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Prof. Yehudit Bergman awarded Abisch-Frenkel Prize for Excellence in Life Sciences

08.12.2008
Prof. Yehudit Bergman of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is to be awarded tomorrow the Abisch-Frenkel Prize for Excellence in the Life Sciences. She is being honored for “outstanding contributions to two of nature's fundamental systems in the life sciences, the immune system and the biology of embryonic stem cells.”

The award ceremony will take place on Monday, Dec. 8, at the Raphael Magid Auditorium, Ein Kerem campus, where Prof. Bergman will present a lecture on “Epigenetic Silencing of Embryonic Specific Genes.”

Bergman is the Morley Goldblatt Professor of Cancer Research and Experimental Medicine in the Hebrew University's Hubert H. Humphrey Center for Experimental Medicine and Cancer Research

In immunobiology, Prof. Bergman deciphered how lymphocytes select anti-body genes to generate an antigen-specific humoral immune response. This highly innovative work has elucidated novel insights into the molecular mechanisms responsible for the generation of a diverse collection of antibody specificities, a process essential to maintain health and to fight disease.

Prof. Bergman's experimental stem cell work has expanded our understanding of the mechanisms operational in epigenetic inactivation of genes during early embryonic development. Such a silencing process if intimately involves in maintaining the embryonic stem cell phenotype and constitutes a major barrier to epigenetic reprogramming during mammalian development.

According to Hebrew University Vice President for Research and Development Prof. Hillel Bercovier, "Donor grants to young scientists are a precious treasure at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, especially at a time when governmental funding is on a decline. Without doubt, the Foundation's support has encouraged and motivated our students to strive to excel in their field."

He described Prof. Bergman as an "outstanding biologist and a highly regarded leader in the field of immunology, where she brought about a scientific revolution in our fundamental understanding of the humeral immune response. Over the past decade, Prof. Bergman made several groundbreaking discoveries illuminating the unique molecular process of antibody selection and allelic exclusion."

Prof. Bercovier extended his thanks to Dr. Eva Abisch and the Abisch-Frenkel Foundation "for all their assistance in guaranteeing that our young scientists maintain their scientific edge and intellectual excellence in years to come."

Established in 1994 in Basel, Switzerland, by Leo Abisch Ph.D. and Eva Abisch-Frenkel, Ph.D., the Abisch-Frenkel Foundation supports research projects by promising, young scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Weizmann Institute of Science whose research potentially benefits human health and well-being.

Rebecca Zeffert
Foreign Press Liaison
Dept. of Media Relations
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Tel: +972 (0)2 588 2811
Cell: +972 (0)54 882 0661
Fax: +972 (0)2 588 0058

Rebecca Zeffert | Hebrew University
Further information:
http://www.huji.ac.il

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