Jan 21 2013
Some of the most eminent British and Israeli biological scientists came together yesterday for the annual UK Israel Life Science Council meeting. Hosted by the University of Haifa, the conference is the third meeting of the council, launched in 2010 to improve scientific collaboration between the two countries.
Members of the council, including council co-chair Prof. Raymond Dwek CBE FRS and Lord Professor Robert Winston, enjoyed presentations from seven major research projects. The projects receive BIRAX grants for their research and form the BIRAX Regenerative Medicine Initiative, a five-year multimillion-pound programme initiated by the UK Israel Life Sciences Council that represents one of the most ambitious and innovative bi-lateral medical science collaborations between two countries anywhere in the world.
The two-day event at the University of Haifa was coordinated by Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Prof. Gal Richter-Levin, who is spearheading affective neuroscience research.
The Life Science Council members listened to presentations from some of the leading scientists from Britain’s top universities, including Oxford, Cambridge and Edinburgh. They are closely collaborating with Israeli scientists from the Weizmann Institute and Hebrew University on cutting edge stem cell research. 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 conference, British Ambassador Matthew Gould said, “Science is one of the cornerstones of the relationship between Britain and Israel. Listening to the presentations today it’s clear the collaborations between our scientists and universities are making exciting progress in fighting some of the world’s worst diseases. Their work is a powerful symbol of what Britain and Israel and can achieve together.”
Haifa University President Amos Shapira said “Today’s event bears testament to the bond between the Israeli and British academia, and is a blow of defeat to every attempted academic boycott of Israel. Mr. Ambassador, the collaboration that we have celebrated this evening is evidence that academic boycotts will not overcome the bond between us.”
Link to photographs: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ukinisrael/
Link to live blog: http://ukinisrael.fco.gov.uk/en/news/?view=PressR&id=851627582