Rambam Health Care Campus is proud and honored to bestow the 2019 Rambam Award upon Professor Karl Skorecki in recognition of his clinical, research, and academic accomplishments impacting global health, ranging from kidney disease and genetics to genomic translational research, and with highest esteem for his unparalleled research and medical leadership at Rambam Health Care Campus.
The only son of Holocaust survivors, Professor Skorecki was born and educated in Toronto. He received his M.D. (1977) from the faculty of medicine at the University of Toronto – with a Gold Medal for highest overall standing in all courses. His postgraduate studies in Boston were followed by faculty positions at the University of Toronto and affiliated medical centers, focusing on internal medicine, nephrology, and molecular biology. In January 1991, Professor Skorecki began a sabbatical at the Weizmann Institute on the eve of the First Gulf War; he and his family subsequently decided to move to Israel. In 1995 he joined the Technion’s Ruth and Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine and Rambam Health Care Campus, in Haifa, where he was the hospital’s Director of the Department of Nephrology (1995-2005), and its Director of Medical and Research Development from 2005 to 2018. In 2018, he was appointed Dean of the Bar-Ilan School of Medicine in Safed.
Conducting research in varied areas of human molecular genetics and stem cell biology, Professor Skorecki’s interest in population genetics began with a series of collaborative research studies. He traced patrilineal genealogies in the Jewish priesthood, and matrilineal genealogies among Ashkenazi Jews, and used the "signatures" delineated to study communities whose Jewish or Near East provenance has been lost. Combining population genetics and evolutionary medicine, his team identified a genetic locus powerfully associated with kidney disease in African heritage populations. Professor Skorecki's work in stem cells has led to the development of a novel experimental platform for studying cancer, providing the basis for a new approach to personalized cancer care.
A much in demand lecturer at premiere scientific conferences and leading universities worldwide, his research and results appears in leading professional and scientific journals and books. Professor Skorecki has received several research prizes, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Israeli Society of Nephrology and Hypertension and the Jewish National Fund Elkeless Prize for excellence in Medical Research. A highly regarded speaker and educator, he has annually received awards for his teaching for more than two decades, and students consistently praise his ability to make complex concepts easy to understand. His research has attracted widespread public and media interest including "Sixty Minutes," Newsweek, Nova, and National Geographic.
A modest, inspirational, and influential leader, Professor Skorecki’s seamless weaving of faith with science has permeated the life and soul of our hospital and permanently raised the bar for translational research both worldwide and here at Rambam Health Care Campus.
In acknowledgement of all the aforesaid, the Honorary Awards Committee has found Professor Karl Skorecki deserving of the 2019 Rambam Award.