Uri Manor

Assistant Research Professor
Director of the Waitt Advanced Biophotonics Core

Uri Manor
Salk Institute for Biological Studies - Uri Manor

Current Research


The Problem

Each cell contains an intricate environment. Its parts are precisely constructed and must coordinate their near-constant movement to function properly. A misstep or misplacement of a cellular structure by just a few nanometers can cause a cell to stop working, and eventually, lead to disease. Researchers have found, for instance, that damaged mitochondria (the power stations of the cell) can lead to diseases such as Parkinson’s. To visualize these disruptions and develop strategies to repair the damaged cells, scientists turn to high-resolution microscopy techniques. Yet each imaging method comes with limitations.

The Approach

Manor applies artificial intelligence-based computational approaches (deep learning) that integrate data from optical and electron microscopy techniques increasing image resolution, sensitivity, and collection speed beyond what’s possible with any individual method.

Using these advanced microscopy techniques, Manor can capture live images of cellular structures, such as mitochondria and the actin cytoskeleton, with a high degree of detail. This information helps researchers connect a biological target’s structure to its function. He investigates a number of biological targets involved in processes that, if disrupted, can lead to disorders including Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, hearing loss, and age-related neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. His research advances scientists’ understanding of these cellular processes and may ultimately help create therapies to treat these conditions.


The Innovations and Discoveries

Manor developed a new deep learning tool that improves the quality of low-resolution microscopy images—an approach that could help democratize high-resolution microscopy and further increase the capabilities of cutting-edge microscopes.

He discovered that a protein called Eps8 helps regulate the growth of microscopic “hairs” involved in hearing, and is investigating methods to restore hearing in animal model studies.

Manor discovered a novel mitochondrial isoform of a protein called “Spire” regulates mitochondrial fission, and created nanobody-based probes that bind to specific regions of mitochondria and other organelles, and is studying how these cellular structures co-regulate one another in health and disease using patient-derived stem cell and animal models.

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Education

BS, Engineering Physics, Parks College of Engineering and Aviation
PhD, Cellular, Molecular, Developmental Biology and Biophysics, Johns Hopkins University
Postdoctoral Fellow, NIH


Awards & Honors

  • Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) Imaging Scientist, 2020
  • Navapan Foundation Grant – Hearing Restoration Project Grant, 2018
  • Salk Innovation Grant – Deep learning-based segmentation of root systems, 2018
  • Hearing Restoration Research Grant, David F. and Margaret T. Grohne Family Foundation, 2017
  • Salk Institute Innovation Grant, 2016
  • NIH Fellows Award for Research Excellence, 2015
  • CRG-Centre for Genomic Regulation Travel Grant, 2015
  • NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2012
  • BSF Prof. Rahamimoff Grant for Young Scientists, 2012
  • NIH Fellows Award for Research Excellence, 2011
  • NIH Graduate Student Research Excellence Award, 2011
  • Woods Hole MBL Physiology course full scholarship, 2010
  • Woods Hole MBL Biology of the Inner Ear course full scholarship, 2007
  • NIH Graduate Fellowship, 2005