Prof. Peretz Lavie is the 16th president of Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, having taken the position on October 1, 2009. Between 1993 and 1999, Prof. Lavie served as dean of the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, and between 2001 and 2008, as Technion’s vice president for resource development and external relations.
Prof. Lavie is a world-respected Lavie authority on the psychophysiology of sleep and sleep disorders. He is the author of several books, including: The Enchanted World of Sleep; and Restless Nights: Understanding Sleep Apnea and Snoring. He has founded several start-up companies, including Itamar Medical Ltd.
Born in Petah Tikva, Israel, in 1949 Prof. Lavie was two and a half years old, when his father who was an officer in the standing army, was killed. Two years later, his mother remarried and the family moved to Zikhron Ya’akov, where he completed his studies at the elementary school Nili and then at the regional high school in Pardes Hanna. Prof. Lavie was an instructor and coordinator in the youth movement Maccabi Hatzair. He finished his bachelor’s degree in statistics and psychology at Tel Aviv University.
Prof. Lavie pursued his graduate studies at the University of Florida, where he received his Ph.D. in physiological psychology in 1974, while working in the sleep laboratory of Prof. Wilse Bernard (Bernie) Webb. This was one of the first sleep research laboratories in the US. Lavie continued with his postdoctorate research at the Department of Psychiatry of the University of California in San Diego with Prof. Daniel Kripke. On his return to Israel in 1975, Prof. Lavie joined the Technion, where he set up the sleep research laboratory, which was then the first such laboratory diagnosing sleep disorders worldwide. Now called the Center for Sleep Medicine, it currently has four branches in Israeli hospitals. Through these research facilities, over 120,000 people have been tested.
In 1997, Prof. Lavie initiated a similar center in the affiliated hospitals of Harvard University in the US. In addition to clinical services, the center established companies that manufacture medical equipment for sleep testing. Among these is Itamar Medical – that manufactures equipment for home diagnosis of sleep disorder, identifying people who are at high risk for heart disease, and SLP that manufactures a variety of sensors for sleep laboratories.
Prof. Lavie initiated and participated in a number of actions to change public regulations in Israel, for example in cancelling the “zero hour” policy in primary schools. He promoted “daylight saving time”, which serves to prevent road accidents due to fatigue and sleepiness. Lavie also persuaded the Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA) to broadcast a silent channel (broken only in the event of an alert) during the first Gulf War. This was also implemented during the second Lebanon War.
Peretz Lavie is married to Dr. Lena Lavie, a cell biologist, and has three children and three grandchildren.