Faculty of Medicine Newsletter 72 (March 2023)

PDF for easier reading, here.

Wishing our community of readers

A Happy and Kosher Passover חג כשר ושמח

Ramadan Kareem رمضان كريم/مبارك

Happy Easter


New! Six-Year MD Program

The Azrieli Faculty of Medicine is excited to announce that it will be opening a full six-year MD track.

11th Teddy Bear HospitalTeddy Bear Hospital

For the 11th year, the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine on March 27, 2023 opened its doors to hundreds of children and their stuffed animals, accompanied by their parents and other family members.

The legendary Teddy Bear Hospital tradition at the Faculty is a community oriented activity led by students and this year again, directed by third year medical student Amit Gabbai. The stuffed animals with their owners are first "admitted" to the emergency room then experience typical medical scenarios in radiology, cardiology, orthopedics, emergency medicine, surgery, ophthalmology, ENT, dentistry and more. The purpose of the day is for the children to get to experience medical care in a non-stressful, fun environment, and to learn about healthy living at the same time.

Freddy Zinger who sponsored the event again this year, adds: " We are proud of this wonderful project. In the complex reality we are experiencing today, this is an island of sanity. Dedicated students and faculty share in this important work whose goal is simply to do good. We make many hundreds of parents and children happy every year. Some of the children of 10 years ago are parents today, and we are all proud of the hope and joy we bring to the children of the north."


Visit of New Haven and Hartford Federationsfederation visit

The Azrieli Faculty of Medicine was honored to host an impressive delegation of close to two dozen active members of the New Haven and Hartford Federations, including reps from Greenwich (Connecticut). The theme of their visit was "Tech and Innovation."

During the March 13, 2023 visit, the group met with:

  • Dr. Alon Barash, Head of Physical Anthropology, Human Anatomy & Evolution Lab and Anatomy course director - including a visit to the Anatomy Lab and viewing of the Anatomage Table and VR glasses 
  • Dr. Shira Perez of the Genomic Technology Center
  • Dr. Eyla Maoz of the Scientific Equipment Center
  • Dr. Sivan Spitzer, Deputy Director, SPHERE; Head of Population Health Education and Principal Investigator of HEAL – Health Equity Advancement Lab

Dr. Sharon Goldman, V.P. of BIU Development, who accompanied the group, summed up the day, saying “It was truly a pleasure to host a group who share our mission to improve Israel’s northern periphery. We look forward to a continuing partnership with the New Haven and Hartford Federation leadership in moving forward our goals.”

Appointments and Promotions

  • Congratulations to Prof. Nael Elias on his promotion to Clinical Associate Professor.
  • Congratulations to Dr. Naama Marcus on her promotion to Clinical Senior Lecturer.
  • Congratulations to Dr. Hadas Shasha-Lavsky on her appointment as Clinical Lecturer.
  • Congratulations to Dr. Haim Efim Shtarker on his appointment as Clinical Senior Lecturer.

Outstanding Teacher AwardsOutstanding teachers

The first of this year's series of "thank you" ceremonies was held on March 20, 2023. We appreciate the hard work of our graduate degree lecturers, pre-clinical lecturers, mentors, and clinical teachers.

French Hospital in Nazareth Celebrates 125 Years

The French Hospital in Nazareth celebrated the 125th anniversary since its establishment on March 20, 2023.French Hospital Younis

Prof. Nael Elias (pictured, to left), invited Prof. Johnny Younis (to right) to represent the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine. Unfortunately, Prof. Chaim Putterman, Acting Dean of the Faculty, had a prior commitment at the Faculty.

Also in attendance were the mayors of local cities such as Nazareth and Nof HaGalil; directors of the Scottish, Italian, Ziv, and Emek hospitals; Kupot Holim directors; clergy; the French consul and others.

Prof. Younis spoke on behalf of the Faculty, stressing the importance of the relationship and how it benefits the students' medical education as well as development of the hospital.


Congratulations to MSc student Aviel Melchior (Prof. Avi Peretz) on being chosen "Excellent Poster" at the Israel Society for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (ISCLS) conference that was held March 24-15, 2023. His poster: " Antimicrobial activity of Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens) larvae hemolymph against Clostrioides difficile."


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

  • Faculty Seminar: From sleeve gastrectomy to gastric biology (Dr. Danny Ben-Zvi, Hebrew University)
  • Faculty Seminar: Dissecting the architecture of the largest molecular machine - the eukaryotic flagellum (Dr. Iris Grossman-Haham, BGU)


Conference: Health in the PeripheryHealth in Periphery

The Azrieli Faculty of Medicine participated in the first conference dedicated to health in the Israeli periphery organized by Ben Gurion University and Ziv Medical Center on March 21, 2023. The conference focused on " what is same, different, and in common."


Upcoming Conference

Upcoming conference: Annual Sphere Conference 2023 in honor of Ruth Salzman (May 3, 2023, Golden Crown Hotel, Nazareth)


Upcoming Workshop

Team-Based Learning (May 2, 2023), led by Prof. Larry K. Michaelsen.

Women's Day at the FacultyWomens Day

Women's Day was commemorated at the Faculty on March 19, 2023 and included a workshop for doctoral students and researchers that focused on strengthening skills and on self-awareness and gender issues.

The workshop enabled group learning and the facilitation of a supportive and empowering sisterhood based on discourse, open sharing, and learning from life experiences, theory, and inspirational women.

Student ActivitiesStudent Activities

  • "House" has returned – on March 20, 2023, an episode of "House" was shown in the Carasso auditorium after which the students had an opportunity to discuss the medical cases that arose, along with staff physicians (Dr. Najib Dally) and researchers.
  • The MD Student Union organized several student social activities for the various classes. Each class had the opportunity to meet in a relaxed and fun environment, to enjoy pizza and drinks.

Holi FestivalHoli

The Bar-Ilan U. International School and Indian student representatives arranged a celebration on March 13, 2023 in honor of the Hindu holiday Holi – the festival of colors, love, and spring. Fourteen students from the Safed campus joined their compatriots in Ramat Gan.

Mazal tov

  • Mazal tov to Malka Bulman on the birth of a daughter.
  • Mazal tov to Michal Mizrahi on the birth of a daughter.

Russell Berrie Galilee Diabetes SPHERESPHERE

To keep abreast of SPHERE activity, please see their Facebook page here as well as their LinkdIn here. You'll find details on the following:SPHERE

  • SPHERE's Community Advisory Committee (to right) convened in February for the first time at the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine. The committee consists of religious leaders and representatives of Kupot Holim, industry, social services, the education system and Galilee non-profits. The committee will prioritize SPHERE's current and future activities and will also evaluate the progress of the project.
  • SPHERE published the results of a study by Prof. Naim Shehadeh on childhood obesity. The study confirmed that children with a higher BMI are at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, liver disease and diabetes.
  • SPHERE published the Call for Abstracts for the first SPHERE conference, taking place on May 3, 2023 in Nazareth. Dr. Ron Piran will lead the session on basic science related to diabetes and obesity.
  • On Monday March 13, 2023, together with the NGO Nova Project, SPHERE started training the Health Coordinators in Nazareth, Nof HaGalil, Safed, Sachnin and Shfar’am in the use of data for the development of their municipal health strategy and specific interventions. The SPHERE municipal health dashboard combines data from the municipalities with data from the HMOs and other sources, providing unprecedented insight in health problems within in the cities.
  • On Wednesday March 15, SPHERE and Maccabi launched the “Pre-diabetes” program. Students from the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine are matched with family physicians of Maccabi to jointly provide 500 identified patients with the care they need to avoid progression to diabetes.

Please see their "Save the Date" at the end of this newsletter.

Meet Our PhD Student Shir GalinShir Galin

This month we would like to introduce you to Shir Galin, a doctoral student in Dr. Hanna Keren's HAC-K (Human Artificial Control-Keren) lab. Shir writes:

I am currently studying for a doctorate while also working as a medical psychologist, coordinating the medical psychological service at Ziv Hospital in Safed.

Since my undergraduate studies I have enjoyed research. After my bachelors degree in psychology, I had to choose whether to continue for a research only degree, or a clinical therapeutic degree where it was possible to combine research but on a small scale. I chose the therapeutic field, but I tried to integrate research into my work at the hospital.

Then came the Corona virus.

At the beginning of the Corona epidemic, information about the disease was still limited. The hospital was emptied of patients, who were afraid of being infected. After a short period, the disease began to spread, and the hospital's Corona wards were filled with patients struggling to breathe. This was the first time I conducted psychological treatment with the patient and me being separated by a white nylon protective suit, goggles and gloves. The patient did not see me, and I had difficulty hearing him. During this period I faced difficult and heartbreaking cases. Patients fought for their lives with great bravery, but too often, succumbed to a cruel disease, which advanced at record speed. A large proportion of the patients were middle-aged people. Just a week or two earlier they were leading productive and healthy lives, raising their teenage children, and going to work.

I did my specialization in psychology, among other places, in a pain clinic. There the mind-body connection is very prominent – the way in which physical pain promotes and affects mental pain, but, even more so, how mental pain promotes and intensifies physical pain. Even in the Corona department, the mind-body connection stood out. Patients in acute physical distress suffered from life-threatening anxiety, but the impression was that anxiety and depression contributed to the worsening of the physical condition.

I have joined the laboratory of Dr. Hanna Keren. I am happy to research, among other things, mind-body connections and psychosomatic phenomena. The goals of the laboratory are to understand, measure, and control emotions and mood, using the power of technology and advanced engineering. The technology we are developing could eventually help improve mood and mental well-being and lead to new individualized treatments for depression and other psychopathologies. In the lab I am studying areas I have never dealt with before, such as programming and data processing, while trying to contribute the clinical knowledge I have gained to our research. This work in the laboratory perfectly combines my two areas of interest – the therapeutic and research.


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.

BIU Website Profiles Azrieli Activity

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

Follow the BIU Facebook page for more pleasant surprises.

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.


  • Amani Daoud, Netanel Eisenbach, Ohad Ronen, Amiel Dror, Tali Jane Ohayon, Majd Hajouj, Eyal Sela, Tal Marshak: Cross-cultural adaptation of the Hebrew Nasal Obstruction Symptom Evaluation (NOSE) scale (Laryngoscope Investig Otolaryngol . )
  • Hanna Keren: A highly replicable decline in mood during rest and simple tasks (Nat Hum Behav .)
  • Sunanda Biswas Mukherjee, Rajesh Detroja, Sumit Mukherjee, Milana Frenkel-Morgenstern: The Landscape of Expressed Chimeric Transcripts in the Blood of Severe COVID-19 Infected Patients (Viruses . )
  • David Karasik: Proceedings of the Post-Genome Analysis for Musculoskeletal Biology Workshop (Curr Osteoporos Rep .)
  • Gewa Saad, Maya Azrad, Meral Aias, Tamar Leshem, Zohar Hamo, Layan Abu Rahmoun, Avi Peretz: The effect of different C. difficile MLST strains on viability and activity of macrophages (Heliyon . )
  • Alaa Abu-Saleh, Lior Feintuch, Adi Shani, Nimrod Rahamimov: Insertion of a urinary catheter on admission lowers acute kidney injury incidence in patients with hip fractures (Int Orthop . )
  • D Krupik: Willingness to vaccinate children against COVID-19 declined during the pandemic (Vaccine .)
  • Rola Khamisy-Farah, Maher Endrawis, Marwan Odeh, Ruba Tuma: Knowledge of Human Papillomavirus (HPV), Attitudes, and Practices Towards Anti-HPV Vaccination Among Israeli Nurses (J Cancer Educ .)
  • David Karasik: A variability in response of osteoclasts to zoledronic acid is mediated by smoking-associated modification in the DNA methylome (Clin Epigenetics . )
  • Lee Nusbaum: Deep orbital dermoid cysts (Harefuah .)
  • Ohad Ronen: Management of Older Patients with Head and Neck Cancer: A Comprehensive Review (Adv Ther .)
  • Ligat Shalev, Mary C J Rudolf, Sivan Spitzer: Better safe than sorry: Evaluating the implementation process of a home-visitation intervention aimed at preventing unintentional childhood injuries in the hospital setting (Front Health Serv . )
  • Liza Grosman-Rimon, Muhamd Atrash, Aida Nakhoul, Hanadi Saadi, Edo Y Birati, Shemy Carasso, Erez Kachel: The Effects of Preoperative Pain Education on Pain Severity in Cardiac Surgery Patients: A Pilot Randomized Control Trial (Pain Manag Nurs .)

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SPHERE save the date