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Eli Keshet

2015 NAVBO Earl P. Benditt Award - Eli Keshet, Hadassah Medical School, The Hebrew University

keshetDr. Keshet will give his talk, "VEGF, Blood Vessels and Stem Cell Niches" on October 21, 2015 at Vascular Biology 2015 in Hyannis, MA on Cape Cod.

The NAVBO Meritorious Awards Committee and Council are pleased to announce the selection of Eli Keshet, M.Sc., Ph.D., as the 2015 recipient of the Earl P. Benditt Award, in recognition of his pioneering studies on the regulation of angiogenesis. Dr. Keshet is currently Full Professor in Developmental Biology and Cancer Research at the School of Medicine of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. He will present the Benditt Lecture and receive the award, one of NAVBO's highest honors, at Vascular Biology 2015 in Hyannis, Massachusetts, on October 21, 2015.

Dr. Keshet received his B.Sc., M.Sc., and Ph.D. degrees from the Hebrew University. His post-doctoral work included studies in the laboratory of Howard Temin at the University of Wisconsin (1976-79), followed by stints as Senior Scientist and Senior Lecturer at the Weizmann Institute and Hebrew University, respectively. After two years as a Visiting Scientist at the NIH, Dr. Keshet joined the faculty at Hebrew University in 1986, rising to the rank of Full Professor in 1993.

The contributions of Dr. Keshet's research group on Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) can be found throughout the field of vascular biology. Their seminal paper in Nature in 1992 identified hypoxia as key regulator of VEGF expression, only a few short years after the biochemical definition of this key angiogenic agent. Thus, a link was established between the tissue microenvironment and the molecular induction of angiogenesis. As the starting point of molecular hypoxia research, this work led to exploration of hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs) and prolyl hydroxylases as regulators of gene expression by ischemia. Subsequently, Dr. Keshet identified hormonal regulators of VEGF expression and characterized VEGF as a survival factor for the developing vasculature. His laboratory experimentally modeled retinopathy of prematurity, describing the "front" of invading endothelial cells now conceptualized as the tip cell – stalk cell relationship. His work demonstrating that VEGF withdrawal leads to ablation of immature blood vessels helped establish VEGF as a meaningful target for translational anti-angiogenesis research. More than twenty years into his academic career, Dr. Keshet continues to identify avenues of VEGF research, including identifying a novel splice variant of sVEGFR1 associated with human preeclampsia. More recently, the Keshet lab has described perfusion-independent control of the stereotypic branching of lung airways by blood vessels during development.

Beyond these landmark contributions to our knowledge of vascular biology, Dr. Keshet's nomination for the Benditt Award noted that he is "...a role model... as a person and as a scientist... truly one of the most creative scientists... modest and humble..." "More importantly, his lab is proof of the fact that what counts in science is brains and not manpower or technological power." Please join us at Hyannis in October to honor Dr. Eli Keshet as he receives this well-deserved award.

Compiled by William R. Huckle,
NAVBO Editor

Read more about the Benditt Award