The EMET Prize (second only in prestige to the Israel Prize) was awarded to Prof. Efrat Levi-Lahad, Director of Shaare Zedek's Medical Genetics Institute.
Prof. Levi-Lahad is a specialist in Internal Medicine and Medical Genetics, with qualifications from the US in Clinical Genetics and Molecular Genetics.
The prestigious prize, funded by the AMN Foundation for the Advancement of Science, Culture and Art in Israel, is awarded annually for excellence and academic or professional achievement with extensive impact and a special contribution to society, in the fields of Exact Sciences, Life Sciences, Social Sciences, Humanities and Judaism, Culture and Art.
The Prize committee acknowledged Prof. Levi-Lahad's innovative research methods for identifying the genes involved in genetic diseases, and the Medical Genetics Institute at Shaare Zedek under her leadership, which works as an extensive system for genetic testing, and for discovering the mutations that increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. In addition, the committee noted her work which has led to the development and application of pre-genetic testing in fetuses, which can help prevent pregnancies with unwanted mutations.
"We are at the start of a revolution in Genetics that will affect all branches of medicine all over the world, and particularly in Israel where the populations are so varied," said Prof. Levi-Lahad. "I see this prize as recognition for the work of doctors who are active clinicians, and hope that this will lead to an increase in the investment into this type of research by doctors. This kind of study leads to new scientific understandings and substantially improves the treatment of patients."
Prof. Levi-Lahad is a graduate of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and specializes in Internal Medicine at Shaare Zedek. She studied Clinical Genetics and Molecular Genetics at Washington University in Seattle, USA. Prof. Levi-Lahad is a tenured professor at the Hebrew University's School of Medicine.
Her research focuses on two main areas – the genetics of adult diseases and identifying the genes involved in rare genetic diseases in Israel. In the former she focuses on breast and ovarian cancer genetics (specifically in the Israeli population), and was also a partner in the discovery of the gene causing Alzheimer's Disease. In the field of rare genetic diseases, she identified genes involved in various unusual diseases, particularly endocrinal ones.
Prof. Levi-Lahad is also active in Bio-Ethics as it relates to Genetics research in Israel and worldwide. This has become a central issue as genetic methods develop to allow early diagnosis of disease.