Michel Revel has M.D. and Ph.D. degrees obtained in 1963 from the University of Strasbourg, France, the city in which he was born in 1938. After a post-doctorate at Harvard Medical School in Boston, he hold research positions at the Institut de Biologie Physico-Chimique in Paris working with Prof Francois Gros, a director of the Pasteur Institute. In 1968, he was appointed at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel, where he has been a full Professor since 1973, heading for several periods the Departments of Virology and of Molecular Genetics.
Prof. Revel discovered the initiation factors of protein synthesis, which play a major role in the control of mRNA translation and gene expression. Prof. Revel is best known for his work on the mechanism of action of interferon and the cloning of the genes for human interferon beta (IFN-β) and interleukin-6 (IL-6). He developed the first Genetic engineering production of a protein (IFN-b) in animal cells (CHO cells) His work led to the establishment in 1979 of InterPharm, a leading Israeli biotechnology company (part of the Serono group), which produced the recombinant interferon-beta (Rebif), a medication approved worldwide for the treatment of the neurological disease Multiple Sclerosis. Rebif is a leading drug sold by Merck-Serono (now 20 years in the market, with peak sales of 2.4 billion $/year, and treatments of over 1.5 million patients-years). Prof. Revel has been the Chief Scientist of InterPharm, while pursuing his research at the Weizmann Institute of Science on Interleukin-6, which is being developed for repair of nerve myelin in neuropathies. Prof. Revel then focused on the differentiation of human Pluripotent Stem Cells (ESC) into astrocytes and oligodendrocytes.
In 2010, Prof. Revel co-founded the Israeli company Kadimastem which develops the ESC-derived astrocytes for the treatment of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and also ESC-derived islet-like cells for the treatment of diabetes. Prof. Revel serves as Chief Scientist of Kadimastem and as member of its Board of Directors.
Prof. Revel has received the Israel Prize for Medicine in 1999 and the Emet Prize in 2004 for his contributions to medicine and biotechnology. He received the Merck Award in 2016 for having developed the Multiple Sclerosis drug Rebif. He was elected at the Israel National Academy of Science and Humanities in 2005. He has been elected Fellow of the New York Academy of Science, and was awarded Honorary Membership in the International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research. He is a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) and of the Human Genome Organization (HUGO). He was the chairman of the National Biotechnology Committee for Israel (1999-2002).
Prof. Revel is deeply involved in Bioethics. From 1993 to 2006, he was member of the International Bioethics Committee (IBC) of Unesco. He contributed to the Unesco Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights and authored IBC reports on Genetic Counseling, on Therapeutic research with human embryo stem cells (including cloning) and on behavioural genetics. In Israel, he served as chairman of the Bioethics Advisory Committee of the Israel National Academy of Sciences and Humanities that issued reports on embryo stem cell research, on large scale population based DNA collections, genetic databases and on the limits of prenatal and preimplantation genetic diagnostic. He chaired the board of the International Center for Health, Law and Ethics (Haifa University). He was a member of the Health Ministry National Helsinki for Human Medical Research and has helped draft laws for the Israeli Parliament. He was the first chairperson of the National Bioethics Committee of Israel, created by the government in 2004 (until 2010).
Prof. Revel has published 3 books, over 220 peer-reviewed scientific articles. His bioethics, writings, emphasizing viewpoints of the Jewish tradition are at: //bioethics.academy.ac.il.