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Ari Waisman receives most prestigious European prize for MS research

December 15, 2016

The Sobek Foundation honors Professor Ari Waisman for his groundbreaking achievements in research into multiple sclerosis (MS). His research results are regarded as crucial for the understanding of the mechanisms underlying the disease and as a major contribution to the successful development of modern anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory therapies. Moreover, Waisman's discoveries on the damage to tissues associated with MS may well form the basis of new preventative treatments to limit tissue degeneration.

Professor Ari Waisman is Director of the Institute for Molecular Medicine at the University Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). His research has enabled "a deeper insight into the role and regulation of inflammatory cells in the brain," the Sobek Foundation argued. Waisman prepared the ground for the analysis of certain harmful cell functions. In doing so, he has made a major contribution to our understanding of the mechanisms of auto-immune diseases, which are the cause of chronic inflammatory tissue damage. Thus he has "contributed to the successful development of modern anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory therapies."

The Sobek Foundation also regards Waisman as being the driving force behind the development of so-called neuro-protective forms of therapy. These are treatments designed to slow down the progression of a neurodegenerative disease and alleviate its symptoms. In concrete terms, these forms of therapy are aimed at counteracting tissue degeneration.

Ari Waisman, who was born in Rio de Janeiro, studied biology in Israel and completed his PhD on immuno-biology in Rehovot, Israel. He conducted research under renowned immunologists in Israel and later at the University of Cologne. In 2005, he was appointed Professor of Immunology at the Mainz University Medical Center, where he was section head in the Department of Internal Medicine I for five years. In 2010, he was promoted to the post of Director in the Institute for Molecular Medicine of the Mainz University Medical Center.

At the award ceremony for the current Sobek Research Prize, laudator Ulrich Steinbach, Director General in the Ministry of Science, Culture and Art in Baden-Württemberg, highlighted the wide international recognition for Professor Ari Waisman's research achievements. Dr. Ari Waisman has published the results of his research in over 170 scientific papers since 1990, including many successful collaborations with other scientists in the field of MS research.

The Research Prize of the Roman, Marga and Mareille Sobek Foundation, this year awarded jointly with AMSEL e.V. and the German Multiple Sclerosis Society (DMSG), has now been awarded 17 times for research into multiple sclerosis research.

Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz

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