Dr. Geffen Kleinstern

Dr. Geffen Kleinstern
Dr. Geffen Kleinstern
Faculty Scholar
2021-2022 Cohort
University of Haifa

Geffen Kleinstern’s lab is in the University of Haifa’s School of Public Health, in the Faculty of Social Welfare and Health Sciences.

For her doctoral research in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the School of Public Health in the Faculty of Medicine at the Hebrew University, Dr. Kleinstern explored multiple risk factors for B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (B-NHL) in Israeli and Palestinian populations, specifically, environmental, infectious, and genetic. The most surprising findings were that the mean age at B-NHL diagnosis was 9 years younger in Palestinians compared to Israelis, and the aggressive subtype, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), was much more common in Palestinians as compared to Israelis.

Dr. Kleinstern was invited to do her postdoctoral research at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and later received an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology rank at Mayo. She analyzed genome-wide association studies (GWAS), tumor sequencing data, and epidemiological data, to explore the etiology and prognosis of cancer, and develop inherited and tumor genetic scores for prediction models. The scores she identified at the Mayo Clinic with colleagues led to funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which she has applied to her Zuckerman lab at the University of Haifa. In continued collaboration with Mayo, she explores whether the scores can bring us closer to identifying individuals with monoclonal B cell lymphocytosis (MBL), a pre-cancerous condition, who may be at greater risk of progressing to chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Specifically, she evaluates the prevalence of MBL in the Israeli population as a whole, as well as by ethnicity. She also examines whether MBL increases the risk of threat to life due to SARS-CoV-2 infection in these populations.

Dr. Kleinstern collaborates with oncologists and hematologists in hospitals across Israel, hoping to eventually implement these genetic scores to change clinical guidelines in disease management, using big data to develop personalized medicine.

Dr. Kleinstern is a former member of the Israeli National Synchronized Swimming team and was a candidate for the 2004 Olympics.