Alon monsonego 2.jpg

Ph.D.: Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel
Post-doctorate: Harvard University, USA
Position: Senior Lecturer
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Faculty of Health Sciences

Novel approaches for the treatment of neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases




  • Background

Our laboratory is interested in the characterization of key regulatory factors that maintain immune homeostasis and protection from self-originated neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases. In contrast to current therapeutics that mostly offer an anti-inflammatory approach, our goals for cure and prevention are aimed at immunotherapy, designed to strengthen endogenous beneficial immune reactions.

  • Current research

Neurodegenerative diseases – Our research is focused on characterizing how immune alterations associated with aging affect neurodegenerative processes like Alzheimer’s disease (AD), studying: a) migration of bone marrow derived cells to the brain; b) cytokines enhancing neuronal recovery; c) the role of brain-specific antibodies entering the brain; d) immune regulation and homeostasis.

These aspects of the immune system can mediate neuronal recovery by affecting the clearance of toxic forms of amyloid from the brain and by inducing a local milieu supportive of neurogenesis. We have developed a unique AD mouse model that lends itself to the development of safe vaccination approaches aimed at prevention and therapy of the disease.

Autoimmunity – Currently, in collaboration with Prof. Smadar Cohen, two approaches are being taken to intervene with the progression of the autoimmune diseases type-1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis, with the aim of enhancing regulatory mechanisms via: a) the use of 3D-scaffolds to generate a transplantable lymphoid-like tissue with local immuno-regulatory properties; b) the use of peptide- or siRNA-containing microparticles to target cells of the immune system, inducing peripheral immunoregulatory properties.

These approaches offer a platform for the design of immune-based therapies to a variety of autoimmune disorders, whether they originate from immune deficient (e.g. cancer, neurodegenerative diseases) or hyper-immune responses (e.g. autoimmune diseases, allergies).


  • Selected publications

Nemirovsky A., Fisher Y., Baron R., Cohen I.R. and Monsonego A. (2011). Amyloid beta-HSP60 peptide conjugate vaccine treats a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. Vaccine 29(23):4043-4050.

Fisher Y., Nemirovsky A., Baron R. and Monsonego A. (2011). Dendritic cells regulate amyloid-β-specific T-cell entry into the brain: the role of perivascular amyloid-β. J. Alzheimers Dis. 27(1):99-111.

Abutbul S., Shapiro J., Szaingurten-Solodkin I., Levy N., Carmy Y., Baron R., Jung S. and Monsonego A. (2012). TGF-β signaling through SMAD2/3 induces the quiescent microglial phenotype within the CNS environment. Glia 60(7):1160-1171.

Fisher Y., Strominger I., Biton S., Nemirovsky A., Baron R. and Monsonego A. (2013). Th1 Polarization of T Cells Injected into the Cerebrospinal Fluid Induces Brain Immunosurveillance.
J. Immunol. 192(1):92-102.

Monsonego A., Nemirovsky A. and Harpaz I. (2013). CD4 T cells in immunity and immunotherapy of Alzheimer's disease. Immunology 139(4):438-446.

Harpaz I., Abutbul S., Nemirovsky A., Gal R., Cohen H. and Monsonego A. (2013). Chronic exposure to stress predisposes to higher autoimmune susceptibility in C57BL/6 mice: glucocorticoids as a double-edged sword. Eur. J. Immunol. 43(3):758-769.