December 7, 2014 — The prestigious Ilse and Helmut Wachter Award for 2014 was presented to Professor Alexander Levitzki, the Wolfson Family Professor of Biochemistry at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and one of the world’s most prominent cancer researchers. The award ceremony took place at the Medical University of Innsbruck in the Tyrol in western Austria.
Prof. Levitzki was nominated for the award on the basis of his leading role in cancer research, which includes helping lay the foundation for personalized cancer therapy and contributing to the development of new and precise cancer medications. His research is conducted at the Unit of Cellular Signaling in the Department of Biological Chemistry at Hebrew University’s Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences.
The award’s Executive Committee cited Levitzki’s pioneering role in the field of signal transduction, noting that for the past 25 years he “made seminal and landmark discoveries which served as the scientific basis for the subsequent development of two very important novel anticancer drugs, Gleevec by Novartis, and Sutent by Sugen.”
Prof. Helga Fritsch, Rector of the Medical University of Innsbruck, said, “International co-operation and networking are important prerequisites for advanced medicine and medical research. Oncology is one of the main fields of research at the Medical University of Innsbruck and we look forward to using our time together for an intensive exchange.”
Prof. Lukas Huber, CEO of the Wachter Foundation and Director of the Division of Cell Biology of the Medical University of Innsbruck, said, “The pioneering work of Professor Levitzki has influenced and inspired the scientific community, as can be seen from the more than 24,000 citations of his work.”
Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson, President of the Hebrew University, said, “Prof. Levitzki’s important contributions to academia, research and the betterment of mankind make him a most deserving winner of the Wachter Award. May this prestigious prize, presented at the Medical University of Innsbruck, signal the continued flourishing of cooperation between Israeli and Austrian researchers, for the benefit of both our countries and the world.”
Prof. Levitzki said, “I am very pleased and grateful to receive the Ilse and Helmut Wachter Award. When I look at who previously received this award, I see myself joining a very select and prestigious list of scientists.”
Prof. Levitzki’s many previous awards include the Israel Prize and the Wolf Prize in Medicine. A graduate of The Hebrew University, he joined its faculty in 1974 and trained a generation of scientists who continue to advance this important area of research.
Now in its eighth year, the Watcher Award is given for exceptional scientific achievements in all fields of medicine. The Ilse & Helmut Wachter Foundation was founded to further medical science for the welfare of mankind and by doing so, to contribute to the reputation of the Medical University of Innsbruck.
The Medical University of Innsbruck, with some 3,000 students and 1,800 employees, is a leading medical research and training facility in Austria, providing top quality teaching and training, world-class research and continuous advancements in top-flight medicine.
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is Israel’s leading academic and research institution. Serving 23,500 students from 85 countries, it produces a third of Israel’s civilian research and is ranked 12th worldwide in biotechnology patent filings and commercial development. Faculty and alumni of the Hebrew University have won eight Nobel Prizes and a Fields Medal since 2000. For more about the Hebrew University, see http://new.huji.ac.il/en.