Revel, Michel

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REVEL, MICHEL (1938– ) Israeli virologist. Revel was born Strasbourg, France, where he obtained his M.D. and Ph.D. in 1963 from the University of Strasbourg. After a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School in Boston, he held research positions at the Institut de Biologie Physico-Chimique in Paris, working with Prof. François Gros, a director of the Pasteur Institute. In 1968, he joined the Weizmann Institute of Science, Reḥovot, Israel, became a full professor in 1973, and headed for several periods the departments of virology and of molecular genetics. Revel together with Gros discovered the initiation factors of protein synthesis, which play a major role in the control of mrna translation and gene expression. Revel is best known for his work on the mechanism of the action of interferon and the cloning of the genes for human interferon beta (ifn-β) and interleukin-6 (il-6). His work led to the establishment in 1979 of InterPharm-Serono, the leading Israeli biotechnology company that produces recombinant interferon-beta (Rebif), a medication approved and used worldwide for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. Other uses of ifn-β include genital herpes, viral hepatitis, and some papillomavirus infections. Interleukin-6 (Atexakin) is being developed for the repair of nerve myelin in neuropathies and for differentiating embryonic stem cells as a means to transplant myelinating cells in the nervous system. Revel is the chief scientist of InterPharm, and pursues his research at the Weizmann Institute of Science. He received the Israel Prize for medicine in 1999 and the emet Prize in 2004 for his contributions to medicine and biotechnology. He holds many honorary memberships in professional societies including the European Molecular Biology Organization (embo) and the Human Genome Organization (hugo). He was the chairman of the National Biotechnology Committee for Israel (1999–2002). From 1993, he was a member of the International Bioethics Committee (ibc) of unesco. He contributed to the unesco Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights and authored ibc reports on genetic counseling, on therapeutic research with human embryonic stem cells (including cloning), and on behavioral genetics. In Israel, he serves as chairman of the Bioethics Advisory Committee of the Israel National Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the National Bioethics Committee of Israel, appointed by the Israeli government in 2003.

Revel has published or edited three books, over 220 scientific articles, and writes on bioethics, emphasizing the viewpoints of the Jewish tradition. He directs a study group on the *Zohar and ḥasidic teachings

[Bracha Rager (2nd ed.)]