Ayelet Voskoboynik

Sr Res Scientist-Basic Life, Stem Cell Bio Regenerative Med Institute
Stem Cell Bio Regenerative Med Institute
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)
Faculty Lab:
Ayelet Voskoboynik
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 / Synthetic Long Read/; acquired by Illumina). This method is widely used by Illumina, GBI, and other companies for next generation sequencing and has reduced the cost of whole human gDNA sequencing to <$500. 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. To better understand the evolution of immune systems Ayelet and her team also characterized 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. Recently, Ayelet led the Botryllus atlas project to characterize the two developmental pathways (embryogenesis and blastogenesis) revealing the unique molecular landscapes for each developmental mode. The atlas of sexual and asexual developmental pathways, Tabula compositi chordati they built includes detailed morphogenetic characterization of origin and development of nervous system, reproductive tissues, blood and endostyle. Ayelet work has opened the door to a better understanding of stem cell and immune cell properties during development, regeneration, transplantation, and aging.


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.


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Research Interests