Dr. Meital Oren-Suissa earned her BSc in molecular biochemistry, cum laude (2003), her MSc in Biology, cum laude (2006), and her PhD in biology (2012) all from the Technion—Israel Institute of Technology. She completed her doctoral studies on the mechanisms of neuronal branching under the guidance of Prof. Benjamin Podbilewicz. Her postdoctoral training at Columbia University focused on sex differences in neuronal wiring patterns during development. She joined the Weizmann Institute of Science in July 2017 and is the incumbent of the Jenna and Julia Birnbach Family Career Development Chair.
Dr. Oren-Suissa studies the development of brain circuits that control behaviors that differ between males and females. Her research has provided key evidence that a brain cell’s protein degradation machinery plays a role in shaping synaptic connectivity—that is, the cellular clean-up crew helps regulate the strength of a brain cell’s connections with other brain cells. Moreover, she has shown that sexual identity intersects with the protein degradation machinery to specify synapse elimination. The implications for her research are immense, given that many genes associated with neurological diseases and disorders display sex-specific differences in developmental and pathological processes, and in recovery mechanisms—including in Alzheimer’s disease, autism spectrum disorder, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Dr. Oren-Suissa has received several awards both for her research progress and for her teaching skills, including the Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) Long-Term Postdoctoral Fellowship (2013-2016), the EMBO Long-term Fellowship (2012-2013) and the Azrieli early career faculty fellowship (2017-2020). She has also received an Israeli National Postdoctoral Award for Advancing Women in Science (2012-2014), the Technion’s Faculty of Biology Award for Excellence in Teaching (2009), and the Vivian Konigsberg Award for Excellence in Teaching (2007), among other honors.
She lives in Rehovot with her husband, an IDF officer, and their two children.