Skip to main content

Sela, Michael


SELA, MICHAEL (1924– ), Israeli biochemist and immunologist. Born in Poland, Sela was taken to Bucharest as a child and immigrated (1941) to Palestine. He graduated in chemistry from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (M.Sc. 1947, Ph.D. 1954). He became active in the *Aliyah movement from Italy and helped many Jewish displaced persons reach Ereẓ Israel. He then spent two years (1948–50) as commercial secretary to the Israel Legation in Prague.

Sela began his scientific career as a biophysicist under Ephraim *Katzir in Reḥovot, and developed a special interest in immunology. He headed the new unit in that science established in 1963, when he was made professor, and in the ensuing years did extensive research and teaching in the subject. He wrote many papers for scientific journals, edited several books, and lectured widely in Israel and at international forums. His work in elucidating the chemical basis of antigenicity won him the Rothschild Prize (1968). Nine years earlier he received the Israel Prize in natural sciences for work on synthetic polypeptides as protein models. In 1966 he undertook a survey of immunological research in Russia and Hungary for the WHO and between 1975 and 1979 served as council chairman of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (embo).

Among the posts he held at the Weizmann Institute of Science are dean of biology (1970–75), vice president (1970–71),and president (1975–85). In 1976, Sela was elected a foreign member of the U.S. Academy of Sciences, president of the International Union of Immunological Societies, and a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (in the Vatican). He received several additional prizes, including the Baillet-Latour Prize in Belgium and the Wolf Prize in Israel. His name is linked with the drug against multiple sclerosis which he created at the Weizmann Institute and which was developed by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries under the name Copaxone. He is an institute professor and deputy chairman of the Board of Governors of the Weizmann Institute of Science.

[Julian Louis Meltzer]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Sela, Michael." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . 22 Mar. 2019 <>.

"Sela, Michael." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . (March 22, 2019).

"Sela, Michael." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Retrieved March 22, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.