Yehudith Birk

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Abstract

Biochemist Yehudith Birk, from the Hebrew University Faculty of Agriculture in Rehovot, won the 1998 Israel Prize for agricultural research. Birk had an enormous impact on the perception of foods such as soy and hummus as important vegetarian sources of protein. One of her greatest achievements is the isolating and investigating of the protease inhibitor, known today as BBI (the Bowman-Birk inhibitor), which has the abilities to protect plants against insects and to prevent cancer in human. During her scientific career, Birk published more than 150 articles, as well as the book Plant Protease Inhibitors: Significance in Nutrition, Plant Protection, Cancer Prevention and Genetic Engineering.

A 1998 Israel Prize laureate for agricultural research, Professor Yehudith Birk of the Hebrew University Faculty of Agriculture in Rehovot was an internationally renowned biochemist. Her investigations of legume seed proteins and proteinase inhibitors promoted our understanding of the ways plants are protected from insects and of the mechanisms that enable the human body to prevent motility of immune system cells and the growth of cancer cells. Birk's scientific studies had a revolutionary impact on the perception of foods such as soy and hummus as important vegetarian sources of protein, which inhibit cancers. Her research has given rise to treatments for cancer, multiple sclerosis, and HIV.
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationJewish Women – A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia
EditorsPaula Hyman, Dalia Ofer
Place of PublicationJeruslaem
StatePublished - 2021

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