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אוניברסיטת בן-גוריון בנגב
המחלקה למדעי החיים

Dr. Michele Zaccai


Senior Lecturer

Room : Bergmann Campus, Building 6, Room 604
Phone : Office (+972) 8 646 1898, Lab (+972) 8 647 9420, Fax (+972) 8 646 1974
Email : 
Office Hours :  

Research Interests


Research at the flower lab mainly focuses on ornamental plants and the control of flowering time: Flowering plants undergo a transition from vegetative to reproductive development, whose timing is regulated by internal and external cues. Understanding the factors affecting this process at the physiological, morphological and molecular levels gives insight into the flowering strategies used by different plants and eventually enables manipulation of flowering time in ornamentals. The possibility of improving selected traits (e.g. flowering time, fragrance induction) through genetic engineering manipulation has been investigated in several ornamentals. The effect of salinity has been tested in several ornamental crops. In some cases, salinity improved flower quality.

Current Projects

1. Flower transition and flowering time. The process of flowering transition is been studied in lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum) and in two Lilium species at the physiological, morphological and molecular levels, with special empahsis on the response of the plants to vernalization (extended exposure to low temperatures, as a means to induce or hasten flower induction). Molecular regulation of the vernalization process is investigated.

2. Introduction of new ornamental crops
- The development of the wild Lilium candidum as a new cut flower (Madonna lily) as a cultivated ornamental cut flower is being undertaken. Research includes collection of L. candidum accessions from wild populations in Israel and characterization of L. candidum development and flowering.
- Halophyte plants as new ornamentals

3. Anti-viral effect of plant extracts. The effect of extracts from several plants and their fractions are being tested against different Herpes viruses.


Recent publications

Zaccai M., Ackerman R., Genis O., Riov J. and Zik M., 2009. The bent peduncle phenomenon in roses is a developmental process involving auxin. Plant Science 176: 736–743.

Zaccai M., Ram A. and Mazor I., (2009). Lilium candidum: flowering characterization of wild Israeli ecotypes. Israeli J. of Plant Science, 57(4): 297-302.

Lugassi-Ben-Hamo M., Kitron M., Bustan A. and Zaccai M., 2010. Effect of shade regime on flower development, yield and quality in lisianthus. Scientia Horticulturae 124: 248–253.

Yarmolinsky, L., Zaccai, M., Ben-Shabat, S., Mills, D., Huleihel, M., 2010. Anti-herpetic activity of medicinal plants leaf extracts in vitro. Health, The Open Virol. J., 4:51-56.

Yarmolinsky, L., Huleihel, M., Zaccai, M. Ben-Shabat, S. Potent antiviral flavone glycosides from Ficus benjamina leaves. Fitoterapia, In Press.


Ph.D: Weizmann Institute of Sciences, 1996