Advancing the health of humankind
Prof. Shalev Itzkovitz from the Department of Molecular Cell Biology has received the 2022 Rappaport Prize for Excellence in the Field of Biomedical Research. The esteemed national prize, established over 10 years ago by the Bruce and Ruth Rappaport Foundation, is awarded annually to scientists for outstanding, groundbreaking, or innovative research that has the potential to advance the health of humankind and benefit people worldwide.
Prof. Itzkovitz combines powerful systems biology approaches to explore human biology. These approaches include single molecule transcript imaging in intact tissues—a method which he pioneered—and measurements of complete gene expression signatures of thousands of single cells. With these methods, Prof. Itzkovitz maps the spatial division of labor among cells in mammalian tissues, with the aim of identifying how their collective behavior serves to achieve the tissues’ functional goals.
He was awarded the Rappaport Prize for his discovery of new cell types, including insulin-producing intestinal cells in the human fetus (described in more detail in the Science Highlights section of this magazine) and immune-modulating secretory cells in the gut, as well as for successfully reconstructing spatial cell atlases of the liver and the intestine, which showed that certain liver and intestine cell types previously thought to be homogenous, actually varied dramatically in their function.
Prof. Shalev Itzkovitz is supported by Helen and Martin Kimmel Institute for Stem Cell Research, which he heads and Wolfson Family Charitable Trust