Betty Schwartz

Organizing Committee Member (NSFT - 2018)

Professor 

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Israel

Biography

Professor Betty Schwartz, PhD from Ben-Gurion University, Beer-Sheva, Israel. From 1990 to 1993 postdoctoral fellow at University of San-Francisco, California. From 1996 onwards she is appointed as Professor at the Institute of Biochemistry, Food Science and Nutrition at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. From 2005-2011 she served as Head of the School of Nutritional Sciences. From 2003-2004 visiting scientist at the Department of Cancer Biology, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX. Research interests are focused on the anticarcinogenic and anti-inflammatory effects of nutrients.

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the Western world including Israel. Professor Schwartz has searched numerous agents present in foods that can act as chemopreventive agents and exert their activity on multiple signal transduction, transcriptional regulation and activation of several apoptotic cascades in various tumor cells and animal models of colorectal cancer or associated colon cancer (induced by inflammation of the bowel).

Adipose tissue in obesity differs from adipose tissue in lean subjects/animals.  Differences are evident in the immunogenic profile, body fat distribution and metabolic profile. Adipose tissue in obesity releases free fatty acids (FFAs), and many pro-inflammatory chemokines, factors known to play a key role in regulating malignant transformation or cancer progression. Our goal is to identify key molecular signals and interactions between adipocytes and colon cancer cells that may foster the genesis and growth of the latter. We aim finding crosstalk mechanisms connecting inflammatory pathways to bioenergetic pathways. Linking both approaches may lead to a more complete picture relating obesity to colorectal cancer. Additionally, we have recently started to study the effect of ostreolysin, a fungal protein that can specifically increase brown adipocyte differentiation and may be used as a future drug for obesity. This molecule is also being tested as a putative pro-apoptotic anticancer treatment.