Dr. Moussaieff was born and raised in Jerusalem.
Already as a child, he showed great enthusiasm for science with many of his favorite childhood heroes being scientists. His teachers in elementary school shared his enthusiasm and sent him to additional educational frameworks where he could conduct scientific experiments.In high school he continued learning biology and chemistry. However, part of his passion and intellectual efforts were focused on philosophy and holistic medicine, realizing the limits of the scientific paradigm.
After his army service, he followed both his passions: to science and to holistic forms of healing. Carrying out his B.Pharm studies in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, while studying several forms of holistic medicine: Japanese acupressure, Chinese and Tibetan herbal medicine, and other forms of herbal medicine.
During his bachelor studies in the School of Pharmacy, he met Professor Raphael Mechoulam, a renowned scientist, who taught a course in Natural Products. Fascinated by the field, and by the opportunity to study the science behind natural products under the supervision of a great mentor, he started his MSc studies under the supervision of Professor Mechoulam and Professor Shmuel Koteck. He still remembers their meeting very vividly. Professor Mechoulam had a drawer full of ideas for new projects. They went through several, when the experienced teacher realized that this student needs to pave his own path. "You know what? Why don't you come up with an idea for a project?"… It was soon after that meeting that Arik came back with an idea. He found a monastery in the old city of Jerusalem, where there used to be one of the biggest pharmacies in the world. In that monastery was the secret of the recipe for a long lost remedy, which was one of the best-selling drugs for over two hundred years and lost at the beginning of the 20th century: "the Jerusalem Balsam".
After concluding his MSc with distinction, Arik went forth with the study of one of the main herbal ingredients of the Jerusalem Balsam: Frankincense (Boswellia resin; LEVONA in Hebrew). Intrigued by this herbal remedy, which has over 4000 years of documented use, and stimulated by its central role in Jewish tradition, he decided to pursue the study of the chemistry and pharmacology of Boswellia resin as his PhD thesis with Professor Raphael Mechoulam and Professor Esther Shohami. He concluded his PhD with highest honor. His work was published in several leading professional journals and led to a new start up initiative.
While pursuing his PhD thesis, Arik realized that a new discipline had evolved that integrated a scientific and system-integrative approach: metabolomics, the youngest of the omic sciences. To train in this new and exciting discipline, he took a postdoctoral position in the Weizmann Institute of Science under the supervision of Professor Asaph Aharoni, where he developed a new protocol for cell-specific metabolic analysis, as well as studying the biosynthesis of incencole cembrenoids in Boswellia species.
To further study the link between metabolism and cell identity, and explore the prospects of stem cell research, he then took a second postdoctoral position in the laboratory of Professor Daniel Aberdam, in INSERM, Nice, France. He initiated a study on the metabolic shift that drives the exit of pluripotency and early differentiation in pluripotent cells. In France, he also became father to two children: Orel and Shirel.
Upon the closure of the laboratory in Nice, France, he concluded the work in the laboratory of Professor Yaakov Nahmias in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His work led to new and important insights into the important role of metabolic processes in the maintenance of the pluripotency state and in the initiation of differentiation.
Dr. Arieh Moussaieff joined the Hebrew University in 2014. He is a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine’s School of Pharmacy and a member of the Institute for Drug Research. His research goal is to characterize the profound link between metabolism and cell identity during mammalian development. His laboratory is equipped with state of the art analytical and cell biology instrumentation. Highly proficient in cutting edge technologies, his team is studying exciting aspects of basic as well as applicative research. The highly multidisciplinary work in the laboratory is managed by Dr. Natalya Kogan, an accomplished and highly versatile scientist. The projects combine stem cell biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, analytical chemistry, bio-informatics and pharmacology. These research projects include collaborations with leading scientists from Israel and abroad. Although very new, research in the laboratory has already produced promising and exciting results, shedding new light on the roles cell metabolism plays in early development.