Technion Professors Joshua Zak, Yoram Palti, and Moussa Youdim will receive the Israel Prize in a festive ceremony tonight
Tonight, on Israel’s Independence Day, three Technion professors will receive the prestigious Israel Prize, an unprecedented number: Prof. Emeritus Joshua Zak of the Faculty of Physics will be awarded for Physics and Chemistry Research; Prof. Emeritus Yoram Palti of the Ruth and Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine will receive the award in the field of Entrepreneurship and Technological Innovation; and Prof. Emeritus Moussa Youdim of the Ruth and Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine for his research in Life Sciences.
The ceremony will be held tonight (Israel’s Independence Day), May 5, 2022, at 6:30 pm at the International Convention Center (ICC) in Jerusalem.
Prof. Zak’s scientific contributions serve, and will continue to serve, in gaining an understanding of materials physics
The Israel Prize Committee has decided to honor Prof. Zak for “the development of mathematical tools such as the Zak Transform and the Zak Phase for the study of quantum phenomena in crystalline solids. These tools allow for the prediction of materials with unique properties to build electronic devices… His scientific contributions serve, and will continue to serve, in gaining an understanding of materials physics.”
Known for the Zak Transform and the Zak Phase, Prof. Zak is awarded for his contribution to the understanding of condensed matter physics. “Prof. Zak’s research has led to breakthroughs in understanding fundamental phenomena at the forefront of research into quantum mechanics, while contributing greatly to practical engineering applications,” Technion President Prof. Uri Sivan said. “He is a member of the generation of giants that founded the Department of Physics at the Technion, laying the foundations for theoretical physics in Israel.”
Prof. Palti’s work is an excellent example of the integration of engineering and medicine – integration that is among the Technion’s most distinctive hallmarks
Prof. Palti will be awarded the Israel Prize for developing “a groundbreaking method for electrical treatment of several types of cancer. The treatment is noninvasive and highly selective… This type of breakthrough necessitates thinking outside the box and a deep conviction, requiring Prof. Palti to challenge and change existing approaches in this field.”
Prof. Palti has dedicated himself to applying his research to the clinical field. Novocure, the company he founded in 2000, developed an innovative treatment for cancer patients based on special electric fields (Tumor Treating Fields) that attack the cancerous cells without harming surrounding healthy cells, and therefore do not produce side effects or other risks. Successful clinical trials led to FDA approval for the treatment of three types of cancer. Novocure’s technology also received CE approval (the European equivalent of the FDA) for treating all types of solid cancer. Treatments for six additional types of cancer, including pancreatic, liver, ovarian, and lung cancer, are currently at various stages of clinical trials.
Prof. Sivan: “Prof. Palti not only developed a new technology, but a groundbreaking new approach to the treatment of cancer – an approach that does not involve chemotherapy or other drugs. His work is an excellent example of the integration of engineering and medicine – integration that is among the Technion’s most distinctive hallmarks.”
Prof. Youdim’s brilliant work has brought about a dramatic change in the understanding of neurodegenerative diseases and transformed the quality of life of Parkinson’s patients
Prof. Youdim is awarded the Israel Prize for “his pioneering, groundbreaking scientific achievements in the field of neuropharmacology. He has trained generations of undergraduate and graduate students, many of whom hold key positions in Israeli academia and in the biotechnology industry.”
Prof. Youdim and his colleague Prof. John Finberg of the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, developed innovative Parkinson’s drug Azilect® (Rasagiline), together with Teva Pharmaceuticals. The innovative drug, which was approved by the FDA in 2006, is the first medication of its kind that not only alleviates the symptoms of the disease, but actually slows it down, especially when given in the early stages.
Prof. Youdim’s 800 publications have gained broad international acclaim. He has twice won the Hershel Rich Prize from the Technion, as well as the Henry Taub Prize. He also received the EMET Prize for Brain Science and many other international awards.
Said Sivan: “The applicative and far-reaching nature of his achievements make Prof. Youdim a member of an elite group of scientists privileged to see their research applied to benefit humankind. His brilliant work has brought about a dramatic change in the understanding of neurodegenerative diseases and transformed the quality of life of Parkinson’s patients the world over.”