Dr. Ruth Scherz-Shouval

Department of Biological Chemistry | Weizmann Institute of Science

Dr. Ruth Scherz-Shouval is the daughter of Prof. Avigdor Scherz, a pioneer in the field of photo-dynamic therapy in the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences at the Weizmann Institute. She earned a BSc in the life sciences with honors at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2002 and a PhD in biological chemistry at the Weizmann Institute of Science in 2008 (with Prof. Zvulun Elazar). She conducted postdoctoral research in Prof. Moshe Oren’s laboratory at the Weizmann Institute and at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and will join the Weizmann Institute’s Department of Biological Chemistry in October 2015.

Dr. Scherz-Shouval is interested in how cancer cells recruit and subvert normal cells to create an environment that promotes tumor progression and metastasis. She studies the protective pathways that cells have evolved to promote their survival under stressful conditions. Cancer exploits some of these defense mechanisms, such as the heat shock response. In her recent work, she discovered that heat-shock factor 1 (HSF1), master regulator of the evolutionarily conserved heat-shock response, plays a vital role in the tumor microenvironment. She showed how HSF1 can reprogram fibroblasts in a tumor’s microenvironment to support malignancy.

Her professional and educational honors include an Aharon Katzir Center travel fellowship and the Feinberg Graduate School Dean’s prize for PhD students in 2007, and a Sir Charles Clore Postdoctoral fellowship in 2008. In 2010, Dr. Scherz-Shouval won a Weizmann Institute of Science National Postdoctoral Award for Advancing Woman in Science, a Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellowship, and a Human Frontiers Scientific Program Long-Term Fellowship. She was awarded a Stuart fellowship for cancer research in 2011, and the AACR Scholar-in-Training Award supported by Susan G. Komen in 2014.