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 training 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. Between 2014 to 2018 Prof. Benhar served as the Vice Dean for Research of the Faculty of Life Sciences. Since 2020 Prof. Benhar is the Director of the Tel Aviv University Center for Combatting Pandemics.
Prof. Itai Benhar
1992-1995 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
2020-present Director of the Tel Aviv University Center for Combatting Pandemics
2014-2018 Vice Dean for Research, the George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences
2014-present The Morris and Manja Leigh Chair in Biophysics and Biotechnology
2012-2015 Chairman of the Laura Schwartz-Kipp Institute of Biotechnology
2008-present Full Professor; Department Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology, Tel-Aviv University
2007-2011 Chairman; Department Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology, Tel-Aviv University
2002-2012 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)
Prof. Benhar is an expert and opinion leader in the field of antibody engineering. Over the 22 years of being active in that field, he prepared several phage display libraries from which antibodies against numerous targets were isolated. Prof. Benhar publishes 93 research papers, wrote 12 book chapters and submitted 19 patent applications. Research in Prof. Benhar’s group is multidisciplinary, involves many collaborations and is currently focused on the following topics: 1) Study of design principles for bispecific antibodies their application to develop potential therapeutics. 2) Study of combinations and conjugates of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies with low-molecular-weight heparins for treating inflammatory bowel diseases. 3) Studies of targeted drug-carrying nanomedicines combined with Medicinal Chemistry approaches for the eradication of pathogenic fungi, chronic inflammation and cancer. 4) Study of novel approaches for discovering GPCR-specific antibodies. 5) Targeting lymphoma, allergy and autoimmunity with monospecific and bispecific antibodies.
Prof. Benhar is or has been a consultant to several Israeli Biotech companies, including AIT (developing antibodies for clinical applications) CEACAM (developing anti-cancer antibodies), GreenVision (developing advances imaging systems), Intellect Neuroscience (developed antibodies for Alzheimer's disease), SeraSense Biotech (developing anti-cancer antibodies) MedGenics (developing drug-producing skin grafts) and 4C-Biomed (developing anti-cancer antibodies).
Prof. Benhar teaches a graduate course “Antibody Engineering” and an undergraduate course “Introduction to Biotechnology”.
Please read Prof. Benhar’s detailed research description.
Prof. Itai Benhar’s full list of publications and be found at:
Publications URL (this is an updated full list of my publications listed on PUBMED):
Most recent publications from 2015-2020
A. ARTICLES IN REFEREED JOURNALS 2015-2020 (total 105)
Shefet-Carasso L, Benhar I. (2015) Antibody-targeted drugs and drug resistance - challenges and solutions. Drug Resistance Updates, 2015 Jan;18:36-46
Levi O, Shapira A, Tal B, Benhar I, Eliaz N. (2015) Isolating epidermal growth factor receptor overexpressing carcinoma cells from human whole blood by bio-ferrography. Cytometry B Clin Cytom. 2015 Mar;88(2):136-44.
Levi O, Tal B, Hileli S, Shapira A, Benhar I, Grabov P, Eliaz N. (2015) Optimization of EGFR high positive cell isolation procedure by design of experiments methodology. Cytometry: Part B - Clinical Cytometry. Mar 2015 Epub ahead of print.
Ben-Horin S, Yavzori M, Benhar I, Fudim E, Picard O, Ungar B, Lee S, Kim S, Eliakim R, Chowers Y. (2016) Cross immunogenicity: antibodies to infliximab in Remicade-treated patients with IBD similarly recognise the biosimilar Remsima. Gut. 2016 Jul;65(7):1132-8.
Halperin A, Shadkchan Y, Pisarevsky E, Szpilman AM, Sandovsky H, Osherov N, Benhar I. Novel Water-Soluble Amphotericin B-PEG Conjugates with Low Toxicity and Potent in Vivo Efficacy. J Med Chem. 2016 Feb 11;59(3):1197-206.
Weiss R, Bitton A, Elgart M, Elhaik Goldman S, Nahary L, Cooper I, Benhar I, Pick C.G, Chapman J. Annexin A2, Autoimmunity, Anxiety and Depression. J. Autoimmunity 2016, 73:92–99.
Krinsky N, Kaduri M, Shainsky-Roitman J, Goldfeder M, Ivanir E, Benhar I, Shoham Y, Schroeder A. (2016) A Simple and Rapid Method for Preparing A Cell-Free Bacterial Lysate for Protein Synthesis. PLoS One. 2016 Oct 21;11(10):e0165137. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0165137.
Diesendruck Y, Benhar I. (2017) Novel immune check point inhibiting antibodies in cancer therapy - opportunities and challenges. Drug Resist Updat. 2017 Jan;30:39-47. doi: 10.1016/j.drup.2017.02.001. Epub 2017 Feb 4.
Weiss R, Bitton A, Nahary L, Arango MT, Benhar I, Blank M, Shoenfeld Y, Chapman J. Cross-reactivity between annexin A2 and Beta-2-glycoprotein I in animal models of antiphospholipid syndrome. Immunologic Research 23 Jul 2016, doi: 10.1007/s12026-016-8840-8
Grinberg Y, Benhar I. Addressing the Immunogenicity of the Cargo and of the Targeting Antibodies with a Focus on Demmunized Bacterial Toxins and on Antibody-Targeted Human Effector Proteins. Biomedicines. 2017 Jun 2;5(2). pii: E28. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines5020028. Review.
Zafir-Lavie I, Miari R, Sherbo S, Krispel S, Tal O, Liran A, Shatil T, Badinter F, Glotsman H, Shapir N, Benhar I, Neil G, Panet A. Sustained secretion of anti-TNF alpha monoclonal antibody from ex-vivo genetically engineered dermal tissue demonstrates therapeutic activity in mouse model of rheumatoid arthritis. J Gene Med. 2017 Aug;19(8). doi: 10.1002/jgm.2965.
Krinsky N, Kaduri M, Zinger A, Shainsky-Roitman J, Goldfeder M, Benhar I, Hershkovitz D, Schroeder A. Synthetic Cells Synthesize Therapeutic Proteins inside Tumors. Adv Healthc Mater. 2017 Dec 28. doi: 10.1002/adhm.201701163. [Epub ahead of print].
Bitton A, Nahary L, Benhar I. Antibody Isolation From a Human Synthetic Combinatorial and Other Libraries of Single-Chain Antibodies. Methods Mol Biol. 2018;1701:349-363. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-7447-4_19.
Kedmi R, Veiga N, Ramishetti S, Goldsmith M, Rosenblum D,
Dammes N, Hazan-Halevy I, Nahary L, Leviatan-Ben-Arye S, Harlev M, Behlke M, Benhar I, Lieberman J, Peer D. A modular platform for targeted RNAi therapeutics. Nature Nano. 2018 Mar;13(3):214-219. doi: 10.1038/s41565-017-0043-5. Epub 2018 Jan 29.
Karo-Atar D, Bitton A, Benhar I, Munitz A. Therapeutic targeting of the IL-4/IL-13 Signaling Pathway: In Allergy and Beyond. BioDrugs. 2018 May 7. doi: 10.1007/s40259-018-0280-7. [Epub ahead of print].
Perepliotchikov Y, Benhar I, Manor Y, Wilton T, Majumdar M, Martin J, Mendelson E, Shulman LM. A novel magnetic beads-based method for polioviral concentration from environmental samples. J Virol Methods. 2018 Oct;260:62-69. doi: 10.1016/j.jviromet.2018.07.005. Epub 2018 Jul 9.
Zafir-Lavie I, Sherbo S, Goltsman H, Badinter F, Yieni E, Ofek P, Miari R, Tal O, Liran A, Shatil T, Krispel S, Shapir N, Neil G.A, Benhar I, Panet A, Satchi Fainaro R. Successful intracranial delivery of trastuzumab by gene-therapy for treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer brain metastases. J. Controlled Release 2018. Oct 17. pii: S0168-3659(18)30588-1. doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2018.10.017. [Epub ahead of print].
Vaks L, Litvak-Greenfeld D, Dror S, Shefet-Carasso L, Matatov G, Nahary L, Shapira S, Hakim R, Alroy I, Benhar I. Design Principles for Bispecific IgGs, Opportunities and Pitfalls of Artificial Disulfide Bonds. Antibodies 2018, 7, 27; doi:10.3390/antib7030027.
Svetlizky D, Levi O, Benhar I, Eliaz N. Mechanical properties of Bio-Ferrography isolated cancerous cells studied by atomic force microscopy. Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials. Volume 91, March 2019, Pages 345-354.
Shefet Carasso, L, Benhar I, Dvir, T. A universal biofactor-releasing scaffold enabling in vivo reloading. Nano Letters 2019 DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.8b04927
Birnboim-Perach R, Grinberg Y, Vaks L, Nahary L, Benhar I. Production of Stabilized Antibody Fragments in the E. coli Bacterial Cytoplasm and in Transiently Transfected Mammalian Cells. Methods Mol Biol. 2019;1904:455-480. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-8958-4_23.
Kon E, Benhar I. Immune checkpoint inhibitor combinations: Current efforts and important aspects for success. Drug Resist Updat. 2019 Jul 29;45:13-29. doi: 10.1016/j.drup.2019.07.004. [Epub ahead of print].
Brown Kav A, Rozov R, Bogumil D, Sørensen SJ, Hansen LH, Benhar I, Halperin E, Shamir R, Mizrahi M. Unravelling plasmidome distribution and interaction with its hosting microbiome. Environ Microbiol. 2019 Oct 10. doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.14813.
Veiga N, Goldsmith M, Diesendruck Y, Ramishetti S, Rosenblum D, Elinav E, Behlke MA, Benhar I, Peer D. Leukocyte-specific siRNA delivery revealing IRF8 as a potential anti-inflammatory target. Veiga N, Goldsmith M, Diesendruck Y, Ramishetti S, Rosenblum D, Elinav E, Behlke MA, Benhar I, Peer D. J Control Release. 2019 Nov 10;313:33-41. doi: 10.1016.
Vaisman Mentesh A, Rosenstein S, Yavzori M, Dror Y, Fudim E, Ungar B, Kopylov U, Picard O, Kigel A, Ben-Horin S, Benhar I, Wine Y. Molecular Landscape of Anti-Drug Antibodies Reveals the Mechanism of the Immune Response Following Treatment with TNFα Antagonists. Front. Immunol. | doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2019.02921 . December 2019 | Volume 10 | Article 2921.
Bitton A, Avlas S, Reichman H, Itan M, Karo-Atar D, Azouz NP, Rozenberg P, Diesendruck Y, Nahary L, Rothenberg ME, Benhar I, Munitz A. A key role for IL-13 signaling via the type 2 IL-4 receptor in experimental atopic dermatitis. Sci Immunol. 2020 Feb 14;5(44). pii: eaaw2938. doi: 10.1126/sciimmunol.aaw2938.
Pichinuk E, Chalick M, Benhar I, Ginat-Koton R, Ziv R, Smorodinsky NI, Haran G, Garbar C, Bensussan A, Meeker A, Guillaume T, Rubinstein DB, Wreschner DH. In vivo anti-MUC1+ tumor activity and sequence of DMB5F3, a high affinity anti-MUC1-SEA antibody. Cancer Immunol Immunother 2020 Mar 26. doi: 10.1007/s00262-020-02547-2. [Epub ahead of print]
B. BOOK CHAPTERS 2015-2020 (total 14)
Dergachev V. Benhar I. (2015) Challenges for Therapeutic Application of Pseudomonas Exotoxin-Based Immunotoxins. In: “Resistance of Targeted Anticancer Therapeutics“ Benjamin Bonovida, University of California, Editor. Accepted for publication.
Bitton A., Nahary L., Benhar I. (2018) Antibody Isolation From a Human Synthetic Combinatorial and Other Libraries of Single-Chain Antibodies. In: Hust M., Lim T. (eds) Phage Display. Methods in Molecular Biology, vol 1701. Humana Press, New York, NY.
Birnboim-Perach R, Grinberg Y, Vaks L, Nahary L, Benhar, I. Production of Stabilized Antibody Fragments in the E. coli Bacterial Cytoplasm and in Transiently Transfected Mammalian Cells. Michael Steinitz (ed.), Human Monoclonal Antibodies: Methods and Protocols, Methods in Molecular Biology, vol. 1904, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4939-8958-4_23, © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019.
Litvak-Greenfeld D. Vaks L, Dror S, Nahary L, Benhar, I. “BIClonals”: Production of Bispecific Antibodies in IgG Format in Transiently Transfected Mammalian Cells. Michael Steinitz (ed.), Human Monoclonal Antibodies: Methods and Protocols, Methods in Molecular Biology, vol. 1904, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4939-8958-4_23, © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019.
C. Patents 2015-2020 (total 19)
Yacoby Y, Gazit E, Nelson, N., Benhar, I. Photocatalytic hydrogen production and polypeptides capable of same.
US Patent Number 9181555 B2. Issue date Nov 5, 2015.
Benhar, I., Vaks L. Bi- and monospecific, asymmetric antibodies and methods of generating the same.
European Patent Number EP 2 686 348 B1. Issue date Dec 12, 2015.
Benhar I, Shapira A, Gal-Tanamy M, Greenfeld D, Nahary, L, Zemel R, Tur-Kaspa, R. Activatable toxin complexes comprising a cleavable inhibitory peptide. US Patent No 9,321,847 B2, Issue date April 26, 2016.
Benhar, I., Vaks, L. BI- AND MONOSPECIFIC, ASYMMETRIC ANTIBODIES AND METHODS OF GENERATING THE SAME. US Patent Number 9,624,291 B2. Issue date April 18, 2017.
Dergachev, A. Osherov, N. Szpilman, A. Benhar I. Amphotericin B derivatives. US Patent Number 9,750,817 B2. Issue date September 5, 2017.
Benhar, I., Vaks, L. BI- AND MONOSPECIFIC, ASYMMETRIC ANTIBODIES AND METHODS OF GENERATING THE SAME. Chinese patent number ZL201280013666.X. Issue date July 28, 2017.