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In Memoriam

  • Prof. Michael Sela (1924-2022)

    Born in Poland in 1924, Prof. Michael Sela immigrated to British Mandate controlled Palestine in 1941. He studied chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and received his PhD in protein chemistry, for research done at the Weizmann Institute, also from the Hebrew University (1954). A member of the Weizmann Institute faculty since 1950, he served as the founder and first Head of the Department of Chemical Immunology (1963-75), as Dean of the Faculty of Biology (1970-73), as the Institute Vice President (1970-71), as its 6th President (1975-85), and as Deputy Chairman of the Institute's International Board of Governors (1985-2004), and as a Life Member of the Board. He continued to be actively engaged in the Institute’s leadership after his term as President, serving on the Executive Council (which became the Executive Board), until his passing. In the last month of his life, he became a member of the newly established Department of Immunology and Regenerative Biology.

  • Prof. Nir Friedman (1968-2021)

    Our friend and colleague Prof. Nir Friedman untimely passed away, after a two-decade long battle with cancer. A physicist and systems immunologist, he studied cell-cell communication networks, immune disorders and cancer. Husband to Ofra and father of three children, Nir was born in Tel Aviv, and completed a BSc in physics and mathematics (1989) in the prestigious Talpiot program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He received his MSc in physics from Tel Aviv University, and then went on to earn his PhD in experimental physics with Prof. Nir Davidson at the Weizmann Institute in 2001. After a highly productive four-year postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University with Xiaoliang (Sunney) Xie, he returned to Weizmann’s Department of Immunology in 2007

  • Prof. Avi Ben-Nun (1947-2019)

    “What furthered me most in life was that I dared to set high goals”, is what Prof. Ben-Nun used to say. He passed away on January 18, 2019, at the age of 72. He earned his master's degree in microbiology, cum laude, from Tel Aviv University in 1974 and his doctorate in immunology under the advice of Prof. Irun Cohen at the Weizmann Institute in 1981. A year later Avi moved to Boston for his postdoctoral studies at the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School. In 1984 he returned as a young scientist to the Department of Immunology at the Weizmann Institute. He was appointed Associate Professor in 1993 and received full professorship in 2007.

  • Prof. Yoram Salomon (1941-2017)

    Prof. Yoram Salomon of the Department of Biological Regulation was a leading cancer researcher whose insights are being used to save and extend lives. He passed away in 2017 at age 76 leaving behind his wife, Daniela, their three children, and six grandchildren.

  • Prof. Israel Schechter (1935-2012)

    Israel Schechter first studied the active site of enzymes (proteases) discovering that their size is larger that expected, with important interactions in regions remote from the catalytic site allowing high binding energy of enzyme-inhibitor complexes. This led to rational design of inhibitors developed at 1990th into drugs against HIV (inhibitors of virus proteases) and revolutionized AIDs disease turning a lethal into a chronic disease. Other drugs were against hypertension, congestive heart failure, diabetes, cancer (methotrexate), bacteria (antibiotics), anti-viral (relenza) but also Viagra.

  • Prof. Mordechai Liscovitch (1951-2008)

    Born in Tel Aviv, Israel, in 1951, Moti Liscovitch received a B.Sc. degree in the Life Sciences in 1976 from Tel Aviv University. He earned his M.Sc. in 1979 and a Ph.D. in 1984, both from the Weizmann Institute of Science. After spending two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he joined the Weizmann Institute faculty in 1986 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1994 and to Full Professor in 2001. He was a Visiting Professor at Harvard Medical School and MIT. Moti received numerous honors, including the H.R. Lindner Memorial Prize in Biochemical Endocrinology awarded by the Israel Endocrine Society, and the Jeanette and Samuel Lubell Prize of the Weizmann Institute’s Scientific Council. He was the incumbent of the Harold L. Korda Professorial Chair in Biology.

  • Prof. Michael Feldman (1926-2005)

    Professor Feldman graduated from the Hebrew University in Zoology and trained with noted embryologist and philosopher of science Conrad Hal Waddington at the Institute of Animal Genetics in Edinburgh. Michael joined the Weizmann Institute in 1955, was promoted to full professor in 1961, and at the same year founded the Department of Cell Biology, which he headed until his official retirement in 1990.

  • Prof. Ofer Lider (1955-2004)

    Ofer Lider began his PhD in 1983 in the Department of Immunology at the Weizmann Institute of Science, despite having recently been diagnosed with leukemia (CML). He completed his degree in the laboratory of Irun Cohen in 1987 and went on to a post-doctoral fellowship with Howard Weiner at the Harvard Medical School (1987-9). He returned to establish his own laboratory in the Department of Immunology, where he studied the regulation of the immune system and its interactions with the extra-cellular matrix (ECM). His unique research achievements earned him international acclaim and a professorship with tenure at the Weizmann Institute in 2001. Various treatments including two bone marrow transplantations failed to cure his leukemia, and Ofer Lider died in 2004 at the age of 49.

  • Dr. Shmuel Shaltiel (1935-2002)

    Shmuel Shaltiel was born in Greece and immigrated to Israel as a child. He was awarded his M.Sc. in Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry at the Hebrew University in 1960, and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the Weizmann Institute of Science in 1964. He joined the staff of the Weizmann Institute in 1967 and served the Institute as Deputy President, Acting President, as Dean of the Feinberg Graduate School, as Chairman of the Scientific Council, as the Head of the Department of Chemical Immunology, and as Head of the Department of Biological Regulation until 2000, where he was the incumbent of the Hella and Derrick Kleeman Chair of Biochemistry. He was a member of the National Planning and Budgeting Committee for Higher Education. Abroad, he was Scholar in Residence at the US National Institutes of Health, and a Visiting Professor at the University of California Berkeley, Lund University and ETH Zurich. He was also elected an Honorary Member of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

  • Prof. Nathan Trainin (1922-1999)

    Born in Argentina Nathan graduated Medical school of the University of Cordoba and made Aliya to Israel in 1949 with his wife Zila. They settled in Kibuz Maabarot where he served as a rural physician, riding on horse, visiting settlements of new immigrants. He then served in the IDF as a physician. After release from service in 1956, he joined the Department of Experimental Biology of the Weizmann Institute, headed by Prof. Isaac Berenblum.

  • Dr. Yoav Citri (1953-1995)

    Yoav was born in Jerusalem on July 25, 1953. He performed his Ph.D. studies under the supervision of Prof. Michael Schramm at the Department of Biological Chemistry of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His research on analysis of the β3-adrenergic receptor led to the first functional reconstitution of a hormone receptor from its solubilized components. He received his Ph.D. degree in 1983 summa cum laude and was awarded the prestigious Kennedy Leigh Prize for the outstanding science graduate at the Hebrew University. Yoav's postdoctoral career was spent in two outstanding laboratories, that of Prof. David Baltimore at M.I.T. and of Prof. Michael Rosbash at Brandeis University. During this period, Yoav began to develop a deep interest in molecular neurobiology. His research focused on regulation of gene expression, in particular on characterizing expression of per, the Drosophila circadian rhythm gene.