The Concern Foundation Laboratories

The Lautenberg Center for Immunology and Cancer Research

The Departmental Seminars are Back!


Congratulations to our very own Prof. Yinon Ben Neriah for his official introduction, yesterday, as a new member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities faculty!

Congratulations to Prof. Rami Aqeilan and his post-doctoral researcher Dr. Sri Repudi for their new paper published in EMBO Molecular Medicine on the preclinical assessment of WWOX gene therapy as a possible treatment for WOREE syndrome.

“In this study, we showed that a single ICV injection of AAV9-Syn1-WWOX in Wwox-null neonates rescues the phenotypes associated with WWOX deficiency including growth retardation, hypoglycemia, hypomyelination, seizures and premature lethality.” says Prof. Aqeilan. “Additionally, treated mice were fertile and exhibited normal behaviour” he added.
This proof-of-concept preclinical assessment provides hope for WOREE and SCAR12 syndrome patients. In this context, the Aqeilan lab would like to thank all the patients, their families, and WWOX Foundation for their continuous support and inspiration.”

Congratulations to Emeritus Professor David Naor and his team for for their article published in the Journal of Autoimmunity!

They weren’t done there; further congratulations are due to Prof. Naor and his team for receiving a prestigious Ines Mandl Research Foundation grant!

Invitation to the General Assembly of the Israel National Academy of Sciences

We are pleased to invite you to attend the open meeting of the General Assembly of the Israel National Academy of Sciences, which will feature the reception of new members and their inaugural lectures.

Among the new members to be inducted at the ceremony is our own Prof. Yinon Ben-Neria.


The event will take place on the third night of Hanukkah: Tuesday, November 30, 2021, between 18: 45-15: 30, and will be broadcast live on the academy’s website.


To receive a viewing link, we would be very grateful for your registration as soon as possible in the form found in the attached link (each participant must register separately).


You are all welcome,


Lautenberg Center for Immunology and Cancer Research

Together with eminent virology colleagues from Italy and Germany, Prof. Dana Wolf organized the European Seminar in Virology.

The exciting program, with leading state-of-the art speakers and students from all over Europe, put an emphasis on SARS-CoV-2. Discussions included neutralizing antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 variants, vaccines, other viral agents, antiviral vaccine vectors, and vaccine development against SARS-CoV-2.

In addition to SARS-CoV-2, other viral infections were also well-represented,  including intrinsic restriction factors to HIV and herpesviruses (including CMV), innate immune resistance hubs, NK cells, trained innate immunity, and mucosal immunity.

The meeting was a great success with outstanding invited talks, excellent student presentations (including open presentation of unpublished data), and exceptional audience participation with in-depth discussions about each talk.

Due to current regulations we limited the onsite registration to 70 participants, which turned out to be a perfect size for close scientific interactions.

Download the European Seminar in Virology-2021-program

New Review published on Trends in Cell Biology

A fascinating and intriguing review on the putative homeostatic role of cancer mutations is published by Prof. Yinon Ben Neriah, Prof. Eli Pikarsky, and PhD student Avanthika Venkatachalam. In this review the authors discuss the potential constructive role of driver mutations in maintenance of tissue homeostasis, and whether they are linked to augmented stem cell renewal – possibly reflecting an adaptive protective mechanism.

It is with great sadness that the Lautenberg Research Center announces the passing of Ben Perlmutter z"l

Ben and his wife, Ruth, were long time substantial benefactors of the LRC. They played an instrumental role for many years and in many projects, such as in fundraising for the construction of the new facilities at Hadassah Ein Karem.
Their partnership directly helped the Lautenberg Research Center improve and expand our research capabilities.
Prior to his retirement, Ben Perlmutter was an attorney and building supplier. Both he and Ruth were avid theatre-goers and perennially young at heart.
Ben will be missed, and our condolences go out to Ruth, Amy, Risa and all their friends and relatives.

Congratulations to Prof. David Naor for receiving the prestigious Kaye Innovation Award!

The Kaye Innovation Awards are given to inventors from the Hebrew University who solve real-world problems by translating scientific excellence into successful commercial ventures.

Congratulations to Prof. Rami Aqeilan and MD-PhD student Daniel Steinberg for their newly published article in EMBO Molecular Medicine!

This study opens a new avenue for studying Developmental and Epileptic Encephalopathies in a human context, providing insight into a hitherto rare topic. Moreover, it serves as a platform to study possible therapeutic intervention, and although further study is required before clinical translation, the data serves as a proof-of-concept for the use of genetic therapy in the setting of WWOX mutations. 

Congratulations to Prof. Michal Baniyash and Prof. Rami Aqeilan, for receiving the 2021 Israel Science Foundation Grant!

Congratulations to Prof. Berger and Dr. Saragovi for their article published in e-Life! 

In their research, Prof. Berger and Dr. Saragovi used a unique mouse model to examine T-Cell antiviral responses in mice which were kept under low oxygen conditions. 

Using molecular, pharmacological, and genetic methods they showed that T-Cell failure to respond under hypoxia stems from mitochondrial biogenesis arrest.

They then demonstrated that hypoxia-arrested T cells in-vivo could be rescued by short exposure to atmospheric oxygen conditions. 

Their findings allow for a better understanding of viral infections in hypoxia-associated diseases, and may have clinical implications in the future treatment of such infections.


Passing through the new tunnel connecting the Botnar Building to Magid, don’t miss this:

Beautiful picture by PhD Student Or Reuven of Prof. Michal Baniyash’s lab, showing immune cells localized together in response to a developing tumor.

Will the mRNA vaccine technology be used to treat autoimmune diseases?

“I realized that I had already done this more than 10 years ago, performing research that showed the potential for mRNA vaccines to combat autoimmune diseases and cancers.” Says Prof. David Naor.

Congratulations to Prof. Michal Lotem and Dr. Emma Hajaj !

Prof. Lotem and Dr. Hajaj have discovered that two splice variants of the SLAMF6 receptor are found on human T Cells. While one form has a known antagonist role, the other form acts as an agonist that contributes to the anti-tumor response of T Cells.

They show that promoting mRNA splicing, resulting in an elevated expression of the agonistic form as opposed to the antagonistic one, improves human T-Cell capacity to inhibit human melanoma in mice.

This yin-yang relationship of SLAMF6 splice isoforms may represent a balancing mechanism that could be exploited to improve cancer immunotherapy.

Congratulations to Prof. Dana G. Wolf and PhD Student Or Alfi for the recent publication of their novel study in the Journal of Virology !

The researchers reveal SARS-CoV-2 tissue and virus-specific innate immune responses of human nasal-mucosal and lung tissues.

“The  study sheds light on the role of the nasal-mucosa in active viral transmission and immune defence, suggesting a window of opportunity for early interventions, in contrast to the restricted innate immune response in early SARS-CoV-2 infected lung tissues which could underlie the unique uncontrolled late phase lung damage of advanced COVID-19.”

Prof. Ofer Mandelboim is awarded with the Rappaport prize for established researcher

Prof. Yinon Ben-Neriah received the Prime Ministers' EMET prize

Prof. Ofer Mandelboim published a new paper in Nature Communications!

 Dr. Einat Seidel led this exiting work into a new role for a human cytomegalovirus derived signal peptide which is slowly cleaved, enabling it to function in immune evasion! Click here to read more about this important and impressive discovery.

Prestigious research grant from the European Research Council for Dr. Yotam Drier

Dr. Yotam Drier was awarded 1.5 million euros from the European Research Council (ERC). The ERC grant will support the Drier lab’s quest to understand epigenetic and topological alterations in cancer and their intratumoral heterogeneity. These efforts include both uncovering fundamental mechanisms that regulate epigenetics and topology, as well as translating these findings to improve treatment of specific cancers, by combining advanced experimental techniques with cutting edge big data analysis. For more information see Dr. Drier’s lab page

Congratulations to Michael Berger for your well-deserved promotion of associated professorship!

Congratulations to Dr. Eliran Kadosh for his exceptional PhD work which was recognized by the International Birnstiel Award!

The International Birnstiel Award for Doctoral Research in Molecular Life Sciences which awards up to 6 PhD students worldwide! This prestigious prize was awarded to Dr. Kadosh for his work published in Nature earlier this year. 

Dr. Kadosh conducted his doctoral research in the lab of Prof. Yinon Ben-Neriah, and his hard work led to the discovery of a novel tumor suppressive activity of mutant p53 in the intestine. Excitingly, it was also shown that this activity was impeded by gut bacteria, thus demonstrating the involvement of the microbiome in tumor development.

This prize is a great honor, and we are very proud of Dr. Kadosh’s achievements!

Congratulations to Dr. Oren Parnas and his team on their newest publication in Nature Communications.

Their fascinating and important research applies single cell RNA-seq to uncover important players in the early development of pancreatic cancer, a disease with shockingly low survival rates. For more about their valuable discoveries click here.

Congratulations to Prof. Ben-Neriah and his team on their newest and exciting findings published in Nature!

In the article, Prof. Ben-Neriah and his team show that mutant p53 has an oncogenic effect in the distal gut but a tumor-suppressive effect in the proximal gut, and these opposing properties are determined by the gut microbiome.

Watch a Youtube video review of the project by Eleanor Sheekey

Congratulations! The Israel Academy of Science and Humanities has chosen Prof. Yinon Ben Neriah as a new member of its faculty.

Moreover, the Lautenberg Center is proud to now have two of our professors as members of such academies, with Prof. Rami Aquilan being an Israel Young Academy member.

Prof. Dov Solizeanou is celebrating his 100th birthday!
Huge mazal tov from the LRC friends and colleagues.

Professor Dov Sulitzeanu, who is one of the founders of the Lautenberg Center and the Department of Immunology is 100 years old and we at the Center give him our warmest greetings and appreciation for building our Center. Dov has been a role model of a scientist for many of his students and colleagues, including group leaders at the Center. Talking to Dov at his birthday I learned that he follows closely the scientific progress of the Center labs and, as always, raises interesting questions and ideas. As such, Dov continues to be a great source of inspiration to the Center’s members and we all wish him many more happy years. Prof. Yinon Ben-Neriah

To our teacher and my long-standing friend Dov, wishing you many years of gratification and fruitful productivity. Prof. Moshe Kotler.

To my rabbi and mentor Dov, I will never forget your dedicated guidance and wisdom as you mentored me throughout my doctoral studies. Prof. David Naor

Congratulations to Prof. Ruth Galili, Orit Berhani, and Amijai Saragovi for receiving the prestigious Kaye Innovation Awards!

Remarkably, three out of the five recipients are members of the Lautenberg Center, and we take pride in their achievements. The Kaye Innovation Awards are given to inventors from the Hebrew University who are solving real-world problems by translating scientific excellence into successful commercial ventures.

Download the Kaye Brochure 2020

Congratulations to Dr. Yotam Drier on receiving a research grant from the Israel Science Foundation (ISF).

The grant will provide support for the next five years for multiple efforts in the Drier lab to systematically uncover how epigenetic alterations drive liver cancers. In addition the ISF will help establish the new Drier lab by supporting advanced experimental equipment and high-end computational infrastructure in a separate new faculty equipment grant.

Congratulations to Prof. Ofer Mandelboim and Dr. Pini Tsukerman as their company Nectin Therapeutics secured $6 million in a financing round led by aMoon venture capital fund.

The company raised over $15M in the financing round pending milestones achievement

‎Prof. Dana Wolf and Dr. Yotam Drier have led efforts to test and implement simple and sensitive pooling approaches to increase the efficiency of clinical testing for SAR-CoV-2.

Thanks to these efforts the throughput of tests of asymptomatic populations at the Hadassah Medical Center increased more than 7-fold, allowing efficient screening of healthcare personnel and nursing homes. This approach can be easily implemented in other clinical labs and drew worldwide attention.

Prof. Eli Pikarsky, Prof. Michal Baniyash, Dr. Oren Parnas and Dr. Micha Berger will be receiving the Personalized Medicine research grant!

Prof Rami Aqeilan has published a new article article: Pleiotropic tumor suppressor functions of WWOX antagonize metastasis

In the article, Dr. Saleh Khawaled and Prof. Aqeilan show the role of the tumor suppressor WWOXs and its therapeutic potential in antagonize metastasis.

The Aqeilan’s laboratory won the prestigious proof-of-concept ERC (PoC-ERC) grant to develop a cure for WOREE syndrome.

Studying SARS-CoV-2 at the Lautenberg Center

Dr. Oren Parnas and Dr. Yotam Drier collaborate and use their labs’ resources and advanced techniques to study the coronavirus tissue distribution during infection period, and to study the regulation of the human receptor that allows viral entry to cells. These may lead to novel detection and treatment approaches against SARS-CoV-2.

Prof. Rami Aqeilan has been elected to serve as the next head of the Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada (IMRIC) Chairperson.