The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa hosted a cornerstone-laying ceremony this week for its new Rappaport Building for Advanced Medical Research and signed an agreement to establish the Rappaport Integrative Cancer Research Center.
Both initiatives were made possible with a gift from the Bruce and Ruth Rappaport Foundation, the Technion said in a statement. The university, Israel’s first, was founded in 1912 and is a leading science and technology research institution.
The Bruce and Ruth Rappaport Foundation helped the prestigious university establish the Rappaport Medical Faculty Building and the Rappaport Institute for Research in the Medical Sciences at Technion in the late 1970s and 1980s. The latter allows for biomedical, cardiovascular, cancer, neuroscience, and genomic research groups.
The idea for the Integrative Cancer Research Center was conceived 20 years ago by Nobel Laureate Professor Aaron Ciechanover, the Technion said. It will be housed in the new Advanced Medical Research Building adjacent to the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine Building.
The ceremony for the two centers was attended by the daughters of the late Ruth and Bruce Rappaport, Ms. Irith Rappaport and Dr. Vered Drenger, Haifa Mayor Dr. Einat Kalisch-Rotem, Technion President Professor Peretz Lavie, and Ciechanover.
“I am convinced that with the help of the generous gift, the dreams of the founders of the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine will be realized. A dream in which transdisciplinary cooperation between engineering, life sciences, and medicine will lead to breakthroughs in the diagnosis and treatment of disease,” said Professor Lavie in a statement.
“Two quotations reflect my excitement at the generous contribution of the Rappaport family and the opportunity it affords us to concentrate multidisciplinary efforts by doctors, scientists, and engineers to advance the understanding of the complexity of cancer and to pave the way for discovering new therapies,” said Ciechanover in a university statement. “The first, ‘If there is no flour, there is no Torah,’ is a saying by our sages that Bruce Rappaport often quoted in order to explain his world view. The second, “If you think research is expensive, try disease!” is by Mary Lasker an American health activist and philanthropist who worked to raise funds for medical research. She would say this in order to explain the connection between basic research and medical advancement.”
Irith Rappaport said that “the role of private philanthropy is to support infrastructure that facilitates research and basic science…Philanthropic support of science should cherish the value of pursuing ground-breaking science, knowing that even though a certain percentage of the research may not succeed, we will still be able to garner insight for the benefit of society and humanity as a whole.”