Tom Levy is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Life Sciences at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He received his BSc in Marine Biology and Biotechnology and his MSc in Life Sciences summa cum laude
from Ben-Gurion University, where he also continued to PhD studies.
In his PhD research, under the supervision of Prof. Amir Sagi, Tom focused on genomic, transcriptomic and physiological aspects of crustacean sexuality. His work included functional gene silencing experiments and extensive fieldwork over three continents, from the Australian Outback as far as Alaska. Tom was involved in the sequencing project of the giant freshwater prawn genome and in the development of a novel biotechnology, using an endocrine manipulation, to turn female prawns into functional males and to produce all-female prawn populations. The latter benefits sustainable aquaculture, which is a highly important food source for the world’s rapidly increasing population, and it may serve biocontrol missions by producing predators of parasites hazardous to humans and fish.
He adds: "What makes science cutting-edge is not the new discoveries we find but how we utilize them to contribute to our planet."
Supported by the prestigious IASH postdoctoral fellowship, Tom will continue his postdoctoral research at the Sagi lab in Ben-Gurion University, which has recently joined the CRISPR-IL genome-editing consortium of the Israel Innovation Authority. This is an excellent platform for adapting gene-editing techniques in crustaceans and performing functional experiments that will uncover additional genomic components of the sex differentiation puzzle in crustaceans.