Hundreds of people participated in Rambam’s 17th Annual Research Day, held on Monday, January 30, 2023, at Rambam. Professor Michael Halberthal, director general and CEO of Rambam, Professor Uri Sivan, president of the Israel Institute of Technology (Technion), Professor Mouna Maroun, vice president and dean of research at the University of Haifa, and Professor Lior Gepstein, director of Rambam’s Cardiology Division and director of the Division of Research, welcomed the attendees.
This year’s meeting was led by Dr. Shiri Soudry, an attending physician in the Department of Ophthalmology and principal investigator of the Soudry Laboratory in Rambam’s Clinical Research Institute. Presentations focused on use of the latest technologies in research: artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data. These technologies contribute to research related to diagnostics and treatment of a number of medical fields, including depression and anxiety, gastroenterology, pediatric infectious diseases, diabetes and obesity, pain, the brain, cancer, and the retinal research led by Soudry.
In his opening remarks, Halbertal said, “Engagement in research and innovation is not just ‘nice to have.’ If this hospital does not engage in research, we have no right to exist. This is why we invest in our infrastructure, budgets, and the development and advancement of people – to create an ecosystem focusing on innovation, as evidenced by collaborations between Rambam’s Clinical Research Institute, the Technion’s Faculty of Medicine, the University of Haifa, and other international institutions.”
Quoting Abraham Lincoln: “The best way to predict the future is to create it,” Gepstein said that the research Rambam is involved in will shape and create the future of medicine. He emphasized Rambam’s prominence as a significant national and international player in entrepreneurship, biomedical innovation, groundbreaking research, and life-saving treatments offering longevity and improved quality of life.
The research being pursued at Rambam is at different stages of study. Nevertheless, each presentation focused on a research topic of clinical importance. Dr. Amir Minirbi presented on the connection between intestinal bacteria in a chronic pain condition called fibromyalgia which is increasing in incidence. Nurse Zala Hoffman spoke on pain perception in adults with autism – an important aspect for living with the conditions. Maria Zatara, a research student working in the CRIR, shared about the potential of microRNA for treating diabetic wounds – an issue affecting patients worldwide. In total the day was packed with more than 24 different research projects represented.
Rambam’s Division of Research leads multiple studies in collaboration with academia and industry leaders worldwide. Hence, leading researchers from the Technion, University of Haifa, and other national and international highly-acclaimed academic institutions, biotech and pharma companies, start-ups, and industry giants were also invited to participate in the event.
Soudry is proud of the extensive research conducted at Rambam. She said, “Close to 120 studies were submitted, all addressing essential questions and dilemmas in the clinical field – advanced technologies, approaches, and methods aimed at bringing actualized solutions to patients here, in Israel, and worldwide. We are filled with excitement as the results of our research come to light – research that brings honor to Rambam’s Division of Research.
Dr. Shiri Soudrey opening Rambam’s 17th Annual Research Day