Dr. Achia Urbach

Stem Cells and development Laboratory

The Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences

Dr. Achia Urbach joined the Faculty of Life Sciences at the Bar Ilan University in 2014. During his PhD studies at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Achia was one of the pioneers to model human genetic disorders by human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). Then, during his post-doc in Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Stem Cell Institute, he compared between hESCs and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) based models. In addition, he studied the effect of the pluripotency marker Lin28 on the kidneys. Using transgenic mice that enable conditional Lin28 over-expression he showed that Lin28 over-expression during kidney embryogenesis sustains the proliferation of the renal progenitor cells (which normally exist only until the first few postnatal days). He further showed that the abnormal proliferation of these progenitor cells leads to the formation of a tumor similar to human Wilms tumor, which is the most common pediatric renal cancer.

The overall goal of Achia’s Lab in BIU is to combine in-vivo mouse models, ex-vivo organoid models and in-vitro hPSC based models in order to advance our understanding regarding the development of the kidneys and the lungs and regarding kidney and lung disorders.

Specifically, the current two major interests in the lab are:

  1. To study the effect of Lin28 over-expression on developmental and cellular processessuch as embryonic lung development, cystic kidney formation and primary cilia biogenesis.
  2. To model renal disorders by hPSCs both by using hiPSCs derived from patients’ somatic cells and by mutated hESCs (derived from PGD embryos or by genetic manipulations).


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