Institute Professor Ruth Arnon

Department of Immunology Weizmann Institute of Science

Prof. Ruth Arnon earned both her MSc (1955) and her PhD at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1960) prior to joining the Weizmann Institute in 1960. She is the incumbent of the Paul Ehrlich Chair in Immunochemistry and has held a number of senior posts at the Institute, including Head of the Department of Chemical Immunology (1973-1974 and 1975-1978), Dean of Biology (1985-1988), and Vice President (1988-1997).

Prof. Arnon has made significant contributions to the fields of vaccine development and cancer research, and to the study of parasitic diseases. She co-developed Copaxone®, a multiple sclerosis (MS) drug currently marketed worldwide. She continues to focus on the mechanism by which Copaxone exerts its beneficial effect. For example, Copaxone induces specific cells that are capable of counteracting the auto‑immune reactivity which is the major cause of the neurological damage in MS. She is also developing synthetic vaccines to provide immunity against infections with HIV or influenza viruses and shigella bacteria (the cause of dysentery); and other therapies to treat MS.

Between 2010-2015, Prof. Arnon served as President of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. She is a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization and of the American Philosophical Society; a past President of the European Federation of Immunological Societies (1983-1986); and a past President of the Association of Academies of Sciences in Asia (2004-2006).

Prof. Arnon’s awards and honors include the Robert Koch Prize in Medical Sciences (1979, Germany); the Jimenez Diaz Memorial Award (1986, Spain); the Legion of Honor (1994, France); the Hadassah World Organization's Women of Distinction Award (1997); the Wolf Prize (1998); the Rothschild Prize (1998); the Israel Prize (2001); an honorary doctorate from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (2007); the Aesku Prize for Life Contribution to Autoimmunity (2008); the “Yakir Tel-Hai” from the Tel-Hai Academic College (2008); honorary doctorates from Tel Aviv University (2011), the Open University in Israel (2014), and the Leuphana University in Germany (2014),  and the Dr. Tovi Comet-Walerstein C.A.I.R Institute Science Award of Bar-Ilan University (2015).  Prof. Arnon has received other honorary doctorates from several universities in Israel and Europe.

Prof. Arnon and her husband, Uriel, have two children and six grandchildren.