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Featured Profile
Z. Ioav Cabantchik
Z. Ioav Cabantchik
Featured Profile
Finbarr Cotter
Finbarr Cotter
British Society of Haematology
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ISSN: 1478-1247



Z. Ioav Cabantchik
Chair of Life Sciences, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel.

Z. Ioav Cabantchik My undergraduate training in Biology and Chemistry happened to be crucial for my future medical research career, in which I strived for understanding the molecular basis physiological mechanisms and their malfunctions in pathological states. The red blood cell was (and still is) the ideal object for that purpose and it is perhaps not by chance that my doctoral thesis was on the "characterization of chemical sites that control anion transport in red blood cells". That project was carried out at a time when the mere existence of integral membrane proteins was still debated. It was here that my chemical training allowed me to identify band 3 as the anion transporter of red blood cells that is involved in the physiologically important chloride bicarbonate exchange. Since that seminal discovery (made in the lab of Aser Rothstein, my thesis advisor), I kept loyal to blood by following research on malaria and later on iron metabolism in health and disease. What kept me in this field is the amenability of the system for carrying out translational research and develop novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches based on rational design.

Why did you go into hematology?

The intellectual and highly stimulating environment in which I trained (U of Rochester Medical School) led me straight into experimental and clinical hematology.

Who or what has most inspired you in your work?

As graduate student I had the privilege to be coached by E Racker (then a visiting professor at the Hebrew University , a superb scholar and incredible human being).

Which scientific papers have made a great impression on you?

Those by Jacob and Monod and the book by E Schroedinger ("What is Life").

What is the most important lesson you've learnt in your professional life?

What A Einstein has said, that "precision will lead you from A to B; imagination to anywhere".

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

Intellectually, that a structure-function model of a membrane transporter (such as band 3), that we based on "simple" biophysical approaches was largely confirmed (20 years later) by modern structural biology.

Medically, that a chemical agent could be rationally designed to "replace or reinstate" a faulty biological function and thereby used for therapeutic purposes.

What are the best and worst aspects of your job?

Best, when you are privileged to be part of a system that justifiably recognizes and rewards the achievements of others (students or scholars) and worst, when those are not, and you are in the minority.

When or where are you happiest?

When you are met with a smile after a long day of good work.

What do you do to relax?

Listen to music: Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Brahms and A Piazzola (hard choices).

What book are you reading at the moment?

"Collapse" by Jared Diamond.

What's your most evocative piece of music?

Musical Offering by Bach.

What's your favorite film?

Cinema Paradiso.

What are your hobbies?

Reading biographies and historical dramas.

What car do you drive?

Ford Fiesta.

What are your unfulfilled ambitions?

Playing Music (mostly classical).

How would you like to be remembered?

With a smile.
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