Wiezmann Institute of Science
2014 Laureates of Emet Prize
In Category: Life Sciences
In Field: Biotechnology
Prof. David Wallachwas born in Israel. Following his army service and BSc studies, he obtained his MSc and PhD degrees in the department of Biological Chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and completed his post-doctoral studies at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. In 1977 he returned to Israel and joined the Weizmann Institute of Science, as an Associate Professor and then as a full Professor.
In his numerous studies he has focused on biological processes in which tissues are damaged and cells die, and leading to the discovery of new proteins that play a central role in the inflammatory process and programmed cell death. In 1983 he began to study the function of the cytokine TNF. His laboratory was among the first was among the first worldwide that managed to isolate this cytokine and its receptors. Since then, his work has contributed to the understanding the TNF family — cytokines that control a wide range of immune regulatory mechanisms as well as some developmental processes. His studies have led to the discovery of treatments for diseases in which TNF plays a central role. Some of his discoveries were successfully applied in the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases, providing therapy to millions of patients who suffer from diseases such as Crohn’s disease, psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Over the years he has served as a member of the editorial boards of about a dozen scientific journals, and has also participated in the organization of several scientific conferences in Israel and abroad. In 2011 he was elected as President of the International Cytokine Society. He has received several prizes for his scientific work, including the Teva Founders Prize, the Merck-Serono Prize, and the Rappaport Prize for BioMedical Research.
In addition to his scientific research, Professor Wallach is also involved in studying the rich cultural heritage of the Jews of Galicia and Bukovina and heads a public organization that supports this area of activity.