The Avitan-Hersh Lab

תמונה ראשית- Avitan_Lab

The Avitan Lab

Laboratory of skin cancer research

Principal Investigators: Dr. Emily Avitan-Hersh

The focus of the lab is to unveil critical signaling pathways in Squamous cell carcinoma and the cutaneous T cell lymphoma mycosis fungoides.

Mycosis fungoides (MF) is the most common cutaneous T cell lymphoma. Molecular mechanisms that control MF are still obscure. An optional mechanism involves the ubiquitin-proteasome system, that plays a central regulatory role in protein homeostasis and cell viability, thus may directly affect T cell survival.

The aim of our study is to unveil ubiquitin enzymes that are crucial for T cell survival and to characterize their biological significance. We aim to detect ubiquitin specific pathways and ubiquitin ligases that are critical for MF viability. We study the impact of certain biological drugs on MF progression and pathogenesis. Finally, we validate our results on patient samples to study the clinical correlations and significance of our findings.

Another focus of the lab is Squamous cell carcinoma, which is the second most common of all cancers.  The prognosis of patients with advanced cutaneous SCC is grim and the molecular pathways are yet unsolved. Recently, immunotherapy became the treatment of choice for patients with advanced or metastatic SCC, but response rates are 30-50%. Additionally, there are no predictive or prognostic factors for non-responsiveness.  We study central immune pathways in SCC compared to normal keratinocytes, suggesting an important role in inhibiting SCC tumorigenesis.  Additionally, we study mechanisms of response/resistance to immunotherapy and will explore novel biomarkers for response. 

Meet the Avitan Lab Team>



The Avitan Lab

Dr. Emily Avitan-Hersh

Dr. Emily Avitan-Hersh is Chair of the Department of Dermatology at Rambam Health Care Campus and Head of the skin cancer research lab at CRIR.

Dr. Avitan-Hersh graduated (Cum Laude) from the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and completed her residency in the Department of Dermatology at Rambam. After her residency, she completed her PhD studies on the role of the ubiquitin ligase RNF4 in melanoma tumorigenesis and in resistance to targeted therapy, under the supervision of Assoc. Prof. Amir Orian (Technion, Haifa, Israel) and Prof. Ze'ev Ronai (Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in La Lolla, CA, USA). She leads the melanoma early detection clinic at Rambam and is a member of the European Academy of Dermatology task force for cutaneous adverse reactions in oncology patients. Dr. Avitan-Hersh recently established the Skin Cancer research lab at CRIR. Her research interests include skin cancers , cutaneous lymphoma, and cutaneous side effects of targeted and immune-therapies.

 Dr Avitan-Hersh is a senior lecturer at the Technion’s Rappaport Faculty of Medicine and is a member of the leading committee of the Israeli Society of Dermatology and Venerology.