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U-M/Israel symposium elevates scientific creativity in medical research, technology

Academic cooperation key element in increasing investment in Michigan

ANN ARBOR, Mich.  — Medical scientists from two of Israel’s premier universities will join University of Michigan colleagues Oct. 18-21 in Ann Arbor for what has become the university’s largest ever joint medical science symposium with Israel.

The event is the annual gathering of the U-M/Israel Partnership for Research, an initiative that pairs U-M medical school and life sciences faculty and researchers with peers in Israel to conduct joint scientific investigations. 

The partnership includes the University of Michigan’s Frankel Cardiovascular Center and the Life Sciences Institute, with ties to Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and Weizmann Institute of Science.

It funds research projects, student and faculty exchange, institutional joint ventures and technology commercialization. The initiative is made possible by generous support from the D. Dan and Betty Kahn Foundation, the  A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute at U-M, and philanthropists interested in improving global health through collaborative research with Israel.

“These important collaborations leverage the discoveries of thought leaders at these world-class institutions,” said David J. Pinsky, M.D., a director of the cardiovascular center and the symposium’s coordinator at U-M.  “The research awards support meritorious studies, foster innovation and spur innovation in the medical and life sciences.”

More than 30 researchers from Israel will meet this year with U-M peers for scientific presentations, research updates and workshops focused on cardiovascular, cancer and neurobiology research. 

The goal is to advance research in areas relevant to human health and increase international understanding and cooperation.

“By surmounting the barriers of geography and discipline, the researchers and doctors gathered here can begin to assemble a future of rapid advancements in treatment, medical technology and patient care,” says Alan Saltiel, Ph.D., director of the U-M’s Life Sciences Institute.

The attendees span the fields of life science, medical science and realms such as imaging, physics and nanotechnology as they seek to collaborate on new discovery, therapies and tools for treating disease.  On alternate years, the group holds its symposium in Israel.

In all, more than 35 presentations by faculty from all three institutions are scheduled for the 2013 symposium. The symposium’s competitive peer-reviewed process leads to awarding $50,000 research grants.

As the state works to enhance its business ties to Israel, academic cooperation is seen as a key element in increasing investment in Michigan.

"Michigan's longstanding ties with Israeli companies and academic institutions have created excellent opportunities to improve trade, increase business investment and scientific research. We look forward to building on these highly productive relationships," Gov. Rick Snyder said earlier this year before leading a delegation to Israel.

Notable participants from Israel include vice presidents Boaz Golany, and Israel Bar-Joseph, Ph.D., from the Technion and Wiezmann, respectively, as well as faculty deans, Yehuda Assaraf , biology at Technion , Eliezer Shalev, medicine at  Technion , Pini Bar-Yoseph, mechanical engineering at Technion, Amir Landesberg , biomedical engineering at  Technion and  Zvi Livneh who leads biochemistry at  Weizmann.

The events of the symposium span Oct. 18-21, with the major scientific presentations being held Oct. 21 in the D. Dan and Betty Kahn Auditorium of the A. Alfred Taubman Biomedical Science Research Building on the University of Michigan campus.

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