Prof. Benjamin Dekel MD. Ph.D., is the Head of the Pediatric Stem cell Research Institute and the Director of the Division of Pediatric Nephrology at the Edmond and Lily Safra Children’s Hospital, Sheba Medical Center, Israel.
He is a Full Professor of Pediatrics, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University and affiliated Faculty in the Department of Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry. He served as a Visiting Professor at Stanford University. He received a bachelor’s degree in Medical Sciences and an MD from the Technion (with distinction) and a doctorate (PhD) from the Weizmann Institute of Science (with distinction). Prof. Dekel completed a residency in Pediatrics at the Sheba Medical Center, a clinical fellowship in Pediatric Nephrology at the Schneider Children’s Medical Center and a post-doctoral fellowship in stem cell biology at the Weizmann Institute of Science.
Prof. Dekel is known internationally as one of the most innovative and highly recognized investigators in the field of human renal stem cell biology and regenerative medicine. Prof. Dekel initiated his work in this field as a graduate student and postdoctoral fellow at the Weizmann Institute of Science, which resulted in seminal studies demonstrating that kidney precursor tissues from humans or pigs could develop into fully functional nephrons when transplanted into adult mice, paving the way for the “growing kidneys” concept.
Subsequently, as an independent investigator, he established his own laboratory for Regenerative and Developmental Nephrology and founded the Pediatric Stem Cell Research Institute at the Sheba Medical Center. His laboratory takes a multi-disciplinary approach including genetics, genomics, molecular biology, biochemistry, and the development of preclinical murine models to cast light on fundamental problems of developmental biology, tissue regeneration, and cancer; while, at the same time, holding promise for novel disease therapies.
In the field of pediatric renal cancer and kidney development, Prof. Dekel has pioneered the identification of human stem/progenitor cells and their use in tissue repair and regeneration as well as targeted therapy in pediatric cancer. His team was the first was to isolate expandable nephron precursor cells and showed their beneficial effects in treating chronic renal injury. He was the first to link normal and malignant human nephron stem cells and identify the Wilms’ tumor stem cells. His group achieved complete eradication of tumor xenografts by targeting these cells with an antibody drug immunoconjugate.
Prof. Dekel’s therapeutic approach has sparked a multi-center clinical trial for relapsing disease. His lab is now evaluating novel therapeutics aimed at eradicating cancer stem cell function in multiple aggressive tumors. In addition, Prof. Dekel has solved a fundamental question in renal biology as to how and to what extent the mammalian kidney maintains and regenerates its entire compartments at the single cell level by showing a mechanism of continuous regeneration and cellular renewal of kidney epithelia by fate-restricted and segment-specific clonal progeny, beginning from fetal stage and persisting throughout adult life. These basic studies are now being translated by his group to developing cellular interventions with human nephron progenitor that have potential halt kidney disease in patients.
Prof. Dekel’s studies are summarized in over 110 publications in the leading medical journals; he is an elected member of the Society of Pediatric Research and the American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI) and serves on the SAB of the UK Regenerative Medicine Initiative. His research has been supported by numerous sources including the Israel Scientific Foundation, Israel Cancer Research Fund, Israel Cancer Association, Israel Ministry of Health, the European Research Committee, the NIH/NIDDK, Ziering and Brettler Foundations and collaborative grants with academic institutes including MD Anderson Cancer Center and Cedars-Sinai Hospital.
For his scientific achievements Prof. Dekel has received multiple awards including the Youdim Family Prize for Excellence in Cancer Research.
- Head of the Pediatric Stem cell Research Institute and the Director of the Division of Pediatric Nephrology at the Edmond and Lily Safra Children's Hospital
- Full Professor of Pediatrics, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University
- Affiliated Faculty at the Department of Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry.
- Served as a Visiting Professor at Stanford University
- Elected member of the Society of Pediatric Research and the American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI) and serves on the SAB of the UK Regenerative Medicine Initiative
Conditions and treatment
- pediatric nephrology
- stem cell
- regenerative medicine
- molecular biology
- tissue regeneration
- renal cancer
- kidney development
- cell therapy
- renal development
- renal progenitor
Education and Training
- Bachelor's degree in Medical Sciences and an MD from the Technion (with distinction)
- PhD from the Weizmann Institute of Science (with distinction)
- Residency in Pediatrics at the Sheba Medical Center
- Clinical fellowship in Pediatric Nephrology at the Schneider Children's Medical Center
- Post-doctoral fellowship in stem cell biology at the Weizmann Institute of Science
- Pediatric Nephrology