Dr. Ravid Straussman was born in Israel. After service in the Israel Air Force, he completed a BS summa cum laude at the Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School in 1997. He earned his MSc in medical biochemistry there in 1998 and entered the MD/PhD program. He conducted his MD internship at Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva (2002- 2003), and completed his PhD in the Department of Medical Biochemistry in 2005. Dr. Straussman was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Cellular Biochemistry and Human Genetics at Hebrew University from 2005 to 2008. He also worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT from 2008 until joining the Weizmann Institute in 2013. He is the incumbent of the Roel C. Buck Career Development Chair.
Dr. Straussman is exploring the various mechanisms that render cancer cells resistant to anti-cancer therapy by studying the cancer cells’ microenvironment and the healthy cells that surround it. While many anti-cancer drugs can kill all the cancer cells in a test tube, they are much less successful in living tissues. Dr. Straussman suspected that something outside of the cancer cells themselves was contributing to this increased resistance to treatment. He found that normal, non-cancer cells that are present in and adjacent to human tumors frequently rescue cancer cells from chemotherapy.
Dr. Straussman and his team are also studying bacteria found in human tumors and its role in tumor growth in response to therapy. The lab is characterizing these unique tumor bacteria across hundreds of human tumors in a series of projects using novel methods to visualize the bacteria and study their cross talk with human cancer cells. They are also investigating the mutual effects between the cancer cells and the bacteria that reside near or inside them. Dr. Straussman hopes to apply his findings to the discovery of more effective cancer treatments.
His prizes and honors include the Dean’s and Rector’s prizes plus an award for excellence in research at the Hebrew University, Hadassah Medical School; a Foulkes Foundation fellowship, a Philip Morris Postdoctoral Fellowship, as well as an American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) scholar-in-training award in 2012.