​​Department of Software & Information Systems Engineering​
Faculty of Engineering Sciences

Assaf Zaritsky 1.jpg

My life before BGU:

I was born and raised in Beer-Sheva. My bachelor's and master's degrees (in the field of artificial intelligence) were completed in BGU's Department of Computer Science. I studied for my doctorate, in the field of computer vision at the School of Computer Science at Tel Aviv University. During my doctoral studies, by mere coincidence, I came across a microscopic video of cells moving in a group. The complex motion patterns inspired my imagination and I was surprised to hear about the simplistic quantification methods used in the field. As a computational scientist, I identified this as an opportunity to make a significant difference in understanding complex dynamic biological systems. During my postdoc, I studied computational cell biology at the Departments of Bioinformatics and Cell Biology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

"I grew up in Beer-Sheva and completed my undergraduate and master's studies here, so this is returning home"

My research:

Cell biology has entered the Big Data era, introducing a huge gap between the amount and complexity of cell imaging data and the ability to process it in a meaningful and informative manner. This gap provides an enormous opportunity for quantitative scientists to develop new methods, with the aim of deciphering complicated dynamic processes in cells through the analysis of microscopic images. My field of research is at the interface of cell biology and computer science, and deals with the understanding of complicated processes in cells through a range of computational methods from the field of data science. A central research question in my lab is how do cells communicate to achieve efficient collective self-organization and dynamics in normal processes and disease?

Why BGU?

I grew up in Beer-Sheva and completed my undergraduate and master's studies here, so this is returning home. I especially like the quiet and serenity of the south, and the lively student atmosphere on campus. I was given the opportunity to establish a research group in a department that focuses on data science – a perfect platform for developing an interdisciplinary research program combining computer science applications and cell biology. 

Assaf Zaritsky 2.jpg


An insight from my research:

I discovered that efficient movement of cell tissue is balanced by the ability of cells to produce the necessary forces for independent movement, and their ability to "listen" to directional cues from their neighbors in the tissue. This can be generalized as a life lesson – attention and cooperation yields superior group performance compared to stubbornness and individualism...

Something that doesn't appear on my resume:

In my spare time, I love hiking, trail running and basketball.

​A source of inspiration:

Dirk Nowitzki, a legendary basketball player in Dallas (where I completed my postdoc). Such a nice guy, gifted, funny, hard-working, thorough and loyal.

When I grow up:

I'm already grown up ;-)

If I wasn't a researcher, I would be:

a basketball player (a dream), algorithms engineer in a tech company (reality).


In brief:

Maccabi or HaPoel? HaPoel (Beer-Sheva) – after all, we wait ed 40 years for the championship :)
iPhone or Android? Android (open source!)
Summer or winter? Winter, an ideal time to hike in Israel!
Night or morning? Morning, it's my most effective time

לכתבה בעברית​


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