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  • Dr.  Nataly Kravchenko-Balasha
Welcome to the Kravchenko-Balasha Lab Page
Research Interests


·     Quantitative understanding of protein signaling networks in healthy and diseased tissues.
·     Biophysics of cell-cell / cell-environment communication and cell migration.
·     Development of new analytical approaches based on principles of physics and chemistry to non-equilibrium biological systems.
Current Projects
A. Patient-specific protein networks in cancer: Every tumor develops and grows in its own way, and is unique in terms of the signaling aberrations that drive its progression. This results in a significant variation in tumor sensitivity to therapies. Moreover, each tumor may possess several cellular subpopulations which may be driven by different oncogenic signals and can respond differently to therapy, often leading to the survival of resistant subpopulations and to the development of drug resistant tumors. Furthermore, tumor may interact with the patient-specific tumor-associated microenvironment, and these interactions may play an important role in the maintenance and progression of the tumor. Therefore a deeper understanding of patient-specific protein signaling networks, the changes that they undergo during transformation and their relationship with the tumor-associated microenvironment is crucial for the development of effective therapies for cancer patients.
We focus on:
1.  Developing quantitative approaches that resolve with high accuracy patient-specific alterations in protein networks occurring during tumor development.
2.  Resolving intra-tumor signaling heterogeneity at the single cell level. We perform detailed single cell analysis to identify the complete set of subpopulations in the tumors, and predict and test the optimal treatment.
3.  Elucidating the role of the interaction between different cellular subpopulations on tumor growth.

B.  The architecture of tumors plays an important role in tumor development. The understanding of these structures and the forces that drive their formation is of high importance in cancer research and therapy.
We develop quantitative experimental-theoretical methods to provide an in-depth understanding of the influence of the cell-cell and cell-environment interactions on directed cell-cell movement, cellular signaling and cancer tissues architectures
Our studies encompass analytical approaches from physics and chemistry, molecular profiling and analysis of tumor tissues, single cell measurements and live cell imaging.

Our studies encompass analytical approaches from physics and chemistry, molecular profiling and analysis of tumors from cancer patients, single cell measurements and live cell imaging.
We are looking for highly motivated and talented MSc and PhD students with a background in biophysics/ biochemistry / molecular biology and/or quantitative biology/bioinformatics.
Lab Members

Lab Life

1.   Personalized disease signatures through information-theoretic compaction of big cancer data. Vasudevan S, Flashner-Abramson E, Remacle F, Levine RD, Kravchenko-Balasha N. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 Jul 5. pii: 201804214. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1804214115.
2.    Efrat Flashner-Abramson, Jonathan Abramson, Forest M. White,  Kravchenko-Balasha N. A thermodynamic-based approach for the resolution and prediction of protein network structures, ChemPhys, 2018,
Oral Dis. 2018 May;24(4):491-493. doi: 10.1111/odi.12629. Epub 2017 Feb 8. PMID: 28029726
4.     Kravchenko-Balasha N, Shin YS, Sutherland A, Levine RD, Heath JR. Intercellular signaling through secreted proteins induces free-energy gradient-directed cell movement. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 May 2. pii: 201602171. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 27140641.
5.    Kravchenko-Balasha N, Johnson H, White FM, Heath JR, Levine RD. A Thermodynamic-Based Interpretation of Protein Expression Heterogeneity in Different Glioblastoma Multiforme Tumors Identifies Tumor-Specific Unbalanced Processes. J Phys Chem B. 2016 Apr 12. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 27035264.
6.     Poovathingal SK*, Kravchenko-Balasha N*, Shin YS, Levine RD, Heath JR. Critical Points in Tumorigenesis: A Carcinogen-Initiated Phase Transition Analyzed via Single-Cell Proteomics. Small. 2016 Mar;12(11):1425-31. doi: 10.1002/smll.201501178. Epub 2016 Jan 18. PubMed PMID: 26780498.
7.     Kravchenko-Balasha N, Simon S, Levine RD, Remacle F, Exman I. Computational surprisal analysis speeds-up genomic characterization of cancer processes. PLoS One. 2014 Nov 18;9(11):e108549. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0108549. eCollection 2014. PubMed PMID: 25405334; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4236016.
8.    Kravchenko-Balasha N, Wang J, Remacle F, Levine RD, Heath JR. Glioblastoma cellular architectures are predicted through the characterization of two-cell interactions. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Apr 29;111(17):6521-6. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1404462111. Epub 2014 Apr 14. PubMed PMID: 24733941; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4035957.
9.     Cohen N, Kravchenko-Balasha N, Klein S, Levitzki A. Heterogeneity of gene expression in murine squamous cell carcinoma development-the same tumor by different means. PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e57748. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0057748. Epub 2013 Mar 18. PubMed PMID: 23526950; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3601100.
10.   Kravchenko-Balasha N, Levitzki A, Goldstein A, Rotter V, Gross A, Remacle F, Levine RD. On a fundamental structure of gene networks in living cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Mar 20;109(12):4702-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1200790109. Epub 2012 Mar 5. PubMed PMID: 22392990; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3311329.
11.   Kravchenko-Balasha N, Remacle F, Gross A, Rotter V, Levitzki A, Levine RD. Convergence of logic of cellular regulation in different premalignant cells by an information theoretic approach. BMC Syst Biol. 2011 Mar 16;5:42. doi: 10.1186/1752-0509-5-42. PubMed PMID: 21410932; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3072338.
12.   Kravchenko-Balasha N, Klein S, Safrai M, Levitzki A. Contribution of gross chromosomal changes to HPV16-induced transformation. Mol Biosyst. 2011 May; 7(5):1501-11. doi: 10.1039/c0mb00284d. Epub 2011 Feb 24. PubMed PMID: 21350750.
13.   Mizrachy-Schwartz S, Cohen N, Klein S, Kravchenko-Balasha N, Levitzki A. Up-regulation of AMP-activated protein kinase in cancer cell lines is mediated through c-Src activation. J Biol Chem. 2011 Apr 29;286(17):15268-77. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.211813. Epub 2011 Jan 18. PubMed PMID: 21245141; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3083231.
14.   Mizrachy-Schwartz S, Cohen N, Klein S, Kravchenko-Balasha N, Levitzki A. Amino acid starvation sensitizes cancer cells to proteasome inhibition. IUBMB Life. 2010 Oct;62(10):757-63. doi: 10.1002/iub.377. PubMed PMID: 20931634.
15.   Zenvirt S*, Kravchenko-Balasha N*, Levitzki A. Status of p53 in human cancer cells does not predict efficacy of CHK1 kinase inhibitors combined with chemotherapeutic agents. Oncogene. 2010 Nov 18;29(46):6149-59. doi:10.1038/onc.2010.343. Epub 2010 Aug 23. PubMed PMID: 20729914.
16.  Remacle F*, Kravchenko-Balasha N*, Levitzki A, Levine RD. Information-theoretic analysis of phenotype changes in early stages of carcinogenesis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Jun 1;107(22):10324-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1005283107. Epub 2010 May 17. PubMed PMID: 20479229; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2890488.
17.   Kravchenko-Balasha N, Mizrachy-Schwartz S, Klein S, Levitzki A. Shift from apoptotic to necrotic cell death during human papillomavirus-induced transformation of keratinocytes. J Biol Chem. 2009 Apr 24;284(17):11717-27. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M900217200. Epub 2009 Feb 16. PubMed PMID: 19221178; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2670175.
18.   Geiger T, Sabanay H, Kravchenko-Balasha N, Geiger B, Levitzki A. Anomalous features of EMT during keratinocyte transformation. PLoS One. 2008 Feb 6;3(2):e1574. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0001574. PubMed PMID: 18253510; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2215777.
19.    Mizrachy-Schwartz S, Kravchenko-Balasha N, Ben-Bassat H, Klein S, Levitzki A.Optimization of energy-consuming pathways towards rapid growth in HPV-transformed cells. PLoS One. 2007 Jul 11;2(7):e628. PubMed PMID: 17622357; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1913554.
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Contact details
We are located in the Ein Kerem Campus of the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

Nataly Kravchenko-Balasha, Ph.D.
Bio-Medical Sciences department
The Faculty of Dental Medicine
Hebrew University - Hadassah
POB 12272
Jerusalem 9112102
Tel (office):+972-26757583
Tel (lab):+972-26757778
Mobile: +972-586130500
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