Faculty of Medicine Newsletter 70 (January 2023)

PDF for easier reading here.

We would like to welcome Prof. Chaim Putterman, Associate Dean of Research (to left), as acting Dean of the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine.

Prof. Karl Skorecki (to right),Putterman and Skorecki who has served as Dean since 2018, will be stepping down for personal reasons.



Azrieli Faculty of Medicine Welcomes Azrieli FoundationAzrieli

The Azrieli Faculty of Medicine was excited to host none other than representatives from the Azrieli Foundation, on January 18, 2023. Dr. Sharon Goldman, Bar-Ilan VP Global Resources, joined Dena Libman, Chief Strategy Officer; Galit Gal, Chief Philanthropy Officer; and Ronit Burg Yaari, Grant Manager as the team met with Acting Dean Prof. Chaim Putterman; Dr. Alon Barash, anatomy and evolution researcher; Dr. Sivan Spitzer, health equities researcher and Deputy Director of SPHERE; and Dr. Shai Bel, microbiome researcher.

Local SpaceLab Competition Students Visit Onn LabOnn

On January 10, 2023 Prof. Itay Onn hosted a group of ten middle school students and two teachers at his lab, part of the SpaceLab competition of the Ilan Ramon Foundation for which he is an advisor. They were exposed to methods related to the project in the laboratory and at the Faculty Scientific Equipment Center. For more information, see here.


Azrieli Faculty of Medicine Hosts MoE 360 Education Initiative

The Azrieli Faculty of Medicine was pleased to host the regional 360 initiative conference on January 11, 2023. This initiative focuses on education and early childhood. For more information, see here.

BIU Ceremony in Honor of Professors EmeritiZidan

Prof. Jamal Zidan (pictured here with Acting Dean Prof. Chaim Putterman) was invited by Bar-Ilan University’s Rector, Prof. Amnon Albeck, to participate in a ceremony held on the Ramat Gan campus, honoring professors emeriti, on January 16, 2023. Prof. Zidan resides in the village of Beit Jann in the Upper Galilee. He continues to be involved in medical and academic activities in the field of oncology at Ziv Hospital and the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine.

Students Contribute to Wikipedia

Dr. Avraham Samson reports that four-year track MD students enrolled in the pharmacology course have uploaded new drugs to Wikipedia in Hebrew. To date, 45 drug entries have been added.

Teddy Bear Hospital Wins AwardTeddy Bear Hospital

The Azrieli Faculty of Medicine Teddy Bear Hospital won an “honorable mention” in the “most influential in 2022” Bar-Ilan competition.

BIU Alumni – Dr. Alon Barash Lectures

Each month, the Bar-Ilan University Alumni Association offers online lectures. This month the honor was bestowed upon our own Dr. Alon Barash who spoke about the new and exciting use of virtual reality in the teaching of anatomy at the Faculty.


Please note: All upcoming Faculty Seminars for the 2022-23 academic year can be seen here.

  • Special seminar: Enhancing stem-cell potency in a novel 3D printing of human-size tissues(Michal Zalzman, Assistant Professor, University of Maryland School of Medicine)
  • Faculty Seminar: Are we there yet? Outsmarting protein trafficking in the kidney (Dr. Moran Dvela-Levitt, BIU)
  • Faculty Seminar: Bioelectrochemical and biomaterials applications using genetic code expansion (Prof. Lital Alfonta, BGU)
  • Faculty Seminar: Micro-strokes trigger an unprecedented microglia migration along the white matter (Prof. Pablo Blinder, TAU)


  • 1st Triennial Meeting International Orthopedic Trauma Association (December 14-16, 2022, Amsterdam) – Prof. Alexander Lerner (pictured) organized a special symposium dedicated to modern combat trauma and global disasters, topics particularly relevant in Europe today. Prof. Lerner chaired a session and also presented Israeli experience in treating victims of hostilities and terrorist attacks, and spoke about the humanitarian treatment of Syrian citizens in hospitals in northern Israel.
  • Understanding Long Covid: Leopoldina International Virtual Panel (January 24, 2023) – Prof. Michael Edelstein in a virtual panel discussion with the German National Academy of Sciences. 
  • Upcoming: Ilanit Experimental Biology Conference in Eilat…details to follow

BIU Website Profiles Azrieli Activity

The Bar-Ilan University website has been generously profiling Azrieli Faculty of Medicine activities, research, and personalities. For example:

Follow the BIU Facebook page for more pleasant surprises.

Mazal Tov

Mazal tov to Prof. Chaim Putterman on the marriage of his son.


Condolences to Nurit Manor on the passing of her father.

A Student’s Perspectivegyno workshop

Hana Abu Rabia, a third year student in the four-year track, wanted to share her thoughts with us for the newsletter. Of course, we couldn’t say no! She writes:

The Azrieli Faculty of Medicine strives for excellence. In my opinion, this is one example of why I agree.

During our medical studies, and specifically, during the clinical studies, all students undergo a gynecology rotation at the affiliated hospitals. One day is dedicated to the "gynecological examination workshop" which includes simulations of real surgical scenarios, physical examination practice on mannequins and US (ultrasound) vaginal examination practice on mannequins. This important day is held at the Advanced Center for Simulations in Health Education at the Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya. Students from all hospitals come for a full and concentrated day to practice simulated and computerized simulations in the field of gynecology. The field of gynecology contains medical issues and intimate examinations that are not always possible at the patient's bedside, as other departments. In order to make sure the students are not deprived of proper professional training, and at the same time to make sure female patients do not feel uncomfortable – this day was developed.

This special day was planned and designed under the guidance of Dr. Maya Wolf, director of the Maternal and Fetal Medicine Unit at the Galilee Medical Center. She adds: "I see it as very important for the training of medical students in order to acquire useful tools for anamnesis and physical examination and practical experience that will be used by them later in the clinical rounds in important departments. I would also like to mention the doctors instructing the course who invest a lot in personal training near the simulators, in learning through case stories and clinical scenarios in order to teach the approach to the patient and differential diagnosis."

Meet Our Doctoral StudentsNilabja Roy Chowdhury

This month we would like to introduce you to Dr. Nilabja Roy Chowdhury of Prof. Meir Shamay's lab. Read on.

नमस्ते  שלום

I am Dr. Nilabja Roy Chowdhury. I am from West Bengal, an Eastern province of India. Professionally, I am a veterinarian. I completed the degree of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) in 2019 and Master of Veterinary Science (MVSc.) in Biochemistry in 2021. I joined the Daniella Lee Casper Viral Oncology Laboratory under the supervision of Prof. Meir Shamay in March 2022.

Along with working as a resident Veterinary Doctor, I was also involved in Biochemical diagnostics and research works in my past institute. As a result, I helped develop an Early Pregnancy Detection Kit for Bovines under the Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Veterinary & Animal Sciences, Kolkata, India. But it was my post-graduation research on Avian Oncogenic Viruses which drew my interest in both viruses and oncology. Now that I am working under Prof. Meir Shamay, both my interests are being fulfilled. We are working on Epigenetic phenomena of various cancer-causing viruses, i.e., Oncoviruses like Kaposi’s Sarcoma Associated Herpes Virus, Epstein-Barr Virus etc., and their roles in the formation of cancer in human body.

Choosing the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine was not difficult for me. As I have a medicine background and wanted to do something for human health actively after 7.5 years of serving for the voiceless creatures of mother nature, Azrieli seemed to be a good fit for laying the foundation stone of my future endeavors.

During my PhD courses I am living in an apartment in Safed. The location of the city is awesome as well. It’s like a small child in the lap of mother nature playing with foggy clouds. Along with this, the majestic view of the Sea of Galilee through the windowpane beside my working bench in my lab and my wonderful labmates, add surplus joy to work with my experiments. And with my fiancé, Dr. Aakanksha Harit, from the Structural Biology of Infectious Diseases laboratory, with me, feels like (about) home every time.

In the future, I would like to migrate towards the field of cellular bioelectric signaling cascade and its role in orchestrating the epigenetic phenomena in normal cells as well as cancer and stem cells.

Regarding my hobbies, I like photography and playing chess whenever I get time. Also, I played Cricket and Football back in India. I am currently teaching myself computer languages like Python, which I think will also help me in my studies.

Although I am not experienced enough, I would like to advise the upcoming master’s and doctoral students to question everything happening surrounding you every time. To me, this is how science leaps for the betterment of the people and society, irrespective of their wealth, race, or color.

Russell Berrie Galilee Diabetes SPHERESPHERE

To keep abreast of SPHERE activity, please see their Facebook page here. In addition, please see their "Save the Date" at the end of this newsletter.

Azrieli Alumni Please Note

 Please help us spread the word to Azrieli alumni that we want to keep in touch. We want to hear from them, from you. Go to our “Request for Information” page, here.

Note that currently we are expending special efforts to build the MD graduate alumni organization.

All graduates are encouraged to take advantage of the Bar-Ilan University Alumni Association, here.

Website: What’s New?


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.


  • Yanay Gorelik, Amiel Dror, Hiba Zayyad, Ofir Wertheim, Kamal Abu Jabal, Saleh Nazzal, Paul Otiku, Jelte Elsinga, Daniel Glikman, Michael Edelstein: Associations between reported post-COVID-19 symptoms and subjective well-being, Israel, July 2021 - April 2022 (Epidemiol Infect . )
  • Omry Koren: Questioning the fetal microbiome illustrates pitfalls of low-biomass microbial studies (Nature .)
  • Peter Gilbey, Adi Sharabi-Nov, Omri Cohen: Burnout in Israeli medical students: a national survey (BMC Med Educ .)
  • Abraham O Samson: Partogram of Grandmultiparous Parturients: A Multicenter Cohort Study (J Clin Med . )
  • Salim T Khoury, Amir Mari: The possible association between neurodegenerative/demyelinating neurological disorders in achalasia patients (Transl Neurosci .)
  • Meir Shamay: The LHX2-OTX2 transcriptional regulatory module controls retinal pigmented epithelium differentiation and underlies genetic risk for age-related macular degeneration (PLoS Biol)
  • Gassan Moady, Shaul Atar: Ventricular Assist Devices: Challenges of the One-device Era (Card Fail Rev .)
  • Sumit Mukherjee, Sunanda Biswas Mukherjee, Milana Frenkel-Morgenstern: Functional and regulatory impact of chimeric RNAs in human normal and cancer cells (Wiley Interdiscip Rev RNA .)
  • David Karasik: Convergent genomics of longevity in rockfishes highlights the genetics of human life span variation (Sci Adv .)
  • Khalaf Kridin: Characteristics Associated With Refractory Course, Blindness, and Treatment Strategy-Related Outcomes in Patients With Mucous Membrane Pemphigoid (JAMA Dermatol . )
  • Nasser Sakran: Short-Term (30-Day) Morbidity of Biliopancreatic Diversion Compared to Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass as Revisional Procedures for Failed Vertical Banded Gastroplasty (Obes Surg . )
  • Sunanda Biswas Mukherjee, Sumit Mukherjee, Rajesh Detroja, Milana Frenkel-Morgenstern: The landscape of differential splicing and transcript alternations in severe COVID-19 infection (FEBS J .)
  • Yishay Pinto, Sondra Turjeman, Adi Eshel, Meital Nuriel-Ohayon, Oren Ziv, Omry Koren: Gestational diabetes is driven by microbiota-induced inflammation months before diagnosis (Gut . )
  • Michael V Robinshaw, Mary Abdo, Kutaiba Alkeesh, Said Abozaid, Imad Abu El-Naaj: Factors associated with prolonged hospitalizations from odontogenic infections in children (J Clin Pediatr Dent)
  • Alexander Lerner, David Rothem: Temporary bridging trans-hip external fixation in damage control orthopaedics treatment after severe combat trauma: A clinical case series (Injury . )
  • Edo Y Birati: Early Cardiopulmonary Fitness after Heart Transplantation as a Determinant of Post-Transplant Survival (J Clin Med .)
  • Adi Kasem, Idan Redenski, Daniel Oren, Adeeb Zoabi, Samer Srouji, Fares Kablan: Decline in Maxillofacial Injuries during the Pandemic: The Hidden Face of COVID-19 (J Clin Med . )
  • Offer Amir: Advanced Hemodynamic Monitoring Allows Recognition of Early Response Patterns to Diuresis in Congestive Heart Failure Patients (J Clin Med . )
  • Michael Edelstein: Health System Barriers to Child Mandatory and Optional Vaccination among Ukrainian Migrants in Poland in the Context of MMR and HPV Vaccines-A Qualitative Study (Int J Environ Res Public Health)
  • Nasser Sakran, Sharon Soued, Kim Soifer: Long-Term Matched Comparison of Primary and Revisional Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy (Obes Surg . )
  • Basem Hijazi, Ali Omari, Helal Said Ahmad, Narjes Azzam, Amir Mari: Ethnic Differences in Clinical Presentations and Esophageal High-Resolution Manometry Findings in Patients with Achalasia (Dysphagia .)
  • Edo Y Birati: Effects of Body Mass Index on Presentation and Outcomes of COVID-19 among Heart Transplant and Left Ventricular Assist Device Patients: A Multi-Institutional Study (ASAIO J .)
  • Jumanah Essa-Hadad: The impact of Muslim and Christian religious leaders responding to COVID-19 in Israel (Front Public Health . )
  • Amir Bashkin, Mona Shehadeh, Lina Shbita, Kamil Namoura, Ronza Haiek, Elena Kuyantseva, Yousef Boulos, Orly Yakir, Etty Kruzel-Davila: Baseline moderate-range albuminuria is associated with protection against severe COVID-19 pneumonia (World J Diabetes .)
  • Michael Edelstein: Monitoring the COVID-19 immunisation programme through a national immunisation Management system - England's experience (Int J Med Inform . )
  • Tali Butler: Pediatric psychiatric emergency rooms during COVID-19: a multi-center study (BMC Psychiatry .)

Faculty News

Faculty Press Exposure 

Dr. Hava Gil-Henn's (pictured to right) research was all over the international press; two citations in English are below.Hava


Image Gallery 

Stay tuned for new pictures.

And now, for some promotional announcements:








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