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U.S. Jewish Doctor Returns to USSR to Continue Studies on the Victims of the Chernobyl Nuclear Disas

Dr. Robert Peter Gale, who led a team of four bone marrow transplant experts to the Soviet Union in the immediate aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster last April, returned to Moscow’s Hospital No. 6 this week to continue further studies of the team’s work.

The 40-year-old Gale, who is Jewish, is a member of the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Committee of the American Committee of the Weizman Institute of Science in Rehovot. He is expected to return from the Soviet Union on July 30.

Gale led a team of four experts who went to the Soviet Union to aid victims suffering from radiation poisoning as a result of the nuclear accident at the Chernobyl reactor in the Ukraine. Gale, who offered his expertise to the Soviets through intermediaries, received a call on May I from then acting Soviet Ambassador in Washington Oleg Sokolov asking for his assistance.

Gale gathered three colleagues, including Israeliborn biophysicist Dr. Yair Reisner, who is currently touring the United States, to go to the Soviet Union and treat a group of Chernobyl victims. Reisner is affiliated with the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot. The other two experts, along with Gale and Reisner, are Gale’s colleagues from the University of California at Los Angeles Medical Center: Dr. Paul Terasaki, an immunologist and an authority on tissue typing; and Dr. Richard Champlin, experienced in performing bone marrow transplants and an expert in the complex post-transplant care.

Gale, who was born in New York, is with the UCLA Medical Center. He studied at Hobart College in Geneva, New York, and received his medical training at the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Medicine. He also received a Ph.D. from UCLA in 1978 in microbiology and immunology. A resident of Bel Air, he was the Meyerhoff visiting scientist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot in 1982-1983. He is married to an Israeli, Tamar Gale, whom he met while in Jerusalem in 1974 while attending a medical meeting. They have three children — two daughters, Tal, 9, Shir, 7, and a 2 1/2-year-old son, Elan.

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