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Dr. Gilad Gabay

French Associates Institute for Agriculture and Biotechnology of Drylands, Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research

Dr. Gilad Gabay | Photo: Dani Machlis

My life before BGU:

I was born in Rishon LeZion and studied at the city’s Gan Nahum High School. I completed my bachelor's degree in life sciences at the Faculty of Agriculture Hebrew University. I studied for my master's degree at Wageningen University in the Netherlands and then returned to the Hebrew University for my doctorate. I did my postdoc at UC Davis, focusing on identifying genes and mechanisms related to increasing wheat yields under drought conditions.

Why BGU?

In my opinion, the desert is the best preserved area in Israel in terms of nature and open spaces. Thanks to its proximity to the Sde Boker campus, it is an excellent starting point for my family and research. As someone who focused on environmental influences in plants at a time when climatic conditions are becoming increasingly desert-like (desertification) in many parts of Israel and the world, the Desert Research Institutes, and particularly the French Associates Institute for Agriculture and Biotechnology of Drylands, are well suited to my research.

My Research

In light of climate change and global population growth, it is necessary to adapt agricultural crops to the changing climate, so that they can yield sufficient crops to meet the world's nutritional demands. As a plant geneticist, I use tools from classical genetics, such as generating near isogenic lines segregating populations, to identify the genomic region that are affected by rising temperatures and arid conditions. In order to characterize and verify the activity of genes and the genetic mechanisms that influence these traits, I use innovative methods from molecular genetics, such as gene editing, sequencing of genome fragments and characterization of gene expression in different tissues and developmental stages. I also develop and apply advanced bioinformatic tools in analyzing big data sets.

An insight from my research:

It can be helpful to consult with multiple experts, but in order to arrive at an unequivocal answer you have to do it yourself.

Something that doesn't appear on my resume:

I love swimming in natural places like the ocean and lakes, hiking and music.

A source of inspiration:

1984 / Into the wild / Houdini

When I grow up

As a child, I knew that I would work with plants, and today I can say – a plant researcher.

If I wasn’t a researcher,

I would be a landscaper.

In Brief

  • Fauda or Big Brother? Fauda
  • Yoga or CrossFit? A combination
  • Hapo’el or Maccabi? Beitar in soccer, Hapo’el in basketball
  • Ravid Plotnik or Noa Kirel? I have no preference
  • Steak or tofu? I have no preference
  • Trekking or the spa? Trekking. I love travelling
  • Car or train? A combination. They each have their advantages
  • Classical Europe or India? India. I’ve traveled in the East Asia several times
  • Ocean or pool? Ocean. I love natural water sources
  • City or country? A village to live in, but a city for culture and entertainment
  • Film or play? Film
  • Phone call or text message? Phone call
  • Android or iPhone? iPhone
  • Cat or dog? Dog
  • Facebook or Twitter? Twitter

2023-2024 New faculty members >>