Scholars 2020

Tel Aviv University, Department of Biomedical Engineering

"The Biological Adaptation of Bony Tissue to Mechanical Loading Stimuli"

Summary of Research & Future Plans, December 2005

Update December 2016

Prof. Amit Gefen - Summary of Major Career Achievements To-Date

Prof. Gefen received the B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering and M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Tel Aviv University in 1994, 1997, and 2001, respectively. During 2002-2003 he was a post-doc at the University of Pennsylvania, USA. He is currently a Full Professor with the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Faculty of Engineering of Tel Aviv University.

His research interests are in studying normal and pathological effects of biomechanical factors on the structure and function of cells, tissues and organs, with emphasis on applications in chronic wound research using cell and tissue engineering approaches.

In 2007-2008 he was a visiting scientist in Eindhoven University of Technology, where he developed tissue-engineered model systems to study pressure ulcers. To date, he has published more than 190 articles in peer-reviewed international journals, many of which on mechanobiology, cell and tissue biomechanics. He was awarded the best paper awards by journals such as Medical & Biological Engineering & Computing and Medical Engineering & Physics.

His current Hirsch-index is 29 according to Thomson Reuters Web of Science, and his work has been cited over 3500 times in journal papers published by others (according to the ISI Web-of-Science, and excluding self-citations). He is the Editor-in-Chief of one of the primary journals in his field – Clinical Biomechanics (published by Elsevier). He also edited several relevant books published by Springer and others, and several Special Issues in journals in his field such as the Journal of Biomechanics, Annals of Biomedical Engineering, Medical Engineering & Physics, Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering and more. He is now editing a book series on Mechanobiology, Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials published by Springer. Prof. Gefen has been an Associate Editor or served at Editorial Boards of several international journals which are ranked at the top in his field. Examples include PLOS ONE, the Annals of Biomedical Engineering, the Journal of Biomechanics, Clinical Biomechanics, Medical Engineering & Physics, Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering, Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, the Journal of Tissue Viability and the Journal of Wound Care, to mention a few. In 2015, he was awarded the Editorial Excellence Award by the Annals of Biomedical Engineering and the Biomedical Engineering Society in the United States.

Prof. Gefen has been the President of the European Pressure Ulcer Society (the European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel, EPUAP, 500-650 participants in annual conferences, in 2013-2015. Prof. Gefen recently chaired the International Symposium on Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering which took place in Tel Aviv Israel, in September 2016. Prof. Gefen is a member of the World Council of Biomechanics (appointed until 2026) and a Fellow of the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering (IAMBE, elected in 2014). The research of Prof. Gefen is funded for example by the Israel Science Foundation, Israeli Ministry of Health, Ministry of Science, Ministry of Defense, and multiple national and international biomedical industries. Prof. Gefen is advising and reviewing for funding bodies worldwide and the European Commission. He is the Chair of Scientific Advisory Boards of large international corporates such as ROHO Inc. (Corporate Headquarters in the USA) and Molnlycke Health Care (Corporate Headquarters in Sweden).

The research interests of Prof. Gefen are in studying normal and pathological effects of biomechanical factors on the structure and function of cells, tissues and organs, with emphasis on the musculoskeletal system and applications in chronic wound research. Prof. Gefen uses cell and tissue engineering approaches as well as computer modeling and simulations extensively for that purpose, primarily because they reduce the need for animal model studies.

His group has considerable expertise in experimental studies in cell mechanics and tissue engineering which they are coupling with computational models of the mechanical behavior of cells as well as hard and soft biological tissues.

The research output and publication record of Prof. Gefen’s research group over the last 15 years (over 190 journal articles, most of them focus on chronic wounds and several scientific books) substantially advanced the field of chronic wounds at an international scale. His findings have shaped the Aetiology chapter of the International Guidelines for Prevention and Treatment of Pressure Ulcers that is implemented in numerous hospitals, nursing homes and other care facilities all over the world.

Prof. Gefen is now focusing his efforts on the devastating problem of pressure ulcers (pressure injuries) in spinal cord injury wheelchair users, in the elderly and infirm, and in the neonatal and pediatric populations. Pressure ulcers/injuries are unfortunately common in these populations but are poorly studied from a basic science point of view.

By taking a quantitative bioengineering, integrated experimental-computational and multiscale approach which is unconventional in this field, with a focus on tissue-engineered model systems and computer modeling and simulations, he conducts significant and clinically-relevant research, which then translates to practice in terms of guidelines and technological advancements. The scientific outcomes of his work are already being used to prevent mortality, massive surgical corrections and foot amputations, reduce patient suffering and relieve the heavy financial burden that pressure ulcers/injuries and diabetic foot ulcers impose worldwide.