Faculty of Medicine Newsletter 61 (March 31 - April 30, 2022)

PDF for easier reading, here.

Faculty Strategic Planning Retreat at Ginosar Kibbutz HotelGinosar

Where does the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine see itself in the coming decades? This was the topic of discussion at a daylong retreat, attended by academic as well as administrative faculty on March 31, 2022.

At an inspirational setting off Lake Kinneret, the Ginosar Kibbutz Hotel, the team met to discuss Azrieli's future mission, educational and teaching tracks, research plans, academic and professional affiliations, and Galilee development.

After a morning of background lectures by Prof. Karl Skorecki (Dean of the Faculty), Prof. Itay Onn, Dr. Keren Agay-Shay, Prof. Meital Gal-Tanamy, Prof. Chaim Putterman, Prof. Johnny Younis, Prof. Orly Avni summing up two years of hard work - and a gender equality workshop led by Prof. Rivka Tuval-Mashiah of the Department of Psychology, introduced by Prof. Orna Sasson-Levy, Bar-Ilan Presidential Advisor for Gender Equity - four round-table groups brainstormed about the topics that were presented earlier that morning.

Summaries were prepared the following day by Faculty members who remained.

A few pictures of the day can be seen here.

Ministry for the Development of the Periphery, the Negev and the Galilee Convene at Azrieli Faculty of Medicineministers

Ministers from the Ministry for the Development of the Periphery, the Negev and the Galilee, headed by Minister Oded Forer, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and Minister for the Development of the Periphery, the Negev and the Galilee convened on April 25, 2022 at the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine to promote a special program to reinforce the health sector in the Negev and the Galilee. The Cabinet approved a multi-year plan (2022-2026) designed to improve the quality of public health services provided to residents of the Negev and Galilee via special programs in the fields of health, manpower, and infrastructure.

The team discussed the key role played by the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine in promoting the program. Considerable resources will be invested to increase the number of physicians in the Galilee, the number of medical and nursing students from the Negev and Galilee localities, and to strengthen the hospitals by supporting advanced medical equipment and promoting research in hospitals affiliated with the Faculty.

The Azrieli Faculty of Medicine welcomes and promotes this initiative, which is a major part of the Faculty mission of promoting health services in the Galilee.

Azrieli Faculty of Medicine Delegation to Palacky University in Olomouc, Czech RepublicPalacky

A delegation of researchers and physician-scientists from the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine (Prof. Meital Gal-Tanamy, Prof. Orly Avni, Dr. Meir Shamay, Prof. Lior Lewenstein [Galilee Medical Center] and Dr. Khalaf Kridin [Baruch Padeh  Medical Center in Poria], led by Prof. Tzippi Falik-Zaccai the Vice Dean for biomedical research) were invited by Prof. Martin Procházka, the Rector of Palacky University in Olomouc, Czech Republic for a series of lectures and meetings with the goal of promoting mutual academic collaboration.

The delegation visited the Czech Republic on April 24-27, 2022, accompanied by Ofer Dahan, Director of the BIU international School, and Dr. Dorith Raviv Shay, coordinator of international affair at the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine.

The group visited the Faculty of Medicine at UPOL and CATRIN, the Czech Advanced Technology and Research Institute. Meetings were held with Prof. Milan Raska, Vice-Dean for Foreign Relations and General Medicine; Jiří Stavovčík, Vice Rector for Internationalization; Dr. Dalibor Mikulas, Head of the Department of Internationalization.

Potential projects for submission to EU grants were discussed, clinical knowledge was shared, and the ground was set for future collaboration.


  • Dr. Hanna Keren lectured at the 25th Annual Conference of the Israeli Society of Biological Psychiatry, as part of a session organized by Talma Hendler of Tel Aviv University, entitled "Closing the loop with our mind: procedures and utilities in psychiatry." The conference took place March 22-24, 2022 at Kfar Blum.
  • Dr. Nomy Dickman, Head of the Unit for Development and Evaluation of Education at the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine, gave a webinar with Dr. Yossi Ben-Zion of the Bar-Ilan University Department of Physics, entitled "Active online teaching and learning: why and how?" The event was part of Latvia Riga Stradins University’s (RSU) webinar series on digitalization in higher education.


  • Faculty Seminar: On the nature of cellular contractility and its implications on mechanosensing (Dr. Haguy Wolfenson, Technion)
  • Special Seminar: Advanced in vitro systems to model physiology and disease (Dr. Moran Yadid, Shmunis School of Biomedicine and Cancer Research, Faculty of Life Science, Tel Aviv University, hosted by Dr. Ron Piran)
  • Special Seminar: Tales from the crypt: On helminth regulation of the stem cell niche (Dr. Daniel Atar-Karo, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, McGill University, hosted by Dr. Shai Bel)
  • Faculty Seminar: Molecular and digital tools for improved cancer diagnosis (Prof. Dov Hershkovitz, Sourasky Medical Center)
  • Special Seminar: Pursuing health protection: How can we better serve minorities and address inequalities in public health? (Dr. Ben Kasstan, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, hosted by Prof. Michael Edelstein)
  • Upcoming Faculty Seminar: Elucidating the molecular mechanism of myoblast fusion in vertebrates (Dr. Ori Avinoam, Weizmann Institute of Science)
  • Upcoming Faculty Seminar: Modeling and Correction of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency by CRISPR-Cas9 Genome Editing in Human Hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (Dr. Ayal Hendel, BIU)
  • Upcoming Faculty Seminar: Hijacked lipid droplets fuel enterovirus replication (Dr. Orly Laufman, Weizmann Institute of Science)
  • Upcoming Faculty Seminar: Harnessing nature to create new organic materials for tissue regeneration (Prof. Lihi Adler-Abramovich, Tel Aviv University)
  • Upcoming Faculty Seminar: Leukemia evolution and the aging of the blood system (Dr. Liran Shlush, Weizmann Institute of Science)

Passover l'Chaim and farewell to Noga GanorNoga

Just before the Passover break, on April 11, 2022, students and faculty from the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine convened at the campus main entrance lobby to toast to the seasonal holidays - Passover, Easter, Ramadan (and the late April Druze holiday, Ziyarat al-Nabi Shu'ayb) - and at the same time, thank Noga Ganor for her years of dedication and very professional work at the Faculty.

 Noga Ganor was an integral part of the Faculty, from its inception, responsible for marketing, PR, and community relations. We wish her success in her future endeavors.


Holocaust Remembrance Day

On April 28, 2022, Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine Student Union led a very thought-provoking ceremony dedicated to medical professionals during the Holocaust. Read more here.

Azrieli Student Eventstudents

In honor of the hard-working and dedicated students, a fun evening of food, comedy, and socializing took place at the Hatzor HaGlilit Cultural Center on April 3, 2022.

Sponsored by the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine, Anna Sherman, the head of the student union, opened up the evening with a few words then invited Prof. Eric Shinwelll, Associate Dean of Medical Education, to welcome the students. The highlight of the evening (other than the food!) was a stand-up performance by Ori Hizkiah.


Condolences to Prof. David Karasik on the passing of his mother.


Meet Our New ResearcherLiron

We recently introduced two of our three new researchers at the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Ron Orbach and Dr. Hanna Keren. We would now like to introduce Dr. Liron Rozenkrantz (to the right), who also joined us in January 2022:

What is your area of research, and why do you like it/enjoy studying it?

I study brain-mind-body crosstalk in humans, and in particular, my lab is studying how our beliefs and expectations can influence our physical and mental health and even cognitive performance. Ever since I can remember, I was fascinated by the placebo effect and the unexplored regulation of the mind over the body. This is my passion and what drove me into taking Brain Science (at Bar-Ilan University, by the way!) as my Bachelor's degree. Establishing my own lab in this topic - 15 years later - is beyond thrilling.

I like this topic for two reasons: first, it is amazing to me how a thought, belief, a completely abstract thing - can drive neurobiological, hormonal and physiological changes that then influence behavior and shape experiences. Second, belief is something we can change! So once we identify maladaptive beliefs people hold, we can act to change their minds - and by that, change their physiological reactions to that event, and improve performance and well-being. 

When did you join the Faculty? What made you choose Azrieli?

I joined the faculty in January of this year (2022), and I'm super excited about it! I chose this Faculty for several reasons: on the scientific aspect, I was impressed by the deep commitment of the faculty to bridge the gap between science and medicine, and the wonderful collaborations that are possible here in order to make research more applicable and actually help patients. In addition, the faculty offers a unique academic environment: terrific scientists and state of the art facilities together with a warm and friendly atmosphere among students and staff. Together, it provides an ideal setting for fruitful, collaborative, and meaningful research. On the personal aspect, as someone who has always lived in big cities, I always dreamt of living up north with green views and rural peace and quiet.

Can you share a bit about your background?

My academic career was focused on learning about the human brain and mind, and mastering different methodologies to explore the neurobiology and physiology underlying how the brain influences behavior. I obtained a BSc in Brain Science at Bar-Ilan University, then an MSc in Human Genetics at the Faculty of Medicine at Tel-Aviv University, where I learned how to explore genetic variations and gene expression in humans in health and disease. I then completed my PhD in Neurobiology at the Weizmann Institute of Science, under the supervision of Prof. Noam Sobel, where I mastered a multi-level approach to studying the neurobiology driving human behavioral phenomena, including behavioral, physiological, hormonal and neural mechanisms.

I then completed my postdoctoral studies at MIT Brain and Cognitive Science Department together with Harvard Program in Placebo Studies. I worked with Prof. John Gabrilei, Prof. Ted Kaptuck and others to establish a theoretical framework of how beliefs influence information processing and downstream physiological responses, and launched a series of studies about the effects of altered belief systems in autism, depression, and neurotypical populations.

Anything else you'd like to share?

When not working, I spend time with my extended and nuclear family, exploring nature with my two young kids, traveling, camping, and enjoying the return to our beautiful country.



Reminder that publications by Azrieli faculty are generally posted in chronological order based on publication date, per PubMed listings. If you have published an article recently that appears on PubMed but that was not listed in a Newsletter, I apologize, and please do let me know.


  • Arnon Blum: Colchicine: An Ancient Medication Rejuvenated? (Isr Med Assoc J .)
  • Annie Reiss, Ron Dar, Zakhar Bramnik, Moaad Farraj: Perigastric Abscess Resection During Roux-en-Y Bypass Surgery After Gastric Banding (Obes Surg . )
  • Khalaf Kridin: The association of uveitis with hepatitis B and hepatitis C viruses: a large-scale population-based study (Eye (Lond) .)
  • Khalaf Kridin: COVID-19 Booster Vaccination Among Individuals With Schizophrenia in Israel (JAMA Psychiatry . )
  • Sivan Spitzer: Critical Theory, Culture Change, and Achieving Health Equity in Health Care Settings (Acad Med . )
  • Liron Davis, Dmitriy Getselter, Evan Elliott: CTCF in parvalbumin-expressing neurons regulates motor, anxiety and social behavior and neuronal identity (Mol Brain . )
  • Paul Kuodi, Yanay Gorelik, Michael Edelstein: Characterisation of the long-term physical and mental health consequences of SARS-CoV-2 infection: A systematic review and meta-analysis protocol (PLoS One . )
  • Tal Shachar: Massive Brain Swelling Following Reduction Cranioplasty for Secondary Turricephaly (J Craniofac Surg . )
  • Rawan Mahamid, Helal Said Ahmad, Narjes Azzam, Ali Omari, Amir Mari: The yield of solid swallows in high resolution esophageal manometry among patients with dysphagia and gastro-esophageal reflux symptoms (Minerva Gastroenterol (Torino) .)
  • Keren Agay-Shay: Obesity II: Establishing Causal Links Between Chemical Exposures and Obesity (Biochem Pharmacol . )
  • Ephraim Rinot, Shemy Carasso, Merav Yarkoni, Offer Amir, Gabby Elbaz Greener: Left atrial phasic echocardiographic functional analysis in relation to diastolic left ventricular hemodynamic parameters acquired during right heart catheterization (Int J Cardiol Heart Vasc .)
  • Praveen Koganti, Venkata Narasimha Kadali, Dhanoop Manikoth Ayyathan, Andrea Emanuelli, Gal Levy-Cohen, Michael Blank: The E3 ubiquitin ligase SMURF2 stabilizes RNA editase ADAR1p110 and promotes its adenosine-to-inosine (A-to-I) editing function (Cell Mol Life Sci . )
  • Pooja Anil Shah, Sandy Boutros-Suleiman, Andrea Emanuelli, Gal Levy-Cohen, Michael Blank: The Emerging Role of E3 Ubiquitin Ligase SMURF2 in the Regulation of Transcriptional Co-Repressor KAP1 in Untransformed and Cancer Cells and Tissues (Cancers (Basel)
  • Rajesh Detroja, Sumit Mukherjee, Milana Frenkel-Morgenstern: The Landscape of Novel Expressed Chimeric RNAs in Rheumatoid Arthritis (Cells. )
  • Ligat Shalev, Anthony Luder, Sivan Spitzer, Danna Krupik, Jumanah Essa-Hadad, Mary C J Rudolf: Keeping our children safe: piloting a hospital-based home-visitation program in Israel (Isr J Health Policy Res)
  • Boris Fichtman, Amnon Harel: High-Resolution Imaging and Analysis of Individual Nuclear Pore Complexes (Methods Mol Biol .)
  • Kamal Abu Jabal, Michael Edelstein: Using SARS-CoV-2 anti-S IgG levels as a marker of previous infection: Example from an Israeli Healthcare worker cohort (Int J Infect Dis .)
  • Vertical transmission and humoral immune response following maternal infection with SARS-CoV-2 - A prospective multicenter cohort study (Clin Microbiol Infect .)
  • Yana Lerner, Surya Sukumaran, Nir Qvit: Exploring Biomolecular Interaction Between the Molecular Chaperone Hsp90 and Its Client Protein Kinase Cdc37 using Field-Effect Biosensing Technology (J Vis Exp .)
  • Reema Fadoul, Tharwat Haj Khalil, Idan Redenski, Daniel Oren, Asaf Zigron, Avishalom Sharon, Amiel A Dror, Mizied Falah, Samer Srouji:The Modulatory Effect of Adipose-Derived Stem Cells on Endometrial Polyp Fibroblasts (Stem Cells Dev .)
  • Nasser Sakran: Epicardial adipose tissue, obesity and the occurrence of atrial fibrillation: an overview of pathophysiology and treatment methods (Expert Rev Cardiovasc Ther .)
  • Rola Khamisy-Farah: How to Integrate Sex and Gender Medicine into Medical and Allied Health Profession Undergraduate, Graduate, and Post-Graduate Education: Insights from a Rapid Systematic Literature Review and a Thematic Meta-Synthesis (J Pers Med . )
  • Naaem Simaan: Effects in Israel of Arab and Jewish Ethnicity on Intracerebral Hemorrhage (J Clin Med . )
  • Trishna Saha Detroja, Hava Gil-Henn, Abraham O Samson: Text-Mining Approach to Identify Hub Genes of Cancer Metastasis and Potential Drug Repurposing to Target Them (J Clin Med . )
  • Daniel Kovarsky, Adi Shani, Alon Rod, Dan Ciubotaru, Nimrod Rahamimov: Effectiveness of intra-venous steroids for preventing surgery for lumbo-sacral radiculopathy secondary to intervertebral disc herniation: a retrospective study of 213 patients (Sci Rep )
  • Hagar Mizrachi: Cuffing Prisoners and Detainees in Israeli Hospitals - a Multi-center Study (Harefuah .)
  • Tal Shachar: Temporal Hollowing Causes, Classifications, and Treatment Options: A Systematic Review (J Cosmet Dermatol .)

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