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In recent months, CIFAR Fellow Eran Elinav (Weizmann Institute of Science) and CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar Naama Gema-Zatorsky (Technion), both members of CIFAR’s Humans & the Microbiome program, have quickly pivoted toward the development of two different COVID-19 diagnostic tests. 

Eran Elinav has been leading efforts to create a safer, fully automated, high-throughput COVID-19 detection system capable of testing thousands of samples per day. By contrast, Naama Geva-Zatorsky has pioneered a rapid, simple, and cost-effective method for detecting COVID-19 that can be used on nasal swabs or saliva. In principle it could be performed by any individual as a self-test. Elinav and Geva-Zatorsky will discuss the science behind their techniques, the benefit of different kinds of testing for slowing the spread of the virus, and how Naama’s work was influenced by her participation in the CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar program.




Dr. Eran Elinav, MD PhD heads a research group in the Department of Immunology at the Weizmann Institute of Science. His lab focuses on deciphering the molecular basis of host-microbiome interactions and their effects on health and disease, with a goal of personalizing medicine and nutrition.  He is a Fellow in CIFAR’s Humans & the Microbiome program.

Dr. Elinav completed his MD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Hadassah Medical Center summa cum laude, followed by a clinical internship, residency in internal medicine and clinical and research position at the Tel Aviv Medical Center Gastroenterology Institute.  

He received a PhD in immunology from the Weizmann Institute of Science, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Elinav has published more than 70 publications in leading peer-reviewed journals, and was awarded for his discoveries including the Claire and Emmanuel G. Rosenblatt award from the American Physicians for Medicine, the Alon Foundation award, and the Rappaport Prize for biomedical research.   

Naama Geva-Zatorsky, is a CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar and Principal Investigator of biology at the Technion, Faculty of Medicine, Technion Integrated Cancer Center. She is applying systems-biology approaches together with microbiology and immunology to study the interactions between gut microbes and their associated bacteriophages on host physiology. Geva-Zatorsky received her B.Sc. from Tel Aviv University, double-major Chemistry and Biology, summa cum laude, her M.Sc. and Ph.D., from the Weizmann Institute, studying systems-biology with Prof. Uri Alon, completed with honors. And recently, she concluded her postdoctoral studies at Harvard Medical School, studying gut microbiota-host interactions with Prof. Dennis Kasper. Geva-Zatorsky is a recipient of the national and international UNESCO-L’Oreal award, the Human Frontiers and EMBO fellowships; the John F. Kennedy, Teva and Barenholz awards for academic excellence, and recently, at the Technion, she received the Horev and Alon honors.