Prof. Yuval Dor

Senior Lecturer , Developmental Biology & Cancer Research, IMRIC

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Why I became a researcher: 

Like most researchers, I enjoy solving puzzles.

For years, I was curious about the genetics behind diabetes, which led me to look at the beta cells and the genes associated with them. The discovery of the LKB1 gene's role in suppressing insulin development has given my IMRIC research an opportunity to explore whether beta cells can, in fact, be induced to regenerate after injury.

I am excited about the direction in which my research is taking us, and hope the work will pave the way for radical new treatments for diabetes.

Education: 

B.Sc., Biology, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

M.A., Biochemistry, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Ph.D., Developmental Biology, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, summa cum laude

Post-doctoral research, Harvard University

Selected Awards and Honors: 
2008: The Krill Prize of the Wolf Foundation for Excellence in Scientific Research for work in sensory substitution
Contact: 
yuvald [at] ekmd [dot] huji [dot] ac [dot] il
Collaborative Projects

Diabetes Research

This IMRIC collaboration partners Hebrew University's Yuval Dor with the University of Alberta's James Shapiro, Director of the Clinical Islet Transplant Program.

Researcher in the News

IMRIC Scientist and Alberta Collaborator Identify Key Trigger for Pancreatic Beta Cell Regeneration

Based on the collaborative work done with Dr. James Shapiro, a world renowned researcher in islet transplantation for diabetes at the University of Alberta, Prof. Yuval Dor and colleagues have identified a key signal that prompts existing insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas to form new beta cells in mice, a breakthrough discovery that may ultimately help researchers find ways to restore or increase beta cell function in people with type 1 diabetes.

Hebrew University Researcher Yuval Dor of IMRIC Makes Diabetes Cure Breakthrough Discovery

Key Signal That Prompts Production Of Insulin-Producing Beta Cells Could Point Way Toward Diabetes Cure, Say Hebrew University researchers

The I-CORE Scientific Retreat Of The Institute For Medical Research Israel-Canada Of The Hebrew University Medical School

Prof. Yuval Dor, an I-CORE member, organized the 2nd Scientific Retreat of the Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada of the Hebrew University Medical School in Nazareth.

Mice With Fluorescent Replicating Cells Provide Insights Into Cell Proliferation In The Human Body

Cell proliferation is a key factor in degenerative diseases and cancers

Fluorescent cellsJerusalem, November 28, 2012 — A newly-engineered strain of mice whose dividing cells express a fluorescent protein could open the door to new methods of regulating cell proliferation in humans. Cell proliferation plays a key role in degenerative diseases, in which specific cells do not replicate enough, and in cancers, in which cells replicate too much.

Cells in the human body grow and multiply during body growth or during tissue regeneration after damage. However most mature tissues require only rare cell divisions. Scientists who wish to study these rare populations of replicating cells face a serious obstacle: most current methods for labeling and identifying replicating cells involve procedures that kill the cells and destroy sensitive biological material. This limits the ability of scientists to examine important functions of these cells, for example the genes active in such cells.

To address this problem, two Hebrew University of Jerusalem researchers — Prof. Yuval Dor from the Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada (IMRIC) and Dr. Amir Eden from the Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences — together with colleagues in Denmark and the U.S., created a mouse strain in which replicating cells express a fluorescent protein which is destroyed once cell division is completed. In all tissues of these mice, replicating cells are labeled by green fluorescence, which allows identification and isolation of live, replicating cells directly from healthy or diseased tissue.

Using this system, research associate Dr. Agnes Klochendler and PhD student Noa Weinberg-Corem at the Hebrew University were able to isolate a rare population of replicating cells from the livers of mice, and study the genes that they express compared with resting liver cells. Interestingly, they found that in replicating liver cells there is a significant decrease in the expression of genes responsible for key liver functions such as fatty acid and amino acid metabolism.

The research results indicate that when differentiated cells divide, they temporarily shift to a less differentiated state. This finding is important to our understanding of the difference between the two fundamental states of differentiation and proliferation in normal cells. It is also relevant for the situation in cancer, where cells are proliferating and often less differentiated.

In the future, the researchers hope to develop methods for regulating cell proliferation. For example, isolation and study of the rare replicating cells in the pancreas could lead to development of approaches to promote the proliferation and expansion of insulin-producing cells, whose loss is the hallmark of diabetes.

This could also be useful in other areas such as cancer and regenerative biology. By distinguishing between abnormally expressed genes in tumors and the genes associated with normal cell divisions, researchers may be able to identify cancer-specific replication markers with a potential to become new drug targets. Similarly, scientists could analyze the effects of specific drugs on the biology of replicating cells, providing important clues for regenerative medicine.

The study, A Transgenic Mouse Marking Live Replicating Cells Reveals In Vivo Transcriptional Program of Proliferation, was funded by the European Union and is published in the October issue of Developmental Cell. Yuval Dor and Amir Eden introduce their paper in the video abstract below:

Prize For Excellence In Life Sciences Awarded To Hebrew University's Prof. Yuval Dor

 

Prof. Dor was recognized for his outstanding research in the field of pancreas development and tissue dynamics, with emphasis on pancreatic cancer and diabetes.

IMRIC Scientists Find A Surprising Link Between Weaning And Glucose Metabolism, With Implications For Diabetes And Cell Regeneration

A newly-discovered developmental step in the process of beta cell maturation suggests regenerative potential is a trait of mature tissues rather than newly born cells. Researchers will study whether premature weaning affects chances of developing diabetes.

IMRIC Researchers Discover Cellular Aging Process Unexpectedly Enhances Insulin Secretion

Researchers find that a cell aging program causes human and mouse pancreatic beta cells to work harder and secrete more insulin.

IMRIC’S Yuval Dor One Of Four Recipients Of Merck $1 Million Grant For Multiple Sclerosis Innovation

Merck, a leading science and technology company, announced recipients of the fourth annual Grant for Multiple Sclerosis Innovation (GMSI) during a symposium at the 32nd Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) in London. This year, 260 proposals from 45 countries were submitted, representing innovative research projects taking place across the globe. Four research teams from the United Kingdom, Spain, Canada, Israel, Germany and Qatar were selected to share in the €1 million grant to support their research.