Microbiology Experts

Itai Benhar

Molecular Microbiology & Biotechnology
Tel Aviv University

Itai Benhar


Prof. Benhar received his PhD in Molecular Biology from Hebrew University in 1992, where he studied control of bacterial gene expression. Prof. Benhar did his post-doctoral training at the National Cancer Institute, NIH, working with Dr. Ira Pastan on recombinant immunotoxins. In 1995, Prof. Benhar joined the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology at Tel Aviv University as a tenure-track assistant professor. Prof. Benhar received tenure in 2002, became an associate professor in 2005 and a full professor in 2008. Between 2007 to 2011 Prof. Benhar served as the Department Chairman. Since 2014, Prof. Benhar is serving as Vice Dean for Research of the Faculty of Life Sciences.

Research Interest

Prof. Benhar is an expert and opinion leader in the field of antibody engineering. Over the 22 years of being active in that field, he prepared several phage display libraries from which antibodies against numerous targets were isolated. Prof. Benhar publishes 93 research papers, wrote 12 book chapters and submitted 19 patent applications. Research in Prof. Benhar’s group is multidisciplinary, involves many collaborations and is currently focused on the following topics: 1) Study of design principles for bispecific antibodies their application to develop potential therapeutics. 2) Study of combinations and conjugates of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies with low-molecular-weight heparins for treating inflammatory bowel diseases. 3) Studies of targeted drug-carrying nanomedicines combined with Medicinal Chemistry approaches for the eradication of pathogenic fungi, chronic inflammation and cancer. 4) Study of novel approaches for discovering GPCR-specific antibodies. 5) Targeting lymphoma with bispecific antibodies.


  • Pichinuk E, Benhar I, Jacobi O, Chalik M, Weiss L, Ziv R, Sympson C, Karwa A, Smorodinsky NI, Rubinstein DB, Wreschner DH. (2012) Antibody targeting of cell-bound MUC1 SEA domain kills tumor cells. Cancer Res. 72(13):3324-36.

  • Shapira A, Shapira S, Gal-Tanamy M, Zemel R, Tur-Kaspa R, Benhar I. (2012) Removal of hepatitis C virus-infected cells by a zymogenized bacterial toxin. PLoS One. 2012;7(2):e32320. Epub 2012 Feb 16.

  • Harel Inbar N, Benhar I. (2012) Selection of antibodies form synthetic antibody libraries. Arch Biochem Biophys. 526(2): 87-98.

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