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Molecular Biomarkers for Neurodegeneration

Dr. Rivka Dikstein of the Department of Biomolecular Sciences is investigating the “checks and balances” that control how our genetic code is transformed into functional proteins. While fascinating from the point of view of basic science, Dr. Dikstein’s research also has practical, biomedical significance. Among her recent accomplishments, she has positively identified 150 compounds with clinical potential for preventing the binding of molecular factors associated with the onset of neurodegeneration. This work has significance for the development of future treatments for three currently incurable neurodegenerative diseases: Huntington's disease (HD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and frontotemporal dementia (FTD).

A new model for rheumatoid arthritis

When the immune system activates its defenses against a foreign invader, cells called T-lymphocytes migrate to the peripheral lymphatic nodes (LNs). Occasionally, however, the entry and subsequent response of T-lymphocytes in these LN sites leads to severe inflammation. This is what happens in rheumatoid arthritis, and this is the focus of research being conducted by Prof. Idit Shachar from the Department of Immunology. 

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MS biomarkers

Autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis (MS) are likely caused by a complex combination of genetic and environmental factors. In particular, autoimmunity can often arise as a result of errors in cellular protein levels. Dr. Yifat Merbl of the Department of Immunology is working to map the changes that occur as a result of post-translational modifications (PTMs), and which are implicated in autoimmunity and MS. Her ultimate goal is to discover biomarkers for diagnosis and treatment.

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