In the Sapir laboratory, we focus on four fundamental topics in biology:
- We study the role of mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cell, in cellular and organismal metabolism. Our long-term objective is to characterize the cross-talk between mitochondrial function/ dysfunction and cholesterol metabolism in order to develop novel treatments for diseases that stem from dysregulated mitochondria-cholesterol cross-talk, e.g. cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases.
- We investigate the beneficial and adverse effects of statins, a group of cholesterol-lowering agents that are the best-selling medications in history prescribed to more than 200 million people worldwide. Ultimately, our discoveries will lead to improved treatment venues that will enhance the beneficial effects of statins, for example, their anti-cancerous activities and reduce their adverse side effects.
- We study the evolution of metabolic networks with specific emphasis on cholesterol synthesis pathways in animals. Current studies are focused on the understanding of fundamental evolutionary processes such as the loss and conservation of cholesterol synthesis in animals and inter-kingdom sterol metabolism in eukaryotes that have far-reaching environmental and evolutionary implications.
- We explore the metabolism of animals that live in extreme habitats such as anoxic, hypersaline, or arsenic-rich environments. Currently, we are focusing on two unique and extreme ecological niches, the Dead Sea in Israel and Mono Lake in California, USA.