr. Merbl studies control mechanisms of protein modifications and degradation in the context of cancer and immune regulation. Her lab tackles both basic and translational research questions and develops cutting-edge technologies in epiproteomics. She earned her BSc in Computational Biology from Bar-Ilan University, her MSc in Immunology from the Weizmann Institute, and her PhD in Systems Biology from Harvard University. She then joined the Weizmann’s Immunology Department, where she is currently an Associate Professor and Senior Scientist.

About the Research:

Antigens are foreign substances that induce an immune response in the body. The cellular machine that
disintegrates unwanted proteins is called the proteasome, which may be considered the cell’s ‘trash can.’
Importantly, cellular proteasomes are key for antigen processing, cellular inflammation, and responsiveness to immunotherapy.

Recently, Dr. Merbl and her team developed state-of-the-art technology to examine the cellular ‘trash can’ in cancer. Much like detective work, in which one can go through a person’s trash to learn about his/her lifestyle, inspecting degradation products provides invaluable insights into cellular function. Using this approach, which they called proteasome profiling, they mapped the degradation landscape of tumor tissues and adjacent controls. They found distinct proteasome degradation patterns that were associated with cancer and with the lack of response to immunotherapy.

The Merbl lab now intends to characterize the proteasome degradation landscape in melanoma, aiming to gain insight into the mechanisms of immune evasion and lack of response to immunotherapy. This approach should ultimately lead to a novel system to target proteasome degradation in order to improve cancer treatment.


Help End the Suffering Caused By Cancer

The answer to cancer is research. Support groundbreaking cancer research in Israel today: