From Surviving Chernobyl to Tackling Cancer & COVID: Yan Leyfman’s Personal Journey into Medicine

From Surviving Chernobyl to Tackling Cancer & COVID: Yan Leyfman’s Personal Journey into Medicine

Dr. Yan Leyfman was born in Bobruisk, Belarus – 70 miles away from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. He was placed on palliative care and survived largely due to being connected to care in Israel. Today, Dr. Leyfman has contributed to several anticancer therapies in clinical trials and treatment recommendations for care. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he served as the Director of the Immunology Division of the Global COVID-19 Taskforce, which produced one of the first mechanisms for COVID-19 and COVI-Flu along with therapeutic interventions for both.

Vasily Zaitsau, a member of The Together Plan team, lives in Minsk. His family was also impacted by Chernobyl and he himself was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 4. Join Vasily and Yan in conversation as they explore the impact of Chernobyl on Yan’s life vision, religion, and love for medicine.

This event will be in: English 🇬🇧

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24 Apr 2022


6:30 pm - 8:30 pm


  • Vasily Zaitsau
    Vasily Zaitsau

    Vasily Zaitsau came from the Gomel region of Belarus, the area that suffered most from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The village where his father lived was located just 90 kilometers away from Chernobyl. For a long time this territory was closed for visitors and it is forbidden to live there today because of the nuclear pollution. Vasily was born in 1995 and in 1999 he fell ill with cancer. He was four. All of the doctors said they were 1000% sure that it was a side effect of the Chernobyl catastrophe.

    Vasily, who has spent a number of years working at an international banking group, managing financial projects, once understood that money and businesses that are so valued in our modern life, really don’t matter. At the same time, he took part in a couple of local Red Cross fundraising projects for children hospices. As a result, he concluded that the only real value in this world is people – around you and all over the globe.

    Vasily met Artur Livshyts, head of the Minsk office, and became a member of The Together Plan’s staff as a part-time employee. As a project manager, Vasily implements his skills in the Archive Service, helping people to find their roots and identify ancestors.

  • Yan Leyfman
    Yan Leyfman

    Dr. Yan Leyfman, born in Bobruisk, Belarus, has been recognized as one of the top international researchers in oncology by the American Society of Haematology and American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). He has contributed to the development of several anti-cancer therapies that have recently entered clinical trials and new treatment recommendations of care. His successes have been recognized by the Goldwater Research Foundation, Sigma Xi, New York Times, and Harvard Medical School. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he was recruited to join the Global COVID-19 Taskforce to serve as Director of the Immunology Division, which produced one of the first mechanisms for SARS-CoV-2 and COVI-Flu along with therapeutic interventions for both.

    In June 2021, Dr. Leyfman presented the first mechanism to explain the interplay between cancer and COVID-19 at the 2021 ASCO Annual Meeting. His work has been published as the cover article in the journal, Shock, and in the textbook, Insights on a Post-COVID World. Over the past year, Yan was recognized as the 2020 Emerging International Scholar in Immunology & Immunotherapy, 2020 New York State & City Manhattan Hero for his community service and research contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic and by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center for research excellence.

    Dr. Leyfman also has a passion for education, mentorship, and community service. He is a journal editor and mentor to medical students in redeveloping countries and gives talks about the latest innovations in medicine.



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