2014 Rappaport Prize for Excellence in Biomedical Research Awarded to Hebrew University's Dr. Yaakov Nahmias | האוניברסיטה העברית בירושלים | The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
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2014 Rappaport Prize for Excellence in Biomedical Research Awarded to Hebrew University's Dr. Yaakov Nahmias

25/02/2014

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Dr. Yaakov Nahmias has won the 2014 Rappaport Prize for Excellence in Biomedical Research. Dr. Nahmias, director of the Hebrew University's Alexander Grass Center for Bioengineering, will receive a financial award for his innovations, breakthroughs and leadership initiatives. The prize specifically recognizes Dr. Nahmias for discovering that naringenin, a flavonoid found in grapefruits, is capable of blocking virus production.

Dr. Nahmias took his discovery from the lab to a successful clinical trial in a remarkably short time — less than three years — and without industrial support. He created a nanotechnology-based complex that dramatically increases the bioavailability of naringenin, leading to a clinical trial at Massachusetts General Hospital that was completed with excellent results.

The Rappaport Family Foundation will award the prize in a ceremony at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art on March 17, 2014. The prize was established in order to promote visionary, groundbreaking and innovative research with therapeutic repercussions that are unique and significant to promoting human health.

Dr. Nahmias's many accomplishments include creating BioDesign-Israel, a joint effort of the Hadassah Medical Center, the School of Business Administration, and the Alexander Grass Center for Bioengineering at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The program brings together multiple disciplines such as medicine, engineering, and finance to create an integrated approach to medical innovation. The first class (2012-13) generated four successful projects that are already in various stages of commercialization.

By combining an in-depth understanding of disciplines such as physics, engineering and biology, Dr. Nahmias exemplifies the idea that an integrated multidisciplinary approach is required to solve complex problems in biology and medicine. His work on liver tissue engineering and the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) lifecycle has been recognized by the leading journals of the field. Using his knowledge of nanotechnology, Dr. Nahmias also developed advanced treatments for diabetes, ranging from nano-encapsulated insulin that can replace current injections, to robotic nanoparticles for the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers. The technologies hold significant promise in blocking the progression of diabetes and its many complications. 

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2014 Rappaport Prize for Excellence in Biomedical Research Awarded to Hebrew University's Dr. Yaakov Nahmias