Peretz Lavie Appointed New Technion President

Renowned sleep medicine expert Professor Peretz Lavie has been appointed the next president of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, after unanimous approval in June by the Technion Board of Governors. He assumes office October 1, 2009, replacing Professor Yitzhak Apeloig, who is completing his second of two four-year terms.

“This is the most important mission of my academic life,” says Prof. Lavie. “As president of the Technion, I will work with all my strength and enthusiasm for the development and flourishing of this great institution.”

Peretz Lavie

Prof. Peretz Lavie
Technion president

Prof. Lavie’s goals as president are numerous and ambitious, focusing on fundraising challenges and raising the profile of the importance of higher education in Israel.

“We need to re-educate the Israeli public and our government about the value of higher education, and clearly show that Israel’s future is tied to world-class education in science and technology. To deliver that education, we have to recruit Israel’s brightest students and top-notch faculty members to teach them, ensuring that the Technion continues to advance as one of the world’s leading science and technology universities by pioneering a variety of new and international programs.”

Despite assuming office amid a dubious global economic and political climate, Prof. Lavie remains assured in his ability to guide the university through tough times.

“My presidency begins during an eclipse in which a major global economic slump coincides with a crisis in the universities, however, I am confident that with the Technion’s incredible brainpower and the commitment of the American Technion Society [ATS], we will continue to flourish even during the next few lean years.”

Prof. Lavie’s presidency follows seven years as Technion vice president for Resource Development and External Relations, during which he supervised one of the university’s largest administrative departments, and traveled the world carrying the latest information about Technion developments to Technion Societies, helping raise in excess of $500 million. He also served as dean of the Nobel-Prize winning Faculty of Medicine for six years.

“Peretz is very well-positioned to guide the growth of the Technion, and we look forward to continuing and building upon an already strong partnership,” says Melvyn H. Bloom, ATS executive vice president. “He has been a true and steadfast friend of the American Technion Society.  We have enjoyed working together for many years, and we know he shares the conviction of the dedicated volunteers and professionals that the Technion must continue to take the lead in shaping Israel’s future.”

Joel Rothman, incoming ATS president, is also highly enthusiastic about the Technion’s choice, and looks forward to working with Prof. Lavie as his partner in helping to drive support for the university and the ATS.

“Peretz is not only outstanding in every scientific, academic and administrative field; he also knows the ATS and our people, understands our goals, and knows how to help us achieve them,” says Mr. Rothman.

As an eminent researcher and clinician, Prof. Lavie has made seminal contributions to the understanding of the mysteries of sleep, breaking new ground in sleep apnea and cardiovascular disease, the role of melatonin, the effects of trauma, and the development of new technologies for diagnosis of sleep disorders.

Prof. Lavie joined the Technion in 1975 as a lecturer, and in 1979 developed the Technion Sleep Research Laboratory and Sleep Medicine Center, playing a major role in the development of sleep medicine that is now the subject of study for thousands of scientists around the world.  The center has branches all over Israel, and is also a part of the Harvard School of Medicine.

The editor-in-chief of the “Journal of Sleep Research,” one of the two most important scientific publications in the field of sleep research, Prof. Lavie has authored several influential books, written more than 300 scientific articles, and given hundreds of lectures all over the world. His bestselling book “The Enchanted World of Sleep” has been translated into 15 languages.  Another, “Restless Nights: Understanding Snoring and Sleep Apnea,” earned him the 2006 Brigham and Women’s Hospital Authors Award.

Among his many other accolades, Prof. Lavie is the recipient of the EMET Prize in Medicine (2006), considered the highest scientific award in Israel; the University of Pisa Biannual Sleep Medal, awarded to the best sleep researcher in Europe (2004); the Alkeis Prize, and named the best medical scientist in Israel (2001), and the Hershel Rich Technion Innovation Award (1995).

Prof. Lavie’s work has had major impact on the public in Israel and in other countries. His brainchild, the Watch-PAT, a hand-mounted device for the diagnosis of sleep apnea, is FDA approved, and used nightly by thousands of patients around the world. His studies on the negative impact of “zero hour,” which involved starting school an hour earlier, convinced Israel’s Ministry of Education to abolish this practice in elementary and middle schools, a decision later adopted by several U.S. states. He also took an active role in the national campaigns to reduce sleep-related accidents, and in educating the public on the risks of driving while sleepy. During the first Gulf War he convinced the Israeli radio authorities to use the "Silent Channel" on radio, so that it could be left open without disturbing people's sleep and sounding a siren only when there was actual danger.

Based in New York City, the American Technion Society (ATS) is the leading American organization supporting higher education in Israel. The ATS has raised more than $1.5 billion since its inception in 1940, with 47% of that generated in the last 9 years.  A nationwide membership organization with offices around the country, the ATS is driven by the belief that the economic future of Israel is in high technology, and the future of high technology in Israel is at the Technion.


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