New int’l brain research center in Israel

On the opening of the 10th ILSI-Biomed Conference 2011 today, Israeli President Shimon Peres announced the launch of a new international center in Israel set to conduct brain research and to promote the neuro-technology field. Peres said he would set up …

On the opening of the 10th ILSI-Biomed Conference 2011 today, Israeli President Shimon Peres announced the launch of a new international center in Israel set to conduct brain research and to promote the neuro-technology field.

Peres said he would set up a non-profit organization to support the brain research center, and that it will be headed by entrepreneur Dr. Rafi Gidron. Gidron was one of the entrepreneurs and founders of Chromatis, which was sold to Lucent for $4.8 billion in the year 2000. Joining Gidron will be representatives of the Israeli life science industry, senior academists, medical doctors, the Chief Scientist and members of the president’s office team.

“Today, Israel is considered to be one of the most esteemed Nano centres in this arena,” said Peres. “This is exactly the right moment to aim at the next target – a global centre that leads the development of brain research based technologies, ultimately helping millions of people around the world, victims of brain strokes, Alzheimer’s disease or even blindness and deafness.”

The aim of the NPO will be to identify the most interesting and important subfields in brain research where Israel has the greatest comparative advantage, and raise capital to support basic and applied research in them.

The president’s aides said that Peres helped raise hundreds of millions of dollars for nanotechnology research, and that he could probably do the same for neurotechnology.

At the ILSI Biomed 2011 conference, Peres and Gidron met top Israeli and foreign brain researchers. Peres called on them to contribute to the center’s success. “This center will have no international borders, no politics and no prejudices, and it will only be guided by and act for the benefit of the entire humanity,” said Peres.

In the coming months, the NPO is set to convene a steering committee to devise a blueprint for operations.

“We intend to replicate our achievements in nanotechnology in neurotechnology, but the scale will be much greater and more impressive,” Peres told the Globes newspaper.

About Viva Sarah Press

Viva Sarah Press is an associate editor and writer at ISRAEL21c. She has extensive experience in reporting/editing in the print, online and broadcast fields. She has jumped out of a plane, ducked rockets and been attacked by a baboon all in the name of a good story. Her work has been published by international media outlets including Israel Television, CNN, Reuters, The Jerusalem Post and Time Out.