Scientific Advisory Board
Prof. Michel Revel, MD, PhD Head of the Scientific Advisory Board
Prof. Revel is Professor Emeritus of Molecular Genetics at the Weizmann Institute of Science. His research on Interferon, its mechanisms of action and the isolation of the human Interferon-beta gene, have led to the development of Interferon-beta therapy for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, Rebif®, Blockbuster drug marketed worldwide.
In recent years, Prof. Revel's laboratory focused on hESC and succeeded to produce nerve myelinating cells that, when transplanted in myelin-deficient animals, have regenerated the myelin coating. These studies contributed to the development of a suspension culture technology for hESC which can then be used to produce differentiated human cells such as insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells and nerve myelinating cells.
Alongside his research and development activity, Prof. Revel is deeply involved in the ethics of science and biotechnology, and serves as chairman of the Israel National Bioethics Council, and was a member of the International Bioethics Committee of UNESCO.
Prof. Revel was the recipient of the Israel Prize for medical research, the EMET Prize for biotechnology, and is a member of the Israel Academy of Science and Humanities. He has been a member of Israel's National Committee for Biotechnology, serving for three years as its chairman.
Prof. Benjamin Reubinoff, MD, PhD
Prof. Reubinoff, Director of the Hadassah Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research Center and Senior Physician at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem, is one of the pioneers of hESC research. He was second to derive hESC from blastocysts and first to demonstrate that they could develop in culture into the three major cell types of the human body. He was further the first, simultaneously with scientists at Wisconsin University, to produce highly enriched cultures of neural precursor cells from hESC.
Prof. Eddy Karnieli, MD
Professor Karnieli is the former Director of the Institute for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa.
Professor Karnieli's main research interests are the molecular mechanisms for regulating cellular glucose uptake and transporters and their implications in diabetes, obesity and insulin resistance; Gene therapy modalities to trans-differentiate human cells toward beta-cells as a potential cure for type 1 diabetes; Medical informatics, telemedicine and personalized medicine. He has published about 70 peer reviewed papers and reviews. Professor Karnieli serves on the editorial board of several scientific journals and review boards.
Professor Karnieli is a retired Colonel from the Israel Defense Forces Medical Corps and is a former Deputy Director of the Rambam Medical Center.
Prof. Danielle Melloul, PhD
Dr. Melloul is a senior researcher at the Endocrinology and Metabolism Center at Hadassah Medical Organization. Dr. Melloul specializes in mechanisms of glucose-regulated insulin expression gene, effect of hyperglycemia on beta-cell functions, and the role of the transcription factor NF-B in beta-cells. She has published tens of peer reviewed papers and reviews on these subjects.
Prof. Tamir Ben Hur
Prof. Ben Hur is a Professor of Neurology and Chairman, The Department of Neurology, Hadassah –Hebrew University Medical Center.
Over the past ten years, Prof. Ben Hur has been focusing his research on cell therapy for neurological diseases, and in particular for multiple sclerosis. Among other achievements, his lab described the migration of transplanted neural precursor cells (NPCs) in response to CNS inflammation, and the amelioration of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis by NPC transplantation via an immunomodulatory mechanism.
In addition, he has been collaborating with Prof. Ben Reubinoff on translating these findings into the utilization of human embryonic stem cells. Prof. Ben-Hur received his MD and PhD degrees from the Hebrew University – Hadassah Medical School. He completed residency in Neurology at Hadassah University Medical center and a post-doc in the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France. Prof. Ben-Hur has authored more than 100 scientific publications, and received several awards for his achievements.
Professor Joseph Itskovitz-Eldor, MD, DSc.
Professor Itskovitz-Eldor served as the head of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department at Rambam Medical Center for 22 years, founded the Technion's embryonic stem cell center and is a professor emeritus at the Technion. In addition, Prof. Itskovitz-Eldor initiated the collaboration with James Thomson, of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, which derived the first human embryonic stem cells worldwide, and later in Israel as well.
In the research laboratories headed by Prof. Itskovitz-Eldor, the derivation of embryonic stem cells from a human source and their differentiation into various cell types was researched. Prof. Itskovitz-Eldor has published more than 200 scientific publications, in fields such as embryonic physiology, fertility medicine and pluripotent embryonic stem cells.
Prof. Jeanne F. Loring, PhD
Prof. Loring, is a professor and the founding Director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla. Before her academic career, she held research management positions at several biotechnology companies, including GenPharm and Incyte Genomics. Her research team focuses on large-scale analysis of genomics and epigenetics of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) and their derivatives, in order to ensure the quality and safety of these cells for clinical use. The lab's translational projects include development of cell therapies for Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer disease, and epigenetic modeling of autism. The team is also producing an ethnically diverse library of iPSC (induced pluripotent stem cell) lines for use in pharmacogenomic analysis. In addition, her lab is developing a "zoo" of induced pluripotent stem cells from endangered species to aid in their conservation.
In addition to her scientific research, Dr. Loring is committed to educating both scientists and the public. She has trained more than 400 scientists over the last 10 years in intensive laboratory courses in human ES and iPSC biology. She is frequently quoted in major newspapers, and gives numerous public lectures and interviews to inform the public about biological and societal issues associated with stem cell research. She is particularly concerned with the ethics of stem cell generation and clinical use, the legal implications of stem cell patents, and the dangers of unregulated stem cell treatments (“stem cell tourism”). Dr. Loring serves on both bioethics and scientific advisory boards.
Prof. Shimon Efrat, Ph.D.
Shimon Efrat is Professor of Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry at the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University and incumbent of The Nancy Gluck Regan Chair in Juvenile Diabetes. Prof. Efrat received his Ph.D. in molecular biology in 1984 from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Between 1985-1988 he conducted postdoctoral research on cancer in pancreatic islet cells at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, New York. In 1989 he joined the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and the Diabetes Research Center at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, where he raised to full professorship and worked until 1999. Prof. Efrat joined the staff of Tel Aviv University in 1995, and since 1999 also holds a Visiting Professor appointment at Albert Einstein.
Prof. Efrat’s work has focused on the development of approaches for cell replacement therapy for diabetes. He has developed ways for differentiating human cells from different tissues into insulin-producing cells. In addition, his group has demonstrated that adult human beta cells can be considerably expanded in tissue culture. This process involves loss of insulin production. Prof. Efrat's group is working on novel approaches for restoring proper function to the expanded cells. Recently he has shown that pluripotent stem cells reprogrammed from human beta cells can be differentiated into beta cells more efficiently, compared with pluripotent stem cells from other sources.