Education Minister Naftali Bennett announced Wednesday that Professor Adi Kimchi of the Weizmann Institute of Science is this year’s winner of the Israel Prize for research in life sciences.
Kimchi heads a lab that studies the complex processes of programmed death in living cells.
The prize selection committee noted Kimchi’s pioneering work in isolating genes involved in cells’ self-destruction, a process that, among other things, helps the body suppress cancer development.
“Prof. Kimchi is all that an Israel Prize laureate should be — innovative, brilliant, groundbreaking and convention-busting,” Bennett tweeted.
“For years she has worked to promote women in science and to strengthen the status of Israeli academia in the world,” he added.
Kimchi’s work is cited extensively in the academic world, and she is active in organizations in Israel and abroad.
On Tuesday, Bennett announced that Naomi Polani, 94, was the winner of the Israel Prize in culture and arts. Known as the “mother of military bands,” the musician, singer and media personality has had a lifetime of influence on Israel’s music and helped set the standards for music culture in the early years of the IDF.
First awarded in 1953, the Israel Prize is presented annually in four categories and is considered one of the highest honors in the country.
The awards ceremony is traditionally held as part of Israel’s Independence Day celebrations, with the prizes being handed to the winners by the leaders of the country including the president, prime minister, speaker of the Knesset and the head of the Supreme Court.