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אוניברסיטת בן-גוריון בנגב
המחלקה למדעי החיים

Dr. Michele Zaccai


Senior Lecturer

Room : Building 40, Room 211
Phone : Office (+972) 8 647 9196, Lab (+972) 8 647 9261, Fax (+972) 8  8 647 9261
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

Yarmolinsky, L., Zaccai, M., Ben-Shabat, S., Mills, D., Huleihel, M., 2010. Anti-herpetic activity of Callissia fragrans and Simmondsia chinensis leaf extracts in Vitro. Open Virol. J., 4:51-56.

Yarmolinsky, L., Huleihel, M., Zaccai, M. Ben-Shabat, S., 2012. Potent antiviral flavone glycosides from Ficus benjamina leaves. Fitoterapia 83(2): 362-367.

Saadon, S., Zaccai M., 2013. Lilium candidum bulblet and meristem development. In vitro Cell & Dev. Biology – Plant 49:313-319.

Meir, M., Zaccai, M., Raveh, E., Ben-Asher, J., Tel-Zur, N., 2014. (In Press). Performance of Ziziphus jujuba trees correlates with tissue mineral content under salinity conditions. Agricultural Water Management 142: 47-55.

Lugassi-Ben Hamo, M., Martin, C.V., Zaccai, M., 2015. Characterization of expressed sequence tags from Lilium longiflorum in vernalized and non-vernalized bulbs. Journal of Plant Physiology 173: 72–81 (


Ph.D: Weizmann Institute of Sciences, 1996