Gal Keshet 2023-2024

Institution of PhD:
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Academic Discipline of PhD:
Department of Genetics
PhD Advisor/s:
Prof. Nissim Benvenisty, Department of Genetics, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Dissertation Topic:
Studying Pluripotency and Parental Imprinting Utilizing Human Pluripotent Stem Cells

Gal grew up in Givat Shmuel and now lives in Jerusalem with his wife Liron. His passion for science was ignited at around age 4 by a friend of his parents who is a plant biologist, eventually leading him to pursue a BSc in life sciences at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. During his studies, he became increasingly interested in biomedical research, as well as in epigenetics and stem cell biology.

After completing his BSc with honors, Gal continued to a direct PhD program at the Azrieli Center for Stem Cells and Genetic Research in the Department of Genetics of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, under supervision of Prof. Nissim Benvenisty, where he is studying imprinted genes and pluripotency, utilizing human pluripotent stem cells.

Genomic imprinting is a fascinating phenomenon whereby genes are expressed in a parent-of-origin-dependent manner. It is essential for proper embryonic development and can cause serious disorders when misregulated. Human pluripotent stem cells are cells that can differentiate into all the cell types of the body, thus holding great potential for biomedical and research applications. By differentiating pluripotent stem cells containing an exclusively paternal genome from ovarian cells, Gal and his peers showed that genes that are expressed only from the father’s genome are essential for the development of the female reproductive system. Gal is also interested in exploring the underlying molecular pathways that govern pluripotency, to better understand early human embryogenesis. He has already published some of his research in scientific journals, presented his studies at several international meetings, and received travel and excellence awards.