Faculty of Medicine Newsletter 76 (July 2023)

PDF for easier reading here.

Congratulations, Doctor! 109 New Doctors Graduate from the Azrieli Faculty of Medicinegraduation

Each year proves as exciting as the previous, as the Faculty celebrates the graduation of a new cohort of medical doctors who will serve the country as physicians after many years of hard, dedicated work, training for this big day.

We thank the 63 women and 46 men – 70 graduates of the Four Year Track and 39 from the Three Year Track – as well as, of course, the excellent pre-clinical and clinical teachers who made it all possible, and wish all, the best of success.

Read more here.


The Azrieli Faculty of Medicine was pleased to host local supporters as well as international delegates in July:Rivo

  • A delegation from Keren Hayesod and WZO visited the Faculty with Bar-Ilan U Global Resource Development on July 12, 2023 to become acquainted with the Faculty's activities and hopefully, join in collaboration. Read more here.
  • Karen and Dr. Marc Rivo visited the Faculty on July 2, 2023 and met with the newly appointed Dean, Prof. Orly Avni. They discussed the Rivo family's strong support for the development of the North of Israel including future plans. (Pictured to right.)
  • H.E. Ambassador Mr. Satybaldy Burshakov from the Republic of Kazakhstan visited on July 25, 2023 and met with Prof. Meital Gal-Tanamy, Associate Dean for Research; Dr. Dorith Raviv Shay, Scientific Coordinator; Dr. Ron Orbach of the Biochemistry of the Cilia and Ciliopathies Lab; and Prof. Naim Shehadeh, Director of The Russell Berrie Galilee Diabetes SPHERE. (Pictured with the Ambassador below.)
  • Dr. Sivan Spitzer, together with Prof. David Schwartz of Bar-Ilan University and Dr. Michael Khalemsky of Hadassah Academic College, hosted Prof. Thomas Chiou and Prof. Soumya Ray on July 11, 2023, during their visit to Israel. This visit was part of an ongoing research collaboration of a joint Ministry of Science Israel-Taiwan grant focusing on adherence to digital health technologies. It included a visit to Ziv Medical Center and the Faculty. The group was also given a tour of Old Safed by Yosef Stepansky. (Group picture below.)Taiwan visitShehadeh and Kazakhstan Ambassador

Family Medicine Diploma Ceremony

The third cohort of the Family Medicine two-year specialization course coordinated by Dr. Elias Sror graduated on July 19, 2023. Read more here.Family Medicine diploma

BIU Appointments and Promotions

Congratulations to the following on their appointments:

  • Prof. Shmuel Einy, Clinical Associate Professor
  • Prof. Ohad Ronen, Clinical Associate Professor
  • Dr. Rola Khamisy Farah, Clinical Senior Lecturer
  • Dr. Ron Dar, Clinical Lecturer
  • Dr. Bahaa Francis, Clinical Lecturer
  • Dr. Irina Nordkin, Clinical Lecturer
  • Dr. Batsheva Tzadok, Clinical Lecturer

Awards and Appointments

  • Congratulations to Prof. Eric Shinwell on his appointment to member of the Scientific Council of Israel, the body ruling all postgraduate medical education. He is the chairman of the committee for basic science training in postgraduate medical education.
  • Congratulations to Dr. Moran Yadid who will be joining the Zuckerman STEM Leadership Program for 2023-24. The scholars – leaders in their respective STEM fields – were selected based on academic merit, scientific achievements, and leadership skills. The program partners with Israel’s Council for Higher Education to strengthen Israeli academia, contributing to Israel’s “brain gain.”
  • Congratulations to Dr. Ron Orbach who was appointed as a representative of Israel and a committee member within the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) program - European Curvature and Biology Network (EuroCurvoBioNet). COST is an intergovernmental framework established by the European Union (EU) that promotes and coordinates collaborative research and innovation across Europe.

Faculty Staff "Yom Gibush"Yom Gibush

On July 10, 2023, the Faculty of Medicine administrative staff had the opportunity to bond, during an organized off-campus field trip. The day started out with a rich picnic breakfast at the Bet She'arim National Park, then tour of the impressive archeological site. Afterwards, the group participated in a medical herb workshop and lunch in the nearby Druze town Daliyat al-Karmel. Read more here.

Mazal Tov

Mazal tov to Basem Hijazi on the birth of a baby boy.

Faculty Seminars

To be continued at the beginning of the coming academic year.

Meet Our Researcher: Prof. Itay OnnItay Onn

This month we would like to introduce you to Prof. Itay Onn who, in addition to being a researcher and pre-clinical lecturer, is Head of Infrastructure and Research Department.

What is your main role at the Faculty of Medicine?

 I am the head of the laboratory for chromosomal instability and dynamics. In addition, I serve as the chairman of the admissions committee for the four and six-year MD track programs, am a member of the faculty management, and am the head of the infrastructure and research department.

Since joining the Faculty, I have had various responsibilities, including serving as the first chairman of the Scientific Equipment Center committee. I worked hard to build up the unit and fill it with the most advanced equipment. In my new position as chairman of the infrastructure committee, I will work towards making sure the equipment is not obsolete and will strengthen the Genomic Center and the Animal Facility, as well as being involved in the planned construction which will expand the Faculty in the coming years.

As part of my duties as chairman of the admissions committee for the four and six-year MD programs, I developed two unique screening systems. Developing the screening system for the six-year program that will be opened for the first time in the Faculty of Medicine was a major academic and logistical challenge. I led the development of an innovative selection system in a very short period of time enabling us to review hundreds of candidates concurrently with the selection of students also in the four-year program. I am very proud of this work. The feedback we received about the selection process from the candidates was excellent and they feel that they have been given a real opportunity to present themselves and convince us as to why we should accept them as medical students.

Can you share your background with us?

I am a founding faculty member of the Faculty of Medicine. I studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem - a bachelor's degree in life sciences, a master's degree in genetics and a doctorate in biochemistry and bioinformatics. After completing my doctorate I chose to work on the spatial organization of chromatin. I studied how giant protein complexes called SMCs take chromatin molecules with a string structure and organize them into a three-dimensional structure. This field of research was in its infancy when I started working on it at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. I continued to work on the subject at the Carnegie Institution of Science in Baltimore. In 2011 I established my research laboratory at the Faculty. In recent years, it has been discovered that the SMC complexes are related to many other issues, including the control of gene expression, and maintaining the stability of the genome, and I continue to work on these issues in my research laboratory.

I am married to Karin and father of three children.

Where do you live and what do you most like about the North?

I live in a Yishuv called Mikhmanim in Misgav. I really like life in the Galillee. I grew up and lived for many years in the center of the country so I have a basis for comparison. I really don't miss the crowding and bustle (and humidity!) of the center of the country. The view from my house faces the mountains of the Western Galilee, and Haifa Bay on the horizon. I get a deep, fresh breath of cool air every day which recharges my batteries.

What do you like most about your profession?

As a child I was very curious and loved to understand how things worked. In high school I became interested in biology. At the end of my military service, after contemplating what academic direction I would study, the ultimate decision of life sciences was natural. In my research today I return to my childhood questions, researching "things" that are cells, with "work tools" being molecular.

What do you see for your future?

I am very proud of my research students. I see their tremendous investment and their wonderful outcomes published in leading scientific journals. I accompany them in the happy moments of the research work and with the frustrating moments. It's very exciting for me to see them trudge their way to their degree. The solid scientific foundation they receive in the laboratory allows them to integrate into jobs in academia and the biotechnological industry.

What advice do you have for current students?

There are no magic tricks or shortcuts in science or medicine. I allow myself to quote the words of Thomas Alva Edison (in free translation) "Discovery is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent hard work." To the research and medical students, I challenge you to dare to think, and don't shy away from hard work. Be honest, and always remember to be a “mensch.”

Where do you see the field of medicine in the coming years?

Last year I accompanied a group of middle school students in the SpaceLab competition under the auspices of the Ramon Foundation. I really enjoyed working with the children and helping them turn their curiosity into an impressive science project. However, as a researcher at the Faculty of Medicine I am concerned about the decline in the number of young people aspiring to be researchers and doctors. I was chosen to lead a working group of all medical Faculties in Israel whose goal is to identify the causes of a decrease in motivation and to think of ways to increase motivation to engage in these professions.

Russell Berrie Galilee Diabetes SPHERESPHERE

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

Website: What’s New?


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