Letter from Our CEO

January 2022


Dear Friends,

January is a time when many of us hit the reset button by making resolutions or declarations about how we will be better, do more, and improve our lives. While that may be the tradition, I am confident that my letters are testament to the fact that improving the world is something researchers at Tel Aviv University (TAU) are working on daily. On a continuous basis, they innovate and push forward with cutting-edge ideas and solutions to fight disease, save lives, and make the world a better place. To start of the year on an optimistic note, I would like to share just a few of the incredible discoveries from 2021.

Tel Aviv University is a global center of excellence of cancer research at which researchers are doing ground-breaking work. This past year, Professor Neta Erez and her team identified a new indicator of metastatic breast cancer, laying the groundwork for preventative treatment that could save millions of lives. This promising development in the fight against metastatic breast cancer involves the team mapping the spread of breast cancer cells by analyzing tissue changes in other parts of the body. Professor Ronit Satchi-Fainaro and her team 3D printed an active mini brain tumor that will allow scientists to test treatments for an individual patient’s cancer in the lab, safely and quickly, to see which work best. This significant breakthrough for personalized medicine opens doors to developing new drugs and drug targets.

Tel Aviv University made progress in the quest to find cures for degenerative and fatal diseases such as Alzheimer's and ALS with their innovative discoveries. A team from the Sagol School of Neuroscience succeeded in improving memory capacity, attention, and information processing speed using hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). This is the first time that non-drug therapy has been proven effective in preventing the core biological processes responsible for the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Professor Eran Perlson led a research team that uncovered a core mechanism that causes ALS and succeeded in reversing its effects. Their findings may lead to ways to delay or roll back the course of ALS in its early stages.

Professor Karen Avraham led a team that developed a new gene therapy for deafness to rescue hearing. The breakthrough may help in the treatment of children with hearing loss. According to the World Health Organization, one in every 200 children is born with a hearing impairment, and one in every 1,000 is born deaf. In about half of these cases, deafness is caused by a genetic mutation. There are currently about 100 different genes associated with hereditary deafness.

I start 2022 with a promise to you to continue to share work from all areas of Tel Aviv University. I encourage you to read the article in Smithsonian Magazine in which the editors rounded up their top ten cover stories of the year, and I am proud to report that the most popular story was about Professor Erez Ben-Yosef's archeological dig in Israel's Timna Valley.

Wishing you and your families a happy, healthy, and joy-filled new year.

Shabbat shalom.

Jennifer Gross
Chief Executive Officer