Shay Soker, PhD
Shay Soker, Ph.D., Professor
Dr. Soker received his Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1985. He received his Master’s Degree in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1987 and his PhD in Biology from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in 1993. Thereafter, he was postdoctoral trainee in the Department of Surgical Research at the Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School. Working with Michael Klagsbrum and the late Judah Folkman, Dr. Soker research focused on vascular biology, especially angiogenic growth factors and their receptors.
SYNOPSIS OF AREA OF INTEREST:
1) Vascular biology and the revascularization of bioengineered tissues and organs in-vivo and ex-vivo
2) Liver bioengineering and the use of natural biomaterials in combination with human liver progenitors cells to create human liver tissue and whole organ
3) Bioengineering of corneas for transplantation in human patients suffering from dysfunctional corneal endothelial cells by developing endothelial carrier scaffolds
4) Muscle tissue regeneration including animal models of muscle injury and muscle progenitor cell therapy
5) Micro-tissue biofabrication by developing 3D human organoid testing systems for rapid drug discovery and basic research
6) Development of new cell imaging technologies to track cells seeded on a scaffold and monitor maturation of the bioengineered tissue over time
DETAILED AREA OF INTEREST:
Among his research contributions are the integration of vaacular biology principles in regenerative medicine applications. Dr. Soker developed programs in neo-vascularization of bioengineered tissues, including angiogenic gene transfer to enhance tissue vascularization, cell therapy using vascular cells and ex-vivo revascularization of bioengineered tissues and organs. His stem cell research focuses on the identification and isolation of stem cells from different sources, including adult and fetal stem cells from amniotic fluid and placenta, and their directed differentiation to generate tissues in vitro and in vivo. In parallel, Dr. Soker’s group is exploring tissue-derived extracellular matrices as scaffolds for whole organ bioengineering. He had published several manuscripts describing this technology for the engineering of organs and tissues including liver, kidney, pancreas, intestine, cornea and more. Dr. Soker is among the few researchers who are implementing advanced tissue and cell imaging technologies in regenerative medicine application. Some of Dr. Soker’s projects are now being discussed with industry collaborators in order to create new regenerative medicine product. An example is a cornea scaffold that is used to deliver corneal endothelial cells to patients with inheritable eye disease or older individuals who are in danger of loosing vision.