Prof. David Mirelman’s research interests lie in the field of molecular biology; he was especially interested in the interactions between microbial pathogens and the mucosal cells which line the human intestinal tract. His studies on the amoeba parasite (Entamoeba histolytica) were directed towards understanding the molecular mechanisms of virulence, and the identification of genes responsible for causing dysenteric disease. Prof. Mirelman discovered a method to irreversibly silence the expression of a number of amoebic genes implicated in causing dysentery; and tested the ability of the “silenced” amoebae to serve as a live vaccine that would evoke a protective intestinal immune response and also developed a novel delivery system for a potent anti-amoebic drug,. In addition, Mirelman was interested in the mode of action of allicin, the biologically active molecule of garlic, and has designed a targeted allicin delivery system which can be useful against a number of human diseases, such as fungal infections and cancer. Following his official retirement, and at the request of WI Vice President, Mirelman is currently directing the project of a deceased colleague on a novel method to reduce Brain damage after a Stroke or a Traumatic brain injury.
Born in Argentina, Prof. Mirelman immigrated with his family to Israel in 1949. He received his M.Sc. in Organic Chemistry from the Hebrew University and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the Weizmann Institute. He then spent two years as a research associate at Tufts University Medical School in Boston. After his return to Israel, he joined the staff of the Weizmann Institute and was appointed Full Professor in 1984. He has spent sabbaticals conducting research at the University of California at Berkeley, Harvard University, and as a Fogarty Scholar-in-Residence at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. He has published more than 240 scientific papers in international journals and is the recipient of a number of research prizes, including the Landau Prize, the Kaminitz Research Prize and the Serov Prize of the Society of Microbiology.
In 1986, Prof. Mirelman was appointed Chairman of the Board of YEDA Research and Development Company, which commercializes the inventions of Weizmann Institute scientists. In addition, in 1993, he was appointed as the first Weizman Institute Vice President for Technology Transfer. In 1999, he returned to his laboratory full-time, and was appointed Dean of the Institute’s Faculty of Biochemistry. Mirelman has recently published a book “Not for Profit” describing his experiences during during his term as Weizmann’s V.P. for Technology Transfer.
Prof. Mirelman lives off campus in Ramat Efal. He is married to Ahuva, has three children and seven grandchildren. He served as a paratrooper in the Israel Defense Forces and as a reservist participated in three wars. He has always enjoyed active sports and is an ardent tennis player and skier. He is also interested in biotech businesses and international affairs related to Israel.