Israeli Advisors

Professor Yehudit Bergman
Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Yehudit Bergman is a Full Professor at the Hebrew University Medical School in
Jerusalem where she holds The Dr. Emanuel Rubin Chair in Medical Science. Dr. Bergman studied for her PhD degree at The Weizmann Institute of Science, spent her post gradual work at Stanford University with Dr. Ronald Levy, and at MIT with Dr. David Baltimore. Dr. Bergman chaired the Department of Experimental Medicine and Cancer Research, the Developmental Biology Programme, and the Faculty of Medicine Search Committee. She was an elected representative of the medical school to the Hebrew University senate and was a member of the University’s standing committee. Dr. Bergman is a member of EMBO, Academia Europaea and a recipient of The Helmholtz International Fellow Award, and The TEVA Award for Excellence in Science. Dr. Bergman sees as one of her goals to inspire young students and researchers. She has received the Faculty of Medicine Award for excellence in teaching numerous times and was awarded by the rector as an excellent teacher and outstanding investigator.  Dr. Bergman has trained graduate and post-graduate students. Several of her students have taken up positions as principal investigators worldwide. Bergman’s current scientific interest is in understanding the mechanistic basis for epigenetic regulation; both during normal development as well as in cancer. Our research focuses on two major topics: the role of epigenetics in the development of the immune system, and its involvement in stem cells, inflammation and cancer.


Professor Ohad Birk
Ben Gurion University of the Negev

Ohad Birk, past recipient of the Foulkes fellowship and the Senta Foulkes prize, is a professor of human genetics at Ben Gurion University (BGU). Combining full time clinical work and research, he heads both the Genetics Institute at Soroka Medical Center and the Morris Kahn Laboratory of Human Genetics at BGU, where he serves also as Director of the National Institute for Biotechnology of the Negev. Birk’s research group identified the molecular basis of more than 30 human diseases, including some of the most prevalent hereditary diseases in Arabs and in Sephardic Jews, two of which are named after him. The Birk lab goes beyond the genetics, deciphering molecular mechanisms of diseases through molecular, biochemical and developmental studies in-vitro, in patient-derived stem cells, and in various model systems, from Drosophila to mice. Aside from elucidating molecular mechanisms of normal and abnormal human function and development, Birk also implements the findings in massive carrier tests for the severe diseases deciphered, conducive to ~30% reduction in infant mortality rate in the Bedouin community. In Sephardic Jews, the Birk group deciphered the molecular basis of two of the most common severe hereditary diseases, progressive cerebello cerebral atrophy (PCCA) and PCCA2, enabling massive carrier testing and near-eradication of those diseases. Birk did his MD studies at Tel Aviv University followed by a PhD with Irun Cohen at the Weizmann Institute, demonstrating hsp60 as an autoantigen in type 1 diabetes. He then did a residency in pediatrics at Sheba Medical Center followed by training in clinical genetics and post-doctoral training at the NIH, elucidating LHX9 as a key factor in gonad formation.


Professor Lior Gepstein

Prof. Lior Gepstein graduated his MD studies at the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel and conducted his PhD thesis at the same Institute. During this period he was involved in the development of a three-dimensional electroanatomical mapping technique (CARTO system), which became the state-of-the-art technology for the treatment of complex cardiac arrhythmias. Dr. Gepstein completed his residency in internal medicine and Cardiology fellowship at Rambam Health Care Campus and fellowship in Cardiac Electrophysiology at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). 
Currently, he holds the position of Professor of Physiology and Medicine (Cardiology) at the Technion’s Faculty of Medicine and holds the Edna and Jonathan Sohnis Chair in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine. He also serves as an attending electrophysiologist specialist at Rambam. More recently, he was appointed as the Director of the Cardiology Department at Rambam Health Care Campus, Haifa. Prof. Gepstein's research activities focus on the areas of basic and clinical cardiac electrophysiology, stem cell biology, studying of inherited cardiac disorders, and establishment of novel gene and cell-based strategies for the treatment of different cardiac disorders. Dr. Gepstein was awarded a number of prestigious awards for his achievements in cardiology including the American College of Cardiology Douglas P. Zipes distinguished award, the European Society of Cardiology outstanding research achievement award and the Mirowski award from the Israel Cardiology Society. More recently he was elected to the Israeli Young Academy of Science.


Professor Moshe Oren (Chair)
Weizmann Institute of Science

Moshe Oren received his Ph.D. in Molecular Virology from the Weizmann Institute in 1978. Upon completing his post-doctoral training in Princeton University and SUNY-StonyBrook, he joined the Weizmann Institute in 1981 to establish his independent research group, focusing on the then newly-discovered p53 protein. In subsequent years, the Oren research group has contributed to the identification of p53 as a key tumour suppressor, whose mutational inactivation is a major driving event in the initiation and progression of about half of all cases of human cancer. Current research in the Oren lab addresses various aspects of cancer biology, with particular emphasis on p53 and additional tumor suppressor pathways that are perturbed in human cancer. He served in a variety of roles within the Weizmann Institute, and in 2015 he became the first Director of the Institute’s Moross Integrated Cancer Center. He is a member of the Israel National Academy and the Academia Europaea, and a foreign Associate of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the US National Academy of Medicine. Moshe is married to Rachel, and is father to four and grandfather to seven..


Professor Yosef Shiloh
Tel Aviv University

Prof. Yosef Shiloh is Myers Professor of Cancer Genetics and a Research Professor of the Israel Cancer Research Fund, at the Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University. He obtained his B.Sc. degree at the Technion in Haifa, and Ph.D. in Human Genetics at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He trained further at Harvard Medical School, the University of Michigan, New York University Medical Center and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and was a Fogarty Fellow at the U.S. National Institutes of Health. He is a member of The Israel National Academy of Sciences and Humanities and won the 2005 EMET Prize in Life Sciences, the 2011 American Association of Cancer Research G.H.A. Clowes Award, the 2011 Israel Prize in Life Sciences and the 2015 Olav Thon Prize in Natural Sciences and Medicine (Oslo, Norway). He has dedicated most of his scientific career to understanding the genomic instability syndrome, ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T). He began his work on A-T while working on his Ph.D. thesis and this quest culminated in 1995 in the identification of the responsible gene, ATM, in his lab. The lab has since been studying the function and mode of action of the ATM gene product – the ATM protein and its many roles in cellular metabolism, and has recently returned to investigation of the molecular pathology of A-T. Another field of interest in the lab is the role of DNA damage in the aging process. In addition to his research, he devotes considerable time to giving popular scientific lectures to the general public and high school students on the medical, social and ethical implications of the genome revolution and its effect on cancer research and therapy. He is married to Prof. Shoshana Shiloh, Professor of Psychology at Tel Aviv University. Their son, Amir is an Internet content developer and their daughter, Ruthy, is a postdoctoral fellow in cell biology at the Weizmann Institute of Science.


Administrative Support – Israel

Menny Kirma
Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities

Menny Kirma is the Secretary of Natural Sciences division of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, and responsible for coordinating and managing the division committee’s activities and Scientific events. Dr. Kirma studied for his PhD degree at the Plant Sciences Department in the Weizmann Institute of Science. His thesis was on the subject of “The systemic response to Lysine starvation in Arabidopsis T. plant” and he published six papers relating to this topic. Before completing his PhD, he studied for an MSc in Genetics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a BSc in Biotechnology in Tel-Hai College.