Prof. Orly Elpeleg, head of the Department of Genetic and Metabolic Diseases at the Hadassah Medical Center, has been awarded the KKL-JNF’s 2013 Samuel and Paula Elkeles Outstanding Scientist in Medicine Prize.
“Every successful research project needs partners,” Prof. Elpeleg noted in receiving the prize, “so I would describe this as our rather than as my research.” She explained: “In the 1980s, there were three categories of children’s diseases: infectious diseases, cancerous diseases, and all the rest, which were largely ignored in the textbooks, so I decided to research them. We were looking for disease-infected genes, which was sort of like looking for a specific carp in the ocean. To date, we have discovered 30 such genes, findings that have enabled breakthroughs in treating various children’s diseases.”
Prof. Yaakov Naparstek, Executive Deputy Director General of Research and Academics at Hadassah, thanked KKL-JNF and the Elkeles family for awarding the prize. “It is my firm belief that biomedical research should be conducted at medical centers like Hadassah,” he said, “where it is possible to go from the research bench to the patient’s bedside, and vice-versa. There are those who think that doctors who are also research scientists are a dying breed, but at Hadassah Hospital, we feel that this is critical to the future of medical research. Dr. Elpeleg’s success proves just how important this is.”