School is funded with a generous gift from the Shmunis family for research and improved treatments for cancer, COVID-19, and other diseases

Tel Aviv University inaugurated the Shmunis School of Biomedicine and Cancer Research, in the presence of Israel’s Minister of Science and Technology Izhar Shay and benefactors Vlad and Sana Shmunis, online, via RingCentral.

The new School, part of the George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences will enable a leap in biomedical research.  The School’s 300 researchers, students and staff in the fields of cancer research, cancer immunity, bioinformatics, microbiology, biotechnology, and more, will work to identify mechanisms that drive cancer and other diseases. Moreover, they will develop new pharmaceuticals and improve patients’ quality of life. This will be achieved through multidisciplinary collaborations and novel research approaches, such as single cell sequencing and bioinformatics.

Vlad and Sana Shmunis expressed hope that their gift will help strengthen Israel’s standing as a global leader in cancer and molecular biomedical research. “In supporting TAU, we firmly believe that we have found an ideal partner to move the needle towards curing cancer and other terrible diseases,” said Vlad Shmunis, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of RingCentral, Inc. “Cancer is a disease that has unfortunately touched our family and far too many other families.  We hope that our gift to TAU will … improve the lives of people in Israel and around the world.” 

The new partnership will enable the University to recruit the finest researchers and award the annual Shmunis Fellowships to exceptional PhD students. The School will also collaborate with leading academic institutions and host Shmunis Visiting Scholars and international conferences.

Recent Shmunis School achievements:

  • The Gershoni Lab was awarded a US patent for a novel vaccine against the coronavirus
  • The Stern Lab‘s genetic sequencing of the coronavirus tracked the spread of COVID-19 in Israel
  • The Ehrlic Lab is developing virus-based immunotherapies for cancer
  • The Lederkremer Lab developed a therapeutic approach for Huntington’s disease, for which no treatment exists

“I am grateful to the Shmunis family for their important and generous gift,” said Prof. Ariel Porat, President of Tel Aviv University. “Meeting high standards of other renowned centers for cancer research around the globe, the School will be a hub for the brightest Israeli and international researchers to join as faculty.”

This is the Shmunis family’s second major donation to the University. They founded the Shmunis Family Anthropology Institute in 2018 dedicated to the study of the ancient past. The Institute conducts numerous cutting-edge research projects in anthropology and archaeology on campus, helping to shed light on the origins of humankind.

Featured image: Prof. Ariel Porat, TAU President, and Prof. Tal Pupko, head of the Shmunis School, at the Shmunis School Inauguration Ceremony. Photo: Chen Galili.