Itai Sharon's hompage



I am a principle investigator at Migal and a senior lecturer at Tel Hai College.

Scientific Bio

      Next generation sequencing (NGS) technologies revolutionized many fields in life sciences in recent years, including microbiology and microbial ecology. Data generation, which used to be the bottleneck due to high DNA sequencing costs, is no longer the limiting factor today. Instead, the lack of proper methods and easy to use software for data analysis now prevents us from unlocking the full potential of the enormous throughput of modern DNA sequencing platforms. We focus on the intersection between design tools and approaches for handling metagenomics and other meta-omics data and using these tools for making sense of microbial life on Earth. More specifically, we are interested in
  • Designing automated tools for genome recovery from metagenomics data.
  • Developing efficient and reliable methods for taxonomic placement of genomes.
  • Studying microbial community dynamics in various environments with emphasis on strain variation.
Currently, we are focusing on the study of marine metagenomics, on developing better tools for metagenomics binning and on the study of the roles of the gut microbiome in the development of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). I did my Ph.D. with Prof. Oded Béjà and Prof. Ron Pinter at the Technion (Israel) and focused on the study of cyanophages and their hosts in marine environments. During my postdoc with Prof. Jill Banfield at UC Berkeley I have studied microbes inhabiting the human gut, in particular during the process of microbial colonization of the infant gut. Recently I've been working on microbial communities in groundwater sediment focusing on community structure, dynamics, and interaction in this complex environment.

Selected Publications

Check out my Google Scholar page for a complete list of my publications.
  • Brown, C.T., Hug, L.A., Thomas, B.C., Sharon, I., Castelle, C.J., Singh, A., Wilkins, M.J., Wrighton, K.C., Williams, K.H. and Banfield, J.F. (2015). Unusual biology across a group comprising more than 15% of domain Bacteria Nature, doi:10.1038/nature14486 (pdf).
  • Sharon, I., Kertesz, M., Hug, L.A., Pushkarev, D., Blauwkamp, T.A. Castelle, C.J., Amirebrahimi, M., Thomas, B.C., Burstein, D., Tringe, S.G., Williams, K.H. and Banfield, J.F. (2015). Accurate, multi-kb reads resolve complex populations and detect rare microorganisms Genome Research, 25, 534-543 (pdf).
    Paper featured in Titus Brown's blog, JGI's News & Publications, ScienceDaily and GenomeWeb (requires subscription).
  • Sharon, I. and Banfield, J.F. (2013). Perspective: Genomes from metagenomicsScience, 342(6162), 1057-1058 (pdf).
  • Di Rienzi, S.C.*, Sharon, I.*, Wrighton, K.C., Koren, O., Hug, L.A., Thomas, B.C., Goodrich, J.K., Bell, J.T., Spector, T.D., Banfield, J.F. and Ley, R.E. (2013). The human gut and groundwater harbor non-photosynthetic bacteria belonging to a new candidate phylum sibling to CyanobacteriaeLife, 2013;2:e01102 (pdf).
    Paper featured in Nature News, Nature Reviews Microbiology, F1000 and Jonathan Eisen's blog
  • Sharon, I., Morowitz, M.J., Thomas, B.C., Costello, E.K., Relman, D.A., and Banfield, J.F. (2013). Time series community genomics analysis reveals rapid shifts in bacterial species, strains, and phage during infant gut colonizationGenome Research, 23(1), 111-120 (pdf).
  • Wrighton, K.C., Thomas, B.C., Sharon, I., Miller, C.S., Castelle, C.J., VerBerkmoes, N.C., Wilkins, M.J., Hettich, R.L., Lipton, M.S., Williams, K.H., Long, P.E. and Banfield, J.F. (2012). Fermentation, Hydrogen, and Sulfur Metabolism in Multiple Uncultivated Bacterial PhylaScience, 337(6102), 1661-1665 (pdf).
  • Sharon, I., Battchikova, N., Aro, E.-M., Giglione, C., Meinnel, T., Glaser, F., Pinter, R.Y., Breitbart, M., Rohwer, F., and Béjà, O. (2011). Comparative metagenomics of microbial traits within oceanic viral communitiesISME J, 5(7), 1178-1190. (pdf)
    Accompanying website: VirMic.
  • Avrani, S., Wurtzel, O., Sharon, I., Sorek, R., Lindell, D. (2011). Genomic island variability facilitates Prochlorococcus-virus coexistence. Nature, 474, 604-608 (pdf).
  • Sharon, I., Pati, A., Markowitz, V.M. and Pinter, R.Y. (2009). A statistical framework for the functional analysis of metagenomes. Research in Computational Molecular Biology (RECOMB), Vol. 5541, 496-511.
  • Sharon, I.*, Alperovitch, A.*, Rohwer, F., Haynes, M., Glaser, F., Atamna-Ismaeel, N., Pinter, R.Y., Partensky, F., Koonin, E.V., Wolf Y.I., Nelson, N. and Béjà, O. (2009). Photosystem-I gene cassettes are present in marine virus genomes. Nature, 461, 258-262 (pdf).
  • Sharon, I.*, Tzahor, S.*, Williamson, S.*, Shmoish, M., Man-Aharonovich, D., Rusch, D.B., Yooseph, S., Zeidner, G., Golden, S.S., Mackey, S.R., Adir, N., Weingart, U., Horn, D., Venter, J.C., Mandel-Gutfreund, Y. and Béjà, O. (2007). Viral photosynthetic reaction center genes and transcripts in the marine environment. ISME J, 1(6), 492-501.
*Equal contribution

Last updated: 8-Jun-2017