Prof. Itai Benhar

  • Biotechnology
מקרוביולוגיה מולקולרית סגל אקדמי בכיר
Prof. Itai Benhar
Phone: 03-6407511
Another phone: 03-6407510
Fax: 03-6405829
Office: Green - Biotechnology, 2


Prof. Benhar received his PhD in Molecular Biology from Hebrew University in 1992, where he studied control of bacterial gene expression. Prof. Benhar did his post doctoral fellowship at the National Cancer Institute, NIH, working with Dr. Ira Pastan on recombinant immunotoxins.  In 1995, Prof. Benhar joined the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology at Tel Aviv University as a tenure-track assistant professor. Prof. Benhar received tenure in 2002, became an associate professor in 2005 and a full professor in 2008.  Between 2007 to 2011 Prof. Benhar served as the Department Chairman.





Post-Doctoral Associate; Laboratory of Molecular Biology, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, USA

1992 Ph.D.; Microbiology summa cum laude, Hebrew University
1983 B.Sc.; Agriculture, Hebrew University


Academic Appointments:





Vice Dean for Research, the George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences

The Morris and Manya Lee Chair in Biophysics and Biotechnology

Chairman of the Laura Schwartz-Kipp Institute of Biotechnology

Full Professor; Department Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology, Tel-Aviv University

2007-2011 Chairman; Department Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology, Tel-Aviv University
2002-present Head; B.Sc. program in Biotechnology, Tel Aviv University
2005-2008 Associate Professor; Department Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology, Tel-Aviv University
2001-2005 Senior Lecturer; Department Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology, Tel-Aviv University
1995-2001 Lecturer; Department Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology, Tel-Aviv University


Honors and Awards:

1995 The "Alon" fellowship for outstanding young researchers. The Israeli Ministry of Education
1994 Federal Technology Transfer Award for an outstanding Scientific contribution of value to the USA. National Institute of Health (USA)
1992 The Hebrew University Faculty of Medicine Award for Excellence in Ph.D. Studies
1992 The Prize for Excellence in Ph.D. Studies. The Sepharadic Federation and The World Zionist Agency
1987-1989 Ph.D. Studentship Scholarship. Levi Eshkol Foundation at the Israeli Research Council, The Ministry of Science and Technology (Israel)


Research Interests

Prof. Benhar is an expert and opinion leader in the field of antibody engineering. Over the 20 years of being active in that field, he prepared several phage display libraries from which antibodies against numerous targets were isolated. Prof. Benhar publishes 79 research papers, wrote 10 book chapters and submitted 11 patent applications. Research in Prof. Benhar’s group if currently focused on three major topics: 1) evaluation of novel formats of bispecific antibodies and of antibody-toxin fusion proteins as potential anti-cancer agents. 2) Evaluation of death switches that are activated by viral proteases (published in the field of Hepatitis C virus) for potential eradication of virus-infected cells. 3) Application of filamentous phages as targeted drug-carrying nanomedicines for eradication of pathogenic bacteria and fungi.


Prof. Benhar teaches courses in Antibody Engineering, Introduction to Biotechnology, and Scientific literacy in Biotechnology.


Please read his full research description.


Recent Publications

For a full publication list


Since 2010:

Orgad, S., Dimant, H., Dor-On, E., Azriel-Rosenfeld, R., Benhar, I., Solomon, B. (2010) TAR1, a human anti-p53 single-chain antibody, restores tumor suppressor function to mutant p53 variants. J. Immunother. 33(2):146-54.        


Hartmann, C., Müller, N, Blaukat, A., Koch, J., Benhar, I., Wels, W. S. (2010) Peptide mimotopes recognized by antibodies cetuximab and matuzumab induce a functionally equivalent anti-EGFR immune response. Oncogene 12;29(32):4517-27.     


Bourbeillon, J., Orchard, S., Benhar, I., Borrebaeck, C., de Daruvar, A., Dübel, S (and 20 more authors) (2010) Minimum Information about a Protein Affinity Reagent (MIAPAR). Nature Biotechnology 28(7):650-653.          


Mendel, K., Eliaz, N., Benhar, I, Hendel, D., Halperin, N. (2010) Magnetic isolation of particles suspended in synovial fluids for diagnostics of natural joint chondropathies. Acta Biomaterialia, Acta Biomater. 6: 4430-4438.          


Gal-Tanamy M, Zemel R, Bachmatov L, Jangra RK, Shapira A, Villanueva R, Yi M, Lemon SM, Benhar I, Tur-Kaspa R. (2010) Inhibition of protease-inhibitor-resistant hepatitis C virus replicons and infectious virus by intracellular intrabodies. Antiviral Res. 88(1):95-106.        


Shapira A, Benhar I. (2010) Toxin-Based Therapeutic Approaches. Toxins 2: 2519-2583.        


Dalken B, Jabulowsky RA, Oberoi1 P, Benhar I, Wels WS (2010) Maltose-Binding Protein Enhances Secretion of Recombinant Human Granzyme B Accompanied by In Vivo Processing of a Precursor MBP Fusion Protein. PLoS One 5 (12) e14404.               


Hakshur K, Benhar I, Bar-Ziv Y, Halperin N, Segal D, Eliaz N (2011) The effect of hyaluronan injections into human knees on the number of bone and cartilage wear particles captured by bio-ferrography. Acta Biomaterialia. 7: 848-857.            


Shapira A, Gal-Tanamy M, Nahary L, Litvak-Greenfeld D, Zemel R, Tur-Kaspa R, Benhar I. (2010) Engineered toxins "Zymoxins" are activated by the HCV NS3 protease by removal of an inhibitory protein domain. PLoS One 6(1):e15916.            


Shapira S, Shapira A, Starr A, Kazanov D, Kraus S, Benhar I, Arber N. (2010) An immunoconjugate of anti-CD24 and Pseudomonas exotoxin selectively kills human colorectal tumors in mice. Gastroenterology. Dec 10. [Epub ahead of print] 



Pastan, I., Benhar, I., Padlan, E. A., Jung, S-H. and Lee, B. (1999) Humanized B3 antibody fragments, fusion proteins, and uses thereof. US Patent Number 5889157. Issue date 30/3/1999.            


Pastan, I. And Benhar, I. (1999) Chimeric and mutationally stabilized tumor-specific B1, B3 and B5 antibody fragments; immunotoxic fusion proteins; and uses thereof. US Patent Number 5981726. Issue Date 9/11/1999.              


Yacoby, Y., Ron, E.Z., Shabat, D., Shamis, M., Benhar, I. Targeted drug-carrying viruses. PCT submitted April 2006.            


Benhar, I. Mazor Y. (2006). Recombinant immunoglobulin-Fc binding toxin fusion ZZ-PE38 and complexes thereof. US Provisional submitted May 2006.        


Solomon, B., Orgad, S., Benhar, I., Rosenfeld, R. Human synthetic single-chain antibodies directed against the common epitope of mutant p53 and its uses. US Provisional submitted June 2006.          


Benhar, I. Hakim, R. (2008). Production of heteromeric proteins in bacteria. Provisional application submitted March 2008.


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