Dr. Jacob H. Hanna, MD PhD
Department of Molecular Genetics, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel
Dr. Jacob (Yaqub) Hanna earned his PhD in Immunology and MD in clinical medicine summa cum laude (2007) from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He conducted postdoctoral research at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research –MIT, and joined the Weizmann Institute of Science in 2011 as an Assistant Professor.
Dr. Hanna is pioneering techniques in induced pluripotency and reprogramming of adult cells. Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells have regenerative properties almost identical to those of embryonic stem cells, but can be created from adult cells without using an egg or fetal material. Dr. Hanna was the lead researcher in a study that showed how further-modified iPS cells could be used to treat sickle-cell anemia in mice, the first proof of concept of the therapeutic application of iPS cells. Dr. Hanna has uncovered novel pathways regulating the reprogramming process, and was the first to show ability to boost it up to 100% efficiency. He was also the first to derive pristine “naïve” human pluripotent cells equivalent to those derived from mice, and can generate “humanized” mouse models that have human derived tissues. Dr. Hanna was recognized as Young Innovators of 2010 by MIT’s Technology Review magazine. He was awarded the Sir Charles Clore Prize (2011), Rappaport Prize in biomedical research (2013), Krill Prize by the Wolf Foundation (2013), the Kimmel prize research award (2013). In 2014 he was elected as a member of the Israel Young Academy and was featured among “40 under 40” innovative scientists by Cell journal.