Prof. Shai Morin


The laboratory's research interests are in ecological and evolutionary genetics, as they relate specifically to insect-plant and insect-environment interactions. We combine ecological and genomic tools in order to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying insect adaptation to biotic and a-biotic environmental constrains: synthetic insecticides, plant defensive chemistry and more recently, climate changes. 

The research team is multi-disciplinary and combines plant genetic engineering with insect ecology, chemistry, behavior and genomics. Analyses focus on arthropods that are major pests of agriculture. The main model system includes the phloem-feeding whitefly Bemisia tabaci. Bemisia tabaci  has been recognized as a complex of 11 well-defined high-level generic groups containing at least 35 morphologically indistinguishable species. These closely-related species are an excellent model system for studying the microevolution of insect genes in the context of their association with environmental constrains such as detoxification of plant toxins/synthetic, insecticides and tolerance to extreme a-biotic conditions. During the years, the laboratory has developed a variety of genomic tools for our model organisms, such as: cDNA subtractive expression libraries, next generation deep sequencing (NGS) databases, Agilent targeted-microarrays and various RNA interference tools. This experimental system allows us to provide novel insights to the ways in which insects cope with the diversity and unpredictability of a range of biotic and a-biotic factors. 



See also: Shai Morin


Research Interests and Activity

Evolution of polyphagy in the whitefly Bemisia tabaci
Developing insect proof plants
Climate change effects and herbivorous insect population outbreaks


See also: Shai Morin

Evolution of polyphagy in the whitefly Bemisia tabaci

A small proportion of insect herbivores, including some of the world's most important agricultural are polyphagous, meaning that they are capable of feeding on a wide range of plant families. How polyphagous species cope with the diverse and unpredicted toxic defensive chemistry of their plant hosts remains largely unknown at the molecular level, but it is largely believed that polyphagous (generalist) herbivores typically possess enzyme systems capable of detoxifying a broad range of plant defensive chemicals, including novel chemistry they have never encountered, albeit not as efficiently as specialist herbivores Insect detoxification systems typically include six main enzyme families: cytochrome P450 monooxygenases (P450s or CYPs for genes), glutathione S-transferases (GSTs), carboxylesterases (COEs), UDP-glucosyltransferases (UGTs), sulfotransferases and ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters.

Our experimental system includes 10 species representing nine high-level genetic groups of the B. tabaci complex. In several parallel projects in the lab, these 10 species are subjected to three complimentary feeding systems: plant hosts known to accumulate high levels of defensive compounds (bell pepper, poinsettia, cassava, tobacco and Arabidopsis thaliana), artificial feeding assays in which specific plant toxic chemicals are supplemented and two plant species, in which we have genetically modified (up-regulated) a specific chemical defensive pathway (tobacco plants over-expressing phenylpropanoids and Arabidopsis thaliana plants over-expressing glucosinolates). Using a custom designed Agilent microarray chip containing ~700 Bemisia tabaci detoxification genes, a detailed matrix of planned gene expression comparisons (between different species on a similar host or within a species on different hosts) and complementing performance assays (egg laying rate, egg to adult development rate and survival), we are identifying differentially expressed genes likely to be involved in the ability of one or more Bemisia tabaci species to successfully neutralize plant defensive chemistry.


See also: Shai Morin

Developing insect proof plants

The main goal of this project is to develop an RNA interference (RNAi) technology that will allow the production of pest-resistant crops capable of protecting themselves from B. tabaci by silencing insect detoxification genes without which successful host utilization can not occur. B. tabaci is a polyphagous pest species and requires an induced detoxification system capable of degrading a broad range of plant toxins present in their hosts. Insect detoxification enzymes typically include four main super-families: cytochrome P450 monooxygenases (P450s), glutathione S-transferases (GSTs), carboxylesterases (COEs), and UDP-glycosyltransferases (UGTs).

The most novel aspect of this proposal comes from its ecological assumptions. Silencing of specific detoxification genes will significantly interfere with B. tabaci performance on plant hosts. However, it will not cause pest extinction, but more likely result in low population densities that will be successfully controlled by natural enemies. We hypothesize that this approach is more natural, preferable and sustainable to silencing the activity of pest essential house-keeping genes (that can lead to species eradication) for two reasons: (1) Essential genes are conserved in evolution and there is a high risk that non-target species will be affected. (2) Pest population eradication will have a strong impact on the biodiversity of the agroecological system and can lead to the disappearance of natural enemies and to the rise of secondary pests.


See also: Shai Morin

Climate change effects and herbivorous insect population outbreaks

Climate change will affect the future distribution and population dynamics of herbivorous insect pests involved in the transmission of plant infectious diseases. Here, we focus on whiteflies, one of the most important groups of vectors of plant virus diseases. Our whitefly model species, B. tabaci, is the most important whitefly virus vector and can transmit over 200 species of plant viruses. One of the leading hypotheses in this project predicts that populations of our model species, B. tabaci, will thrive under global warming effects of climate change due to their short developmental times, parthenogenetic reproduction, great reproductive capacity, and ability to establish multiple generations per year.

We use deterministic and stochastic modeling approaches to predict expected changes in B. tabaci population dynamics under anticipated climate change for the next decades. Generating a prediction for insect population response to climate change is done by coupling a weather generator that produces realizations of temperature and precipitation series under a given climate conditions with a model representing the insect population dynamics. Environmental system modeling of pest insects population dynamics, will allow the necessary incorporation of pest risk assessment and simulation models into comprehensive management planning systems of both natural and agricultural ecosystems in response to climate change.


See also: Shai Morin


Curriculum Vitae

1988-1991 B.Sc., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Medicine.

1992-1995 M.Sc., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Pathogen-Vector-Interaction, Supervisor: Prof. Hanokh Czosnek.

1995-2000 Ph.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Pathogen-Vector-Interaction, Supervisor: Prof. Hanokh Czosnek.

2000-2003 Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Arizona, Tucson, Department of Entomology Genetics and Ecology of Insecticide Resistance. Host: Prof. Bruce Tabashnik.

See also: Shai Morin




Horowitz, R. PI, Denholm I. PI and Morin, S. PI (2007). Resistance to insecticides in the TYLCV vector, Bemisia tabaci. In "Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus Disease: Management, Molecular Biology and Breeding for Resistance", Czosnek, H. Ed., Springer, Dordrecht, the Netherlands. pp. 305-325.

Czosnek, H. PI, Morin, S. S, Rubinstein, G. S, Fridman, V. S, Zeidan, M. S and Ghanim, M. S (2000). Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus, a Sexually Transmitted Disease of Whiteflies. In "Virus-Vector-Plant Interactions", Harris, K. F., Duffus, J. E. and Smith, O. P. Eds., Academic Press Inc. Elsevier Science, San-Diego, USA. pp. 1-27.



Santos-Garcia, D., Silva, F.J., Morin, S., Dettner, K. and Kuechler, M. S. (2017). The all-rounder Sodalis - a new obligate endosymbiont of lygaeoid bug Henestaris halophilus (Heteroptera: Henestarinae) and a critical examination of its evolution. Genome Biol. Evol. 9: 2893–2910. doi:10.1093/gbe/evx202


Zidon, R., Tsueda, H., Morin, E. and Morin, S. (2016). Projecting pest population dynamics under global warming: the combined effect of inter- and intra-annual variations. Ecol. Appl. 26: 1198-1210. doi: 10.1890/15-1045

Malka, O., Shekhov, A., Reichelt, M., Gershenzon, J., Vassão, D.G. and Morin, S. (2016). Glucosinolate Desulfation by the Phloem-Feeding Insect Bemisia tabaci.J. Chem. Ecol. 42: 230-235. doi: 10.1007/s10886-016-0675-1

Roditakis, E., Morin, S. and Baixeras, J. (2016). Is Bactra bactrana (Kennel,  1901) a novel pest of sweet peppers?.B. Entomol. Res. 106: 161-167. doi:10.1017/S0007485315000917


Halon, E., Eakteiman, G., Moshitzky, P., Elbaz, M., Alon, M., Pavlidi, N., Vontas, J. and Morin, S. (2015). Only a minority of broad-range detoxification genes respond to a variety of phytotoxins in generalist Bemisia tabaci species. Nature Sci. Rep. 5:17975.doi: 10.1038/srep17975.


Moshitzky, P. and Morin, S. (2014). Bemisia tabaci females from the Mediterranean (Q) species detect and avoid laying eggs in the presence of pyriproxyfen, a juvenile hormone analogue. Pest Manag. Sci. 70: 1468-1476. (Wiley)


Shavit , R.,  Ofek-Lalzar, M., Burdman, S. and Morin, S. (2013). Inoculation of tomato plants with rhizobacteria enhances the performance of the phloem-feeding insect Bemisia tabaci. Front. Plant sci. 4:306. (Frontiers)

Markovich, O., Kafle, D., Elbaz, M., Malitsky, S., Aharoni, A., Schwarzkopf, A., Gershenzon, J. and Morin, S. (2013). Arabidopsis thaliana plants with different levels of aliphatic- and indolyl-glucosinolates affect host selection and performance of Bemisia tabaci. J. Chem. Ecol 39: 1361-1372.(Springer)

Alon, M., Malka, O., Eakteiman, G., Elbaz, M., Moyal Ben-Zvi, M., Vainstein, A. and Morin, S. (2013). Activation of the phenylpropanoid pathway in Nicotiana tabacum improves the performance of the whitefly Bemisia tabaci via reduced jasmonate signaling. PLosONE 8 (10): e76619. (Plos One)


Daborn, P.J., Lumb, C., Harrop, T.W.R., Blasetti, A., Pasricha, S., Morin, S., Mitchell, S.N., Donnelly, M.J., Müller, P. and Batterham, P. (2012). Using Drosophila melanogaster to validate metabolism-based insecticide resistance from insect pests. Insect Biochem. Mol. Biol. 42: 918-924.(ScienceDirect)

Alon, M., Elbaz, M., Moyal Ben-Zvi, M., Feldmesser, E., Vainstein, A. and Morin, S. (2012). Insights into the transcriptomics of polyphagy: Bemisia tabaci adaptability to phenylpropanoids involves coordinated expression of defense and metabolic genes. Insect Biochem. Mol. Biol. 42: 251-263.(ScienceDirect)

Elbaz, M. Halon, E., Malka, O., Malitsky, S., Blum, E., Aharoni, A., and  Morin, S. (2012) Asymmetric adaptation to indolic- and aliphatic- glucosinolates in the B and Q sibling species of Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae). Mol. Ecol. 18:4533-46.(Wiley)


Elbaz, M., Weiser, M. and Morin, S. (2011). Asymmetry in thermal tolerance trade-offs between the B and Q sibling species of Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae). J. Evolution. Biol. 24: 1099-1109.(Wiley)

Roditakis, E., Morou, E., Tsagkarakou, A., Riga, M., Nauen, R., Paine, M.J.I., Morin, S. and Vontas, J. (2011). Assessment of the Bemisia tabaci CYP6CM1vQ transcript and protein levels in laboratory and field-derived imidacloprid-resistant insects and cross-metabolism potential of the recombinant enzyme. Insect Sci. 18: 23–29.(Wiley)


Dennehy, T.J., Degain, B.A., Harpold, V.S., Zaborac, M., Morin, S., Fabrick, J.A., Nichols, R.L., Brown, J.K., Rogan, D.M., Byrne, F.J. and Li, X. (2010). Extraordinary resistance to insecticides reveals exotic Q biotype of Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) in the New World. J. Econ. Entomol. 103: 2174-2186.(BioOne)

Alon, F., Alon, M. and Morin, S. (2010). The involvement of glutathione S-tranferases in the interactions between Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) and its Brassicaceae hosts. Isr. J. Plant Sci. 58: 93-102.(Science  From Israel)

Elbaz, M., Lahav, N. and Morin, S. (2010). Evidence for pre-zygotic reproductive barrier between the B and Q biotypes of Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae). B. Entomol. Res. 100: 581-590.(Cambridge)


Karunker, I., Morou, E., Nikou, D., Nauen, R., Sertchook, R., Stevenson, B., Paine, M.J.I., Morin, S. and Vontas, J. (2009). Structural model and functional characterization of the Bemisia tabaci CYP6CM1vQ, a cytochrome P450 associated with high levels of imidacloprid resistance. Insect Biochem. Mol. Biol. 39: 697-706.(ScienceDirect)

Malka, O., Karunker, I., Yeheskel, A., Morin, S. and Hefetz, A. (2009). The gene road to royalty – differential expression of hydroxylating genes in the mandibular glands of the honeybee. FEBS J. 276: 5481–5490.(Wiley)

Tsagkarakou, A., Nikou, D., Roditakis1, E., Sharvit, M., Morin, S. and Vontas, J. (2009). Molecular diagnostics for detecting pyrethroid and organophosphate resistance mutations in the Q biotype of the whitefly Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae). Pest. Biochem. Physiol. 94: 49-54.(ScienceDirect)

Ben-David, T., Gerson, U. and Morin, S. (2009). Asymmetric reproductive interference between two closely related spider mites: Tetranychus urticae and T. turkestani (Acari: Tetranychidae). Exp. Appl. Acarol. 43: 213-227.(Springer)


Malitsky, S., Blum, E., Less, H., Venger, I., Elbaz, M., Morin, S., Eshed, Y. and Aharoni, A. (2008). The transcript and metabolite networks effected by the two clades of Arabidopsis glucosinolate biosynthesis regulators. Plant Physiol. 148: 2021-2049.(Plant Physiology)

Alon, M., Alon, F., Nauen, R. and Morin, S (2008). Organophosphates' resistance in the B-biotype of Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) is associated with a point mutation in an ace1-type acetylcholinesterase and overexpression of carboxylesterase. Insect Biochem. Mol. Biol. 38: 940-949.(ScienceDirect)

Karunker, I., Benting, J., Lueke, B., Ponge, T., Nauen, R., Roditakis, E., Vontas, J., Gorman, K., Denholm, I. and Morin, S. (2008). Over-expression of cytochrome P450 CYP6CM1 is associated with high resistance to imidacloprid in the B and Q biotypes of Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae). Insect Biochem. Mol. Biol. 38: 634-644.(ScienceDirect)


Spitzer, B., Moyal-Ben Zvi, M., Ovadis, M., Marhevka, E., Barkai, O., Edelbaum, O., Marton, I., Masci, T., Alon, M., Morin, S., Rogachev, I., Aharoni A. and Vainstein, A. (2007). Reverse genetics of floral scent: application of TRV-based gene silencing in petunia. Plant Physiol. 145: 1241-1250.(Plant Physiology)

Ben-David, T., Melamed, S., Gerson, U. and Morin, S. (2007). ITS-2 sequences as barcodes for identifying and analyzing spider mites (Acari: Tetranychidae). Exp. Appl. Acarol. 41: 169-181.(Springer)

Wilson, M., Moshitzky, P., Laor, E., Ghanim, M., Horowitz, A.R. and Morin, S. (2007). Reversal of resistance to pyriproxyfen in the Q biotype of Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae). Pest Manag. Sci. 63: 761-768.(Wiley)


Tabashnik, B.E., Biggs, R.W., Fabrick, J.A., Gassmann, A.J., Dennehy, T.J., Carrière, Y. and Morin, S. (2006). High-Level Resistance to Bt Toxin Cry1Ac and Cadherin Genotype in Pink Bollworm. J. Econ. Entomol. 99: 2125-2131.(BioOne)

Tabashnik, B.E., Fabrick, J.A., Henderson, S., Biggs, R.W. , Yafuso, C.M., Nyboer, M.E., Manhardt, N.M., Coughlin L.A., Sollome, J., Carrière, Y., Dennehy, T.J. and Morin, S. (2006). DNA screening reveals pink bollworm resistance to Bt cotton remains rare after a decade of exposure. J. Econ. Entomol. 99: 1525-1530.(BioOne)

Alon, M., Benting, J., Lueke, B., Ponge, T., Alon, F. and Morin, S. (2006). Multiple origins of pyrethroid resistance in sympatric biotypes of Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae). Insect Biochem. Mol. Biol. 36: 71-79.(ScienceDirect)


Khasdan, V., Levin, I., Rosner, A., Morin, S., Kontsedalov, S., Maslenin, l. and Horowitz, A.R. (2005). DNA markers for identifying biotypes B and Q of Bemisia tabaci and studying population dynamics. B. Entomol. Res. 95: 605-613.(Cambridge)

Higginson, D.M., Morin, S., Nyboer, M.E., Biggs, R.W., Tabashnik, B.E. and Carriere, Y. (2005). Evolutionary trade-offs of insect resistance to Bacillus thuringiensis crops: fitness cost affecting paternity. Evolution 59: 915-920.(Wiley)

Tabashnik, B.E., Biggs, R.W., Higginson, D.M., Henderson, S., Unnithan, D.C., Unnithan, G.C., Ellers-Kirk, C., Sisterson M., Carrière, Y., Dennehy, T.J. and Morin, S. (2005). Association between resistance to Bt cotton and cadherin genotype in pink bollworm. J. Econ. Entomol. 98: 635-644.(BioOne)


Tabashnik, B.E., Liu, Y.B., Unnithan, D.C., Carrière, Y., Dennehy, T.J. and Morin, S. (2004). Shared genetic basis of resistance to Bt toxin Cry1Ac in independent strains of pink bollworm. J. Econ. Entomol. 97: 721-726.(BioOne)

Morin, S., Henderson, S., Fabrick, J.A., Carrière, Y., Dennehy, T.J., Brown, J.K. and Tabashnik B.E. (2004). DNA-based detection of Bt resistance alleles in pink bollworm. Insect Biochem. Mol. Biol. 34: 1225-1233.(SienceDirect)


Tabashnik, B.E., Carrière, Y., Dennehy, T. J., Morin, S., Sisterson, M., Roush, R.T., Shelton, A.M. and Zhao, J.Z. (2003). Insect Resistance to Transgenic Bt Crops: Lessons from the laboratory and field. J. Econ. Entomol. 96:1031-1038.(BioOne)

Morin, S., Biggs, R., Sisterson, M., Shriver, L., Ellers-Kirk, C., Higginson, D., Holley, D., Gahan, L., Heckel, D.G., Carrière, Y., Dennehy, T.J., Brown, J.K. and Tabashnik, B.E. (2003). Three cadherin alleles associated with resistance to Bacillus thuringiensis in pink bollworm. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 100: 5004-5009.(NCBI)


Morin, S., Brown, J.K., Williamson, M.S., Goodson, S.J., Tabashnik, B.E. and Dennehy, T.J. (2002). Mutations in the Bemisia tabaci para sodium channel gene associated with resistance to a pyrethroid plus organophosphate mixture. Insect Biochem. Mol. Biol. 32:1781-1791.(ScienceDirect)


Czosnek, H., Ghanim, M., Morin, S., Rubinstein, G., Fridman, V. and Zeidan, M. (2001). Whiteflies: Vectors, and victims (?), of geminiviruses. Adv. Virus Res. 57:291-322.(ScienceDirect)

Ghanim, M., Morin, S. and Czosnek, H. (2001). Rate of Tomato yellow leaf curl virus translocation in the circulative transmission pathway of its vector, the whitefly Bemisia tabaci. Phytopathology 91:188-196.(Open Access)


Morin, S., Ghanim, M., Sobol, I and Czosnek, H. (2000). The GroEL protein of the whitefly Bemisia tabaci interacts with the coat protein of transmissible and nontransmissible begomoviruses in the yeast two-hybrid system. Virology 276:404-416.(ScienceDirect)


Rubinstein, G., Morin, S. and Czosnek, H. (1999). Transmission of tomato yellow leaf curl geminivirus to Imidacloprid treated tomato plants by the whitefly Bemisia tabaci (Homoptera: Aleyrodidae). J. Econ. Entomol. 92: 658-662.(IngentaConnect)

Morin, S., Ghanim, M., Zeidan, M., Czosnek, H., Verbeek, M. and van den Heuvel, J. (1999). A GroEL homologue from endosymbiotic bacteria of Bemisia tabaci is implicated in the circulative transmission of Tomato yellow leaf curl virus. Virology 256:75-84.(ScienceDirect)


Ghanim, M., Morin, S., Zeidan, M. and Czosnek, H. (1998). Evidence for transovarial transmission of tomato yellow leaf curl virus by its vector the whitefly Bemisia tabaci. Virology 240:295-303.(ScienceDirect)



See also: Shai Morin


Teaching Areas:

'Biometry and Experimental Analysis' (M.Sc. and Ph.D.):

Course aims:

Learning the principles and practice of statistics in biological research

Learning outcomes:

To define the statistical principles of basic concepts in data analysis (mainly ANOVA and regression).
To characterize statistical requirements in experimental settings.
To compare parametric and non-parametric methods.
To read and criticize published experimental designs and data analyses.
To master statistical methods for the analysis of their own research

Course content:

Some definitions; samples and populations; variables in biology; descriptive statistics; probability; Normal distribution, hypothesis testing.
Binomial and Poisson distributions; Introduction to Analysis of Variance; Model I, Model II, Comparisons among means (planned and unplanned).
Analysis of Variance: ANOVA assumptions, transformations.
Distribution free methods: Kruskal-Wallis test, Mann-Whitney U-test, Wilcoxon two-sample test, Kolmogorov-Smirnov test.
Distribution free methods: Permutation, Bootstrap, Jack Knife.
Analysis of Variance: Two-Way Anova, Nested, Nested-Factorial Three-Way Anova.
Simple Linear Regression, Covariance, Nonparametric Regression, Correlation.
Multiple Regression.
Analysis of Frequencies: Introduction to test for goodness of fit, G test, chi square, Kolmogorov-Smirnov test, Logistic regression.
Principle Component Analysis (PCA).


'Introduction to Molecular Biology' (B.Sc.-2nd year)

Course aims:

The course goal is to provide the students with basic knowledge in molecular biology, genomics and genetic engineering. The knowledge will allow the reading of up-to-date literature and detailed understanding of topics in advanced courses in future studies.

Learning outcomes:

To define the major processes in the central dogma of molecular biology (from DNA, through RNA to protein).
To evaluate measurement and identification techniques for nucleic acids and proteins - advantages and disadvantages.
To identify and classify cell components involved in DNA and RNA synthesis.
To design simple experiments for detection of DNA modifications (mutations).
To read and interpret scientific papers that utilize molecular biology technologies.

Course content:

Introduction and history of molecular biology. DNA and RNA structure.
The central dogma in molecular biology. The genetic code. Mutations.
Protein synthesis.
DNA replication, recombination and repair.
From DNA to RNA in prokaryotes.
Classic analytic methods in molecular biology.
Isolation of nucleic acids.
Chromosome and nucleosome structure.
Transcription control in eukaryotes.
mRNA processing.
Gene silencing.
Introduction to genomics and proteomics. Biotechnological applications.


'Introduction to Pest Control in Agriculture' (B.Sc.-3rd year)

Course aims:

Understand pest population dynamics: migration, natural selection and adaptation. Be familiar with methods for pest population control: the integrated pest management theory.

Learning outcomes:

Describe the main processes involved in insect pest population dynamics.
Evaluate current management techniques and their integration - advantages and disadvantages.
Formulate the mathematical equations of economic threshold levels of pest control.
Detect weaknesses in current control programs that lead to pest population explosion.
Summarize and criticize recent publications discussing novel control methods.

Course content:

Introduction + pest population dynamics, natural and agricultural systems, what is a pest?
IPM principals.
Pest monitoring.
Genetic control (sterile and transgenic insects).
Biological control.
Plant's resistance to insects (natural).
Plant's resistance to insects (transgenic).
Chemical control (compounds and their mode of action).
Evolution of resistance to chemical compounds.
Cultural control.


See also: Shai Morin


See also: Shai Morin

Lab Members


See also: Shai Morin

Shai Morin, Associate Professor 

See also: Shai Morin

Pnina Moshitzky, technician. 
Effects of Juvenile hormone mimics of the whitefly Bemisia tabaci.  
Publications: 1, 2

See also: Shai Morin

Osnat Malka, Post doc. student 
Evolution of resistance to plant secondary metabolites in herbivorous insects.
Publications: 1, 2, 3

See also: Shai Morin

Galit Eakteiman, Ph. D. student 
Silencing of detoxification genes in herbivorous insects for developing insect proof plants.
Publications: 1

See also: Shai Morin
Roni Gafni, MSc. student 
Response of insect pest species to climate change.


Under Graduates 

See also: Shai Morin

Gil Zimran, Undergraduate student

Plant and insect rearing; Greenhouse and rearing chambers management; Experimental support.


See also: Shai Morin

Yotam Perelman, Undergraduate student 
Plant and insect rearing; Greenhouse and rearing chambers management; Experimental support.

See also: Shai Morin

Sharon Ben-Hur, Undergraduate student 

Characterizing the gene silencing machinery in Bemisia tabaci (undergraduate research project).


See also: Shai Morin

Mor Meshulam, Undergraduate student
Plant and insect rearing; Greenhouse and rearing chambers management; Experimental support.



See also: Shai Morin

Former Lab Members


See also: Shai Morin

Eyal Halon, MSc. 
Eyal's thesis was:" Induction of metabolic genes in Bemisia tabaci  in response to feeding on artificial diet containing plant allelochemicals" 

See also: Shai Morin

Galit Eakteiman, MSc. 
Galit's thesis was "Production of transgenic plants for suppression of Bemisia tabaci metabolic genes, using  the RNA interference technology".
Publications: 1

See also: Shai Morin

Roee Shavit, MSc. 
Roee's thesis was "Effect of tomato plant - bacteria interactions on Bemisia tabaci"
Publications: 1

See also: Shai Morin

Michal Alon, Ph.D. & MSc. 
Michal's MSc. thesis was "Molecular and evolutionary charcterization of resistance mechanism of pyrethroids and organophosphates in Bemisia tabaci"
Michal's PhD. thesis "Characterization of the behavioral and genomic responses of Bemisia tabaci to the over-expression of the phenylpropanoids biosynthetic pathway in Nicotiana tabacum"
Publications: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

See also: Shai Morin
Moshe Elbaz, Ph. D. student 
Moshe's thesis was "Ecological interaction, population dynamic and "enviromental response genes" in two sympatric biotypes of Bemisia tabaci"
Publications: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
See also: Shai Morin
Oshri Marcovich, MSc. student 
2007-2010  co-supervisor with Prof. Asaph Aharoni 
Oshri's thesis was "Behavioral response of Bemisia tabaci  to variation in glucosinolates level in Arabidopsis thaliana"
Publications: 1
See also: Shai Morin
Dinesh Kafle, MSc. student 
2009-2011 co-supevisor  with Prof. Moshe Coll 
Dinesh's thesis was "effects of secondary compounds on host plant preference by the phloem-feeding insect, Bemisia tabaci and the predatory omnivorous insect, Orius laevigatus"
Publications: 1
See also: Shai Morin
Iris karunker, Ph. D. 
Iris's thesis was "From gene to function, molecular analysis of metabolic and target site resistance to insecticides"
Publications: 1, 2, 3
See also: Shai Morin
Tslila Ben-David, Ph. D.
2004-2009 , co-supervisor with Prof. Uri Gerson,
Tslila's thesis was "Molecular and ecological characterization of Israel’s spider mites (Acari: Tetranychidae)"
Publications: 1, 2
See also: Shai Morin
Fishel Alon, MSc. student 
Fishel's thesis was "Characterization of metabolic genes of the GST family from Bemisia tabaci and examining their involvement in plant-insect interaction"
Publications: 1, 2, 3
  Margaret Wilson, MSc. student 
Margaret's thesis was "biological and genetic characterization of compensating fitness components associated with resistance to pyriproxyfen in Bemisia tabaci, Q biotype"
Publications: 1
  Navit Lahav, MSc. student 
Navit's thesis was "Evidence for a reproductive barrier between the B and Q biotype of Bemisia tabaci"
Publications: 1
  Einat Laor, MSc. student 
Einat's thesis was "Molecular charcterizaion of resistance to pyriproxyfen in Bemisia tabaci"
Publications: 1


See also: Shai Morin


M.Sc Open Positions

Open M.Sc. position – 'Utilizing RNA interference for developing insect-proof plants'.

If you are interested in combining plant molecular engineering and ecology into one experimental system – we are the place for you!!!

The work plan of this project involves three innovative goals: (1) Production of transgenic resistant plants expressing dsRNA of selected genes, affecting B. tabaci successful utilization of plant hosts.  The technology will be applicable for key agricultural crops (tomato, cotton, cabbage). (2) Development of RNAi-based pesticides. This will be done by producing large quantities of dsRNA mixtures of genes affecting B. tabaci successful utilization of plant hosts and systemically delivering the dsRNA mixtures to plants by root drenching. (3) Development of a high-throughput system to assess which genes in the B. tabaci genome are essential for survival on plant hosts.

For more details, please contact Prof. Shai Morin (


Ph.D. Open Positions

Open Ph.D. position – 'Evolution of detoxification gene families involved in herbivorous insect resistance to plant secondary metabolites'.

If you are interested in combining genomics and ecology into one experimental system – we are the place for you!!!

The work plan utilizes a custom designed Agilent microarray chip containing ~700 Bemisia tabacidetoxification genes, a detailed matrix of planned gene expression comparisons (between different species on a similar host or within a species on different hosts) and complementing performance assays (egg laying rate, egg to adult development rate and survival), for identifying differentially expressed genes likely to be involved in the ability of one or more Bemisia tabaci species to successfully neutralize plant defensive chemistry. Research will focus on identifying micro-evolutionary patterns of adaptation and maintenance of variation in detoxification defensive traits.

This Ph.D. opening requires previous research experience in Molecular Biology/Genomics.

For more details, please contact Prof. Shai Morin (





See also: Shai Morin