KKL-JNF Awards 2014 Blumberg Prize 758X530.
(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
Ohad Birk, Director of the Genetics Institute, at a gala ceremony at the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba.
Rivka Rey, from the KKL-JNF Bequest Division, emceed the ceremony, which was attended by senior executives from Soroka Hospital, KKL-JNF representatives, colleagues and friends.
Dr. Ehud Davidson, CEO of the Soroka Medical Center, presented the opening greetings at the ceremony and said, “In the last few years, we have been working on a strategy for turning Soroka into one of Israel’s leading hospitals, and I believe that our Genetics Institute is going to be one of the main services and institutes at Soroka. I am therefore proud that Prof. Ohad Birk, who directs the Institute, is receiving this important prize.”
Prof. Avi Yisraeli, Chief Scientist at the Israel Ministry of Health, spoke about how difficult it is to select only one of the candidates. “Ohad, you are joining a very prestigious list of people who have received this prize over the years. Some of them went on to receive the Israel prize, so you have a way to go, and we are investing in you.”
Prof. Birk and his team have decoded the molecular structure of about 30 serious diseases, including some of the most prevalent genetic disorders of the Bedouin population and of Sephardic Jews. Prof. Birk is also involved in applications of the findings by means of routine survey testing for the prevention of the illnesses decoded in his laboratory, an effort that has resulted in a 30% reduction in infant mortality in the Bedouin sector in recent years.
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