Born in Jerusalem, Prof. Yitzhak (Tzachi) Pilpel was awarded a BSc in biology from Tel Aviv University (1993), and a PhD from the Weizmann Institute of Science (1999). He was a postdoctoral fellow in the Harvard Medical School’s Department of Genetics and Lipper Center for Computational Genetics. He joined the Weizmann Institute faculty in 2003 and in 2018 became the Director of the Azrieli Institute for Systems Biology. He became head of the Department of Molecular Genetics at the Weizmann Institute and later also Head of the Braginsky Center for the Interface between Science and Humanities in 2019. He is the incumbent of the Ben May Professorial Chair.
Prof. Pilpel specializes in systems biology, genomics and evolution. He develops computational tools and theoretical models to analyze complex networks within cells and the evolutionary mechanisms that created them. In parallel, he and his laboratory team apply systems biology and genomics experimental strategies to the study of genetic circuits that process and transmit information in cells.
Among Prof. Pilpel‘s awards are the Helen and Martin Kimmel Award for Innovative Investigation (2020), an IBM Faculty Award (2013), the Michael Bruno Memorial Award (2012), the Hestrin Prize of the Israel Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (2010), the Morris Levinson Prize in Biology (2007), and the James Heineman Research Award (2006). He has received the EMBO Young Investigator Award (2005) and a merit-based fellowship for young principal investigators from Horowitz Foundation for Complexity Sciences (2003-2006). In 2011, Prof. Pilpel was elected as a member of the European Molecular Biology Organiztion.
Prof. Pilpel is married to Ayelet and they have three children, Yarden, Adi and Noga. His is involved in improvisational theater and recently began writing sonnets, which, like genes, must obey strict rules that affect form and content.