Dr. Ayelet Erez, Department of Biological Regulation
A physician-scientist, Dr. Ayelet Erez is a geneticist and medical doctor who treat families with genetic cancer in addition to heading a Weizmann Institute research lab. She draws on her knowledge about cancer-related genetic mutations, as well as the differential cancer onset metabolic patterns detectable in cancer patients’ bio-fluids, to define more effective screening protocols. In another aspect of her work, Dr. Erez discovered how single-gene mutations that cause a toxic ammonia build-up in children is also involved in cancer progression. In such cancer cases, the ammonia build-up triggered by this single-gene mutation prevents the function of a protein called ASS1. Dr. Erez has demonstrated that silencing of the ASS1 gene – something seen in many kinds of cancer – results in aggressive tumor growth.