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Life Sciences




At Bar-Ilan University, a multidisciplinary approach to research is making inroads in the global war against cancer. Bar-Ilan researchers are exploring the body’s ability to heal itself, while creating new protocols for targeted treatment.


One of the world’s foremost centers for cancer immunology, Bar-Ilan is home to scientists who are developing strategies for enhancing the body’s natural ability to block tumor formation. Bar-Ilan laboratories are also breaking new ground in the areas of cancer genetics and genomics, tumor dynamics, targeted drug treatment and advanced medical imaging.

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It has been found that cancerous growths occur primarily when a gene gets “stuck” in the “on” position, causing cells to multiply out of control. Dr. Yaron Shav-Tal, Senior Lecturer in the Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences at BIU, has found the mechanism behind the “switch” for a particular gene that has been implicated in breast cancer. It is an exciting new insight into the workings – and eventually understanding and treatment – of all types of cancer.


Traditional anti-cancer treatments are often more painful than the disease itself. That’s why a number of Bar-Ilan researchers are developing strategies that involve activating the immune system to defend the body against cancer.


Working with Professor Michael Albeck, noted immunologist Prof. Benjamin Sredni has synthesized a compound that significantly stimulates immune function.

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Biotechnology deals in the utilization of biological systems, or living organisms or some component of a living system to make a useful product. Its applicable uses allows for new developments in such industries as science, medicine, eco-systems and agriculture. Biotechnology bundles together the diverse fields of the Life Sciences as well as issues pertaining to technology, law, economics, marketing and management.


Bio Tech has helped produce insulin to treat diabetic patients, helped develop and produce a drug that will destroy cancerous cells without harming healthy ones and helped create a drug that will prevent the creation of blood vessels that nourish cancerous tumors. It also allows you to produce and market biological replacements for chemical pesticides


Professor Uri Nir, a Bar-Ilan University researcher developed a compound that disables cancer cells. It was named the #1 scientific breakthrough of the year in Israel in 2017. He identified an enzyme cell FerT in the energy generating mitochondria of metastatic cancer cells. When he targeted FerT in lab mice, the malignant cells soon died, preventing the cancer from metastasizing.

Professor Nir is a Director of the Nano Medicine Center at the Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials (BINA) and Dean of the Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences.

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The brain is the most complex, enigmatic organ of the body. Brain Sciences are at the forefront of scientific research, making use of the most advanced technologies in an effort to find ways of improving human capabilities, heal diseases, fight aging, and fully understand the human brain.


Understanding the secrets of the brain requires a multidisciplinary approach and a combination of expertise and tools from different schools: Physics, Biology, Computer Science, Engineering, Pharmacology, Psychology, Linguistics, and Mathematics. No other program offers such a comprehensive education as the Bar-Ilan Brain Sciences Program. Its unique format and versatile interdisciplinary study-track is befitting of the complex features of the human brain.

Prof. Eitan Okun, as head of the Paul E. Feder Alzheimer’s Research Lab at Bar-Ilan University, developed a groundbreaking vaccine that has shown great promise in laboratory conditions. Prof. Okun believes that in the very near future this treatment will successfully protect adults from developing this terrifying illness.


“What actually causes Alzheimer’s in most cases remains mostly unknown,” he explains. “The vaccine that I am working on helps the body go into attack-mode against the amyloid beta proteins that accumulate in the brain of people with Alzheimer’s.” The vaccine has proven successful in research mice and he thinks that, in two to three years, clinical trials on humans can begin.


Also in the works are newer and more accurate methods of early detection of Alzheimer’s, through the use of MRI testing.

Prof. Okun earned his Masters and Doctorate in Immunology at Bar-Ilan University and did a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institute of Health in the United States. His Masters research analyzed how stress can affect a person’s immunity to various diseases.

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