Prof. Ben-Zion Shilo was born in Jerusalem in 1951. He completed his BSc in Biology and PhD in Genetics at the Hebrew University (1978), and then moved on to post-doctoral studies at MIT (1981).
Towards the completion of his work in MIT, he demonstrated, for the first time, that DNA sequences in the vertebrate genome encoding proto-oncogene proteins are conserved in the genome of the fruit fly (Drosophila). Prof. Shilo has devoted most of his academic career to the utilization of sophisticated genetic techniques to unravel the components and regulation of the signaling pathways he discovered and their role throughout development. The EGF receptor and its signaling cascade represented were the primary focus of his interests. In recent years, he has been collaborating with computational biologists to discover the quantitative basis for the accurate patterning of embryos, and is also studying the roles of the actin protein in tissue formation.
At the Weizmann Institute he served as the head of the Department of Molecular Genetics, and Head of the Council of Professors and the Committee for Tenure and Promotion of Professors. As Dean of Biochemistry he facilitated the recruitment of 30 new faculty members in the Life Sciences.
He has been a visiting professor at Yale and Stanford Universities, and a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. His research achievements won him prizes, including the Bruno Prize (2000), and the EMET prize in Genetics (2013). He is a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization and has served on its council. He also serves on the editorial board of journals including The EMBO Journal and Molecular Systems Biology.
Finally, Prof. Shilo has additional interests which he also sometimes combines with science, such as being an avid photographer. His original book “Life’s Blueprint” that came out in 2014 is a great example for this. He lives in Rehovot, Israel.
Selected wording from members in the award advisory committee:
“Prof. Shilo established the foundation for modern Developmental Biology in Israel, working in the field of segmentation, pattern formation, differentiation and signaling during Drosophila development”
“The field of Developmental Biology in Israel would have been completely different today without his immense contribution”
“Benny is, by far, the leading developmental biologist in Israel. He has been influential and inspirational in attracting numerous young Israeli scientists to the field. Largely responsible for establishing the local fly community (over 20 active laboratories), as well as for the various developmental biology groups at the WIS.”
“Some prominent ex-students/postdoctoral fellows of Benny: Eyal Schejter, Danny Segal, Ron Wides, Erez Raz, Ronen Schweitzer, Eli Zelzer, and Pablo Wappner”
Members of the IsSDB 2017 Career Award Advisory Committee:
Prof. Eli Arama (Weizmann Institute)
Dr. Smadar Ben-Tabou de-Leon (University of Haifa)
Prof. Howard Cedar (Hebrew Univ.)
Dr. Peleg Hasson (Technion)
Prof. Benny Motro (Bar-Ilan Univ.)
Prof. Ze’ev Paroush (Hebrew Univ.)
Prof. Beni Podbilewicz (Technion)
Prof. Dalit Sela-Donenfeld (Faculty of Agriculture, Hebrew Univ.)