Itai Sharon's hompage



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

Scientific Bio

      I study microbial communities in natural environments. Specifically, I am interested in understanding the dynamics of microbial communities over time with emphasis on strain variation and its role in species evolution and in maintaining community stability. To achieve these goals I use metagenomics, in which DNA is extracted from the environment and then sequenced. Methods and tools for analyzing metagenomic next generation sequencing data are mostly lacking due to the quick changes in DNA sequencing technology; however, my strong computational background allows me to develop the tools and strategies that are required for analyzing my data. These include, for example, methods for reconstructing genomes from metagenomic data, algorithms for strain-level binning of time series metagenomic data and more.

      I did my PhD 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

  • 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: 21-Oct-2015