Tomer Avidor-Reiss

  • Prizes and Awards

    Video publication grant, Leica Microsystems, 2013

    RO1 GM084059, NIH 2012 Grant 2011-09-0529, Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, 2012

    Stewart Trust Fellowship, Harvard University 2011 Grant 1121176 (MCB), NSF, 2008

    William F. Milton Fellowship, Harvard University, 2007

    Hellman Fellowship, Harvard University 2007 Stewart Trust Fellowship, Harvard University, 2007

    Armenise-Harvard Junior Faculty Grant, Department of Cell Biology: “The Molecular Mechanism of Ciliary Transport”, 2006

    National Research Service Award, University of California, 2003

    Science Program Fellowship, Human Frontier, 1999

    Rothschild Fellowship, Rothschild, 1999

    Award of Excellence for Academic Studies, Israeli Parliament, 1997

    Wolf Foundation Award of Excellence for Research, Weizmann Institute of Science, 1997

    Science Fellowship of Distinction, Weizmann Institute of Science, 1996

    Israel and Edith Pollack Award of Excellence, Hebrew University, 1993

Who he is

Cilium biogenesis in Drosophila was the focus of Tomer Avidor-Reiss’ postdoctoral research in Dr. Charles Zuker’s laboratory at UCSD. Once he became an independent principle investigator in the Department of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School, he used the ideas, tools, and technologies developed during his postdoctoral work to shift the direction of his research towards the related field of centrosome biogenesis. More recently, he moved to the University of Toledo and his lab has focused on centrosome and cilium biology in reproduction.

What he does

A surprising outcome of his research was the discovery of a second but atypical centriole structure in Drosophila sperm. It was once dogma that the sperm of Drosophila, like in other insects, humans, and some other mammals, has only one centriole. In contrast, Avidor-Reiss team discovered that sperm has two centriolar structures, and they showed that the second centriolar structure is atypical and missing the microtubules that are considered by many to be the hallmark of a centriole.

They named this second centriolar structure the PCL, Proximal Centriole-Like. The PCL is a centriolar structure because it consists of centriole-specific proteins, its formation is initiated using the same genetic pathway essential for initiation of centriole formation, and it functions in the zygote analogously to a centriole.

Collectively, this ongoing research strongly supports the hypothesis that the PCL and other atypical centrioles, alongside the centriole, are the structures that mediate centriole inheritance during reproduction. This work is considered by many to have transformative potential.

News from the Lab

During sperm formation, the quantity of many centrosomal proteins declines in a process known as centrosome reduction. However, the role and importance of this reduction during sperm differentiation is poorly understood.

Using Drosophila melanogaster as a model animal, Avidor-Reiss research team found that a specific, kinase-dependent pathway is essential for the reduction of one of the conserved centrosomal proteins, but not the others and that blocking this reduction interferes with post-fertilization development. This first genetic study of centrosome reduction has the potential to inspire research for new causes of male infertility, early stage miscarriages, and developmental diseases.