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Faculty News

  • conference

    Batsheva de Rothschild Symposium “Mathematics of the Skeleton: Post-Genome analysis for bone biology”

    The Batsheva de Rothschild Symposium “Mathematics of the Skeleton: Post-Genome analysis for bone biology” took place on Oct.12-13, 2021 at the Faculty.

    Given the success of the previous (virtual) meeting held in December  2020, this hybrid symposium included live as well as online presentations, discussions and innovative approaches, opportunities, and challenges from experts in the field of musculoskeletal (MSK) disease, to be addressed by Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and deep/machine learning.  

    This workshop was held to provide a blueprint for the MSK research with an aim of translating discoveries from human studies into new diagnostic tools and therapies for patients with MSK diseases. Mathematicians, statisticians, and Big Data experts were brought together with clinically oriented researchers and skeletal biologists to discuss foundations and applications of experimental models in the MSK health and disease.  

    Distinguished guest speakers included Dr. Solomon Owumi, Ibadan, Nigeria; Prof. David Rowe (Connecticut, USA); Prof. Kent Søe (Odense, Denmark), Kathleen Curran (Dublin, Ireland), and Dr. HW Deng’s associates from the Tulane University, USA.

    Israeli speakers included Prof. Yankel Gabet and Prof. Tamir Tuller, from Tel Aviv University; Gil Goobes and Prof. Aharon Gedanken of Bar-Ilan University; Prof. Avi Schroeder, Technion; Ari Elson, Weizmann Institute of Science, and Prof. Noam Levaot (Ben Gurion U.).

    The audience was truly international, with a preponderance of the European, Israeli, UK, Turkey and Azerbaijan, equally represented by the trainees, advanced scientists, and students, overwhelmingly from the academia.  

    This symposium ran in parallel with the European COST Action workshop “ Histomorphometry and MicroCT standard analyses in fish and rodents,” thus cross-fertilizing among the AI and bone communities.

    It was organized by Dr. Milana Frenkel-Morgenstern and Prof. David Karasik and funded by the Batsheva de Rothschild Foundation and the Dangoor Institute for Personalized Medicine. Special thanks to Dr. Gideon Baum and Violetta Belotzerkovsky (from the Frenkel-Morgenstern lab) and Mr. Dan Hinenzon (Azrieli IT manager) for their assistance in organizing and smoothly running the workshop virtually online. 


  • Limor Meoded Danon

    Dr. Limor Meoded Danon Receives Shimon Peres Prize

    Congratulations to Dr. Limor Meoded Danon upon receipt of the Shimon Peres Prize on October 6, 2021. The Shimon Peres Prize is granted for innovative projects that promote diversity and multiculturalism.

    One of the projects that Dr. Meoded Danon initiated during her postdoc at the Hebrew University, together with Prof. Katinka Schweizer, a German psychologist from the medical school in Hamburg, was the "Inter-Care and Awareness Project." A recipient of a DIZF (German-Israeli Future Forum - Deutch-Israelische Zukunftsforum) scholarship, it aims to create collaboration between psychologists and social workers from both countries, and to raise awareness regarding the psych-social issues in the lives of intersex people and their families in both countries. The participants developed projects and engaged in networking to promote awareness and better care in both countries.

    The project was completed in 2019 and continues to make waves and have impact.

    The prize ceremony took place at the Berlin City Hall, and was presented by the German Foreign Minister Mr. Heiko Maas, Prof. Zvia Valden (Shimon Peres's daughter), and Dr. Tamara Or, executive director of DIZF.

    Shimon Peres Prize

  • First day

    First Day of School! For Real!

    The first day of the 2021-22 academic year opened up yesterday, October 10, 2021. After almost two years of Covid-19 restrictions, it was a pleasure to again see, hear, and feel the presence of students on campus.

    Orientation meetings were held for both the 151 new MD students (103 four-year track and 48 three-year track) as well as the 20 new MSc students and 13 new PhD students.

    The graduate students heard encouraging words from Prof. Karl Skorecki, the Dean; Prof. Omry Koren, outgoing Chairperson of the Graduate Degree Committee; Prof. Meital Gal Tanamy, Chairperson of the Graduate Degree Committee; Prof. Michal Blank, Chairperson of the Graduate Teaching Committee; Chani Rubin, Graduate Degree Coordinator; Shlomit Nishri, Head Librarian; and Natalia Saleev of the Student Union.

    The MD students were greeted by Prof. Skorecki; Prof. Eric Shinwell, Associate Dean, Medical Education; Prof. Daniel Glikman, Vice Dean, Pre-Clinical Studies; Dr. Ram Cohen, a graduate and Northern Stars resident; Sharon Mines, Administrative Deputy to the Associate Dean of Medical Education; Anna Sherman, Chairperson of the Student Union; Dr. Amitai Oberman, Chairperson of the Achievement Committee.

    Classes started immediately after the orientation assembly.

    We wish all students, and staff, success and health this academic year!

    Pictured below: The new cafeteria on campus.

    new cafeteria

  • back to school pixabay

    Academic Year 2021-22 Launches!

    The Azrieli Faculty of Medicine wishes the best of success to new and continuing students alike, as we open the new Academic Year.

  • Family Medicine Certificate

    Family Medicine Diploma Ceremony

    Certificates of completion were presented today (August 25, 2021) to participants in the Family Medicine diploma course. 

    The course aims to present physicians with the necessary skills and approach for family medicine, to offer primary care, treat complex cases, and provide relevant tools for enrichment and treatment. 

    The two year course is given in collaboration with Clalit Health Services Northern District and is coordinated by Dr. Elias Srour.

    [Photo credit: Dror Miller]

  • ISF logo

    ISF Grants Awarded to Four Faculty Researchers

    Congratulations to the following Azrieli Faculty of Medicine researchers upon receipt of prestigious Israel Science Foundation grant awards. Short research summaries are below.

    Dr. David Enshell-Seijffers: The Hdac1/2-p53-beta-catenin triad in the mesenchymal niche of the hair follicle in regulating stem cell and progenitor activity during homeostasis and stress

    Dr. Hava Gil-Henn: An integrative approach for elucidating the role of Pyk2 in cancer metastasis

    Prof. Omry Koren: The role of the gut microbiota in food allergies

    Dr. Meir Shamay: Investigating the role of transposable elements in Kaposi’s Sarcoma Associated herpesvirus latency


    Enshell-Seijffers research summary:David Enshell

    The hair follicle is a powerful model system to study the interactions between stem cells and their niche during cyclic homeostasis and to dissect how these interactions are rewired during stress. The capacity of the hair follicle to periodically undergo cycles of growth, regression, rest and regeneration not only necessitates the cyclic redeployment of these interactions during the hair cycle but also enforces dramatic morphological transformations. In the current proposal, we hypothesize that the mesenchymal niche of the hair follicle constitutes a rheostatic molecular network that orchestrates the hair cycle during both homeostasis and stress and integrate environmental signals with the follicular intrinsic biological clock. By using genetic tools to manipulate this network specifically in the niche, we will dissect the specific and combined roles of its components in regulating both the physiologic and the genotoxic stress-adjusted hair cycle.

    Gil-Henn research summary:Hava Gil-Henn

    Metastatic dissemination of cancer cells from the primary tumor and their spread to distant sites in the body is the leading cause of mortality in breast cancer patients. Although cytotoxic drugs and hormone-blocking therapeutics are most often used to shrink the primary tumor or to prevent disease recurrence, no treatment to permanently eradicate metastatic breast cancer exists at present. A better understanding of the metastatic process and its regulation has the potential not only to identify new prognostic markers, but also to develop targeted therapeutic strategies.

    We have recently identified the non-receptor tyrosine kinase Pyk2 as a central regulator of metastatic dissemination. Using an integrative approach, we aim to determine the cellular, molecular, and signaling mechanisms by which Pyk2 regulates in vivo tumor cell invasiveness and consequent metastatic dissemination. The information gained from these studies will be used for testing a strategy for inhibiting Pyk2-mediated signaling and consequent breast cancer metastasis. Our longer-term vision is to translate our findings from this research into using Pyk2 kinase inhibitors, alone or in combination with existing therapeutics, to prevent metastatic dissemination of primary breast tumors that are predicted to be highly metastatic at the time of diagnosis, and of secondary tumors that have already spread to other parts of the body.

    Koren research summary:Omry Korenn

    The project entails an unprecedented study of the microbiota composition in patients with persistent food allergy (FA) undergoing Oral Immunotherapy (OIT). We will advance the understanding on the interplay between the gut microbiota and IgE-mediated allergies in the context of untreated and treated patients. The identification of particular microbial taxa associated with allergic or desensitized states will provide insight regarding the dietary contribution to microbiota composition, FA development, and the immunological mechanisms involved in FA desensitization. The results from this research will uncover potential therapeutic targets and identify predictive markers for allergy and OIT treatment. Furthermore, as the microbiota is modifiable, the study may lead to the discovery of potential therapeutic interventions, such as particular dietary components, prebiotics, postbiotics, and probiotics.

    Shamay research summary:Meir Shamay

    Kaposi’s sarcoma associated herpesvirus (KSHV, HHV-8) is associated with several human malignancies. Transposable elements (TEs), as their name suggest, have the ability to transpose (jump) within their host genome. We found high expression of LINE-1 (L1) transposable element and high L1 encoded Reverse Transcriptase (RT)-activity in KSHV-infected cells. Interestingly, we found that inhibition of this L1 RT-activity suppressed KSHV-positive primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) cell growth. Do L1 retro-transpositions takes place in Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS)? We propose to perform L1 specific transposition-sequencing to identify novel retro-transposition events that arise in KSHV-infected cells and in KS samples. We will test the contribution of L1 RT to microRNA and gene expression in KSHV-infected cells. To investigate further RT inhibitors as a potential treatment for PEL, we propose to perform experiments in a clinically relevant xenograft murine model. Successful completion of these studies will reveal the contribution of L1 to gene expression in KSHV infected cells, reveal the mechanism that leads to L1 up-regulation, and reveal its potential as a better treatment for KSHV-associated malignancies.

  • MD graduation

    MD Graduation 2021: Israel is Blessed with 92 New Doctors

    The Azrieli Faculty of Medicine was proud to hold commencement exercises on July 26, 2021 for 92 students who earned the coveted MD degree. The graduation ceremony was held outside, at the Safed campus, due to Covid-19 considerations.

    This year, there were 62 graduates from the four-year track (fifth graduating class), and 30 graduates from the three-year track (sixth graduating class).

    Offering warm words of greeting and blessing, were Prof. Eric Shinwell, Associate Dean of Medical Education, who read Maimonides's Prayer for the Doctor; Prof. Arie Zaban, President of Bar-Ilan University; Prof. Amnon Albeck, Rector of Bar-Ilan University; Prof. Karl Skorecki, Dean of the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine; Shuki Ohana, Mayor of Safed; and Prof. Masad Barhoum, General Director of the Galilee Medical Center as well as proud parent of a graduate, Dr. Rana Barhoum.

    As the warm sun set, a musical interlude by Gadi Altman and Asaf Frishman welcomed in the evening breeze.

    Many words of thanks were offered to the students' families for their support, and some graduates even came to the podium to receive their diplomas with their little children in hand. We wish our new physicians the best of success.

    In all, it was a beautiful, meaningful, and exciting summer evening.

    To read the Bar-Ilan University press release, go here. To see the Facebook album, go here.

    A selection of pictures can be seen here

    Photo credit: Dror Miller

  • Mann Yovel plaque

    Mann/Yovel Families Honored at Scholarship Ceremony

    With much gratitude, representatives from the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine and Bar-Ilan University's Global Resources greeted and honored some dozen members of the Mann and Yovel families at a celebration attended by the scholarship recipients. The scholarship, granted to 25 medical students who have committed to community service, is the initiative of Meron and Tzipora Mann in memory of Tzipora's parents, Yaacov, a Holocaust survivor, and Rivka Yovel, and their son Dr. Israel (Roli) Yovel who passed away prematurely of cancer.

    Yovel book

  • Mifal Hapais Second Cohort

    Northern Stars-Mifal Hapais Second Cohort Launch

    The second cohort of the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine Northern Stars residents program was inaugurated on July 15, 2021, thanks to the support of Mifal Hapais.

    Northern Stars is a unique program aimed at attracting the most outstanding residents to the Galilee, to specialize in Family Medicine. The first cohort, also thanks to the support of Mifal Hapais, was dedicated to internal medicine and surgery.

    Noam David Reshelbach, Administrative Head of the Azrieli Faculty, opened up the ceremony by inviting Prof. Offer Amir, director of the program, to the podium.

    Prof. Amir declared that the Faculty has "won the jackpot twice" (Mifal Hapais is the national lottery of Israel), in that this is the second cohort. He anticipates that by leading the attempt to attract the best physicians to the North, and making it possible for them to settle there long term, in the long run not only will the Galilee benefit but all peripheral regions in the country, and Israel as a whole.

    Next to speak was Dr. Lilach Malatskey, Vice Dean for Community Education, and Chairman of the Israeli Society of Lifestyle Medicine, Israel Association of Family Physicians. She spoke of three dreams, with the hope that they are shared by the residents: To be a doctor, to specialize in Family Medicine, and to live in and build up the Galilee.

    After a short film on the Azrieli Faculty, the Rector of Bar-Ilan University, Prof. Amnon Albeck, spoke, also about dreams, aspirations: ten years ago the dream was to establish a faculty of medicine at Bar-Ilan; now the  dream is to make sure the best medical care reaches the periphery - which is possible thanks to programs such as Northern Stars.

    Erez Granit of Mifal Hapais spoke next, about bringing human capital to the periphery, a national priority. He noted that high-tech learned to function well remotely, due to Corona, but that with medicine the human touch is still so crucial.

    Prof. Karl Skorecki, Dean of the Azrieli Faculty, thanked all those involved in the program, including Mifal Hapais, the hospitals and Kupat Holim heads who work with the Northern Stars residents, and all those involved in lifelong learning, one of the values stressed at Azrieli. He too mentioned that this is an investment with short as well as long term results.

    Also expressing their support from the podium were Dr. Mordy Dayan, director of Clalit Northern Region; Chaim Shulman of the Authority for the Development of the Galilee; and Alexey Belinsky of the Ministry of Health.

    Each of the six residents introduced themselves before being presented with a certificate, after which Dr. Dafna Willner, Director of Anesthesiology and Surgery at GMC spoke about plans for the next cohort - in anesthesiology and intensive care.

    The group then shifted on to a light lunch with presentations by Prof. Chaim Putterman, Associate Dean for Research, and Dr. Sivan Spitzer-Shohat, Head of Population Health Education. They presented opportunities and research projects currently being carried out at the Faculty.

    The Azrieli Faculty of Medicine thanks Mifal Hapayis and the Authority for the Development of the Galilee for their support, and wishes the best of success to the new medical residents:

    Dr. Shira Duamel
    Dr. Liran Giladi
    Dr. Ilia Halifin
    Dr. Amit Katz
    Dr. Naama Sitri
    Dr. Miflach Tatur

    Pictures can be seen here.

  • Sonnenfeld at Azrieli

    Moti Sonnenfeld Visits Azrieli Faculty of Medicine

    The Azrieli Faculty of Medicine was honored to host Mr. Moti Sonnenfeld on July 14, 2021.

    Mr. Sonnenfeld is the founder of the Danielle Foundation in memory of his daughter who was tragically killed in a car accident at the age of 20. Danielle had dreamed of studying medicine.

    During the visit, Mr. Sonnenfeld met with the Dean, Prof. Karl Skorecki, representatives from the Global Resources Development Department, and ten medical school scholarship recipients who expressed their thanks to Mr. Sonnenfeld for his heartfelt generosity. He was also shown around the Faculty and met with Dr. Alon Barash the anatomy course director.

    The Azrieli Faculty of Medicine thanks Moti Sonnenfeld and the Danielle Foundation for their support.

    [Pictured above: Dr. Sharon Goldman, VP for Global Resources; Mr. Moti Sonnenfeld; Dr. Alon Barash; Prof. Karl Skorecki]

  • The Edmund de Rothschild Foundation

    Edmund de Rothschild Foundation Celebratory Unveiling at Azrieli Faculty of Medicine

    The Azrieli Faculty of Medicine was excited to host delegates from the Edmund de Rothschild Foundation as well as from the Azrieli Foundation, in honor of the agreement signing and unveiling of the building naming, seen above. Also in attendance were key Bar-Ilan University figureheads and architects as well as the Mayor of Safed, Shuki Ohana.

    After a reception and festive lunch, the crowd reconvened in the Esther and Haim Carasso Auditorium for the signing ceremony, attended by academic faculty as well as administrative staff. The Foundation was also presented a "Founders Key" as a symbolic gift for their dedication and support. The crowd then shifted outside, to the facade of the main Faculty building, for the unveiling ceremony and toast to l'chaim. For "desert" the guests toured the lab of Dr. Shai Bel before dispersing.

    The 180 million shekel donation from the Edmund de Rothschild Foundation will be used primarily for physical Faculty expansion.

    Bar-Ilan University article can be seen here.

    Pictures of the event can be seen here.

  • Meital Gan Tanamy and students

    10th Annual Translational Research Day at Azrieli Faculty of Medicine

    The Azrieli Faculty of Medicine strongly believes that research and medical education go hand in hand. As such, you will see at the Safed campus, medical students interacting with and learning from leading researchers in the medical sciences. The faculty focuses on Translational Research – applying targeted research to specific issues that arise in hospitals and clinics.

    This year, the Faculty was able to hold, in the Esther & Haim Carasso Auditorium, the tenth annual Translational Research Day, held on July 1, 2021. The conference opened with welcoming remarks by the Dean, Prof. Karl Skorecki, as well as the Vice Dean for Medical Research, Prof. Tzipora Falik-Zaccai. Specific details of the sessions can be found here.

    Dr. Meital Gal-Tanamy (pictured with her students) can be especially proud - four of her students were award recipients - three for posters and one for a presentation.

    Presentation award recipients: Adi Eshel (supervised by Prof. Omry Koren), Shahar Tel Paz (supervised by Dr. Shai Bel), and Tom Neimarkas (supervised by Dr. Meital Gal-anamy).

    Poster recipients: Dana Binyamin (supervised by Prof. Omry Koren), Gal Reches (supervised by Dr. Ron Piran), Haneen Faris-Gadban (supervised by Dr. Meital Gal-Tanamy), Samer Ayoub (supervised by Dr. Meital Gal-Tanamy), Mahua Bhattacharya (supervised by Dr. Milana Morgenstern-Frenkel), Worood Sirhan (supervised by Dr. Ron Piran), Roba Dabour (supervised by Dr. Meital Gal-Tanamy), Nora Syade (supervised by Dr. Nir Qvit)

    Special thanks for their hard work in making this all possible goes to Dr. Dorith Raviv Shay, Nurit Maor, Dr. Eyla Maoz, Yehiel Dahan and his dedicated staff, Zvi Tabachnik, Hadas Oren, Ilana Bar Sabag, Tal Nahmias, and Shlomit Yosef. 

    Some pictures can be seen here.

    The conference was made possible in part thanks to the support of the following sponsors:



  • Milana Frenkel-Morgenstern

    Rector's Award for Scientific Innovation Ceremony: Dr. Milana Frenkel-Morgenstern Recipient

    The Rector's Prize for Scientific Innovation ceremony was held on June 23, 2021. Dr. Milana Frenkel-Morgenstern was a proud recipient. For more information see here.

    Milana et al










    [Pictured above the Rector Prof. Amnon Albeck, Dr. Frenkel-Morgenstern, BIU President Prof. Arie Zaban, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine Prof. Karl Skorecki]]

  • doctoral degree BIU (From BIU Facebook page)

    Bar-Ilan University Azrieli Faculty of Medicine Grants Doctoral Degrees to Nine Recipients

    Congratulations to the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine's nine recipients of the coveted doctoral degree. The conferment ceremony took place at the Bar-Ilan University Ramat Gan campus on June 22, 2021. Of 200 BIU recipients, nine studied at the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine.

    Congratulations to (advisor names in parentheses):

    Dr. Adi Litmanovich* (Prof. Batya Kristal, Prof. Kamal Hassan)
    Dr. Tomer Meirson* (Dr. Hava Gil-Henn, Dr. Abraham Samson)
    Dr. Oron Oded (Dr. Evan Elliott, Dr. Milana Frenkel-Morgenstern)
    Dr. Lubov Balin (Dr. Miriam Bentwich, Prof. Bella Gross)
    Dr. Fadia Zagairy (Prof. Amnon Harel)
    Dr. Amihai Lieberman (Dr. Abraham Samson)
    Dr. Noa Maatuk (Dr. Abraham Samson)
    Dr. Dafna Perry (Prof. David Karasik, Prof. Jamal Zidan)
    Dr. Praveen Koganti (Dr. Michael Blank)

    *Dr. Litmanovich and Dr. Meirson are pursuing the prestigious MD-PhD degree at the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine

    A video of the commencement exercises can be seen here. The segment with the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine begins at 2:14:14.

    The online yearbook can be seen here. Pictures from the ceremony can be seen here.

    A short lecture by Dr. Adi Litmanovich can be seen here.


  • Masters 2021

    Masters Degree Commencement Exercises Held at Azrieli Faculty of Medicine

    Congratulations to the 18 masters degree students who received their diplomas in person, at the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine, Esther & Haim Carasso Auditorium on June 21, 2021. This was the 5th such ceremony, with last year's being held via Zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    After a procession of the proud participants, Prof. Karl Skorecki, Dean; Prof. Tzipora C. Falik-Zaccai, Vice Dean, Medical Research; and Dr. Meital Gal-Tanamy spoke briefly, applauding the students' growth as scientists and researchers. The event included a musical interlude, a video on the positive influence the Faculty has had on the North of Israel, a short scientific presentation by Dr. Evan Elliott, and a few words by a student representative who will be continuing to doctoral studies. 

    Following are the names of the hard-working students who were awarded Masters Degrees. Advisor names are in parentheses:

    Elias Maria (Prof. Itay Onn)
    Ashtamker Lital (Dr. Avi Peretz)
    Benkovitz Elisheva* (Prof. Itay Onn)
    Gani Samar (Dr. Nir Qvit)
    Volodko Olga (Prof. Offer Amir)
    Vasserman Nili (Prof. David Karasik)
    Khoury Hiba (Prof. Shaul Atar)
    Hanout Wessal (Dr. Nir Qvit)
    Tarif Hala (Prof. Omry Koren)
    Lerner Yana  (Dr. Nir Qvit)
    Majdob Rawan (Prof. Andrei Braester)
    Meary Diana* (Dr. Meir Shamay)
    Moadi Lelyan* (Prof. Omry Koren)
    Naseraldeen Naseba (Prof. Andrei Braester)
    Naama Maria (Dr. Shai Bel)
    Saleh Bisan (Dr. Abraham Samson, Dr. Hava Gil Henn)
    Kirtadze Elena (Prof. Tzipora Falik-Zaccai)
    Rubin Elad (Prof. Omry Koren)


    * With honors


    [Photo credit: Dror Miller]