Professor Karen B. Avraham

Professor Karen B. Avraham

Prof. Avraham is Full Professor at the Department of Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry and Vice Dean at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University. Born in Canada and raised in the US, Prof. Avraham received her B.A. degree from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri and then went on to perform her Ph.D. at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. Her doctoral thesis focused on the development of a model for Down syndrome. She performed her postdoctoral training at the National Cancer Institute in Frederick, Maryland, USA in mammalian genetics.

Since joining the faculty at Tel Aviv University in 1996, Prof. Avraham’s work has centered on the discovery of disease genes, focusing on hereditary hearing loss. Her team uses a multidisciplinary approach, using genetic, developmental, biochemical, cellular and bioinformatic tools to decipher the molecular basis of hearing loss. Dr. Avraham is leading the field in elucidating mechanisms by which mutations lead to auditory and vestibular dysfunction, using state-of-the-art technology. The tools acquired in studying the genes involved in deafness, and deciphering their regulation, are now being used in the Avraham laboratory for the development of therapeutic techniques for the treatment of hearing impairment.

Prof. Avraham has mentored over 60 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and published over 100 manuscripts in high profile journals such as ScienceNature Genetics and The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. Prof. Avraham is an elected member of EMBO, the European Molecular Biology Organization, and the international Collegium ORLAS, limited to 10 scientists and physicians per country who have contributed to research in otolaryngology. She has received the Burt Evans Young Investigator Award, the Sir Bernard Katz Prize, the Bruno Memorial Award from the Rothschild Foundation, and the Teva Prize for Groundbreaking Research in the Field of Rare Diseases. She is Associate Editor of the journals  EMBO Molecular Medicine and the European Journal of Human Genetics. Prof. Avraham is past President of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology (ARO), past President of the Genetic Society of Israel (GSI) (http://www.genetics-il.org) and the President for the Israel Society of Auditory Research (ISAR) (http://isar-society.org). She is a board member of the Israel Center of Excellence (I-CORE): Gene Regulation in Complex Human Disease (i-core.org.il).

Prof. Avraham’s team is highly active within the community, and she is on the board of ‘Na Lagaat’ (Do Touch), a theatre group of hearing impaired and blind actors. She is actively involved in providing education about the genetics of hearing loss to support groups and associations for the hearing impaired, as well as training of hearing impaired graduate students at Tel Aviv University.