Immunologist Ruth Arnon and her long-time collaborator Michael Sela made unprecedented breakthroughs when they developed the first synthetic antigen and the first drug approved for treating multiple sclerosis, Copaxone. Arnon was inspired to become a scientist by her father, engineer and mathematician Alexander Rosenberg. She entered Hebrew University at age fifteen, doing her military service during summers while continuing her studies. After earning her MSc in 1955, she served two years as an officer in the IDF, then began working on her doctorate at Israel’s Weitzmann Institute of Science under Michael Sela in 1957. Over the following decades, she collaborated with Sela on numerous projects, culminating in the creation of Copaxone, which significantly reduces the frequency of MS relapses. Arnon also invented a synthetic, nasally administered flu vaccine, and has published over four hundred articles, chapters, and books on immunology and biochemistry. Meanwhile, she earned promotions from head of Weitzmann’s department of chemical immunology from 1975–1978 to deputy president from 1988–1993 and vice president for international scientific relations from 1995–1997. As of 2015 she is the Paul Ehrlich Professor of Immunology. In 2001 she won the Israel Prize for medicine.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Ruth Arnon." (Viewed on February 15, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/arnon-ruth>.