Arnon, Ruth

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ARNON, RUTH

ARNON, RUTH (1933– ), Israeli biochemist and immunologist. Born in Israel, Arnon graduated from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (M.Sc. in chemistry in 1955) and received her Ph.D. in biochemistry in 1960 from the Weizmann Institute. She served two years in the Israeli Navy as a second lieutenant (1955–56), beginning her scientific career as a Ph.D. student at the Weizmann Institute of Science under Ephraim *Katzir and Michael *Sela, in the field of chemical immunology. Pursuing her scientific career there, she contributed to the understanding of the chemical basis of antigenicity and to the elucidation of the immunochemistry of enzymes. She became a full professor in 1975 and continued her research in immunology, focusing on autoimmunity and multiple sclerosis as well as on the development of synthetic vaccines. At the Weizmann Institute she was head of the Department of Chemical Immunology (1973–74 and 1975–78), director of the MacArthur Center for Parasitology (1984–94), dean of biology (1985–88), vice president (1988–93), and vice president for international scientific relations (1995–97). Her scientific work led to her receipt of several prizes, including the German Robert Koch Prize in Medical Sciences (1979), the Spanish Jimenez Diaz Award (1986), the French Legion of Honor (1994), the Wolf Prize (1988), the Rothschild Prize (1988), and the Israel Prize (2001). She is an elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (embo) and was elected to the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities in 1990. At the academy she served as chairperson of the Sciences Division (1995–2001) and as vice president from 2004. In the international arena she served as president of the European Federation of Immunological Societies (efis) in 1983–86 and secretary-general of the International Union of Immunological Societies (iuis) in 1989–93. Her name is linked with the drug to treat multiple sclerosis, which she invented at the Weizmann Institute and which was developed by teva Pharmaceutical Industries under the name Copaxone and is marketed worldwide. She was also involved in the development of an intranasal influenza vaccine and served as Advisor on Science and Technology to the president of Israel.

[Bracha Rager (2nd ed.)]