Prof. Howard Cedar

Chairperson , Developmental Biology & Cancer Research, IMRIC
Harry and Helen L. Brenner Professor of Molecular Biology

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Why I became a researcher: 

My research at IMRIC actually began when I entered NYU in 1964. That's when I started thinking about genetics and the genetic ‘book.’

For the last 50 years, scientists have been asking “What's the machinery for translating the genetic information? What's in that genetic ‘book’ and how does it all work?” Well, as it turns out that it's not about the book, but rather how that book is read. DNA has letters and sentences just like any other text, and at IMRIC we are learning how to chemically circle or underline the text to turn it on or off. That's DNA methylation. This is what our IMRIC team is now doing in its collaboration with Dr. Moshe Szyf at McGill University in Montreal.

It’s an important step in understanding human development, and a very important breakthrough in the treatment and diagnosis of genetic diseases.


1964: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

1970: M.D. and Ph.D., New York University

Selected Awards and Honors: 
2011: Canada Gairdner International Award
2009: Emet Prize
2008: Wolf Prize
1999: Israel Prize
haimc [at] ekmd [dot] huji [dot] ac [dot] il
Collaborative Projects

Epigenetics Research

This IMRIC collaboration reunites Dr. Szyf with his teacher, Prof. Howard Cedar, as they continue their pioneering work in epigenetics and cancer. 

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Prof. Howard Cedar, IMRIC Researcher - DNA Methylation & Cancer Research, 1 of 3

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Researcher in the News

Haim Cedar, 2011 Gairdner Award Winner, Calls for More Allocation of Government Money into Research

Winner of the prestigious medical award, Haim Cedar, in a message to the decision makers: "The government must allocate more money to research – it's the inexpensive method for curing"

Calcalist, 20 April, 2011 - The 2011 Gairdner Award was granted to Israeli professors Haim Cedar and Aharon Razin for their contribution to the treatment of cancer.  The president and chairman of the Gairdner Foundation came to Israel to grant the prize and are convinced that they will locate additional candidates in the future: "Israelis just have the right DNA"

Israeli Researchers Win Canadian Medical Science Award

By JENNY HAZAN, CJN Israel Bureau   

Thursday, 28 April 2011

TEL AVIV — Five representatives from the Gairdner Foundation of Canada toured Israel earlier this month and met with the Israeli recipients of this year’s prestigious Canada Gairdner International Awards.

Jerusalem Post Article: "Two Hebrew University Biochemists Tipped As Likely Nobel Laureates"


World-renowned Hebrew University biochemists Prof. Howard (Chaim) Cedar and emeritus Prof. Aharon Razin were pleased to hear predictions late last week that they would likely win the 2013 Nobel Prize in the fields of medicine or chemistry.

The Conversation Article: "No Nobel, But Epigenetics Finally Gets The Recognition It Deserves"


Epigentics is the study of how chemical changes caused by our environment can alter our gene expression – without altering DNA structure. Bird, Cedar and Razin have focused their work on how these signals and changes can now be used for therapies and understanding diseases - epigenetics can no longer just be dismissed as an phenomenon.

Hebrew University’s Methylation Maestro

After initially discovering that DNA methylation represses transcription, Howard Cedar continues to explore how the epigenetic mark regulates gene expression.