Group Members

Group Members

Dr Keren Agay-Shay

Environmental Epidemiology


Dr Keren Agay-Shay is an environmental epidemiologist, the head of the Health and Environment Research (HER) Lab in the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine at Bar-Ilan University (BIU). The interface between environment and humans and their mutual effects have always fascinated Dr. Agay-Shay. During her PhD she studied the associations between ambient exposures and adverse pregnancy outcomes (APO). Her research projects were among the first that studied these, which led her to receive a prestigious award from the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology (ISEE). Dr. Agay-Shay joined the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (ISGlobal), Barcelona and conducted a study on biological levels of exposures to mixtures of endocrine disrupters chemicals during pregnancy and childhood metabolic syndromes. She returned to Israel, and joined the prestige post-doc fellowship program (MIMSHAK). As a MIMSHAK fellow, at the Ministry of Health, she focused on writing policy papers on Haifa bay area morbidity, unconventional gas drilling, dust event and health, air pollution and diabetes and conducted risk assessment for Fluoride. These were presented before the Israeli Parliament as well as in various professional inter-governmental committees. Dr. Agay-Shay joined BIU in October 2016 and developed novel approaches for the in-depth understanding of the links between various exposures (ambient temperature, greenness, ambient air pollution, residence near refineries and personal biomonitoring) and health outcomes, specifically APO, child health, cancer incidence, stress and short term psychological, physiological and cognitive responses, by using novel statistical tools and innovative epidemiological approaches, that were not used before in Israel and elsewhere. She mainly worked on observational epidemiological studies but also conducted field experimental studies.  In addition, she conducted health impact assessment (HIA) to evaluate the burden of disease from ambient exposures. She established national and international collaborations, and acquired professional experience, skills, knowledge, and innovative tools that are currently implemented in her studies and delivered to her students (9 MD, MSc and PhD). The innovation of her research has been recognized through awards and research grants. She has published 19 papers in highly ranked journals. All her studies are relevant to policy makers to improve public health in Israel and elsewhere.

Phone Number: +972-53-335-1274


Dr Limor Meoded-Danon

The geneticization of DSD/Intersex bodies


Meoded Danon is a researcher and lecturer at the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine since January 2020. Her current studies focus on the Geneticization of intersexuality and the journeys to parenthood of people with variations of sex development. She conducted her postdoc fellowship between 2015-2019, at the Martin Buber Society of Fellows (MBSF) of Humanities and Social sciences at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She conducted a comparative study on the biopolitics of intersexuality in Germany and Israel, as well as parental and intersex people’s lived experiences. She published her findings in 5 articles, in high ranked journals. In 2012 she completed her doctorate in the department of Sociology and Anthropology at Ben Gurion University of the Negev. Her dissertation’s title: Intersexuality and the “MinGuf process”: The paradox of sex. She published the first Hebrew book on intersexuality in Israel and took part in the first documentary film on intersex people in Israel. She has taught courses on sociology of the body, sex/gender biopolitics and qualitative research at different colleges and universities throughout Israel, as well as at the University of Konstanz in Germany.


Prof. David Karasik

Genetics of Musculoskeletal Disease


The Musculoskeletal Genetics Lab was established in 2011 at the new Faculty of Medicine. The Lab’s research focuses on the heritable musculoskeletal disorders of aging, such as osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, muscle loss (sarcopenia), and fatty infiltration of muscle and liver. Our search for genes underlying variation in risk of these common diseases, which began with the genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in human populations, is reinforced by validation using functional experiments in animal models (murine and piscine), based on homology between the species and evolutionary theory.

Phone Number: +972-54-478-8805


Prof. Michael Edelstein



Professor Michael Edelstein is a UK-trained Public Health physician specializing in infectious disease and vaccine epidemiology. He joined the Bar-Ilan University Azrieli Faculty of Medicine, based in Safed, as associate professor, in August 2020. His major research interests focus on the equitable delivery of public health programs, harnessing digital tools (and data in particular) to improve public health, applied principally, but not exclusively, to immunization programs.

Prior to joining Bar-Ilan University, Professor Edelstein was responsible for improving vaccine coverage data and optimizing the quality and use of data to improve the national immunization program across the life-course and to reduce inequalities at PHE, England’s national public health agency. He was also a member of England’s national COVID-19 surveillance team. As an honorary associate professor of Public Health at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, his research focused on barriers and enablers to reducing health inequalities in vaccine programs. He was the president of the infectious diseases section of the European Public Health Association (EUPHA) between 2018 and 2021.

Professor Edelstein is also deputy editor of the journal Epidemiology and Infection, and a fellow of the UK Faculty of Public Health. He serves on the national immunization advisory committee to the Israeli Ministry of Health, and has served on expert groups for the World Health Organization and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. He has over 65 peer-reviewed publications

He can be followed on Twitter: @epi_michael and is always interested in hearing from students with innovative research ideas!



Dr. Sivan Spitzer


Sivan Spitzer is an organizational sociologist and is the principal investigator of ‘HEAL’ – Health Equity Advancement Lab.

Her interests lie in the study of health inequities, and more specifically, in identifying, designing, and evaluating organizational strategies aimed at reducing health care inequities through the prism of organizational change and implementation science. Inequities in access and provision of care exist for many disadvantaged groups, including minorities, persons of low-socioeconomic status, the elderly and the disabled, in many countries as well as in Israel. Current research is lacking in terms of understanding the facilitators and barriers to implementation of organization-wide equity initiatives and how organizational mechanisms may help reduce inequities in care. The research that she has conducted to date aims to address these deficiencies in current knowledge.

Using implementation science and organizational change frameworks and theories, research projects carried out in HEAL focus on translating equity from value to action through complex organization-wide change efforts in both community and hospital settings in a wide range of health and healthcare topics including chronic disease management, integration of care and precision medicine.

Harnessing her sociological background, as head of population health education at the faculty Spitzer is also working to impact on traditional bio-medical thinking and medical education training through the continuous development of a new curriculum for medical students.