Ayal Hendel

Invited Speaker

Ayal Hendel | Bar-Ilan University | Israel

Ayal Hendel is a Principal investigator and a Senior Lecturer in the Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciencesin at Bar-Ilan University. Ayal’s research focuses on developing Genome Editing and the CRISPR technology as a method of gene therapy for genetic diseases of the blood and the immune system such as severe combined immunodeficiency. In addition, Ayal’s lab develops novel genome editing approaches for cancer immunotherapy. Ayal received his B.A. with high honor from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Biology and his M.Sc. and Ph.D. from the Weizmann Institute of science. Ayal carried out post-doctoral research at Stanford University School of Medicine with Prof. Matthew Porteus, where he demonstrated that chemical alterations to synthesized CRISPR-single guide RNAs enhance genome editing efficiency in human primary T cells and hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. In addition, in a recent study he was part of a team that achieved therapeutically relevant genome editing frequencies in human hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells.

We are in the midst of a revolution in genome editing and CRISPR-Cas9 technology was the spark. With unprecedented rapidity, the discovery of clustered, regularly interspaced, short palindromic repeats (CRISPR), and the CRISPR-associated protein 9 (Cas9) has provided a straightforward, robust, and specific method for genome editing. Our lab is particularly interested in applying genome editing for personalized medicine and gene therapy of genetic diseases of the blood and the immune system such as primary immunodeficiencies and cancer. We believe that the ultimate cure for these diseases will be application of a genome editing approach where we precisely correct mutated genes while leaving the remainder of the genome with minimal perturbation. Therefore, our research focuses on developing genome editing as curative therapy for genetic diseases and improving genome-editing efficiency, specificity and safety in order to advance this technology towards treatment in patient.