While adaptations to novel environments extend over evolutionary timescales, a new environment can emerge already within a single generation and can immediately impact the physiological and epigenetic state of the organism. Whether and how the initial response might be connected to longer-term establishment of new adaptations are not clear. We address these questions experimentally by studying how flies cope with novel scenarios of stress. We identified epigenetic- and symbiotic-mediated mechanisms which promote increased developmental plasticity under stress, influence the germline, and contribute to non-Mendelian transfer of variation across generations. I will discuss these epigenetic- and symbiotic-mediated processes and their potential contribution to the establishment of initial adaptations that can bridge part of the gap between ecological and evolutionary processes.
Yoav Soen is a biophysicist interested in how robust organisms can be sufficiently plastic to cope with new problems. Yoav was formally trained in Electrical Engineering and Physics (Technion, Israel Institute of Technology). After graduating, he got interested in Life Sciences and conducted a postdoctoral research with Patrick Brown at Stanford University, Dept. of Biochemistry (2001-2006). On 2006, Yoav established a research lab in the Weizmann Institute of Science, Department of Biological Chemistry. His group takes an experimental approach for studying how developing flies cope with unfamiliar scenarios of stress, the underlying epigenetic and symbiotic mechanisms of response, the trans-generational implications of these events and how they may bridge ecological and evolutionary processes.