The Third Beutler Symposium: The Medical Genomics Revolution
The Third Beutler Symposium, held on February 27 at Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa, Israel, brought together Nobel Laureate, Professor Bruce Beutler, and Israel’s leading genomic medicine researchers.
The third scientific conference of the Ernest and Bonnie Beutler Research Program of Excellence in Genomic Medicine is held every two years, with the express aim of presenting research resulting from this prestigious program. Attended by researchers and physicians from Israel and overseas, the keynote speaker each year is Professor Bruce Beutler, a co-recipient of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Talks given by Professor Beutler and the Beutler awardees pinpointed discoveries that will change the future of medicine.
Launched in 2013 by Bonnie Beutler, to honor her husband Ernest Beutler—one of the world’s leading hematology researchers of the 20th Century, the program is managed and administered by Rambam Health Care Campus. The Beutler Research Program supports and encourages high level genomic and biomedical research performed by Israeli researchers and scientists. Each year up to two awardees are given a $100,000 grant annually for five years to pursue their research. The projects are reviewed annually to ensure compliance with their state research proposal goals, with the results of their work presented every two years at the Beutler Symposium.
Professor Beutler’s lecture focused on the most recent findings of his group at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Their research is directly applicable to the human gene and has already uncovered several previously unknown genetic mutations that can negatively affect immunity. Their discoveries could provide a valuable key into discovering the cause of the many and varied allergies now being diagnosed.
Since its establishment, seven Israeli researchers have received this prestigious award of excellence: Professor Karl Skorecki, Director of Medical and Research Development at Rambam (2013); Professor Gideon Rechavi, Head of Sheba Cancer Research Center and Pediatric Hematology-Oncology at Sheba Medical Center (2013); and Professor Tsvee Lapidot (2014), Professor Yair Reisner (2015), and Dr. Ido Amit (2015), all from the Weizmann Institute of Science. The 2017 and 2018 awardees were announced during the Third Symposium: Professor Yuval Dor of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Professor Roy Kishoni from the Technion’s Faculty of Biology.
Each Beutler awardee presented a summary of his findings over the past year. The overall message of their presentations dovetailed into a powerful picture of the potential for genomic medicine to change the face of medical care as we know it. The awardees findings demonstrated how even the smallest mutation at the single cell level could lead to a fatal disease. Their work will lay a foundation for developing new and more effective diagnostics and therapies for a variety of conditions ranging from diabetes and kidney disease to myeloma and leukemia.
To date the Scientific Advisory Council has reviewed more than 100 research projects—all generated in Israel by Israelis. Comprised of eight members, the Council is responsible for selecting the most promising research proposal. Each member is a leader in his respective field: Professor Rafi Beyar, Director of Rambam; Professor Jacob Rowe, Director of the Hematology Department at Shaare Zedek Medical Center and Rambam’s past-Director of the Hematology Institute; Professor Yitzhak Apeloig, Past-President of the Technion; Professor David Wallach of the Weizmann Institute; Professor Haim Cedar of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Professor Bruce Beutler, Director of the Center for Genetics of Host Defense at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas; Professor Warren Leonard of the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland; and Professor Gilad Barnea of Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island.
“I would like to extend our deepest appreciation to the entire Beutler family for their ongoing support and strong commitment to this research program in Israel,” said Professor Beyar. “I am proud to lead the program under the auspices of Rambam Health Care Campus, and am thrilled by the quality of medicine and science in Israel, and particularly of the research institutes, hospitals, universities, and groundbreaking scientists who have been awarded the prestigious Butler award.” Beyar concluded, “Special thanks go to Professor Beutler, a firm friend and visionary scientist who has achieved amazing discoveries—He has committed valuable time to be actively involved in this program and to visit us regularly during these scientific symposia.”
The Scientific Advisory Council with the Beutler Awardees.
Front Row (l-r): Professor Haim Cedar, Professor Karl Skorecki, Professor David Wallach, Beutler, Professor Rafi Beyar, Professor Warren Leonard, Professor Yitzhak Apeloig, Professor Jacob Rowe, and Professor Tsvee Lapidot.
Back Row (l-r): Dr. Guy Ledergor speaking for Professor Ido Amit, Professor Yuval Dor, Professor Roy Kishoni, Professor Gideon Rechavi, and Professor Yair Reisner.
Photo Credit: Pioter Fliter.