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Ayelet Voskoboynik

Ayelet Voskoboynik

Sr Res Scientist-Basic Life, Stem Cell Bio Regenerative Med Institute


For the past 20 years Ayelet has been researching development, stem cell mediating regeneration processes, and immunology in the colonial tunicate Botryllus schlosseri. As a PHD student in the Technion and IOLR (Israel) Ayelet discovered a method to extend the life span of the Botryllus colonies and suggested that this treatment affects the stem cells of the treated colonies. She became a post-doctoral fellow at the Tunicate lab of Irv Weissman in Stanford Hopkins Marine Station and studied stem cell mediating developmental processes. She isolated the first adult stem cell niche and the first germline stem cell niche in this organism. Since 2009 Ayelet has been leading and supervising the Botryllus studies in HMS and directed the Botryllus genome project with teams from the labs of Irv Weissman, Steve Quake and several international laboratories. In processing the Botryllus genome they developed a novel method for high-throughput sequencing of repeat-rich genomes (called Moleculo / LRseq; acquired by Illumina). Having the genome in hand Ayelet and her collaborators looked for the gene that controls immune recognition in the colonies and allows or prevents fusion of blood vessels between colonies. They isolated the BHF, a single polymorphic gene that allows Botryllus colonies to distinguish self from non-self. Recently, Ayelet and her collaborators began characterizing the Botryllus hematopoietic and immune system at the cellular and molecular levels and succeeded in identifying the hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), myeloid cell lineage progenitors, cytotoxic cells that induce cellular tissue rejection, and the hematopoietic organ.Using the resources and tools she and others developed Ayelet continues studying the BHF, the evolution of blood borne immune system, and stem cell mediated regeneration programs.

Academic Appointments

Sr Res Scientist-Basic Life, Stem Cell Bio Regenerative Med Institute

Professional Education

Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford University, Stanford, California, Stem Cell Biology (2006)
Ph.D, Technion, Israel institute of technology, Haifa, Cell Biology (2001)
M.Sc, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel, Zoology (1995)
B.Sc, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, Animal science (1991)


Kowarsky, M., Anselmi, C., Hotta, K., Burighel, P., Zaniolo, G., Caicci, F., … Voskoboynik, A. (2021). Sexual and asexual development: two distinct programs producing the same tunicate. Cell Reports, 34(4), 108681.

Rosental, B., Kowarsky, M., Seita, J., Corey, D. M., Ishizuka, K. J., Palmeri, K. J., … Voskoboynik, A. (2018). Complex mammalian-like haematopoietic system found in a colonial chordate. Nature.

Voskoboynik, A., Newman, A. M., Corey, D. M., Sahoo, D., Pushkarev, D., Neff, N. F., … Weissman, I. L. (2013). Identification of a colonial chordate histocompatibility gene. Science , 341(6144), 384–87.

Rinkevich, Y., Voskoboynik, A., Rosner, A., Rabinowitz, C., Paz, G., Oren, M., … Rinkevich, B. (2013). Repeated, Long-Term Cycling of Putative Stem Cells between Niches in a Basal Chordate. DEVELOPMENTAL CELL, 24(1), 76–88.

Voskoboynik, A., Neff, N. F., Sahoo, D., Newman, A. M., Pushkarev, D., Koh, W., … Quake, S. R. (2013). The genome sequence of the colonial chordate, Botryllus schlosseri. ELife, 2.

Voskoboynik, A., Soen, Y., Rinkevich, Y., Rosner, A., Ueno, H., Reshef, R., … Weissman, I. L. (2008). Identification of the Endostyle as a Stem Cell Niche in a Colonial Chordate. CELL STEM CELL, 3(4), 456–64.

Voskoboynik, A., Simon-Blecher, N., Soen, Y., Rinkevich, B., De Tomaso, A. W., Ishizuka, K. J., & Weissman, I. L. (2007). Striving for normality: whole body regeneration through a series of abnormal generations. FASEB JOURNAL, 21(7), 1335–44.

Goldstein, O., Mandujano-Tinoco, E. A., Levy, T., Talice, S., Raveh, T., Gershoni-Yahalom, O., … Rosental, B. (2021). Botryllus schlosseri as a Unique Colonial Chordate Model for the Study and Modulation of Innate Immune Activity. Marine Drugs, 19(8).

Ballarin, L., Karahan, A., Salvetti, A., Rossi, L., Manni, L., Rinkevich, B., … Drobne, D. (2021). Stem Cells and Innate Immunity in Aquatic Invertebrates: Bridging Two Seemingly Disparate Disciplines for New Discoveries in Biology. Frontiers in Immunology, 12, 688106.

Rosental, B., Raveh, T., Voskoboynik, A., & Weissman, I. L. (2020). Evolutionary perspective on the hematopoietic system through a colonial chordate: allogeneic immunity and hematopoiesis. Current Opinion in Immunology, 62, 91–98.

Manni, L., Anselmi, C., Cima, F., Gasparini, F., Voskoboynik, A., Martini, M., … Ballarin, L. (2019). Sixty years of experimental studies on the blastogenesis of the colonial tunicate Botryllus schlosseri. DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY, 448(2), 293–308.

Voskoboynik, A., Newmab, A. M., Kowarsky, M., & Weissman, I. L. (2018). Natural Chimerism and Tolerance Induction in a Colonial Chordate. Advances in Comparative Immunology (p. 18). Springer .

Corey, D. M., rosental, B., Kowarsky, M., Sinha, R., Ishizuka, K. J., Palmeri, K. J., … Weissman, I. L. (2016). Developmental cell death programs license cytotoxic cells to eliminate histocompatible partners. PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 113(23), 6520–25.

Gasparini, F., Skobo, T., Benato, F., Gioacchini, G., Voskoboynik, A., Carnevali, O., … Valle, L. D. (2016). Characterization of Ambra1 in asexual cycle of a non-vertebrate chordate, the colonial tunicate Botryllus schlosseri, and phylogenetic analysis of the protein group in Bilateria. MOLECULAR PHYLOGENETICS AND EVOLUTION, 95, 46–57.

Voskoboynik, A., & Weissman, I. L. (2015). Botryllus schlosseri, an emerging model for the study of aging, stem cells, and mechanisms of regeneration. INVERTEBRATE REPRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT, 59, 33–38.

Stolfi, A., Sasakura, Y., Chalopin, D., Satou, Y., Christiaen, L., Dantec, C., … Lemaire, P. (2015). Guidelines for the Nomenclature of Genetic Elements in Tunicate Genomes. GENESIS, 53(1), 1–14.

Voskoboynik, A., & Weissman, I. L. (2015). Botryllus schlosseri, an emerging model for the study of aging, stem cells, and mechanisms of regeneration. Invertebrate Reproduction & Development, 59(sup1), 33–38.

Manni, L., Gasparini, F., Hotta, K., Ishizuka, K. J., Ricci, L., Tiozzo, S., … Dauga, D. (2014). Ontology for the Asexual Development and Anatomy of the Colonial Chordate Botryllus schlosseri. PLOS ONE, 9(5).

Griggio, F., Voskoboynik, A., Iannelli, F., Justy, F., Tilak, M.-K., Xavier, T., … Gissi, C. (2014). Ascidian Mitogenomics: Comparison of Evolutionary Rates in Closely Related Taxa Provides Evidence of Ongoing Speciation Events. GENOME BIOLOGY AND EVOLUTION, 6(3), 591–605.

Voskoboynik, A. (2009). Chimerism a natural ability to tolerate kin, evolutionary traits connecting mammalian and protochordates. ISJ-INVERTEBRATE SURVIVAL JOURNAL, 6(1), S9–S20.

Voskoboynik, A., Rinkevich, B., & Weissman, I. L. (2009). Stem Cells, Chimerism and Tolerance: Lessons from Mammals and Ascidians. Stem Cells in Marine Organisms (pp. 281–308). Springer Netherlands.

Tiozzo, S., Voskoboynik, A., Brown, F. D., & De Tomaso, A. W. (2008). A conserved role of the VEGF pathway in angiogenesis of an ectodermally-derived vasculature. DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY, 315(1), 243–55.

Rosner, A., Rabinowitz, C., Moiseeva, E., Voskoboynik, A., & Rinkevich, B. (2007). BS-Cadherin in the colonial urochordate Botryllus schlosseri: One protein, many functions. DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY, 304(2), 687–700.

Nyholm, S. V., Passegue, E., Ludington, W. B., Voskoboynik, A., Mitchel, K., Weissman, I. L., & De Tomaso, A. W. (2006). fester, a Candidate allorecognition receptor from a primitive chordate. IMMUNITY, 25(1), 163–73.

Voskoboynik, A., Rinkevich, B., WEISS, A., Moiseeva, E., & Reznick, A. Z. (2004). Macrophage involvement for successful degeneration of apoptotic organs in the colonial urochordate Botryllus schlosseri. JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY, 207(14), 2409–2416.

Voskoboynik, A., Reznick, A. Z., & Rinkevich, B. (2002). Rejuvenescence and extension of an urochordate life span following a single, acute administration of an anti-oxidant, butylated hydroxytoluene. MECHANISMS OF AGEING AND DEVELOPMENT, 123(9), 1203–1210.