Lab Members

Dr. Einav Malach

Lab Technician

Nitzan Dubovski

PhD Student

Eitan Margulis

MSc Student

Hadar Breen

Amirim Student

Natalie Ben Abu

PhD Student

Tamir Dingjan

Post-doctoral fellow

Lior Peri

MSc Student

Ayana Dagan-Wiener

PhD Student


Past Group Members


List of publications. For more, please check out Google Scholar or ResearchGate.


  83. Ben Abu N, et al. (2018) The taste of KCl-what a difference a sugar makes. Food Chemistry.

  82. Qutob N, et al. (2018) RGS7 is recurrently mutated in melanoma and promotes migration and invasion of human cancer cells. Scientific Reports 8(1):653.

  81. Xue YA, et al. (2018) Independent Evolution of Strychnine Recognition by Bitter Taste Receptor Subtypes. Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences 5:9.

  80. Di Pizio A, et al. (2018) Molecular features underlying selectivity in chicken bitter taste receptors. Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences 5:6.


  79. Wu C, et al. (2017) Biomimetic Sensors for the Senses: Towards Better Understanding of Taste and Odor Sensation. Sensors 17:2881.

  78. Nissim I, et al. (2017) The taste of toxicity: A quantitative analysis of bitter and toxic molecules. IUBMB Life 69:938-946.

  77. Dagan-Wiener A, et al. (2017) Bitter or not? BitterPredict, a tool for predicting taste from chemical structure. Scientific Reports 7(1):12074.

  76. Di-Pizio A, et al. (2017) Ligand binding modes from low resolution GPCR models and mutagenesis: chicken bitter taste receptor as a test-case. Scientific Reports 7(1):8223.

  75. Cheled-Shoval S, et al. (2017) From Cell to Beak: In-Vitro and In-Vivo Characterization of Chicken Bitter Taste Thresholds. Molecules 22(5):821.

  74. Oren T, et al. (2017) Recombinant ostreolysin induces brown fat-like phenotype in HIB-1B cells. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research 61(9).

  73. Dubovski N, et al. (2017) Bitter mouth-rinse affects emotions. Food Quality and Preference 60:154-164.

  72. Bahia MS, et al. (2017) Bitterness prediction in-silico: A step towards better drugs. International Journal of Pharmaceutics.

  71. Cheled-Shoval SL, et al. (2017) Detecting thresholds for bitter, umami, and sweet tastants in broiler chicken using a 2-choice test method. Poultry science 96(1):2206-2218.

  70. Slutzki M, et al. (2017) AnchorDock for Blind Flexible Docking of Peptides to Proteins. Modeling Peptide-Protein Interactions: Methods and Protocols, 95-108.


  69. Weintraub S, et al. (2016) Design and synthesis of novel protein kinase R (PKR) inhibitors. Molecular Diversity 20(4):805-819.

  68. Karaman R, et al. (2016) Probing the Binding Pocket of the Broadly Tuned Human Bitter Taste Receptor TAS2R14 by Chemical Modification of Cognate Agonists. Chemical Biology & Drug Design 88(1):66-75.

  67. Hariri BM, et al. (2016) In vitro effects of anthocyanidins on sinonasal epithelial nitric oxide production and bacterial physiology. American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy 30(4):261-268.

  66. Di Pizio A, et al. (2016) Comparing Class A GPCRs to bitter taste receptors: Structural motifs, ligand interactions and agonist-to-antagonist ratios. G Protein-Coupled Receptors: Signaling, Trafficking and Regulation, Methods in Cell Biology, ed Shukla AK), Vol 132, pp 401-427.

  65. Behrens M, et al. (2016) Structure-function of bitter taste receptors. Chemical Senses 41(4):382-383.

  64. Behrens M, et al. (2016) Bitter taste receptors, nature’s flexible sensors for changing chemical environments. Chemical Senses 41(9):E123-E124.


  63. Di Pizio A & Niv MY (2015) Promiscuity of Bitter Taste Receptors. Chemical Senses 40(3):297-297.

  62. Di Pizio A & Niv MY (2015) Promiscuity and selectivity of bitter molecules and their receptors. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry 23(14):4082-4091.

  61. Ben-Shimon A & Niv MY (2015) AnchorDock: Blind and Flexible Anchor-Driven Peptide Docking. Structure 23(5):929-940.

  60. Arafeh R, et al. (2015) Recurrent inactivating RASA2 mutations in melanoma. Nature Genetics 47(12):1408-+.


  59. Nowak S, Levit A, Niv MY, Meyerhof W, & Behrens M (2014) Activation properties of TAS2R14, a bitter taste receptor with an exceptional wide agonist spectrum. Chemical Senses 39(1):106-106.

  58. Li YD, et al. (2014) Aldehyde Recognition and Discrimination by Mammalian Odorant Receptors via Functional Group-Specific Hydration Chemistry. Acs Chemical Biology 9(11):2563-2571.

  57. Li Y, et al. (2014) Aldehyde recognition and discrimination by mammalian odorant receptors via functional group-specific hydration chemistry. Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society 248.

  56. Levit A, et al. (2014) The bitter pill: clinical drugs that activate the human bitter taste receptor TAS2R14. Faseb Journal 28(3):1181-1197.

  55. Levit A, Beuming T, Krilov G, Sherman W, & Niv MY (2014) Predicting GPCR Promiscuity Using Binding Site Features. Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling 54(1):184-194.

  54. Kowalsman N & Niv MY (2014) GPCR & Company: Databases and Servers for GPCRs and Interacting Partners. G Protein-Coupled Receptors - Modeling and Simulation, Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, ed Filizola M), Vol 796, pp 185-204.

  53. Di Pizio A & Niv MY (2014) Computational Studies of Smell and Taste Receptors. Israel Journal of Chemistry 54(8-9):1205-1218.

  52. Cheled-Shoval SL, Behrens M, Meyerhof W, Niv MY, & Uni Z (2014) Perinatal Administration of a Bitter Tastant Influences Gene Expression in Chicken Palate and Duodenum. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 62(52):12512-12520.

  51. Chapnik N, Genzer Y, Ben-Shimon A, Niv MY, & Froy O (2014) AMPK-derived peptides reduce blood glucose levels but lead to fat retention in the liver of obese mice. Journal of Endocrinology 221(1):89-99.

  50. Behrens M, Nowak S, Levit A, Niv MY, & Meyerhof W (2014) Molecular dissection of human bitter taste receptor activation. Chemical Senses 39(1):77-77.

  49. Aizen J, Kowalsman N, Niv MY, & Levavi-Sivan B (2014) Characterization of tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) gonadotropins by modeling and immunoneutralization. General and Comparative Endocrinology 207:28-33.


  48. Cohen-Kutner M, et al. (2013) Thioredoxin-mimetic peptides (TXM) reverse auranofin induced apoptosis and restore insulin secretion in insulinoma cells. Biochemical Pharmacology 85(7):977-990.

  47. Born S, Levit A, Niv MY, Meyerhof W, & Behrens M (2013) The Human Bitter Taste Receptor TAS2R10 Is Tailored to Accommodate Numerous Diverse Ligands. Journal of Neuroscience 33(1):201-213.

  46. Ben-Shimon A, Shalev DE, & Niv MY (2013) Protonation States in Molecular Dynamics Simulations of Peptide Folding and Binding. Current Pharmaceutical Design 19(23):4173-4181.

  45. Wiener A, Shudler M, Levit A, & Niv MY (2012) BitterDB: a database of bitter compounds. Nucleic Acids Research 40(D1):D413-D419.

  44. Gorinski N, et al. (2012) Computational and Experimental Analysis of the Transmembrane Domain 45 Dimerization Interface of the Serotonin 5-HT1A Receptor. Molecular Pharmacology 82(3):448-463.

  43. Chapnik N, Levit A, Niv MY, & Froy O (2012) Expression and Structure/Function Relationships of Human Defensin 5. Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology 166(7):1703-1710.

  42. Aizen J, et al. (2012) Experimental and computational study of inter- and intra-species specificity of gonadotropins for various gonadotropin receptors. Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology 364(1-2):89-100.

  41. Tal-Gan Y, et al. (2011) Backbone Cyclic Peptide Inhibitors of Protein Kinase B (PKB/Akt). Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 54(14):5154-5164.

  40. Levit A, Yarnitzky T, Wiener A, Meidan R, & Niv MY (2011) Modeling of Human Prokineticin Receptors: Interactions with Novel Small-Molecule Binders and Potential Off-Target Drugs. Plos One 6(11).

  39. Levit A, et al. (2011) Iterative in-silico and in-vitro tools for exploration of bitterness. Chemical Senses 36(1):E45-E45.

  38. Born S, et al. (2011) Identification of agonist interaction sites in the human bitter taste receptor hTAS2R10 through in silico model-guided mutagenesis. Chemical Senses 36(1):E44-E45.

  37. Ben-Shimon A & Niv MY (2011) Deciphering the Arginine-Binding Preferences at the Substrate-Binding Groove of Ser/Thr Kinases by Computational Surface Mapping. Plos Computational Biology 7(11).

  36. Behrens M, et al. (2011) Bitter taste receptors of mammals. Chemical Senses 36(1):E5-E6.

  35. Yarnitzky T, Levit A, & Niv MY (2010) Homology modeling of G-protein-coupled receptors with X-ray structures on the rise. Current Opinion in Drug Discovery & Development 13(3):317-325.

  34. Cheng S & Niv MY (2010) Molecular Dynamics Simulations and Elastic Network Analysis of Protein Kinase B (Akt/PKB) Inactivation. Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling 50(9):1602-1610.

  33. Brockhoff A, Behrens M, Niv MY, & Meyerhof W (2010) Structural requirements of bitter taste receptor activation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 107(24):11110-11115.

  32. Shudler M & Niv MY (2009) BlockMaster: Partitioning Protein Kinase Structures Using Normal-Mode Analysis. Journal of Physical Chemistry A 113(26):7528-7534.

  31. Rubinstein M & Niv MY (2009) Peptidic Modulators of Protein-Protein Interactions: Progress and Challenges in Computational Design. Biopolymers 91(7):505-513.

  30. Niv MY, et al. (2009) Rational redesign of neutral endopeptidase binding to merlin and moesin proteins. Protein Science 18(5):1042-1050.

  29. Skrabanek L & Niv MY (2008) Scan2S: Increasing the precision of PROSITE pattern motifs using secondary structure constraints. Proteins-Structure Function and Bioinformatics 72(4):1138-1147.

  28. Qvit N, et al. (2008) Synthesis of a novel macrocyclic library: Discovery of an IGF-IR inhibitor. Journal of Combinatorial Chemistry 10(2):256-266.

  27. Niv MY, Skrabanek L, Roberts RJ, Scheraga HA, & Weinstein H (2008) Identification of GATC- and CCGG-recognizing Type II REases and their putative specificity-determining positions using Scan2S - a novel motif scan algorithm with optional secondary structure constraints. Proteins-Structure Function and Bioinformatics 71(2):631-640.

  26. Niv MY & Filizola M (2008) Influence of oligomerization on the dynamics of G-protein coupled receptors as assessed by normal mode analysis. Proteins-Structure Function and Bioinformatics 71(2):575-586.

  25. Madsen KL, et al. (2008) Membrane localization is critical for activation of the PICK1BAR domain. Traffic 9(8):1327-1343.

  24. Mack E, et al. (2008) Prevention of insulin resistance and beta-cell loss by abrogating PKC epsilon-induced serine phosphorylation of muscle IRS-1 in Psammomys obesus. Diabetes-Metabolism Research and Reviews 24(7):577-584.

  23. Niv MY, Skrabanek L, Filizola M, & Weinstein H (2007) Modeling activated states of GPCRs: the rhodopsin template (vol 21, pg 419, 2007). Journal of Computer-Aided Molecular Design 21(7):419-419.

  22. Niv MY, et al. (2007) Topology of type II REases revisited; structural classes and the common conserved core. Nucleic Acids Research 35(7):2227-2237.

  21. Niv MY, Han D, Madsen K, Gether U, & Weinstein H (2007) Structural modeling and phenotypic characterization of the functional modulation produced by the interaction between the PDZ and BAR domains in PICK1. Biophysical Journal:219A-219A.

  20. Niv MY & Filizola M (2007) Dynamic models of G-protein coupled receptor oligomers: Insights from normal mode analysis. Biophysical Journal:379A-379A.

  19. Bargheer M, et al. (2007) Dynamics of electronic states and spin-flip for photodissociation of dihalogens in matrices: Experiment and semiclassical surface-hopping and quantum model Simulations for F-2 and CIF in solid Ar. Journal of Physical Chemistry A 111(38):9573-9585.

  18. Niv MY, Skrabanek L, Filizola M, & Weinstein H (2006) Modeling activated states of GPCRs: the rhodopsin template. Journal of Computer-Aided Molecular Design 20(7-8):437-448.

  17. Wexler ID, Niv MY, & Reuveni H (2005) Sequence-based protein kinase inhibition: applications for drug development. Biotechniques 39(4):575-576.

  16. Niv MY & Weinstein H (2005) Structural insights into phosphorylation-mediated regulation of PDZ domains interactions. Biophysical Journal 88(1):219A-219A.

  15. Niv MY & Weinstein H (2005) A flexible docking procedure for the exploration of peptide binding selectivity to known structures and homology models of PDZ domains. Journal of the American Chemical Society 127(40):14072-14079.

  14. Madsen KL, et al. (2005) Molecular determinants for the complex binding specificity of the PDZ domain in PICK1. Journal of Biological Chemistry 280(21):20539-20548.

  13. Beuming T, Skrabanek L, Niv MY, Mukherjee P, & Weinstein H (2005) PDZBase: a protein-protein interaction database for PDZ-domains. Bioinformatics 21(6):827-828.

  12. Beuming T, et al. (2005) Specific PDZ-peptide interactions identified with PDZBase - a database of PDZ-domain mediated protein-protein interactions. Biophysical Journal 88(1):219A-219A.


  10. Niv MY, et al. (2004) Sequence-based design of kinase inhibitors applicable for therapeutics and target identification. Journal of Biological Chemistry 279(2):1242-1255.

  9. Gerber RB, Niv MY, & Cohen A (2003) Ultrafast cage-induced spin flip processes in molecular photodissociation in matrices and clusters. Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society 226:U429-U429.

  8. Bargheer M, Niv MY, Gerber RB, & Schwentner N (2002) Ultrafast solvent-induced spin-flip and nonadiabatic coupling: ClF in argon solids. Physical Review Letters 89(10).

  7. Cohen A, Niv MY, & Gerber RB (2001) Formation of novel rare-gas-containing molecules by molecular photodissociation in clusters. Faraday Discussions 118:269-280.

  6. Chaban G, et al. (2001) Photodissociation dynamics of molecular fluorine in an argon matrix induced by ultrashort laser pulses. Journal of Physical Chemistry A 105(12):2770-2782.

  5. Niv MY, Bargheer M, & Gerber RB (2000) Photodissociation and recombination of F-2 molecule in Ar-54 cluster: Nonadiabatic molecular dynamics simulations. Journal of Chemical Physics 113(16):6660-6672.

  4. Gerber RB, Korolkov MV, Manz J, Niv MY, & Schmidt B (2000) A reflection principle for the control of molecular photodissociation in solids: model simulation for F-2 in Ar. Chemical Physics Letters 327(1-2):76-84.

  3. Baumfalk R, Nahler NH, Buck U, Niv MY, & Gerber RB (2000) Photodissociation of HBr adsorbed on the surface and embedded in large Ar-n clusters. Journal of Chemical Physics 113(1):329-338.

  2. Niv MY, Krylov AI, Gerber RB, & Buck U (1999) Photodissociation of HCl adsorbed on the surface of an Ar-12 cluster: Nonadiabatic molecular dynamics simulations. Journal of Chemical Physics 110(22):11047-11053.

  1. Niv MY, Krylov AI, & Gerber RB (1997) Photodissociation, electronic relaxation and recombination of HCl in Ar-n(HCl) clusters - Non-adiabatic molecular dynamics simulations. Faraday Discussions 108:243-254.



  • 🎓 PhD, Mentor: Prof. Benny Gerber (2001)
    Institute of Chemistry, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

  • 🎓 MSc via direct PHD program (1997)
    Institute of Chemistry, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

  • 🎓 BSc in Chemistry, cum laude (1994)
    The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Current Positions

  • 🎓 Vice Dean for Research (2017- )
    Institute of Biochemistry, Food Science and Nutrition, The Robert H Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

  • 🎓 Associate Professor, tenured (2014- )
    Institute of Biochemistry, Food Science and Nutrition, The Robert H Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Past Positions

  • 🎓 Director of Biochemistry and Food Science BSc study program (2014-2017)
    Institute of Biochemistry, Food Science and Nutrition, The Robert H Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

  • 🎓 Visiting scholar at UCSF, hosted by Prof. Brian Shoichet (2015 summer sabbatical)

  • 🎓 Director of MSc study program in Biochemistry and Food Science (2014-2016)
    The Robert H Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

  • 🎓 Senior Lecturer (2009-2014)
    The Robert H Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

  • 🎓 Lecturer (2007-2009)
    The Robert H Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

  • 🎓 Post-doctoral fellow in Computational Biomedicine (2003-2007)
    Weill Medical College of Cornell University, NY, US; Mentor: Prof. Harel Weinstein

  • 💊 Bioinformatics and Molecular Modeling Group Leader (2000-2003)
    Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, Jerusalem, Israel


Distinctions and Awards

  • Vigevani Visiting Professor to Italy (2017-2018)
  • Women’s League for Israel Senior Lectureship in Nutrition (since 2011)
  • Krill Prize for Excellence in Science from the Wolf Foundation (2010)
  • Fritz Haber research award (1999)
  • BSc honorary award (1993)
  • DAAD scholarship (1992)
  • Faculty of science dean` s list (1991)
  • Elwing award for excellence in analytical chemistry (1991)

Recent international conferences

  • Weurman Flavour Research Symposium, Graz, Austria (2017)
  • ECRO meeting, Cambridge, UK (2017)
  • Pangborn Sensory Science Symposium, Rhode Island, USA (2017)
  • GLISTEN COST CM1027, Prague, Czech Republic, invited (2016)
  • ECRO meeting, Athens, Greece, invited (2016)
  • EupFI Lisbon, Portugal, invited (2016)
  • EuroQSAR, Verona, Italy, Keynote (2016)
  • ISQPB President’s meeting, Bergen, Norway, Keynote, declined (2016)
  • ACHEMS annual meeting, Florida, US, invited (2015)
  • 3DSig Boston, US, Keynote (2014)
  • Nauta GPCR Medicinal Chemistry Symposium, Amsterdam, Netherlands, invited (2013)
  • Cecam workshop, Lausanne, Switzerland, invited (2012)
  • ISQPB President’s meeting, Cetraro, Italy, invited (2010)

Academic Activities

Contact Info

Prof. Masha Niv

Office Address: The Institute of Biochemistry, Food and Nutrition, The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, P.O.Box 12, Rehovot 76100, Israel

Tel: +972–(0)8–9489664

Email Address: