Emet Prize Laureates

Prof. Ephrat Levy-Lahad

2018 Laureates of Emet Prize

In Category: Life Sciences
In Field: Genetics

Ephrat Levy-Lahad

Jury Statement

“The Emet Prize is awarded to Prof. Ephrat Levy-Lahad for her innovative research in identification of genetic causes of congenital diseases and in understanding the biological role of genes, and for development and application of pre-implantation fetal testing to prevent pregnancies with unwanted mutations, and for her work in the field of bioethics of genetics research in Israel and abroad.”



Prof. Ephrat Levy-Lahad was born in Berkeley in 1960. She studied medicine at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School and trained in internal medicine at Shaare Zedek Medical Center, followed by three years clinical work and research in Medical Genetics at the University of Washington in Seattle. Upon her return to Israel, she established the Medical Genetics Institute at Shaare Zedek Medical Center, which she heads. She is also Professor of Internal Medicine and Medical Genetics at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School.

Her work has two main areas of focus: epidemiology of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, mutations of which pose an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer, and discovery of the genetic basis of Mendelian diseases. Her study of increased risk of carriers of these two genes is paving the way towards genetic testing used for screening populations, and her research on genetic diseases has led to a new discovery of a gene for Alzheimers disease. Her work has also led to recent discoveries of new genes and biological processes that cause congenital neurological disorders in children, vasculitis in adults, and genes for defects in ovarian development. She is a pioneer in the field of clinical oncogenetics in Israel and heads an institute that provides a pre-implantation diagnostic service that is innovative and comprehensive.

She is also active in the sphere of bio-ethics, specifically in genetics research, and co-chairs the Israel National Bioethics Council. Internationally, she was a member of UNESCO's International Bioethics Committeeand of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in the field of gene editing.

Her work has earned her many awards, including the Gertrude Kohn Award of Excellence in Medical Genetics, the Award for Excellence in Medical Research from the Zehava and Zvi Friedberg Fund for the Advancement of Higher Education and the National Science Foundation, the Faculty of Medicine Prize for Excellence in Research from the Hebrew University Medical School, and the Teva Prize for Study of Rare Diseases from the National Science Foundation.