Academic and professional experience
The research in my laboratory is centered around two main areas:
1) on the taxonomic level – the phylum Porifera (sponges); and
2) on Symbiosis between marine organisms (usually with a sponge as one of the interacting organisms). Over the years we have thus studied many sponge species and their associates: from microorganisms (cyanobacteria, heterotrophic bacteria, and fungi) through algae and invertebrates (e.g., scyphozoans, barnacles, and polychaetes) to vertebrates (fish and hawksbill turtles).
Sponges – the oldest multicellular organisms, being filter-feeding sessile organisms, frequently non-cryptic, have developed a wide array of natural products (metabolites) that assist them in dealing with their world. In our laboratory we study marine-derived natural products through two different disciplines. One, in Marine Biotechnology , studies how the sponge produces such metabolites. The second, in Chemical Ecology , examines how the sponge utilizes these compounds. We subsequently evaluate the potential of exploiting these metabolites for human benefit, mostly as lead compounds for the development of pharmaceutical drugs.
Another group of studies is in the field of Biomineralization , in which we investigate how organisms deposit various minerals; what is the ecological/physiological function of these minerals, and how can we exploit this in the production of biomimetic materials?
The studies carried out in my laboratory are therefore multidisciplinary and utilize knowledge from fields such as ecology, organic chemistry, microbiology, biochemistry, molecular biology, and geochemistry, and relate to different levels of organization, from the population level through the physiological and cellular, to the molecular and chemical levels.
Students and Lab Members
H. Ehrlich, O. V. Kaluzhnaya, M. Tsurkan, A. Ereskovsky, K. R. Tabachnick, M. Ilan, A. Stelling et al. (2013) First Report on Chitinous Holdfast in Sponges (Porifera). Proceedings of the Royal Society B Lond. 280: 20130339 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2013.0339
M. Haber, A.Gur, D.Blihoghe, M. Ilan (2012) Barnacle foulingin the Mediterranean sponges Axinella polypoidesand A. verrucosa. Marine Ecology. in press
L. E. Becking, S. Vargas, J. C. C. Fernandez,
M. Ilan, M. Kelly, G. Wörheide, N. Santodomingo,
D. Huchon (2012) Phylogeny
of Tetillidae (Porifera, Demospongiae, Spirophorida)
based on three molecular markers. Molecular Phylogenetics
and Evolutionin press DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2013.02.018
S. Shefer, A. Giordano, P. Orlando, A. Gambacorta,
M. Ilan (2012) Fulvitalea axinellae
gen. nov., sp. nov., a novel member of the family
Flammeovirgaceae isolated from the Mediterranean
sponge Axinella verrucosa. International Journal of
Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology in press
E. Kapri-Pardes, A. Katz, H. Haviv, Y. Mahmoud, M. Ilan, I. Khalfin-Penigel, S. Carmeli, O. Yarden, S.J.D. Karlish (2011) Stabilization of the alfa2 isoform of Na,K-ATPase by mutations in a phospholipid binding pocket. Journal of Biological Chemistry 286: 42888–42899 DOI:10.1074/jbc.M111.293852
E. Cohen, L. Koch, K. Myint Thu, Y. Rahamim, Y. Aluma, M. Ilan, O. Yarden, S. Carmeli. (2011) Novel terpenoids of the fungus Aspergillus insuetus isolated from the Mediterranean sponge Psammocinia sp. collected along the coast of Israel. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry 19: 6587-6593. DOI:10.1016/j.bmc.2011.05.045
O. Bergman, M. Haber, B. Mayzel, M. A. Anderson, M. Shpigel, R. T. Hill, M. Ilan (2011) Marine Based Cultivation of Diacarnus Sponges and the Bacterial Community Composition of Wild and Maricultured Sponges and Their Larvae. Marine Biotechnology 13: 1169–1182. DOI:10.1007/s10126-011-9391-6
M. Ilan, D. Sherman (2011) Comments
on a skeleton design paradigm for a demosponge.
M. Carbone , E. Mollo, M. Gavagnin, M. Ilan
(2011) Chemical defence against predators and bacterial
fouling in the Mediterranean sponges Axinella
polypoides and A. verrucosa
A. Szitenberg, C. Rot, M. Ilan, D. Huchon (2010) Diversity of sponge mitochondrial introns revealed by cox 1 sequences of Tetillidae BMC Evolutionary Biology 10: 288 DOI: 10.1186/1471-2148-10-288
Z. Paz, M. Komon-Zelazowska, I.S. Druzhinina, M.M. Aveskamp, A. Schnaiderman, Y. Aluma, S. Carmeli, M. Ilan, O. Yarden (2010) Diversity and potential antifungal properties of fungi associated with a Mediterranean sponge. Fungal Diversity, 2: 17–26 DOI: 10.1007/s13225-010-0020-x
E. Hadas, M. Shpigel, M. Ilan, (2009) Particulate organic matter as a food source for a coral reef sponge. Journal of Experimental Biology, 212: 3643-3650. DOI: 10.1242/jeb.027953
N. Ein-Gil, M. Ilan, S. Carmeli, G.W. Smith, J.R. Pawlik, O. Yarden (2009) Presence of Aspergillus sydowii, a pathogen of gorgonian sea-fans in the marine sponge Spongia obscura. ISME Journal 3: 752-755. DOI 10.1038/ismej.2009.18
E. Hadas, M. Ilan, M. Shpigel (2008) Oxygen consumption by a coral reef sponge. Journal of Experimental Biology, 211: 2185-2190. DOI 10.1242/jeb.02627
F. Belinky, C. Rot, M. Ilan, D Huchon (2008) The complete mitochondrial genome of the demosponge Negombata magnifica (Poescilosclerida). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 47: 1238-1243.
S. Schuster, M. Ilan, A. Avni, C.
Cerrano, S. Beer (2007) Differential
gene expression in a marine sponge in relation to
its symbiotic state. Marine Biotechnology 9: 543-549
Zundlevich, B. Lazar, M. Ilan (2007) Chemical versus
mechanical bioerosion of coral reefs by boring sponges
– Lessons from Pione cf. vastifica. Journal
of Experimental Biology 210: 91-96
E. Hadas, D. Marie, M. Shpigel, M. Ilan (2006) Virus predation by sponges is a new nutrient-flow pathway in coral reef food webs Limnology & Oceanography, 51: 1548– 1550
I. Goldfarb, M. Ilan, D. Huchon (2006) Putative
cross-kingdom horizontal gene transfer in sponge (Porifera)
mitochondria. BMC & Evolutionary Biology,
E. Hadas , D. Marie, M. Shpigel, M. Ilan (2006) Virus predation by sponges is a new nutrient-flow pathway in coral reef food webs .Limnology & Oceanography – 51: 1548-1550.
S. Gesner, N. Cohen, M. Ilan, O. Yarden, S. Carmeli (2005) Pandagolide 1a, a new metabolite of the sponge associated fungus Cladosporium sp. and the absolute stereochemistry of Pandagolide 1 and iso-Cladospolide B . Journal of Natural Products 68: 1350-1353
M. Oren, L. Steindler, M. Ilan (2005) Transmission, plasticity and the molecular identification of cyanobacterial symbionts in the Red Sea sponge Diacarnus erythraenus . Maine Biology, 148: 35-41
L. Steindler, D. Huchon, A. Avni, M. Ilan (2005) 16S rRNA Phylogeny of Sponge-Associated Cyanobacteria. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 71: 4127-4131
E. Meroz-Fine, S. Shefer, M. Ilan (2005) Changes in morphology and physiology of an East Mediterranean sponge in different habitats. Marine Biology, 147: 243-25
E. Hadas, M. Shpigel, M. Ilan (2004) Sea ranching of the marine sponge Negombata magnifica (Demospongiae, Latrunculiidae) as a first step for latrunculin-B production. Aquaculture, 244: 159-169
M. Ilan, J. Gugel, R.W.M. van Soest (2004) Taxonomy, reproduction and ecology of both new and known Red Sea sponges. Sarsia – 89: 388-410
M. Ilan, H. Contini, S. Carmeli, B. Rinkevich (1996)
cell culture techniques - primary and secondary cultures.
Journal of Marine Biotechnology 4: 145-149
ACADEMIC AND PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
Professional experience includes research expeditions and field work in the Bahamas, Zanzibar , northern and central Red Sea, Eritrea, and San Juan Island (Friday Harbor Laboratories WA).