Hermona Soreq, Ph.D Head of the Scientific Advisory Board
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Soreq started her scientific career in the Weizmann Institute, where she served as Senior Scientist and then Associate Professor (1979-1986). In 1986 she became an Associate Professor of Molecular Biology in the Department of Biological Chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 1989 she gained her professorship there and set up her laboratory. She has run her lab there, ever-since. She served as the head of the Silberman Institute of Life Sciences at the Hebrew University (1995-2000). In 2000 she was elected as President of the Israeli Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and served as such till 2002. In 2005 she was elected to serve a term of 3 years as the first female Dean of the Hebrew University’s Faculty of Science  In 2011, a lab team member, Liat Benmoyal-Segal, published a paper together with Soreq indicating the relevance of a variant of the acetylcholinesterase protein in the treatment of Parkinson’s. Protalix BioTherapeutics developed the variant, PRX-105, and began phase I clinical trials. Today, Soreq is The Charlotte Schlesinger Professor of Molecular Neuroscience at the Silberman Institute for Life Sciences and a founding member of the Hebrew University’s Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences. Her research is focused on the mechanisms underlying malfunctioning of communication by the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in muscle, nerves and blood cells, which involves changes in pre-mRNA processing and microRNA regulators, and may be manipulated by Oligonucleotide-mediated therapeutics (successfully completed Phase II clinical trials for treating inflammatory bowel disease) that can be also relevant for anxiety-related, neuromuscular and neurodegenerative (Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s) diseases. She is the author of over 280 peer-reviewed journal articles and 8 books. Soreq serves on the boards of the Hebrew University, the Technion (Israel Institute of Technology) and Yissum (the Research Development Company of the Hebrew University). She is also an Adjunct Research professor at the Arizona State University Biodesign Institute. Her awards and honors include: 2005 Landau Prize for Biomedical Research 2008 Kaye Prize for Innovative research, The Hebrew University 2009 The Lise Meitner Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Award, Germany 2009 Visiting Miller Professorship, University of California, Berkeley 2013 National Center of Excellence (I-Core) on Trauma, member of Scientific Management 2013 Advanced ERC Research Award She has also received honorary Doctorates from the University of Erlangen, Nűremberg, Germany (2007), Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel (2007) and the University of Stockholm, Sweden, (1996)
Gianni Gromo M.D Ph.D
Gianni is a Partner with Versant Ventures. Gianni previously served as a Senior Executive with several pharmaceutical companies, most recently Hoffmann-La Roche, where he successfully lead research and development teams. Gianni’s roles at Roche included Research Head of Global Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research, where he was responsible for all discovery and development activities in the CV, Renal and Metabolic areas; Head of Discovery Research, Basel Site; Global Head of the Metabolic and Vascular Disease Business Unit; and more recently Head of the Roche China R&D center, Shanghai. Prior to Roche, Gianni was Assistant Professor (tenure track), Immunobiology Research Center, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Research Director at Italfarmaco SpA, Milano, Italy; and Director of Biology-Cardiovascular-Lilly Research Laboratories, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. He served as a Scientific Advisor to CSIRO (Australia), Baker Institute (Australia), Integra (Yissum/ Hebrew University, Israel)Momentum Fund (Ramot / Tel Aviv University). He serves on the Board of Directors of Novira Therapeutics (USA), and Piqur (Switzerland). Gianni received his MD and PhD in Clinical and Experimental Hematology at University of Milano, Italy.
Yechiel Shai , Professor
Weizmann Institute of Science
Yechiel Shai is a Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the Department of Biological Chemistry at the Weizmann Institute of Science. He received a BSc. in Chemistry in 1977 from Bar-Ilan University, MSc in Organic Chemistry in 1979 and Ph.D. in Peptide Chemistry in 1985 both from the Weizmann Institute of Science. He then carried out postdoctoral research on molecular recognition at the National Institute of Science, Bethesda until 1988, when he took a position as an investigator at the Department of Membrane Research at the Weizmann Institute of Science. He was promoted to Associate Professor on 1995 and to full Professor on 2002. Yechiel Shai is studying peptide/protein-membrane interactions and protein-protein recognition within the membrane milieu. More specifically, he is studying membrane active innate immunity host defense antimicrobial and antifungal peptides and lipopeptides. Since 1991 he has established the ””carpet”” mechanism as an efficient membrane destruction process used by many AMPs and lipopeptides, and studies parameter controlling the cell specificity of AMPs. In the field of virus-host interaction he is investigating how gp41, the envelop protein of HIV1 catalyzes virus-cell fusion. He also studies new mechanisms by which HIV can evade the immune response. In addition, as part of studying general aspects of protein-protein recognition within the membrane milieu, he discovered that peptides with opposite chiralities can specifically assemble in the membrane, in contrast to the well accepted dogma on recognition outside the membrane milieu. These findings allow to develop new D,L-amino acid containing peptides that serve as novel inhibitors of membrane proteins.
S. Morry Blumenfeld, Ph.D
S. Morry Blumenfeld is the President and CEO of Quescon Consultants, Ltd, a medical device consulting company and the Chairman of the Medical Advisory Board of OurCrowd. He is also one of the Founding Partner of Meditech Advisors, LLC, and Meditech Advisors Management. The latter is one of the General Partners in the private equity fund, Ziegler Meditech Equity Partners, LP, specializing in investments in healthcare and medical device companies. Morry retired from GE Medical Systems in 2002, having been with GE for over 34 years, the last 27 years with GE Medical Systems, ending as Managing Director of GE Medical Systems in Israel. He has had considerable experience in developing and commercializing large-scale diagnostic imaging systems, as part of the team that developed GE’s CT and MRI. He is well known in medical research centers at universities and community hospitals across the USA, in Europe and in Asia through his work creating the new imaging systems that have revolutionized medicine in the past 30 years.
During the period 1989-1998, Morry led a “startup” within GE to develop special innovative tools for use in image guided interventional and surgical procedures. The group created the first MR guided Focused Ultrasound Surgery system and began clinical studies for this advanced therapy device, currently being developed by InSightec in Israel. He was also responsible during this period for many of the new MR developments, including advanced cardiac MR, the very high field MR systems both important elements in GE’s market position, and the first Intra-Operative MR System. He was Chairman of the Board of Elgems, the GE – Elscint joint venture in developing and manufacturing nuclear imaging and PET systems prior to GE’s takeover of Elscint’s Molecular Imaging Business. Morry holds five patents, and in 1977, GE’s Centennial Year, received the GE Centennial Award for his work in CT. On his retirement from GE Medical Systems he was honored by GE and cited for “ . . contributions that have forever changed GE Medical Systems and the field of medical imaging.”
Dr. Blumenfeld has served on a number of academic advisory boards in Toronto, Ottawa, Boston and Washington and now is a member of the Board of Governors of the Hebrew University and of Yissum. He now serves on the Board of or as a Consultant to a number of private medical device and technology companies and technology incubators, including InSightec, SightDx, Alpha Tau Medical, Nanox Technology, Memic, 7D Surgical, Illumigyn and Cardiologic Innovations.
Morry earned his BASc in Engineering Physics in 1960 and PhD in Molecular Physics in 1967 both from the University of Toronto