Department Department of Software and Information Systems Engineering
Faculty of Engineering Sciences
My life before BGU:
I was born and raised in Or Yehuda, where I also went to high school. I studied medicine at Tel Aviv University in a pre-military program, and while serving in the IDF, I completed an undergraduate degree in computer science at the Open University. I then did a medical residency in public health (epidemiology) at the Clalit Research Institute while studying for a combined PhD in public health and computer science at Ben-Gurion University. I did my postdoc at the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Harvard.
"Once you have mastered techniques developed for field A, they can be used to solve problems in a range of other fields. This creative process, where existing ideas are applied to new areas, is one of the highlights of research"
My research is applied, and it straddles the border between medicine (particularly public health and epidemiology) and computer science and statistics. Most of my work entails using technologies from data science and computers to solve problems in medicine. In practice, this means a focus on causal inference and prediction.
Well, the answer has several layers: At the practical level, it was natural to continue at BGU since I did my PhD here. Looking forward, we are presently trying to establish Israel’s first program in biomedical informatics and digital health, and I am pleased to be a part of these efforts. At the most abstract level, I simply love the desert.
An insight from my research:
While I was in medical school, I had a conversation with a professor of neurology about diseases of the spinal cord and used terminology from orthopedics. The professor became a bit annoyed and then suggested: “learn neurology from neurologists and orthopedics from orthopedists."
Years later, I realized that he had inadvertently hinted at one of the most enjoyable aspects of research: Once you have mastered techniques developed for field A, they can be used to solve problems in a range of other fields. This creative process, where existing ideas are applied to new areas, is one of the highlights of research..
Something that doesn’t appear on my CV:
In my youth I was a pretty serious gamer. I think that I am still one of the all-time best Zerg players in Israel.
When I grow up:
As a child I probably would have said “a computer guy." During med school, probably “doctor."
Today it would be “something between a computer guy and a doctor."
If I were not a researcher, I would…
Probably be in a clinical practice. Maybe a programmer. See above.
» Facebook or Twitter? Twitter. It's much more interesting
» Game of Thrones or the Simpsons? GOT. George RR Martin's skill in writing scenes (see: The Red Wedding) is unsurpassed
» Yoga or CrossFit? Hmm… What's that?
» Hapoel or Maccabi? My wife is a fan of Maccabi Tel Aviv's basketball team. I'm over it.
» Chess or backgammon? I played chess in my youth. Today, neither
» Steak or tofu? “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven."
» Trekking or the spa? Obviously, trekking, but you can also just have a picnic out in the wild
» Car or train? Depends on the situation. Usually, a car
» Xbox or PlayStation? Only PC!
» Fortis or Sakharov? Depends on the mood
» Classical Europe or India? Europe, simple
» Ocean or pool? I'm not crazy about either. Pool if I'm forced
» Radio or podcast? It depends if I'm up for some cognitive work
» Night or Morning? The Rambam already noted that “it is only at night that a person acquires most of his wisdom"
» Winter or summer? Winter, obviously
» Cat or dog? Bambina. She's a dog
» Film or Play? Film, but only if it got over 80% on Rotten Tomatoes