Fascinated by both worlds of exact sciences and humanities, Yael’s aspiration from a young age was to find mathematical tools to describe and understand complex systems. This led her to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she completed her BSc in physics under the Amirim Interdisciplinary Honors Program in humanities, where she acquired these mathematical tools. But it was in biology that she found the interesting and complex phenomena that she wanted to model.
Realizing that the advent of new technologies calls for quantitative approaches to the most fascinating, fundamental questions of life, she continued her graduate studies in the Weizmann Institute of Science, majoring in systems biology. With her advisor, Prof. Uri Alon, she revealed general design principles in several fields, including bacterial growth, single-cell transcriptomics, epigenetic inheritance and human physiology. This culminated in a new theory for the origin of autoimmune disease, which is her major research focus today.
In her postdoctoral studies at the lab of Prof. Jimmie Chun Ye in UCSF, California, she hopes to generalize this theory, and find roles for autoimmune cells and antibodies in health.