Dr. Avraham Ashkenazi

Cell and Developmental Biology
ביולוגיה תאית והתפתחותית סגל אקדמי בכיר



Dr. Ashkenazi received his B.Sc. (cum laude)  from the Technion in 2006 and M.Sc. (cum laude) from Ben Gurion University in 2008 both in Biotechnology Engineering. He then continued to Ph.D. studies at the Weizmann Institute of Science under the supervision of Prof. Yechiel Shai. In 2013 he received The Elchanan E. Bondi Memorial Prize of the Weizmann Institute for Excellence in PhD StudiesIn 2013, Dr. Ashkenazi joined the laboratory of Prof. David Rubinsztein at the University of Cambridge, UK as a Postdoctoral Fellow supported by the FEBS Long Term Fellowship. He joined the Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University in 2018.

Research Interests

Our research utilizes state-of-the-art technologies to elucidate cellular mechanisms of neurological disorders. Some of these disorders progress late in life, such as Huntington's disease and Parkinson's disease. A common characteristic in these disorders is the accumulation of proteins that are not folded properly and can form aggregates in cells. ​

We aim to elucidate novel regulatory pathways of protein homeostasis in cells to better understand the basis of these devastating diseases and to identify future therapeutic targets.    


Selected publications:

Sharabi, Y., Vatine, G. D., and Ashkenazi, A. (2021) Parkinson’s disease outside the brain: targeting the autonomic nervous system. Lancet Neurology 10, 868-876.

Hill, S.M., Wrobel, L., Ashkenazi, A., Fernandez-Estevez, M., Tan, K., Bürli, R.W., Rubinsztein, D.C. (2021) VCP/p97 regulates Beclin-1-dependent autophagy initiation. Nature Chemical Biology 17, 448-455.

Amer-Sarsour, F., Kordonsky, A., Berdichevsky, Y.,Prag, G. and Ashkenazi, A.  (2020) Deubiquitylating enzymes in neuronal health and disease Cell Death & Disease 12:120.

Falik, D., Rabinski, T., Zlotnik, D., Eshel. R., Zorsky, M., Garin-Shkolnik, T., Ofir, R., Adato,  Ashkenazi, A., Vatine. G.D. (2020) Generation and characterization of iPSC lines from two identical twins with poly-alanine expansion in the paired-like homeobox 2B (PHOX2B) gene. Stem Cell Research 48, 101955

Stok, R., and Ashkenazi, A.  (2020) Lipids as the key to understanding α-synuclein behaviour in Parkinson disease. Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology 21, 357–358 

Amer-Sarsour, F., and Ashkenazi, A. (2019) The Nucleolus as a Proteostasis Regulator. Trends in Cell Biology 29, 849-851

Galves, M., Rathi, R., Prag, G. and Ashkenazi, A. (2019) Ubiquitin Signaling and Degradation of Aggregate-Prone Proteins. Trends in Biochemical Sciences 44, 872-884

Donyo, M. and Ashkenazi, A. (2019) The Cell Death-Associated Polymer, PAR Feeds Forward Alpha-Synuclein Toxicity in Parkinson’s Disease Molecular Cell 73, 5-6

Pavel, M., Renna, M., Park, S. J., Menzies, F. M., Ricketts, T., Füllgrabe, J., Ashkenazi, A., Frake, R. A., Lombarte, A. C., Bento, C. F., Franze, K. and Rubinsztein, D. C. (2018) Contact inhibition controls cell survival and proliferation via YAP/TAZ-autophagy axis. Nature Communications 9, 2961.

Stewart, S. E.1, Ashkenazi, A.1, Williamson, A., Rubinsztein, D. C. and Moreau, K. (2018) Transbilayer phospholipid movement facilitates the translocation of annexin across membranes. Journal of Cell Science 131, jcs217034. 1 Joint first authors.

Ejlerskov, P.1, Ashkenazi, A.1 and Rubinsztein, D. C. (2018) Genetic enhancement of macroautophagy in vertebrate models of neurodegenerative diseases. Neurobiology of Disease 18, 30110-30114.  1 Joint first authors.                                                

Puri, C.1, Vicinanza, M.1, Ashkenazi, A., Gratian, M. J., Zhang, Q., Bento, C. F., Renna, M., Menzies, F. M. and Rubinsztein, D. C. (2018) The RAB11A-Positive Compartment Is a Primary Platform for Autophagosome Assembly Mediated by WIPI2 Recognition of PI3P-RAB11A. Developmental Cell 45, 114-131. Joint first authors.                                                                                      

Ashkenazi, A., Bento, C. F., Ricketts, T., Vicinanza, M., Siddiqi, F., Pavel, M., Squitieri, F., Hardenberg, M. C., Imarisio, S., Menzies, F. M., and Rubinsztein, D. C. (2017) Polyglutamine tracts regulate autophagy. Autophagy 13, 1613-1614

Ashkenazi, A., Bento, C. F., Ricketts, T., Vicinanza, M., Siddiqi, F., Pavel, M., Squitieri, F., Hardenberg, M. C., Imarisio, S., Menzies, F. M., and Rubinsztein, D. C. (2017) Polyglutamine tracts regulate beclin 1-dependent autophagy. Nature 545, 108–111

The paper was discussed in the following articles:

  • Martin, D. D. O., and Hayden, M. R. (2017) Neurodegeneration: Role of repeats in protein clearance. Nature 545, 33–34
  • Strzyz, P. (2017) Excessive polyQ tracts curb autophagy. Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology 18, 344
  • Aziz, N. A., and Balint, B. (2017) The Missing Link in Polyglutamine Diseases. Movement Disorders Clinical Practice 5, 29-30

Menzies, F. M1., Fleming, A.1, Caricasole, A.1, Bento, C. F.1, Andrews, S. P.1, Ashkenazi, A.1, Fullgrabe, J.1, Jackson, A.1, Jimenez Sanchez, M.1, Karabiyik, C.1, Licitra, F.1, Lopez Ramirez, A.1, Pavel, M.1, Puri, C.1, Renna, M., Ricketts, T.1, Schlotawa, L., Vicinanza, M.1, Won, H.1, Zhu, Y.1, Skidmore, J.1, and Rubinsztein, D. C. (2017) Autophagy and Neurodegeneration: Pathogenic Mechanisms and Therapeutic Opportunities. Neuron 93, 1015-1034 1 Joint first authors.

Bento, C. F., Ashkenazi, A., Jimenez-Sanchez, M., and Rubinsztein, D. C. (2016) The Parkinson's disease-associated genes ATP13A2 and SYT11 regulate autophagy via a common pathway. Nature Communications 7, 11803

Bento, C. F.1, Renna, M.1, Ghislat, G.1, Puri, C.1, Ashkenazi, A.1, Vicinanza, M.1, Menzies, F. M.1, and Rubinsztein, D. C. (2016) Mammalian Autophagy: How Does It Work? Annual Review of Biochemistry 85, 685-713   1 Joint first authors.                                                                                                      

Vicinanza, M., Korolchuk, V. I., Ashkenazi, A., Puri, C., Menzies, F. M., Clarke, J. H., and Rubinsztein, D. C. (2015) PI(5)P regulates autophagosome biogenesis. Molecular Cell 57, 219-234


For a full list of publications see the following link:



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