Professor Joseph Itskovitz-Eldor

Professor Joseph Itskovitz-EldorProfessor Joseph Itskovitz-Eldor

Rambam Health Care Campus is proud and honored to bestow the 2018 Rambam Award upon Professor Joseph ltskovitz-Eldor in recognition of his medical and scientific achievements in the field of embryonic stem cell research and in vitro fertilization-benefitting innumerable people in Israel and worldwide, thereby fulfilling Rambam's vision to create the future of medicine.

Fascinated by zoology and biology from an early age, Professor ltskovitz-Eldor chose to pursue medicine instead of a veterinary career. A graduate of the Faculty of Medicine, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, his residency was in obstetrics and gynecology at Rambam Health Care Campus, followed by a DSc in physiology from the Technion.

Intrigued by human embryonic development and fetal adaptation to intrauterine life, he began to focus on the fetal cardiovascular system during a fellowship at the Cardiovascular Research Institute at the University of California, under the guidance of his mentor, Professor Abraham M. Rudolph. In 1983, Professor ltskovitz-Eldor founded the in vitro fertilization program at Rambam, one of the first such programs in Israel.

In his quest to search out the mysteries of procreation, in 1991 Professor ltskovitz-Eldor published a unique protocol to prevent ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome during in vitro fertilization, which remains in use to this day and which has saved the lives and improved the outcomes of countless women worldwide. In a unique collaboration with Professor Jamie Thomson from the University of Wisconsin, he contributed to the first derivation of human embryonic stem cells. In 1998, he established Israel's and one of the world's first embryonic stem cell labs at the Technion's Faculty of Medicine. There his team developed the first Israeli human embryonic stem cell lines, which were added to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) registry.

Professor ltskovitz-Eldor's testimony to the US Senate and his meetings with the administration of President George W. Bush and the NIH played an important role in the creation of national and international collaborations into embryonic stem cell research. In 2000, he was the first to publish on the differentiation of cardiomyocytes from human embryonic stem cells. He also headed the National Center for Stem Cell Technology, founded by the Israeli Ministry of Science and the Technion.

Professor ltskovitz-Eldor's translational research is already impacting new stem cell mediated medical treatments and is making an invaluable contribution to bio-technology companies in Israel.

In acknowledgement of all the aforesaid, the Honorary Awards Committee has found Professor Joseph ltskovitz-Eldor deserving of the 2018 Rambam Award.