Prof. Isaac Witz visited the Faculty of Chemistry


Isaac Witz, renowned expert in the field of tumor microenvironment research and Doctor h.c. of the University of Vienna, discussed cooperations with faculty members.

The Faculty of Chemistry is honored to have hosted Prof. Isaac Witz from Tel Aviv University.

Isaac Witz, who remains academically active in his late eighties, is a renowned expert in the field of tumor microenvironment research. He has acted, among many other functions both in his native Israel and on the international stage, as co-founder and president of the International Cancer Microenvironment Society.

The term “tumor microenvironment” describes the tumor itself as well as the cells and molecules in close proximity interacting with it. These interactions, which also play a role in the formation of metastases, can be targeted in cancer therapy. A better understanding of the various processes linking the tumor and its neighboring cells therefore has the potential to contribute to the development of new therapeutic concepts.

The Witz Laboratory has an ongoing cooperation with the group of Prof. Christopher Gerner and Ass. Prof. Giorgia Del Favero. Christopher Gerner explains their current project, which explores the mechanism of genesis and possible modes of prevention of brain metastases:


“It is a true privilege and pleasure to collaborate with Prof. Isaac Witz on one of the truly burning questions of current cancer research: Understanding how metastasis works is crucial for better anti-cancer treatments. Our research focuses on two key factors of melanoma brain metastases, mechanotransduction signaling and the microenvironment, particularly glial cells. Mechanotransduction plays a vital role in selecting cells that can target the brain after experiencing blood shear stress. Additionally, bioactive factors secreted by glial cells may determine whether healthy tissue can successfully suppress metastasis. We are supporting the great expertise and excellent quality regarding disease models of Isaac´s team with multimodal imaging and multi-omics analyses.”


Isaac Witz was born in Vienna in 1934. His family escaped the Nazi terror to British Mandate Palestine, where in 1965 he received his PhD in Microbiology/Biochemistry at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Over the course of a long and fruitful academic career, Prof. Witz has returned to Vienna for several guest professorships at the University of Vienna, both at the Institute for Cancer Research – since 2004 part of the Medical University of Vienna – and later at the Faculty of Chemistry. In 2018, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the university of Vienna. ­



Left to right: Christopher Gerner, Giorgia Del Favero, Isaac Witz, Bernhard Keppler