The Sheba Pandemic Preparedness Research Institute

About SPRI

Our Model

SPRI Activities




About SPRI

As COVID-19 began to spread in January 2020, Sheba’s Infection Prevention and Control Unit, headed by Prof. Regev-Yochay, was tasked with leading response efforts at Sheba. After recruiting over 9,000 healthcare workers, Sheba ran long-term studies that provided insight into real-world vaccine effectiveness in preventing asymptomatic and symptomatic infections, the immune response, healthy vs. vulnerable populations, and much more.

As a result of this work, over 60 research articles were published in renowned medical journals, such as the New England Journal of Medicine, the Lancet, Nature, and JAMA – impacting national decision-making and prompting the Israeli Ministry of Health, for instance, to administer a third booster shot.

Based on its experience during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sheba recognized the need to prepare for future pandemics and established the Sheba Pandemic Preparedness Research Institute (SPRI).

SPRI develops the medical advances and technologies needed to respond rapidly to global epidemiological crises, focusing on appropriate preventive measures and biological countermeasures such as fast diagnostic tests, monoclonal antibodies (passive immunization), vaccines, and more.

Prof. Gili Regev-Yochay

Prof. Gili Regev-Yochay

Director of SPRI

The SPRI Model

SPRI features a multidisciplinary team of virologists, immunologists, epidemiologists, clinicians, bioinformatics scientists, FACS experts, clinical study coordinators, and more. It aims to enable a continuum from basic science into products that will be tested pre-clinically, and then in Phase I studies at Sheba, alongside industry collaborations and partnerships that will lead to therapeutics and vaccines.

SPRI Activities

  • Establishing multidisciplinary, multifaceted and collaborative research projects to translate clinical expertise into products for medical use.
  • Deploying biological countermeasures promptly in the event of epidemic & pandemic threats.
  • Ensuring pandemic preparedness through:
    • Clinical research on emerging pathogens and host responses
    • Developing vaccines at our Vaccine Research Center (VRC)
    • Advancing diagnostic innovations related to emerging pathogens
    • Modeling epidemiologic and mathematical steady-state and outbreak dynamics

International Collaborations

US National Institutes of Health Partnership

As part of efforts to turn research discoveries into life-saving solutions, Sheba signed a memorandum of understanding with the Dale and Betty Bumpers Vaccine Research Center (VRC) at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Together, Sheba and the NIH-VRC will apply scientific and technological knowledge to design and develop vaccines and biologics against infectious diseases, combining research and clinical fields.

Additional International Collaborations

  • Harvard School of Public Health
  • New York University
  • Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity

SPRI Leadership

Prof. Gili Regev-Yochay

SPRI Director

A professor at Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine and an instructor at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Prof. Regev-Yochay heads SPRI while also serving as Head of Sheba’s Infection Prevention & Control Unit. With numerous published articles and essays in more than 100 top medical journals, several awards for exceptional achievements, including from the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases and the Paul Harris Rotary Award for outstanding contribution to the community in the field of COVID-19, Prof. Regev-Yochay was recognized as one of the 50 most influential women in Israel by Globes business magazine in 2021.

Dr. Daniel Douek

SPRI Senior Scientific Advisor

SPRI Senior Scientific Advisor, Senior Investigator and Chief of the Human Immunology Section at the Vaccine Research Center of the National Institutes of Health, Chief of the Genome Analysis Core, and Director of the PREMISE pandemic preparedness program, Dr. Douek has been at the top 1% of the most-cited researchers in his respective fields since 2014. Among numerous other global recognitions, in 2005, Dr. Douek was ranked as one of the ‘Scientific American 50’ for his contributions to HIV infection causes and mortality research. In 2007, he was given the World AIDS Day Award, and in 2021, he received the NIH Director’s Award for outstanding efforts in the pursuit of efficacious vaccines to prevent COVID-19.


Dr. Yaniv Lustig

SPRI Chief Virologist

Recognized nationally and internationally as an authority in his field, Dr. Lustig Serves as Director of the Israeli Ministry of Health’s Central Virology Laboratory, as well as SPRI Chief Virologist.


Dr. Yael Ottolenghi (Weiss)

Head of the SPRI Laboratory
With a Ph.D. in Immunology from Tel Aviv University, an MSc in Biotechnology from the Hebrew University, and postdoctoral immunology training at Tel Aviv University, Dr. Ottolenghi is a recognized national leader in her field.



Consultant/Senior Advisor to Vaccine Research Center (VRC)

Serving as a Consultant/Senior Advisor of the VRC, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Abraham Mittelman is a recognized figure in his field. He earned his respected PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Graduate Program, Toxicology, and his M.P.H from John Hopkins University, School of Hygiene and Public Health. Dr. Mittelman also serves as an advisor at SPRI for operations and management.


Dr. Noam Barda

SPRI Chief Epidemiologist

With a BSc in Computer Science, MSc in Biostatistics, Ph.D. in Epidemiology and Public Health, an MD from Tel Aviv University, and postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Barda serves as SPRI Chief Epidemiologist as well as Head of the Real World Evidence Research and Innovation Lab at the ARC Innovation Center.


Dr. Gili Joseph

SPRI Clinical and Epidemiological Research Manager
Dr. Joseph holds a Ph.D. in Immunology as well as an M.Sc. in Physiology and Pharmacology from Tel-Aviv University. She previously worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Rutgers University.

Vered Roa

SPRI Administrative Manager

Ms. Roa oversees the numerous logistical and administrative needs of SPRI in support of its scientific mission.