Faculty of Medicine Newsletter 74 (May 2023)

PDF for easier reading here.

Bar-Ilan Open HouseOpen House

The Azrieli Faculty of Medicine was excited to participate in the Bar-Ilan University Open House on May 12, 2023 at the main Ramat Gan campus. It proved an excellent opportunity to meet potential graduate and MD students who visited our tables to learn about our many programs and ask relevant questions.

Three-Year MD Program Application Deadline

Three-year MD program (2024-25) applications will be accepted June 6-July 2, 2023. Entrance exam and interviews will be held in Safed in August 2023.

MSc Graduation CeremonyMSc Graduation

Congratulations to our 27 MSc in BioMedical Sciences graduates. Ceremony was held on May 18, 2023. Read more here.


  • Congratulations to Dr. Doron Sagi who completed his PhD last year under the supervision of Prof. Mary Rudolf, on being awarded the Haim Doron Prize for Community Medicine. Dr. Sagi's doctorate, evaluated the ETGAR course and its impact on students and patients.

  • Congratulations to Dr. Maamoun Basheer on receipt of the Outstanding Specialist award at the 44th Conference of the Israel Medical Association. Dr.Basheer Basheer is a physician-researcher at the Galilee Medical Center who received his MD degree from the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine (photo credit to right, Roni Albert).

May Seminars

  • Faculty Seminar: Prediction and Evaluation of Novel Meta-Synergistic Drug Combinations for Solid Tumors (Dr. Yosef Shamay, Technion)
  • Special Faculty Seminar: The tubulin code: a molecular mechanism to coordinate complex cellular functions (Prof. Carsten Janke, Institut Curie, Paris, to right)Carsten Janke
  • Faculty Seminar: Towards deep phenotyping of social behavior in animal models of neurodevelopmental disorders (Prof. Shlomo Wagner, Haifa University)
  • Faculty Seminar: Wisdom of the crowds and membraneless organelles: Revisiting long-lasting dogmas in molecular microbiology (Prof. Orna Amster-Choder, Hebrew University)
  • Special Seminar: Cortisol in Context: Understanding the impact of social and emotional factors on everyday hormonal secretion (Dr. Theresa Pauly, Simon Fraser U)
  • PhD Seminar: Investigation of Pink1 interactions with selected mitochondrial quality control proteins and their significance in cardiovascular disease (Shulamit Ben Uliel, supervised by Dr. Nir Qvit)

Azrieli Faculty of Medicine Visits RigaRiga delegation

A delegation of researchers from the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine (Dr. Nomy Dickman, Dr. Muhammad Mansour, Prof. Alexander Lerner, Dr. Alejandro Roisentul, Prof. Jean Soustiel, Dr. Dafna Willner), visited the Rīgas Stradiņa universitāte (Red Cross Medical College) in the beginning of May. An RSU delegation will be visiting Safed in the near future, all thanks to the Erasmus exchange program.

New National Course in Clinical Research Skills

The Azrieli Faculty of Medicine has partnered with Sheba Medical Centre and the Nazareth Center for qualification in medical professions to launch a new national course in clinical research skills. The pilot course was launched in April at the Faculty, with Prof. Chaim Putterman opening.

The course is given by experts from the different partner organizations as well as national and international experts. Further sessions are running at the Center for qualification in medical professions in Nazareth, Sheba Medical Centre in Tel Aviv and online.course lecturer

The objective of the course is to equip the new generation of doctors with skills to conduct clinical research at the highest standards, as well as to foster a national network of young doctors collaborating in research. In the pilot year, approximately 25 doctors were selected to participate, and it is expected that the course will expand in the years to come.

Appointments and Promotions

Stay tuned for details about the newly elected Dean of the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine, Prof. Orly Avni, and more …

Meet Our PhD Student Paul OtikuPaul Otiku

This month we would like to introduce you to Paul Otiku, an international doctoral student who conducts research under the supervision of Prof. Michael Edelstein.

How did you find out about Bar-Ilan University?

I first got to know about Bar-Ilan from the University website. I contacted Prof. Michael Edelstein about a PhD position he was looking to fill. The topic that was publicized interested to me as I was looking to advance my career in Public Health in vaccinology.

Why did you choose the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine?

Advanced studies in public health vaccinology are not available at Makerere University, Uganda. As such I was attracted by the opportunity offered in the field of population health at the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine. I was able to get access to all the resources I needed to complete the PhD program.

What are you studying?

I am currently investigating the long-term impacts of COVID-19 vaccination in Israel. As part of my PhD work, we are following a cohort of individuals (vaccinated and non-vaccinated) to determine the long-term impact of COVID-19 vaccines.

Would you like to share with us a bit about your background?

I am a citizen of Uganda and Kenya. I was born in Uganda, however I lived most of my formative and early school years in Kenya. My parents moved to Uganda when I began high school, and I completed high school and undergraduate studies in Uganda. I received a BSc degree at Makerere University College of Health Sciences in Kampala and a Master of Public Health (MPH) at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in Cape Town South Africa. I worked briefly in clinical research at the Kenya Medical Research Institute and at two international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Childs life International and LastMile 4D Kenya, implementing public health intervention programs to underserved communities.

What do you enjoy most about your studies here?

I have had a great time in Safed since beginning my PhD studies. The support from the faculty administrative staff, other students, and my supervisors has been overwhelming to say the least. I have had at my disposal the resources I need to successfully complete my studies and I am grateful for the opportunity.

What are your aspirations for the future?

My expectations for the doctoral studies have largely been met. I have had all the resources and the support I needed. I look into the future with great optimism to apply the skills and knowledge gained. After completing my studies, I aspire to join an international organization or a public research group where I can apply the skills and knowledge I have acquired over the years.

What advice can you offer doctoral students coming to study at our Faculty, international as well as Israeli?

I can say The Azrieli Faculty of Medicine offers a good ambiance for the pursuit of doctoral studies. The academic as well as the administrative staff are supportive to the students. For prospective students, The Azrieli Faculty of Medicine would be worth their consideration if they are looking for a tranquil and supportive environment to pursue doctoral studies.

Anything else you'd like to share?

I am grateful to the University and my PI Prof. Michael Edelstein for the opportunity to attend the 17th World Congress on Public Health (WCPH) in Rome. I had an opportunity to share results from my PhD work and to network with professionals in my field. It was a huge platform for me and will remain one of the highlights of my doctoral studies. [Editor's note: Prof. Edelstein proudly adds that Paul presented two of his studies at the conference.]

Russell Berrie Galilee Diabetes SPHERESPHERE

  • On May 3, 2023 the first Annual SPHERE Conference (in honor of Ruth Salzman) was held. Close to 250 attendees participated in scientific discussions ranging from beta-cells to clinical trial on obesity and implementation of intervention programs in the Bedouin population in southern Israel. We are looking forward to the next conference in 2024. 
  • SPHERE published the results of a study by Prof. Naim Shehadeh, Dr. Sivan Spitzer and Dr. Afif Nakleh on chatGPT. The study outlines that this new AI technology seems to have real potential to play a role in the development of educational materials for patients. 
  • On May 17, 2023 SPHERE hosted the Board of Trustees and senior leadership of Bar-Ilan University with a site visit in Shfar’am. The attendees participated in a 3-hour program outlining SPHERE’s research in collaboration with the Shfar’am municipality and various local partners. Prof.  Naim Shehadeh
  • On May 23, 2023 the first SPHERE Steering Committee for Nazareth met to discuss the strategic directions the city would like to take in its fight against diabetes and obesity. Representatives from across the healthcare, municipal, and other local landscape participated in the discussions. 

Read up about all SPHERE activities on their Facebook page here as well as on LinkdIn here.

Pictured to the right, Prof. Naim Shehadeh, director of SPHERE.

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.


•    Yosefa Birati: "Yes, I can bond." Reflections of autistic women's mothering experiences in the early postpartum period (Womens Health (Lond) .)
•    Amnon Harel, Katereena Yamin, Itay Onn: UMSBP2 is chromatin remodeler that functions in regulation of gene expression and suppression of antigenic variation in trypanosomes (Nucleic Acids Res .)
•    Elite Arnon-Sheleg, Moaad Farraj, Samar Michael, Amir Mari, Tawfik Khoury, Wisam Sbeit: Modified Hepatobiliary Scintigraphy for the Diagnosis of Bile Reflux in One-Anastomosis Gastric Bypass Surgery: a Prospective Multicenter Study Obes Surg . )
•    Roni Cohen Shavit: The influence of the type of face mask used by healthcare providers during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic on the report of pain: a cross-sectional study in a pediatric emergency department (Transl Pediatr. )
•    Hanna Keren: Neural responses to reward valence and magnitude from pre- to early adolescence (Neuroimage .)
•    Raneen Abu Shqara, Samuel Chole, Inshirah Sgayer, Ayala Rozano Gorelick, Lior Lowenstein, Maya Frank Wolf: The utility of inpatient anemia workup in hemoglobin < 10 g/dL diagnosed randomly in the third trimester: a retrospective study (Arch Gynecol Obstet
•    Anca Leibovici: Treating Alpelisib-Induced Hyperinsulinemia in Patients with Advanced Breast Cancer - A Real-Life Experience (Biologics .)
•    Raneen Abu Shqara, Maya Wolf, Susana Mikhail Mustafa, Inshirah Sgayer, Tikva Assulyn, Abdallah Abu Zraki Nadine Askhar Majadla, Hagai Rechnitzer, Mona Shehadeh, Vered Fleisher Sheffer, Mor Bordeynik-Cohen, Orly Yakir, Lior Lowenstein, Eyal Sela, Michael Edelstein, Amiel Dror: Maternal and cord anti-SARS-CoV-2-spike IgG following COVID-19 vaccination vs. infection during pregnancy: a prospective study, Israel October 2021-March 2022 (Am J Perinatol .)
•    Nasser Sakran: Gastrointestinal reported outcomes following One Anastomosis Gastric Bypass based on a multicenter study (Expert Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol . )
•    Enav Yefet: Comparison of postpartum anti-Xa levels following enoxaparin administration to prevent venous thromboembolism using two weight-based protocols A randomized controlled trial (Am J Obstet Gynecol MFM .)
•    Moshe Matan, Avi Peretz, Meital Gal-Tanamy: Altered somatic hypermutation patterns in COVID-19 patients classifies disease severity (Front Immunol . )
•    Paul Kuodi, Yanay Gorelik, Tomer Bernstine, Michael Edelstein: Characterisation of post-COVID syndromes by symptom cluster and time period up to 12 months post-infection: A systematic review and meta-analysis (Int J Infect Dis .)
•    Alon Barash: Possible origins and implications of atypical morphologies and domestication-like traits in wild golden jackals (Canis aureus) (Sci Rep . )
•    Khalaf Kridin: Reply to comment on: "Isotretinoin and the risk of psychiatric disturbances - A global study shedding new light on a debatable story" (J Am Acad Dermatol .)
•    Ala Aiob, Haddad Yousef, Raneen Abu Shqara, Susana Mustafa Mikhail, Marwan Odeh, Lior Lowenstein: Risk factors and prediction of ectopic pregnancy rupture following methotrexate treatment: A retrospective cohort study (Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol .)
•    Avishalom Sharon, Muhammad Zidane, Ala Aiob, Liat Apel-Sarid, Jacob Bornstein: Nonelectric shaving of endometrial polyp by hysteroscopy - A new technique to eliminate thermal damage (Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol .)
•    Avi Benov, Elon Glassberg: Implications for future humanitarian aid missions: Lessons from point-of injury and hospital care for Syrian refugees (Injury . )
•    Alon Barash: Morphologic aspects of the cervical (C3 to C7) annular epiphysis: a skeletal study (Spine J . )
•    Omry Koren: MetaPhlAn 4 profiling of unknown species-level genome bins improves the characterization of diet-associated microbiome changes in mice (Cell Rep .)
•    Avi Peretz: A Multi-Laboratory Evaluation of Commercial Monkeypox Virus Molecular Tests (Microbiol Spectr . ) 
•    Orly Wiesel: Commentary on: Linear- Versus Circular-Stapled Esophagojejunostomy During Total Gastrectomy: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis by Sozzi et al (J Laparoendosc Adv Surg Tech A . )
•    Ohad Ronen: Effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on surgery for indeterminate thyroid nodules (THYCOVID): a retrospective, international, multicentre, cross-sectional study (Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol .)
•    Avinoam A Nachshon, Raed Salim: Impact of COVID-19 mandatory lockdown on maternal gestational weight gain and neonatal macrosomia rate at an academic medical center in Israel (J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med)
•    Aviv Vidan: The Prevalence of Amblyopia and Eye Diseases among Pediatric Jewish Ethiopian Immigrants in Israel: An Observational Cross-sectional Study (Isr Med Assoc J .)
•    Chen Hanna Ryder, Yair Shmidt, Naomi Dovrat, Ziv Sarusi, Noam Welder-Segalovich, Matan Segalovich, Daniel Marmor, Radi Shahien: The Relationship Between Immune and Inflammatory Markers and Short-term Clinical Outcomes after Stroke: Side Matters (Isr Med Assoc J.)
•    Yishai Mintzker: Mild Hyponatremia as an Early Marker for Intrathoracic Cancer: A Cohort Study (Isr Med Assoc J . )
•    Response to Eglash re: "The Risk of Breakthrough Bleeding Justifies the Use of Combined Hormonal Contraception Over Progesterone-Only Pills While Breastfeeding": Combined Hormonal Contraception Is Not Without Disadvantages, But Is Acceptable During Lactat
•    Hadas Shasha-Lavsky: "An Unfinished Symphony": Medicine During the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (Harefuah .)
•    Tawfik Khoury: Treatment of esophagogastric junction outflow obstruction with concomitant hypercontractile esophagus: A case series (Indian J Gastroenterol . )
•    Michael Edelstein: Addressing Determinants of Immunization Inequities Requires Objective Tools to Devise Local Solutions (Vaccines (Basel) .)
•    Jamal Zidan: Comprehensive Genetic Analysis of Druze Provides Insights into Carrier Screening (Genes (Basel) .)
•    Ory Wiesel: The Whiteboard Time Out: A Novel Tool to Improve Resident Learning in the Operating Room (J Surg Educ . )
•    Sivan Spitzer: The COVID-19 Israeli tapestry: the intersectionality health equity challenge (Isr J Health Policy Res .)
•    Amir Mari: Non-alcoholic fatty pancreas disease and pancreatic exocrine insufficiency: pilot study and systematic review (Scand J Gastroenterol .)
•    Raneen Abu Shqara, Sarina Bang, Daniel Glikman, Lior Lowenstein, Maya Frank Wolf: Single versus dual antibiotic regimen in women with term prolonged rupture of membranes and intrapartum fever: a retrospective study (J Gynecol Obstet Hum Reprod .)
•    D Bahir, N Nakhoul, A Farhan, F Sabbah, S Yeganeh, H Jabaly-Habib: Central retinal vein occlusion in a young patient following hookah smoking (J Fr Ophtalmol . ) 
•    Mais Abu Nofal, Raed Salim: Neonatal condition at birth of twins conceived by medically assisted reproductive technology compared to those conceived spontaneously: A retrospective study (Int J Gynaecol Obstet .)
•    Mary Rudolf: "I'm 'just' a community pediatrician" views and challenges of pediatricians working in the community in Israel (Isr J Health Policy Res .)
•    Afif Nakhleh, Sivan Spitzer, Naim Shehadeh: ChatGPT's Response to the Diabetes Knowledge Questionnaire: Implications for Diabetes Education (Diabetes Technol Ther .)
•    Enav Yefet, Liron Bar, Johnny S Younis: Effects of Probiotics on Glycemic Control and Metabolic Parameters in Gestational Diabetes Mellitus: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (Nutrients .)
•    Offer Amir, Shemy Carasso: Outcomes of Acute Coronary Syndrome Patients Who Presented with Cardiogenic Shock versus Patients Who Developed Cardiogenic Shock during Hospitalization (J Clin Med . )
•    Samih Badarny, Amal Abu Ayash, Galina Keigler: Vagal Nerve Activity and Short-Term Clinical Outcomes after Stroke: What Is Left May Not Be Right (J Clin Med .)
•    Imad Abu-El-Naaj: Deep convolution neural network for screening carotid calcification in dental panoramic radiographs (PLOS Digit Health . )
•    Avi Benov, Elon Glassberg: Adopting a culture of remote damage control resuscitation in the military: Insights from the Israel defense forces decade of experience (Transfusion .)
•    Elon Glassberg: The effectiveness of the manual pressure points technique for hemorrhage control-The 2022 THOR pre-conference meeting experience (Transfusion .)
•    Lee S Izhaki-Tavor, Itai G Yechezkel, Joel Alter, Moshe Dessau: RNA Encapsulation Mode and Evolutionary Insights from the Crystal Structure of Emaravirus Nucleoprotein (Microbiol Spectr .)
•    Sivan Spitzer: Opportunities for psychologists to advance health equity: Using liberation psychology to identify key lessons from 17 years of praxis (Am Psychol . )
•    Tomer Meirson: Assessment of Median and Mean Survival Time in Cancer Clinical Trials (JAMA Netw Open .)
•    Adnan Zaina: How to position sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 inhibitors in the management of diabetes in acromegaly patients (Endocrine .)
•    Tzipora C Falik-Zaccai, Hanna Mandel: Hereditary orotic aciduria identified by newborn screening (Front Genet .)
•    Michael Jerdev: Bi-allelic variants in the ESAM tight-junction gene cause a neurodevelopmental disorder associated with fetal intracranial hemorrhage (Am J Hum Genet . )
•    Boris Fichtman, Amnon Harel: The Effect of Outer Space and Other Environmental Cues on Bacterial Conjugation (Microbiol Spectr .)

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Psychiatry course