Faculty Profile: Avraham Parola
December 1, 2011
Prof. Avraham Parola, a biophysical chemist, is known around BGU as the man behind bringing the best and brightest young chemists to the BGU Chemistry Department in his role as dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences from 2002-2008.
He says he was guided in the recruiting process by some advice he once received from his Ph.D. advisor at Brandeis University.
“He told me to always to look for people better than you are. And it helped that I am a very multidisciplinary person in my interests.”
Prof. Parola’s interest in multiple disciplines shows in the many ways he approaches cancer research.
For example, his work includes:
- Determining fetal lung maturity by noninvasive techniques
- Diagnosing drugs in body fluids without reagents
- Bioelectromagnetics — investigating whether high power electric lines cause cancer
- Studying bacteria cell cycles and how they are controlled
- Developing antiangiogenic drugs to prevent the growth of blood vessels and thus starve cancers
- Designing a new generation of antibiotics through the prevention of the enzymatic synthesis of bacterial quorum sensing molecules
Lately, Parola got involved with the study of cell death (apoptosis, necrosis and autophagy) and its relation to cancer and neurodegenerative disease.
How does he accomplish so much? “Sixteen hours a day, and you collaborate,” say Prof. Parola.
Parola is spending this year at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York as a visiting investigator at the Structural Biology Unit, studying the quaternary structure of proteins and protein-protein interaction.