What makes us human?
The Meshorer (Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences) and Carmel (The Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences, Faculty of Science) Labs receive lately the prestigious John Templeton Foundation Award. This 1.54 Million Dollars award was granted to them for their work on a project titled “What makes us human? Revealing the (epi)genetic basis of the modern human brain evolution”.
"We aim to extend our understanding of What makes us human by revealing the biological processes and genetic networks that led to the formation of the modern human brain" says Prof. Eran Meshorer. "We will use epigenetic gene regulation insights to explore the evolution of the modern human brain and compare it with the archaic one" he adds.
Paleo-Epigenetics is a scientific field that came to be in 2014 with the aid of a method developed by Prof. Carmel and Prof. Meshorer to reconstruct methylation maps in ancient DNA. In this project the Carmel and Meshorer labs will concentrate on the methylation changes in genes that could explain the social, behavioral and physical characteristics that are unique to modern humans, while using models of embryonic stem cells and the creation of nerve cells and "mini-brains" which contain an epigenetic mark which characterizes archaic human groups such as Neanderthals and Denisovans.