Immunology - transplants, Hepatology

המעבדה להשתלות – אימונולוגיה, הפטולוגיה
Head of the lab:
Prof. Ran Tur-Kaspa and Dr. Evyatar Nesher
Lab Manager:
Dr. Romy Zemel, Ph.D.
Phone: 050-6617067
Research team:
    יעל ברהום (M.Sc.)    
    עדי חלוצי (תואר שני)    
Research Areas:

The research in our lab is focused in translational research. In the past we focused mainly in studying HCV infection, viral host interaction with attempt todevelop inhibitors active against a broad range of HCV genetic variants. In the last few years we expand our interest to the field of solid organ transplantation and immunology of rejection. In both research fields, we apply cutting-edge technologies including viral infection, CRISPR cas9 gene editing, exosomes purification, as well as immunological, molecular, protein and cellular biology methods.

Molecular Hepatology

Vitamin-D- an innate antiviral agent suppressing Hepatitis C virus in human hepatocytes.

Vitamin D3remarkably inhibit hepatitis C virus production. This anti-hepatitis C virus activity is mediated by vitamin D primary metabolic product 25(OH)D3 in a VDR independent mechanism. A. Inhibition of hepatitis C virus production determined by HCV infectious assay (a. HCV b. HCV+ Vitamin D). B. vitamin D metabolism and action. C. 25(OH)D3 dose dependent inhibition. D. Inhibition of HCV in CRISPR-Cas9 VDR-KO cells clones (#2 and #6(. Electron microscopy analysis of HCV infected (a) and non-infected (b) cells for studying the effect on cell morphology.

We are now pursuing our research further to explore the mechanism by which vitamin D metabolite exert its inhibitory effect on Hepatitis C.

Transplantation Immunology


Tissue engineering to diminish alloimmunity in organ transplantation

Decreased NK cells cytotoxicity to HEK293-MICA-KO target cells. We used the CRISPR/Cas9 editing system to knockout the NKG2D stress induced ligands. Loss of MICA gene product in the knockout cells compared to the WT cells, sequence analysis shows a mixture of sequences in the KO cells compared to the WT cells (B) and Flow cytometry analysis shows a decreased expression of MICA (C). Knocking down MICA, results in 35-50% reduction in NK cells cytotoxicity (analyzed by cell killing assays)(D).

Effect of immunosuppressive drugs on NK cells activation.

In this study, we use immunological, molecular biology and protein analysis to test the effect of commonly used clinical immunosuppressive drugs on NK cell activity in in-vitro tissue culture system. Taking advantage of being part of the department of organ transplantation, that performs most of the organ transplants in Israel, we plan to study this effect on human transplanted patients.

• Urinary Exosomes as Biomarkers and Therapeutic Targets in Polyomavirus-Associated Nephropathy

In collaboration with Dr. M. Herman-Edelstein and Dr. N. Ben-Dor

This study combines basic virology with clinical practice to study BK virus -associated nephropathy following transplantation, and to evaluate the potential use of urine exosomes as a novel and non-invasive biomarker for BK reactivation.

Contact details
Zemel Romi Mobile: 052-8617067
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