Karin Yaniv worked on her PhD in Biotechnology Engineering at the intersection of biology, chemistry and engineering. She dealt with a strategy to battle bacterial infection in a world where antibiotic resistance is a serious problem, and successfully discovered new molecules in a marine environment that interfere with microbial communication and inhibit pathogenesis features. One of the molecules was entirely new in the microbial world, so this development holds the potential for discovering novel compounds. She also initiated research ventures with the University of Grenoble-Alpes and Nanyang Technological University in France and Singapore respectively, to develop academic and research collaborations and deepen her PhD findings.
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Dr. Yaniv joined the BGU Corona Task Force, and led a major project in cooperation with the Israeli Health Ministry to detect the virus in wastewater, as a tool for epidemiological analysis and population monitoring. In recognition of her contribution to this project, she received the 40 under 40 – Young Leadership Team Award for 2020 from the Israeli business daily Globes.
At the University of California, Berkeley, in the Department of Plant & Microbial Biology, she investigates how and why bacteria enter into and awaken from dormancy, a programmed sleep associated with a stressful environment. Discovering awakening mechanisms could enable “waking” the 99% of microbes that currently cannot be cultivated in lab conditions, possibly due to dormancy. Such a discovery could also help control chronic and recurrent infections in diseases like tuberculosis, anthrax, and cholera, where bacteria’s dormant state energy enables them to persist and be resilient in the human body.
Dr. Yaniv has volunteered with The Israel AIDS Task Force, developing awareness within the community of carriers; with a Jewish Agency project that helps Ethiopian high school students in exact science fields; and with Engineers Without Borders, promoting quality of life in the Israeli population and worldwide.