Dr. Omri Wurtzel

Biochemistry Molecular Biology
ביוכימיה וביולוגיה מולקולרית
Dr. Omri Wurtzel
Office: Sherman - Life Sciences


B.Med.Sc., 2008, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel

Ph.D., 2012, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Post-doctoral fellowship, 2012-17, Whitehead Institute for Biological Research, Cambridge, MA, USA

Research Interests

Regeneration, the process of regrowing missing tissues, is widespread in the animal kingdom. Following an injury, regenerative organisms activate molecular and cellular processes that lead to the formation of new tissues. Despite the importance of regeneration to human health and decades of regeneration research, fundamental questions remain open: Why do certain animals regenerate while other species cannot? Why can certain tissues (e.g., the liver) regrow, whereas other tissues have very limited healing potential?


We study these questions by using organisms that regenerate extremely quickly and robustly. We work extensively with planarians, flatworms that regrow any missing part of their bodies, including their brain, in less than a week.

Our major interests are:

  1. Deciphering the regulation of pluripotency and stem cell differentiation in regeneration.
  2. Studying the molecular implications of injuries and their association to regeneration.
  3. Elucidating aspects of regeneration that are evolutionarily conserved in higher organisms.

Our scientific approaches include molecular biology, in vivo analysis and bioinformatics.


Please visit our website: www.wurtzellab.org

Recent Publications


  • O. Wurtzel, I.M. Oderberg, P.W. Reddien. Planarian Epidermal Stem Cells Respond to Positional Cues to Promote Cell Type Diversity. Developmental Cell (2017), 40, 491-504.
  • O. Wurtzel, L.E. Cote, A. Poirier, R. Satija, A. Regev, P.W. Reddien. A Generic and Cell-Type-Specific Wound Response Precedes Regeneration in Planarians. Developmental Cell (2015), 35(5):632-45.
  • O. Wurtzel, N. Sesto, J.R. Mellin, S. Edelheit, I. Karunker, C. Archambaud, P. Cossart, R. Sorek. Comparative transcriptomics of pathogenic and non-pathogenic Listeria species. Molecular Systems Biology, 8:583 (2012).
  • S. Avrani, O. Wurtzel, I. Sharon, R. Sorek, D. Lindell. Genomic island variability facilitates Prochlorococcus-virus coexistence. Nature, 474: 604–608 (2011).
  • O. Wurtzel, R. Sapra, B. Simmons, R. Sorek. A single-base resolution map of an archaeal transcriptome. Genome Research, 20(1):133-41 (2010).
  • O. Wurtzel, D. Yoder-Himes, K. Han, A. Dandeker, P. Greenberg, R. Sorek, S. Lory. The single-nucleotide resolution transcriptome of Pseudomonas aeruginosa grown in body temperature. PLoS Pathogens, 8(9), e1002945 (2012).
  • S. He, O. Wurtzel, K. Singh, J. Froula, S. Yilmaz, Z. Wang, F. Chen, EA Lindquist, R. Sorek, P. Hugenholtz. Validation of two commercial ribosomal RNA removal methods for microbial metatranscriptomics. Nature Methods, 7:807-812 (2010).
  • O. Wurtzel, M. Dori-Bachash, S. Pietrokovski, E. Jurkevitch, R. Sorek. Mutation detection with next-generation resequencing through a mediator genome. PLoS ONE, 5(12):e15628 (2010).
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