Prof. Zehava Uni

Publications in google scholar

The Lab

Our research focuses on one of the most important aspects of poultry nutrition: the functional development of the chicken digestive system, and the influence of feed and specific nutrients on the integrity and functional capability of the gut epithelium. The goal of this research is to improved efficiency of poultry production.

Research Interests

  • Functional development of the small intestine: morphological, molecular and functional changes
  • Feeding before hatch—in ovo feeding
  • Modulating microflora in the chicken intestine
  • Nutrition of the developing embryo during incubation
  • Bitter Taste Perception in Chicken,.


  • Principles in nutrition of farm animals (71839; 4 credits)
  • Management and nutrition of poultry ( 71822 ; 6 credits )
  • Fish Physiology ( 71837; 3.5 credits)
  • Quality and production of poultry products (71851; 2 credits)
  • Introduction to animal physiology ( 71808; 2 credits)
  • Master’s degree and Doctorate Course:
  • Physiology of absorption (71142; 3.5 credits)

Professional Societies

  • The World Poultry Science Association (WPSA).
  • The American Animal Science Society (ASAS).
  • The Israeli Poultry Science Association (IPSA).
  • The European Poultry Science Association
  • Head of postgraduate curriculum in Animal Sciences and Veterinary Medicine.
  • Ad hoc reviewer for: World Poultry Science, British Poultry - Avian Pathology, Poultry Science Journal
  • Member of the Scientific Committee of the European Poultry Nutrition Conference.


See also: Zehava Uni

Curriculum Vitae

Education and Professional Experience:

  • 2013 to date- Full Professor, Animal Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, Hebrew University.
  • 2006-2013 - Associate Professor, Animal Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, Hebrew University.
  • 2001 to date - Adjunct Professor Faculty Member, Department of Poultry Science, North Carolina State University (NCSU), USA
  • 2001-2006 - Senior Lecturer Animal Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, Hebrew University.
  • 1995-2000 - Lecturer, Animal Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, Hebrew University.
  • 1993-1995 - Postdoctoral, Animal Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, Hebrew University.
  • 1992-1993 - Postdoctoral at Cornell Veterinary College, Ithaca, NY, USA.
  • 1988-1991 - Ph.D. in Animal Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
  • 1985-1987 - M.Sc. in Animal Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
  • 1981-1984 - B.Sc. in Biology, Haifa University.

Major Awards and Grants:

  • The Israeli ministry of agriculture, "the use of organic trace minerals in breeder flocks and in broilers: absorption, utilization, improved hatchability, hatchlings quality, broiler performance and environmental quality, (2014-2017).
  • The Israel Science Foundation (ISF), "Bitter Taste Perception in Chicken – a computational, molecular, and behavioral study", Masha Niv and Zehava Uni, (2012-2016).
  • Cobb-Vantress Inc., “The effect of in-ovo nutrition on the structural and mechanical characteristics of the skeleton in Cobb birds”, Zehava Uni and Ron Shahar (2010-2011).
  • Israel-US Bi-national Agriculture Research and Development Foundation (BARD), “Nutrition of the developing embryo: nutrient uptake systems of the yolk sac membrane and embryonic intestine”, Zehava Uni and Prof. Eric Wong (Department of Animal Science, Virginia Tech, Virginia, USA (2008–2011).
  • Alltech Inc., “Effect of mannanoligosaccharide (MOS) on mucin dynamic, gut immune response, enterocyte functionality and microbiota, in germ-free and conventionally reared chicken”, Zehava Uni and Andrew Van Kessel ,Saskatoon University, Canada (2007- 2009).
  • Israel-US Bi-national Industrial Research and Development Foundation (BIRD), “Improve broiler production efficiency by developing in-ovo nutrients for mass delivery to broiler chickens”, Zehava Uni /Avian Tech Ltd. (a HU-Yissum company) and Embrex Inc. (2005-2007).
  • Gumat Inc. (Israel) and StarLab Inc. (US), “Effect of PrimaLac on bacterial ecology in the chicken intestine (2005).
  • Alltech Inc., “Effect of BioMos on mucin dynamics and bacterial ecology in the chicken intestine”, (2005).
  • Israel-US Bi-national Agriculture Research and Development Foundation (BARD), “Enhancement of development of poultry by in-ovo feeding”, Zehava Uni and Dr. Ferket R. Peter (Department of Poultry Science, North Carolina State University, NC, USA (2002-2005).
  • The Kaye Innovation Award for Applied Research, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2005).
  • Award for "Outstanding publication in nutrition that uses an avian species." American Society for Nutritional Sciences, Milton L. Sunde prize (2001).

Most cited papers:

Posthatch development of mucosal function in the broiler small intestine
Author(s): Uni, Z; Ganot, S; Sklan, D
Source: POULTRY SCIENCE Volume: 77 Issue: 1 Pages: 75-82 Published: JAN 1998

Posthatch changes in morphology and function of the small intestine in heavy-strain and light-strain chicks
Author(s): Uni, Z; Noy, Y; Sklan, D
Source: POULTRY SCIENCE Volume: 74 Issue: 10 Pages: 1622-1629 Published: OCT 1995

Posthatch development of small intestinal function in the poult
Author(s): Uni, Z; Noy, Y; Sklan, D
Source: POULTRY SCIENCE Volume: 78 Issue: 2 Pages: 215-222 Published: FEB 1999

Microflora ecology of the chicken intestine using 16S ribosomal DNA primers
Author(s): Amit-Romach, E; Sklan, D, Uni, Z
Source: POULTRY SCIENCE Volume: 83 Issue: 7 Pages: 1093-1098 Published: JUL 2004

Enterocyte dynamics and mucosal development in the posthatch chick
Author(s): Geyra, A ; Uni, Z; Sklan, D
Source: POULTRY SCIENCE Volume: 80 Issue: 6 Pages: 776-782 Published: JUN 2001

Methods for early nutrition and their potential
Author(s): Uni, Z; Ferket, RP
Source: WORLDS POULTRY SCIENCE JOURNAL Volume: 60 Issue: 1 Pages: 101-111 Published: MAR 2004

Cell proliferation in chicken intestinal epithelium occurs both in the crypt and along the villus
Author(s): Uni, Z; Platin, R; Sklan, D

In ovo feeding improves energy status of late-term chicken embryos
Author(s): Uni, Z; Ferket, PR; Tako, E; et al.
Source: POULTRY SCIENCE Volume: 84 Issue: 5 Pages: 764-770 Published: MAY 2005

Morphological, molecular, and functional changes in the chicken small intestine of the late-term embryo
Author(s): Uni, Z; Tako, E; Gal-Garber, O; et al.
Source: POULTRY SCIENCE Volume: 82 Issue: 11 Pages: 1747-1754 Published: NOV 2003

Mucin dynamics and microbial populations in chicken small intestine are changed by dietary probiotic and antibiotic growth promoter supplementation
Author(s): Smirnov, A; Perez, R; Amit-Romach, E; et al.
Source: JOURNAL OF NUTRITION Volume: 135 Issue: 2 Pages: 187-192 Published: FEB 2005

Mucin dynamics in the chick small intestine are altered by starvation
Author(s): Smirnov, A; Sklan, D; Uni, Z
Source: JOURNAL OF NUTRITION Volume: 134 Issue: 4 Pages: 736-742 Published: APR 2004


See also: Zehava Uni

List of Publications







  • Cheled-Shoval SL, Gamage NS, Amit-Romach E, Forder R, Marshal J, Van Kessel A, Uni Z.2014. Differences in intestinal mucin dynamics between germ-free and conventionally reared chicken after mannan-oligosaccharide supplementation. Poultry Sci. 93(3):636-44.
  • Yadgary L, Wong EA, Uni Z. 2014. Temporal transcriptome analysis of the chicken embryo yolk sac. BMC Genomics. doi: 10.1186/1471-2164-15-690.
  • Avni D, Hendriksma HP, Dag A, Uni Z, Shafir S. 2014. Nutritional aspects of honey bee-collected pollen and constraints on colony development in the eastern Mediterranean. J Insect Physiol.. 69: 65-73.
  • 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. J Agric Food Chem..In press.


  • Oliveira J. E, Druyan S, Z. Uni, Ashwell C. M and P. R. Ferket. 2013. Metabolic profiling of late-term turkey embryos by microarrays. Poultry Sci. 92(4):1011-28.
  • Yair R., Shahar R and Uni Z. 2013. Prenatal nutritional manipulation by in ovo enrichment influences bone structure, composition and mechanical properties. J. Animal Sci. 91(5):5548.
  • Yadgary L., O. Kedar, O. Adepeju, and Z. Uni. 2013. Changes in yolk sac membrane absorptive area and fat digestion during chick embryonic development. Poultry Sci. 92(6):1634-1640







  • Uni Z. 2007. Physiological dynamics at the intestinal brush border. In: Nutritional Biotechnology in feed and food industries. T.P. Lyons, K.A. Jacques and J.M. Hower, eds. Nottingham University Press, UK.
  • Hakim Y., Rowland S.J., Guy J.A., Mifsud C., Uni Z. and Harpaz S. 2007. Effects of genetic strain and holding facility on the characteristics of alkaline phosphatase and brush border enzymes in silver perch (Bidyanus bidyanus). Aquaculture Res. 38:361-72.
  • Foye O., Ferket P. and Uni Z. 2007. Ontogeny of energy and carbohydrate utilization of precocial avian embryos and hatching. Avian Poultry Biol. Rev. 18(3):93-101.
  • Rozenboim I., Tako E., Gal-Garber O., Proudman J.A. and Uni Z. 2007. The effect of heat stress on ovarian function of laying hen. Poultry Sci. 86(8):1760-5


  • Uni Z. 2006. Early development of small intestinal function. In: Avian Gut Function in Health and Disease. G.C. Perry, ed. Carfax Publishing Co., Abingdon, UK.
  • Tibaldi E., Hakim Y., Uni Z., Tulli F., de Francesco M., Luzzana U. and Harpaz, S. 2006. Effects of the partial substitution of dietary fish meal by differently processed soybean meals on growth performance, nutrient digestibility and activity of intestinal brush border enzymes in the European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax). Aquaculture 261:182-93.
  • Foye O.T., Uni Z., McMurtry J.P. and Ferket P.R. 2006. The effects of amnionic nutrient administration, "in ovo feeding" of arginine and/or beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) on insulin-like growth factors, energy metabolism and growth in turkey poults. Int. J. Poultry Sci.5(4):309-317.
  • Foye O., Ferket P. and Uni Z. 2006. Effect of in ovo feeding egg white protein, beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB), and carbohydrates on glycogen status and neonatal growth of turkeys. Poultry Sci. 85:1185-92.
  • Amit-Romach E., Reifen R. and Uni Z. 2006. Mucosal function in rat jejunum and ileum altered by induction of colitis. Int. J. Mol. Med. 18(4):721-27.
  • Hakim Y., Uni Z., Hulata G. and Harpaz S. 2006. Relationship between intestinal brush border enzymatic activity and growth rate in tilapias fed diets containing 30% or 48% protein. Aquaculture 257:420-8.
  • Fasina Y.O., Classen H.L., Garlich J.D., Black B.L., Ferket P., Uni Z. and Olkowski A. 2006. Response of turkey poults to soybean lectin levels typically encountered in commercial diets. 2. Effect on intestinal development and lymphoid organs. Poultry Sci. 85:870-7.
  • Smirnov A., Tako E., Ferket P. and Uni Z. 2006. Mucin gene expression and mucin content in the chicken intestinal goblet cells is affected by in ovo feeding of carbohydrates. Poultry Sci. 85: 669-73.


  • Tako E., Ferket P. and Uni Z. 2005. Changes in chicken intestinal zinc exporter (ZnT1) mRNA expression and small intestine functionality following an intra amniotic zinc-methionine (ZnMet) administration. J. Nutr. Biochem. 16:339-46.
  • Uni Z., Ferket P., Tako E. and Kedar O. 2005. In ovo feeding improves energy status of late term chicken embryos. Poultry Sci. 84:764-70.
  • Smirnov A., Perez R., Amit-Romach E., Sklan D. and Uni Z. 2005. Mucin dynamics and microbial populations in chicken small intestine are changed by dietary probiotic and antibiotic growth promoter supplementation. J. Nutr. 135:187-92.


  • Uni Z. and Ferket P.R. 2004. Methods for early feeding and their potential. World Poultry Sci. J. 60:101-11.
  • Tako E., Ferket P.R. and Uni Z. 2004. Effects of in ovo feeding of carbohydrates and beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate on the development of chicken intestine. Poultry Sci. 83:2023-8.
  • Amit-Romach E., Sklan D. and Uni Z. 2004. Microflora ecology of the chicken intestine using 16S ribosomal DNA primers. Poultry Sci. 83:1093-8.
  • Smirnov A., Sklan D. and Uni Z. 2004. Mucin dynamics in the chick small intestine are altered by starvation. J. Nutr. 134:736-42.


  • Uni Z., Tako E., Gal-Garber O. and Sklan D. 2003. Morphological, molecular, and functional changes in the chicken small intestine of the late-term embryo. Poultry Sci. 82:1747-54.
  • Gal-Garber O., Mabjeesh S.J., Sklan D. and Uni Z. 2003. Nutrient transport in the small intestine: Na+, K+-ATPase expression and activity in the small intestine of the chicken as influenced by dietary sodium. Poultry Sci. 82:1127-33.
  • Sklan D., Geyra A., Tako E., Gal-Gerber O. and Uni Z. 2003. Ontogeny of brush border carbohydrate digestion and uptake in the chick. Brit. J. Nutr. 89:747-53.


  • Uni Z., Smirnov A. and Sklan D. 2002. Pre- and posthatch development of goblet cells in the broiler small intestine: effect of delayed access to feed. Poultry Sci. 82:320-7.
  • Geyra A., Uni Z., Gal-Garber O., Guy D. and Sklan D. 2002. Effect of fasting on Cdx gene expression during small intestinal development in the chick. J. Nutr. 132:911-7.


See also: Zehava Uni

Lab members

See also: Zehava Uni

Liran Yadgary
PhD student
co-supervisor - 
Prof. Avigdor Cahaner

I am examining various aspects of nutrient utilization processes from the yolk sac of the chicken embryo. These nutrients provide the chicken embryo with most of the energy required for growth, we are investigating: 
- Dynamics and Changes in composition (fat, protein, water, carbohydrates) and absorption rate of the yolk sac by the developing embryo
- Gene expression of digestive enzymes and nutrients transporters (usually expressed in the intestine) in the yolk sac membrane.
- The role of the yolk sac in egg carbohydrates metabolism during incubation.

Roni Yair
See also: Zehava Uni

Roni Yair
PhD student
co-supervisor -
Prof. Ron Shahar

My current study explores:
- The development of Tibia and Femur bones during incubation period in the chicken embryo, in the context of the common leg problems which occur in broilers.
- Broilers skeletal development in terms of the changes in the mechanical, structural and material properties.
- The minerals reserves and uptake, from the yolk by the broiler embryos.
- The effect of enrichment the amniotic fluids of the broiler embryo, by in ovo feeding, with minerals and other nutrients on skeletal development and skeletal properties throughout broilers growing period.

Shira Cheled-Shoval
See also: Zehava Uni

Shira Cheled-Shoval
PhD student
co-supervisor -
Dr. Masha Niv

My research focuses in:
- Identifying compounds that are bitter for chicken and the associated bitter taste receptors.
- The expression patterns of bitter taste receptors during various developmental stages.
- Examination of in-ovo delivery of bitter compounds to chicken embryos.
- Behavioral responses of chickens to bitter tastants.
- In-silico characterization of ligand-bitter taste receptor interaction.

Shai Vaserberger
See also: Zehava Uni

Shai Vaserberger
M.Sc student

I am currently working on a project examining how in ovo feeding methodology together with thermal manipulation, during incubation period, affects broiler embryo performance and physiology.


See also: Zehava Uni



Master’s degree students


1996-1998   Ganot Sahar, co-supervisor - Prof. David Sklan.
1997-1999   Gidon Zieger, co-supervisor - Dr. Ram Reifen.
1999-2001   Elad Tako, co-supervisor - Dr. Israel Rozenboim. 
2000-2002   Yaakov Falach, co-supervisor - Dr. Sheenan Harpaz.
2001-2003   Einat Amit-Romach.
2002-2004   Yaniv Hakim, co-supervisor - Dr. Sheenan Harpaz.
2004-2006   Revital Peretz.
2004-2006    Mirit Thein. 
2005-2007   Orly Ashel, co-supervisor - Prof. Ami Arieli. 
2005-2008   Raviv Deshev co-supervisor - Dr. Ingrid Lubsatz.
2006-2008   Sivan Pinchuk, co-supervisor - Dr. Rozenboim Israel. 
2006-2008   Eran Sendel, co-supervisor - Dr. Bill Koven.
2006-2008   Shira Cheled.
2006-2010   Nimrod Tsur, co-supervisor - Prof. Cahaner Avigdor.
2007-2011   Rotem Agmon, co-supervisor - Prof. Ami Arieli.
2007-2009   Liran Yadgari, co-supervisor - Prof. Cahaner Avigdor (moved to direct PhD track).
2008-2010   Roni Yair (moved to direct PhD track).
2008-2011   Noga Esterchan, co-supervisor - Prof. Cahaner Avigdor.
2011-2013    Amit Haron, co-supervisor - Dr. Shally Druyan.
2012-2013   Shai Vaserberger.


Doctoral degree students

1998-2002    Orit Gal-Garber, co-supervisor - Prof. David Sklan. Currently Lab Director, The Interdepartmental Equipment Facility, The agriculture faculty, HU.)
1998-2002    Assaf Geyra, co-supervisor - Prof. David Sklan.
2001-2005    Elad Tako. Currently Assistant Professor USDA/ARS, Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture and Health Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
2000-2005    Asya Smirnov, co-supervisor - Prof. David Sklan. Currently, University of Virginia Charlottesville, Virginia.
2005-2011    Reut Kornasio, co-supervisor - Prof. Orna Halevy. Currently Bio-Technology General (Israel) Ltd.
2005-2010    Einat Amit-Romach, co-supervisor - Prof. Ram Reifen. Currently TEVA.
2005-2010    Yaniv Hakim, co-supervisor - Dr. Sheenan Harpaz.
2009-2013    Liran Yadgary, co-supervisor - Prof. Avigdor Cahaner.
2010-2015    Roni Yair, co-supervisor - Prof. Ron Shahar.
2009-date    Shira Shoval-Cheled, co-supervisor - Prof. Masha Niv.

See also: Zehava Uni

Lab Photo Gallery

See also: Zehava Uni
See also: Zvi Roth
See also: Zehava Uni
See also: Zehava Uni
See also: Zehava Uni
See also: Zehava Uni
See also: Zehava Uni
See also: Zehava Uni
See also: Zehava Uni
See also: Zehava Uni
See also: Zehava Uni
See also: Zehava Uni
See also: Zehava Uni
See also: Zehava Uni







See also: Zehava Uni

Photos of Our Work


See also: Zehava Uni