Prof. Itai Benhar

  • Biotechnology
מקרוביולוגיה מולקולרית סגל אקדמי בכיר
Prof. Itai Benhar
Phone: 03-6407511
Another phone: 03-6407510
Fax: 03-6405829
Office: Green - Biotechnology, 202


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.




Post-Doctoral Associate; Laboratory of Molecular Biology, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, USA

1992 Ph.D.; Microbiology summa cum laude, Hebrew University
1983 B.Sc.; Agriculture, Hebrew University


Academic Appointments:





Vice Dean for Research, the George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences

The Morris and Manja Leigh Chair in Biophysics and Biotechnology

Chairman of the Laura Schwartz-Kipp Institute of Biotechnology

Full Professor; Department Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology, Tel-Aviv University

2007-2011 Chairman; Department Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology, Tel-Aviv University
2002-2012 Head; B.Sc. program in Biotechnology, Tel Aviv University
2005-2008 Associate Professor; Department Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology, Tel-Aviv University
2001-2005 Senior Lecturer; Department Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology, Tel-Aviv University
1995-2001 Lecturer; Department Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology, Tel-Aviv University


Honors and Awards:

1995 The "Alon" fellowship for outstanding young researchers. The Israeli Ministry of Education
1994 Federal Technology Transfer Award for an outstanding Scientific contribution of value to the USA. National Institute of Health (USA)
1992 The Hebrew University Faculty of Medicine Award for Excellence in Ph.D. Studies
1992 The Prize for Excellence in Ph.D. Studies. The Sepharadic Federation and The World Zionist Agency
1987-1989 Ph.D. Studentship Scholarship. Levi Eshkol Foundation at the Israeli Research Council, The Ministry of Science and Technology (Israel)


Research Interests

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.


Prof. Benhar is or has been a consultant to several Israeli Biotech companies, including AIT (developing antibodies for clinical applications) CEACAM (developing anti-cancer antibodies), GreenVision (developing advances imaging systems), Intellect Neuroscience (developed antibodies for Alzheimer's disease), SeraSense Biotech (developing anti-cancer antibodies) and MedGenics (developing drug-producing skin grafts).



Prof. Benhar teaches a graduate course “Antibody Engineering” and an undergraduate course “Introduction to Biotechnology”.


Please read Prof. Benhar’s detailed research description.

Recent Publications

Prof. Itai Benhar’s full list of publications and be found at:

Publications URL (this is an updated full list of my publications listed on PUBMED):


Continuation of publications from 1991-2011





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


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. 


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.


Brimberg L, Benhar I, Mascaro-Blanco A, Alvarez K, Lotan D, Winter C, Klein J, Moses AE, Somnier FE, Leckman JF, Swedo SE, Cunningham MW, Joel D. (2012) Behavioral, Pharmacological, and Immunological Abnormalities after Streptococcal Exposure: A Novel Rat Model of Sydenham Chorea and Related Neuropsychiatric Disorders. Neuropsychopharmacology. 37(9):2076-87.


Brown Kav A, Sasson G, Jami E, Doron-Faigenboim A, Benhar I, Mizrahi I. (2012) Insights into the bovine rumen plasmidome. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Apr 3;109(14):5452-7. Epub 2012 Mar 19.


Luria Y, Raichlin D, Benhar I (2012) Fluorescent IgG fusion proteins made in E. coli. MAbs. 2012 May 1;4(3):373-84.


Saggy I, Wine Y, Shefet-Carasso L, Nahary L, Georgiou G, Benhar I (2012) Antibody isolation from immunized animals: comparison of phage display and antibody discovery via V gene repertoire mining. Protein Engineering, Design & Selection 25(10):539-49


Mazor R, Vassall AN, Eberle JA, Beers R, Weldon JE, Venzon DJ, Tsang KY, Benhar I, Pastan I. (2012) Identification and elimination of an immunodominant T-cell epitope in recombinant immunotoxins based on Pseudomonas exotoxin A. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 109(51):E3597-603


Litvak-Greenfeld D, Benhar I. (2012) Risks and untoward toxicities of antibody-based immunoconjugates.  Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews 2012 Dec;64(15):1782-99.


Barnea I, Ben-Yosef R, Karaush V, Benhar I, Vexler A (2013) Targeting EGFR-positive cancer cells with cetuximab-ZZ-PE38: Results of in vitro and in vivo studies. Head Neck. 35(8):1171-7


Shimoni M, Herschhorn A, Britan-Rosich Y, Kotler M, Benhar I, Hizi A. (2013) The Isolation of Novel Phage Display-Derived Human Recombinant Antibodies Against CCR5, the Major Co-Receptor of HIV. Viral Immunology. August 2013, 26(4): 277-290.


Brown Kav A, Benhar I, Mizrahi I. A method for purifying high quality and high yield plasmid DNA for metagenomic and deep sequencing approaches. J Microbiol Methods. 2013 Nov;95(2):272-9. doi: 10.1016/j.mimet.2013.09.008. Epub 2013 Sep 17.


Lotan D, Benhar I, Alvarez K, Mascaro-Blanco A, Brimberg L, Frenkel D, Cunningham MW, Joel D. Behavioral and neural effects of intra-striatal infusion of anti-streptococcal antibodies in rats. Brain Behav Immun. 2014 May;38:249-62.


Artzy-Schnirman A, Abu-Shah E, Dishon M, Soifer H, Sivan Y, Reiter Y, Benhar I, Sivan U. (2014) On the limited recognition of inorganic surfaces by short peptides compared with antibodies. J Pept Sci. 2014 Jun;20(6):446-50. doi: 10.1002/psc.2636. Epub 2014 Apr 15.


Mazor R1, Eberle JA, Hu X, Vassall AN, Onda M, Beers R, Lee EC, Kreitman RJ, Lee B, Baker D, King C, Hassan R, Benhar I, Pastan I. (2014) Recombinant immunotoxin for cancer treatment with low immunogenicity by identification and silencing of human T-cell epitopes. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Jun 10;111(23):8571-6.


Shefet-Carasso L, Benhar I. (2015) Antibody-targeted drugs and drug resistance - challenges and solutions. Drug Resistance Updates, 2015 Jan;18:36-46


Levi O, Shapira A, Tal B, Benhar I, Eliaz N. (2015) Isolating epidermal growth factor receptor overexpressing carcinoma cells from human whole blood by bio-ferrography. Cytometry B Clin Cytom. 2015 Mar;88(2):136-44.


Levi O, Tal B, Hileli S, Shapira A, Benhar I, Grabov P, Eliaz N. (2015) Optimization of EGFR high positive cell isolation procedure by design of experiments methodology. Cytometry: Part B - Clinical Cytometry. Mar 2015 Epub ahead of print.


Ben-Horin S, Yavzori M, Benhar I, Fudim E, Picard O, Ungar B, Lee S, Kim S, Eliakim R, Chowers Y. (2016) Cross immunogenicity: antibodies to infliximab in Remicade-treated patients with IBD similarly recognise the biosimilar Remsima. Gut. 2016 Jul;65(7):1132-8.


Halperin A, Shadkchan Y, Pisarevsky E, Szpilman AM, Sandovsky H, Osherov N, Benhar I. Novel Water-Soluble Amphotericin B-PEG Conjugates with Low Toxicity and Potent in Vivo Efficacy. J Med Chem. 2016 Feb 11;59(3):1197-206.


Weiss R, Bitton A, Elgart M, Elhaik Goldman S, Nahary L, Cooper I, Benhar I, Pick C.G, Chapman J. Annexin A2, Autoimmunity, Anxiety and Depression. J. Autoimmunity 2016, 73:92–99.


Krinsky N, Kaduri M, Shainsky-Roitman J, Goldfeder M, Ivanir E, Benhar I, Shoham Y, Schroeder A. (2016) A Simple and Rapid Method for Preparing A Cell-Free Bacterial Lysate for Protein Synthesis. PLoS One. 2016 Oct 21;11(10):e0165137. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0165137.


Diesendruck Y, Benhar I. (2017) Novel immune check point inhibiting antibodies in cancer therapy - opportunities and challenges. Drug Resist Updat. 2017 Jan;30:39-47. doi: 10.1016/j.drup.2017.02.001. Epub 2017 Feb 4.


Weiss R, Bitton A, Nahary L, Arango MT, Benhar I, Blank M, Shoenfeld Y, Chapman J. Cross-reactivity between annexin A2 and Beta-2-glycoprotein I in animal models of antiphospholipid syndrome. Immunologic Research 23 Jul 2016, doi: 10.1007/s12026-016-8840-8


Grinberg Y, Benhar I. Addressing the Immunogenicity of the Cargo and of the Targeting Antibodies with a Focus on Demmunized Bacterial Toxins and on Antibody-Targeted Human Effector Proteins. Biomedicines. 2017 Jun 2;5(2). pii: E28. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines5020028. Review.


Zafir-Lavie I, Miari R, Sherbo S, Krispel S, Tal O, Liran A, Shatil T, Badinter F, Glotsman H, Shapir N, Benhar I, Neil G, Panet A. Sustained secretion of anti-TNF alpha monoclonal antibody from ex-vivo genetically engineered dermal tissue demonstrates therapeutic activity in mouse model of rheumatoid arthritis. J Gene Med. 2017 Aug;19(8). doi: 10.1002/jgm.2965.


Continuation of publications from 1991-2011


B. BOOK CHAPTERS 2012-2017


Vaks L, Benhar I. (2013) Production of stabilized scFv antibody fragments in the E. coli bacterial cytoplasm. Methods Mol Biol. 2014;1060:171-84. doi: 10.1007/978-1-62703-586-6_10.


Dergachev V. Benhar I. (2015) Challenges for Therapeutic Application of Pseudomonas Exotoxin-Based Immunotoxins. In: “Resistance of Targeted Anticancer Therapeutics“ Benjamin Bonovida, University of California, Editor. Accepted for publication.



Continuation of publications from 1991-2011


C. Patents 2012-2017


Solomon, B., Orgad, S., Benhar, I., Rosenfeld, R. Human synthetic single-chain antibodies directed against the common epitope of mutant p53 and its uses.

US Patent Number 8207309 B2. Issue date June 26, 2012.


Barnea, I., Benhar, I., Ben-Yosef, R., Vexler, A. Recombinant fusion proteins and polynucleotide construct for immunotoxin production.

US Patent Number 8597655 B2. Issue date December 3, 2013.


Nelson, N., Yacoby, Y., Gazit, E. Benhar, I. (2014). Photocatalytic Hydrogen Production in Cyanobacteria.

US Patent Number 8741598 B2. Issue date June 3, 2014.


Nelson, N., Yacoby, Y., Gazit, E. Benhar, I. Photocatalytic Hydrogen Production in Cyanobacteria. European Patent Number EP 2 435 483 B1. Issue date Sept 17, 2014.


Yacoby Y, Gazit E, Nelson, N., Benhar, I. Photocatalytic hydrogen production and polypeptides capable of same.

US Patent Number 9181555 B2. Issue date Nov 5, 2015.


Benhar, I., Vaks L. Bi- and monospecific, asymmetric antibodies and methods of generating the same.

European Patent Number EP 2 686 348 B1. Issue date Dec 12, 2015.


Benhar I, Shapira A, Gal-Tanamy M, Greenfeld D, Nahary, L, Zemel R, Tur-Kaspa, R. Activatable toxin complexes comprising a cleavable inhibitory peptide.   US Patent No 9,321,847 B2, Issue date April 26, 2016.


Benhar, I., Vaks, L. BI- AND MONOSPECIFIC, ASYMMETRIC ANTIBODIES AND METHODS OF GENERATING THE SAME. US Patent Number 9,624,291 B2. Issue date April 18, 2017.


Dergachev, A. Osherov, N. Szpilman, A. Benhar I. Amphotericin B derivatives. US Patent Number 9,750,817 B2. Issue date September 5, 2017.


Benhar, I., Vaks, L. BI- AND MONOSPECIFIC, ASYMMETRIC ANTIBODIES AND METHODS OF GENERATING THE SAME. Chinese patent number ZL201280013666.X. Issue date July 28, 2017.



Tel Aviv University makes every effort to respect copyright. If you own copyright to the content contained here and / or the use of such content is in your opinion infringing, Contact us as soon as possible >>
Tel Aviv University, P.O. Box 39040, Tel Aviv 6997801, Israel
UI/UX Basch_Interactive