photos by Roy Berkovitz
Leading scientists from Britain’s top universities, including Oxford, Cambridge and Edinburgh will be collaborating with Israeli scientists from the Weizmann Institute and Hebrew University on cutting edge research in stem cell. The projects include developing stem cell treatments for multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, looking for a regenerative therapy for Type 1 Diabetes, and finding ways to persuade the immune system not to attack stem cells.
Commenting on the announcement of the awards, the UK’s Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould said, “Britain and Israel are both world leaders in regenerative medicine. This project gets our scientists working in joint research projects, so that together they can find cures for some of the world’s most awful diseases. This will be a powerful symbol of what Britain and Israel can achieve together, and an important step in building the right partnership between our countries in science and tech.”
Leading Israeli stem cell scientist Professor Jacob Hanna, a project leader on a successful bid from the Weizmann Institute, said “Stem cell research brings great promises and has seen remarkable breakthroughs in the last years. The generous funding for my project by the BIRAX initiative enables me to address several remaining critical questions in stem cell research and to strengthen scientific ties with internationally renowned British stem cell scientists. I am confident the new collaborative contacts fostered by the British Embassy and BIRAX will prove critical for advancing our research and will lead to other long lasting collaborations for many years to come.”
Esteemed British scientist Professor Lord Winston has backed the project, and said “These projects, playing on the academic strengths of both countries and of the highest scientific quality, will not only have a major impact in this increasingly important area of medical science, and will be likely to benefit many people suffering from common diseases affecting the brain, such as dementia as well as heart function and other illnesses.”
The project has been overseen by the UK-Israel Life Sciences Council, a body of 19 leading scientists from the UK and Israel launched by UK Foreign Secretary William Hague in November 2010 to improve science collaboration between the two countries. Mr Hague said then that “science is rightly one of the cornerstones of the relationship between Britain and Israel – our countries are scientific superpowers. Both are countries that have built up our economies and our identity through being leaders in science and technology.”
Pics by Ohad Zwigenberg