P3 HUJI

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJI) is one of Israel’s most important academic and research centers. It has 1,200 tenured academic faculty; 1,500 full-time administrative and technical staff; 24,000 students; four campuses; eight faculties, including the Faculty of Medicine. The Faculty of Medicine, located in the health sciences campus in partnership with the Hadassah Medical Organization, is in the forefront of medical research and science
Prof. Levi-Schaffer (FLS) is a member of the Institute for Drug Research (IDR) in the Faculty of Medicine, School of Pharmacy. FLS has over 25 years experience in allergy research, specifically on mast cells and eosinophils, and is head of the Immunopharmacology Laboratory for Asthma and Allergy Research. Her laboratory consists of 5 Ph.D. students and one senior research assistant all working on several projects focusing on the topic of allergy. The major research topics are: 1) Inhibiting and activating receptors and their ligands on mast cells and eosinophils; 2) The allergic effector unit and its immuno-pharmacological modulation; and 3) Eosinophils, angiogenesis and hypoxia in allergic inflammation: a key to fibrosis.
FLS’s lab has all the material resources for immunology, molecular biology, pharmacology, as well as first class animal facilities in the Animal facility of the Medical School. The lab is specialized in tissue culture of cord blood derived MC and eosinophils, murine cell culture, angiogenesis systems, evaluation of specific mast cell and eosinophil mediators. Moreover, the lab routinely carries out experiments in mice in which allergic asthma, allergic peritonitis, PD, AD, etc. The lab’s resources include all the standard lab equipments; Becton-Dickinson FACScalibur; and an interdepartmental equipment section with resources including electron microscope, image analysis, mass spectrometry, peptide synthesis, etc.
FLS currently is a member of the Israeli Ministry of Health Committee for Human
Experimentation of New Drugs, Israeli Ministry of Health; a member of the Executive Committee of the International Eosinophil Society; and Vice President of the newly formed European Mast Cell and Basophil Research Network.

Main tasks of FLS’s group
Prof. FLS is a partner of WP5 and WP6. The main scientific task of the group is in vitro studies on human MC and eosinophils, together with the study of the role of CD48 on MC and Eos in experimental AD. Previous experience relevant to the tasks
The main strength of the lab is the definition of novel activating and inhibitory receptors on human and murine mast cells and eosinophils, in the exploitation of these receptors as novel targets for the immunopharmacological treatment of allergic diseases. The lab also studies the role of mast cells and eosinophils in tissue remodeling and more recently in angiogenesis of the eosinophils. The group’s major
strength is its broad expertise in studying in vitro behavior of MC and eosinophils as the two main effectors of allergy, and its work with animal models to verify in vivo what is described in vivo. The following is a selected list of publications:
1. Rocha-de-Souza CM et al Infect Immun. 2008 76:4489-97.
2. Munitz A et al. Am. J. Respir Crit. Care Med. 2007 175:911-918.
3. Munitz A. et al J.Immunol, 2006 177:77-83.
4. Bachelet I.et al. J.Allergy Clin.Immunol.. 2006 117:1314-1320.
5. Munitz A, et al. J. Immunol. 2005 174:110-118.

A short profile of the staff-members involved in the project
Senior researcher Dr. Micha ben Zimra, PhD is an expert in molecular biology, mast cell activation, synthesis of bispecific antibodies –chemical and recombinant, and has over 9 years experience in innate immunity research. He has the knowledge, training and skills to conduct studies regarding molecular and cellular biology and biochemistry. Moran Elishmereni and Yael Minai-Fleminger are accomplished PhD students capable of devising and carrying out the necessary experiments. This past August, Ms. Elishmereni has visited the lab of Prof. H. Alenius in the FIOH (Helsinki, Finland) on an EMBO short-term fellowship, and has acquired the necessary knowledge for conducting the AD model in the FLS laboratory.

Read more about this group: //link to group homepage

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