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Soroka Medical Centers’ Genetic Research Revolutionizes Healthcare: Prof. Ohad Birk Lecture Series in NYC

Professor Ohad Birk, Head of Genetics at Soroka Medical Center

With every breakthrough, Soroka reinforces its position as a leader in medical innovation, bringing hope and transformative solutions.

Hereditary diseases exist in all communities. With openness and focus on effective prevention programs we can eradicate these diseases and allow the birth of healthy children.”
— Professor Ohad Birk
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES, September 22, 2023 / -- On October 2nd and 4th, Professor Ohad Birk, a world-renowned geneticist who has profoundly advanced global health through his work decoding rare genetic diseases, will present two major lectures in New York City. These events spotlight the groundbreaking genetics research conducted at Soroka Medical Center, where Professor Birk is at the forefront of Soroka's Genetics Institute, the Morris Kahn Laboratory of Human Genetics at Ben-Gurion University, and Israel’s National Research Center for Rare/Orphan Diseases. He will discuss his team's pioneering work and transformative discoveries, decoding over fifty genetic maladies. The public is welcome by advance registration. For details see

On Monday, October 2nd at the Explorers Club, Professor Birk will present his trailblazing work with Bedouin communities. To date, the Birk team has decoded over 40 genetic diseases amongst the Bedouin. He will provide insights into the success his team has had in working with these traditional communities to advance a future of health and peaceful coexistence. RSVP to this event at

Wednesday, October 4th at Congregation Shearith Israel the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, Professor Birk will expound on his laboratory’s work decoding rare genetic diseases affecting Sephardic communities worldwide. His work spans Iranian, Indian and Ethiopian Jewish Genetics. RSVP to this event at This event is co-sponsored by The American Friends of Soroka Medical Center and Shearith Israel, with The Edmond J. Safra Synagogue, The Moise Safra Center, The American Sephardi Federation, The Sephardic Academy of Manhattan, Manhattan Sephardic Synagogue, The Tribeca Synagogue, The Sephardic Jewish Brotherhood, and the KJ Sephardic Minyan as Community Partners.

Professor Birk's journey at Soroka began over two decades ago when he witnessed the staggering number and severity of unknown genetic diseases in the Negev. Diverse segments of society face unique and complex medical challenges, and genetic diseases are often the root cause. He identified Soroka Medical Center, in Be’er Sheva, as a place where his expertise was truly needed and he could make a real difference, leveraging all his medical and research skills. Soroka's Genetics Institute is tackling these life-threatening challenges head-on. The team’s work extends beyond borders to diverse communities, including Jewish and Bedouin populations. The team has identified severe hereditary diseases in various groups, and through proactive outreach and counseling has made significant strides in disease prevention. These discoveries emphasize the importance of genetic research in addressing unique healthcare challenges across different cultures and backgrounds. By using advanced techniques in carrier testing, clinical and prenatal diagnosis, and genetic counseling, Soroka is not only improving the health of the Negev's residents but also making discoveries with global implications.

Soroka's groundbreaking genetic research recently uncovered an unexpected connection between statin medications and muscle weakness while investigating limb girdle muscular dystrophy, a rare genetic disease. This revelation offers new hope for addressing statin-related muscle damage, impacting patients worldwide. The serendipitous discovery was reported in:

To learn more about Professor Ohad Birk’s impact on the Bedouin health:

Soroka Medical Center has an unwavering commitment to advancing medical knowledge and enhancing patient care. It serves as a global epicenter of medical discovery and innovation, attracting brilliant minds from around the world to join their lifesaving mission in unraveling the intricacies of human health, and treats patients with a unique human touch. With every breakthrough, Soroka reinforces its position as a leader in medical innovation, bringing hope and transformative solutions.

To learn more about the events, secure tickets and explore special donation opportunities, please call the AFS office at 914-725-9070 or visit Contact Rahel Shamailova for press inquiries at

American Friends of Soroka Medical Center Inc. is a New York State 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. AFS is a community of individuals, families, foundations and businesses dedicated to supporting the vision and lifesaving work of the Soroka Medical Center.

Soroka Medical Center is Israel’s leading healthcare institution providing world-class healthcare for all. Located in Be’er Sheva, it is the sole medical center in the entire Negev, one of the country’s most diverse and fastest-growing areas. Soroka serves over 1.2 million residents, including over 400,000 children, in a region that comprises 60% of Israel’s land. With two medical schools, a proven record of producing groundbreaking research and life-saving treatments and an extraordinary staff, Soroka offers exceptional healthcare for all, regardless of race, religion, or politics.This unique institution, founded in 1959, exemplifies a deep commitment to outstanding medical care, peaceful coexistence in action and medical research that has a global impact.

Rahel Shamailova
American Friends of Soroka Medical Center
+1 914-725-9070
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