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Researcher Receives $100,000 Prize for Heart Repair Research

Researcher Receives $100,000 Prize for Heart Repair Research

March 23, 2010

Medical Research, Press Releases

NEW YORK, March 22, 2010 – Prof. Smadar Cohen, head of the University’s Avram and Stella Goldstein-Goren Department of Biotechnology Engineering, has been awarded the prestigious Rappaport Prize for Excellence in Biomedical Research, an award totaling $100,000.

The prize, given by Israel’s Rappaport Foundation, is presented annually to a researcher whose research has either significantly advanced or has the potential to significantly advance any medical or biomedical field.

Prof. Cohen received the prize for her research that led to the creation of an innovative and pioneering product using algae to prevent cardiac tissue damage following acute myocardial infarction.

The hydrogel, called BL-1040, is a resorbable liquid polymer that is administered through the coronary artery during standard catheterization and flows into the damaged heart muscle.

BL-1040 forms a protective “scaffold” that enhances the mechanical strength of the heart muscle during recovery and repair, thereby preventing enlargement of the left ventricle. It is excreted naturally from the body leaving behind a stronger, more stable heart muscle.

In August 2009, BioLineRx Ltd., the Israeli clinical stage drug development company, granted a license to an American company to continue to develop it in clinical trials.

Prof. Cohen has issued 26 patents, published numerous papers and edited two books. She is on the editorial board of the Tissue Engineering Journal and on the scientific advisory board of several biotechnology and nanotechnology companies.

She is also a member of the Katamon Committee of the Israel Ministry of Trade and Industry Magnet Program. In 1997, she was nominated as a fellow of the Israel Ministry of Science.

Prof. Cohen, who is also the incumbent of the BGU Claire and Harold Oshry Chair in Biotechnology, says, “I thank the committee that chose me to receive this prestigious award which values the work of academic researchers contributing to human welfare through their research. My research achievements were reached thanks to the support of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and through cooperation with Prof. Jonathan Leor and his students.” 

About American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) plays a vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurion’s vision: creating a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the University’s expertise locally and around the globe. Activities include showcasing BGU’s academic excellence and cutting-edge research through educational programs, events and informative communications. AABGU’s main purpose is to support Ben-Gurion’s vision and the university that bears his name by creating a community of Americans committed to improving the world tomorrow from the heart of the Israeli desert today.

Media Contact:
Andrew Lavin
A. Lavin Communications