Emet Prize Laureates

Prof. Ben-Zion Shilo

Wiezmann Institute of Science
2013 Laureates of Emet Prize

In Category: Life Sciences
In Field: Genetics

The study of embryonic development

Prof. Ben-Zion Shilo

Jury Statement

“For his pioneering discoveries in the study of embryonic development, which unraveled the genetic control of tissue patterning, and for the connection between these processes and human disorders.”


Was born in Jerusalem in 1951.

He completed his BSc in Biology and PhD in Genetics at the Hebrew University (1978), and post-doctoral studies at MIT (1981). Towards the completion of his work in Cambridge, he demonstrated, for the first time, that DNA sequences in the vertebrate genome encoding proto-oncogene proteins are conserved in the genome of the fruit fly (Drosophila).

He devoted most of his academic career to the utilization of sophisticated genetic techniques to unravel the components and regulation of the signaling pathways he discovered and their role in normal development. The EGF receptor and its signaling cascade represented his primary focus of interest.

In recent years he has been collaborating with computational biologists to discover the quantitative basis for the accurate patterning of embryos, and is also studying the role of the actin protein in tissue formation.

At the Weizmann Institute he served as the head of the Department of Molecular Genetics, and Head of the Council of Professors and the Committee for Tenure and Promotion of Professors. As Dean of Biochemistry he facilitated the recruitment of 30 new faculty members in the Life Sciences.

He has been a visiting professor at Yale University and Stanford, and a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. His research achievements won him prizes, including the Bruno Prize. He is a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization and served on its council. He also serves on  the editorial board of journals including Development, The EMBO Journal and Molecular Systems Biology.