April 3, 2023 — Hebrew University of Jerusalem Prof. Shai Carmi, of the Braun School of Public Health Faculty of Medicine, received the 2023 Blavatnik Award for Young Scientists in the field of life sciences. The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, the New York Academy of Sciences, and the Blavatnik Family Foundation announced the award today.

Prof. Carmi is considered one of the world’s leading researchers in genetic epidemiology and population genetics. His pioneering work combines models of genetic inheritance with algorithms to identify risks of future diseases using DNA testing.

“Prof. Carmi uses advanced technology to fill in gaps in human history in order to develop better genetic testing,” the prize committee explained. “His work has revealed the link between genetic variants behind various diseases, and he is working to apply techniques that predict future diseases, which will identify people at high risk, develop individually tailored tests, and preventative tools.”

Carmi’s research has demonstrated that genetics is linked to levels of education, medical conditions, and other attributes of worldwide human populations. His most recent study, which analyzed the DNA of Jews who lived in 14th-century Germany, uncovered surprising and previously unknown details about the medieval German Jewish population, including how remarkably small it was, with implications for the incidence of disease-causing genetic variants among Ashkenazi Jews.

Previously, he has received numerous prizes and research grants including the Hebrew University President’s Ben Porat Prize for Outstanding Young Researcher (2020) and a Wolf Foundation scholarship (2009).

The 2023 Blavatnik Prizes in Israel will be presented at a special ceremony to be held at the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation in Tel Aviv-Jaffa on June 7. These $100,000 prizes are awarded each year to promising young scientists in three research fields—life sciences, physics and engineering, and chemistry—in recognition of outstanding achievement and to encourage excellence, originality, and innovation. The three winners are carefully selected by the advisory committee, which comprises prominent researchers including the president of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the president and director of the New York Academy of Sciences.

Carmi joins a select group of young researchers who have received a Blavatnik Prize in Israel and will also become a member of the international Blavatnik community, which as of this year will number more than 400 scientists and engineers worldwide.

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