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Ben-Gurion U. establishes stem cell research fund in honor of inventor Jordan Baruch

CHEVY CHASE, MD, January 15, 2013 -- American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) received a substantial donation from Rhoda Baruch, wife of the late Dr. Jordan Baruch, to fund stem cell research at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Beer-Sheva, Israel.

The Jordan Baruch Stem Cell Research Fund was dedicated at the University on December 30 in the presence of Rhoda Baruch and 20 members of her extended family.

"Jordan recognized that here at Ben-Gurion University are the people who walk the extra mile and who are dedicated to the less fortunate. What the people of BGU have in addition to their brilliance and creativity is a sense of compassion and dedication that touched us so much. If anyone can do it, you guys can do it," Baruch declared.

The donation will support scholarly collaboration between specially selected medical and pharmacological researchers, stem cell biologists and tissue engineers. It will support the work of BGU's new Center for Regenerative Medicine, Cellular Therapy and Stem Cell Research.

"Jordan was a passionate supporter of Israel and especially BGU," says Keren Waranch, director of the Washington-Baltimore Region of American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU), who also attended the dedication.

"He and Rhoda founded the local AABGU chapter in the 1980s and funded the Mendel Wasserman Career Development Chair in Desert Studies, named in memory of Rhoda's father.

"We are extremely grateful to Rhoda for this generous contribution and moving tribute to her husband of 67 years," Waranch adds. "This fund will launch BGU forward in researching the treatment and potential cure for debilitating diseases such as diabetes, ALS, Parkinson's and leukemia."

Dr. Baruch (pronounced Bah-ROOSH), who died in 2011, was considered one of the foremost authorities in the field of acoustics. He held several patents for sound-dampening technology and loudspeaker systems.

He worked with the National Institutes of Health to create one of the first versions of remote database access, as well as a colorimeter for cardiovascular procedures and a new lighting system used for brain surgery.

From 1977 to 1979, he served as assistant secretary of commerce for science and technology under President Jimmy Carter. In that role he helped create the Binational Research and Development Foundation (BIRD), which fosters research and cooperation between Israel and the United States, and helped strengthen U.S. business ties with China.

"His was a brilliant mind," said BGU President Prof. Rivka Carmi. "He thought far ahead of most people. His loss is a great loss to mankind, to the D.C. Jewish community and the AABGU and BGU community. Rhoda, thank you for taking forward his vision."

Contact: Andrew Lavin
American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

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