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For the first time, the Rapaport Award for excellence in the medical field is awarded

Prof. Samder Cohen from Ben-Gurion University is awarded $100 for research that led to the creation of a biological "scaffold" that restores myocardial infarction tissue

Prof. Samdar Cohen, Ben-Gurion University
Prof. Samdar Cohen, Ben-Gurion University

The head of the Department of Biotechnology Engineering at Ben-Gurion University, Prof. Samdar Cohen, was informed last Thursday, by members of the Rapaport Prize Committee, that she is the first winner of the Baruch Rapaport Prize, for her work in her field of research. The prize amount is 100 thousand dollars.
This year it was decided for the first time by the Rapaport family to expand the awarding of the awards, beyond the field of culture, in favor of research grants for leading and outstanding researchers in the field of life sciences and biomedical professions. In addition to the requirement that the research be groundbreaking and innovative, it is required to have real and practical therapeutic implications for the benefit of humanity. Also, the Rapaport family decided that the award would be given personally to an Israeli scientist who led the research, as a sign of appreciation and recognition for his activity. Therefore, those recommended for the award also had to be submitted personally by colleagues, and not on behalf of any academic institution. The Rapaport Prize will be awarded to Prof. Cohen in a festive ceremony that will take place on Sunday evening at the Rapaport Institute for Medical Research in Haifa.
Prof. Cohen invented and developed an innovative and pioneering product in the field of heart disease treatment: the product is derived from the natural polysaccharide alginate, a substance derived from algae, which enables the recovery of damaged heart tissue. Cohen developed both the product that acts as a scaffold, on which the new tissue can grow, and the necessary properties for it to crystallize from a liquid to a gel precisely in the required area. The new product comes to answer one of the most complex problems in medicine, which is the difficulty of restoring damaged organs and tissues. A key factor in reconstruction is the skeleton ("scaffold"), where the natural material inserted into the body acts in a healing manner that prevents the deterioration of the myocardial infarction, and later regenerates and returns it to normal activity. The product is marketed to Bioline from Jerusalem, and has been clinically tested on people, as a medicinal product. In August 2009, the Bioline company granted a license to the American company "Icaria" which will continue to develop it in advanced clinical trials, until it is approved as a medical product. It should be noted that Prof. Samdar Cohen has received much recognition and appreciation in recent years both in the scientific community and in the public sphere.

Rapaport Award
Peres Rappaport, founded by Ruth and Baruch Rappaport five years ago. So far, it has been given every year to two painters, a senior and a young one, who live and work in Israel. The award is given every year in the middle of March, to mark Baruch Rappaport's birthday. Each painter who wins the prize undertakes to contribute at least one work to the Ruth and Baruch Rappaport Collection of Israeli Art. The collection will be presented in an exhibition at the museum, on the tenth anniversary of the award.

The late Baruch Rappaport passed away this year at the age of 88 and left behind an impressive legacy. Baruch Rappaport, together with his wife Ruth, who is still active today in everything related to the foundation's activities, knew how to combine the dizzying business success with a love for culture and art and with a social commitment of giving to promote culture and science, health and education. All this many years before the business sector embraced these goals. Rapaport, who made most of his fortune in the shipping business, banking and oil exploration and production, in global businesses, was known for his philanthropic activities. He initiated and established the Rapaport Institute for Medical Research and stood by Prof. Avraham Hershko and Aharon Chechanover when they received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2004. He founded the Rapaport School of Medicine at the Technion, the Rapaport Center for Culture and Art in Haifa, the Rapaport Center for Assimilation Research at Bar-Ilan University, the Ruth and Baruch Rapaport Sculpture Gallery at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and continued his work also within the expansion The museum, along with all this, as mentioned also the Rapaport Award which is currently given in two categories - in the field of art and in the field of medical research.

Ruth Rapaport: "The leadership of the new Rapaport Prize is a direct continuation of the establishment of the Rapaport Institute 30 years ago by her late husband Baruch Rapaport. When the institute was established, Baruch Rapaport said that the Rapaport Institute would lead to receiving the Nobel Prize, and indeed Prof. Chachanover and Prof. Hershko received the Nobel Prize in 2004. Equally, I believe that within a few years the recipients of the Rapaport Prize will receive a Nobel Prize. I am happy that the first prize was given to a woman who dedicated her life to research that will help a medical breakthrough and save human lives.

Prof. Cohen's first reaction to receiving the award: "I cherish and thank the committee that chose me for this prestigious award that appreciates the activity of the researchers in the academy, who contribute through their research to human well-being. My research achievements were achieved thanks to the support of Ben-Gurion University, and through collaborations with Prof. Yonatan Lior, and my students who were there for help, for all their generations."

Composition of the Rapaport Award Committee
Prof. Rivka Karmi, president of Ben Gurion University of the Negev, and who served as the chairman of the award committee. Prof. Aharon Chachanover, winner of the 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Prof. Tamar Peretz, director of the Sharett Oncology Institute at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital. Prof. Benny Geiger, Dean of the Faculty of Biology at the Weizmann Institute, Prof. Karl Skortsky, Director of the Rapaport Institute, and Prof. Ron Apple, a lecturer at the University of Geneva.

More on the same topic on the science website:

3 תגובות

  1. How can the public know what are the mythical motives by virtue of which any scientist receives an award, whether it is a Rapaport or Nobel or Turing or Wolf or anyone else, the decisions about the award may always be tainted by politics and other unrelated motives.

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