Pictured are BSF Executive Director Yair Rotstein and Conference speaker the Honorable Patrick Kennedy
Posted on November 24, 2012 · Posted in AFBSF

Bringing together top scientists from the United States and Israel, “Accelerating U.S. – Israel Neuroscience and Neurotechnology Collaborations,” was held this past September 2012 in Washington, DC.  Discussed at the conference were cutting-edge technologies, and research underway in the United States and Israel. Presenters shared updates on a variety of topics including memory and brain training, brain-inspired computing technology and brain machine interface, trauma and stroke, brain cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases. Experts in the field of neurology discussed recent breakthroughs in the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders and how bi-national cooperation plays a key role in advancing brain research.  One highlight was a video presentation on “The Vision of Neurotechnology” presented by Israeli President Shimon Peres, an outspoken advocate for brain research.

Pictured above are BSF Executive Director Yair Rotstein and Conference speaker the Honorable Patrick Kennedy

The conference was jointly sponsored by three major U.S. – Israeli foundations:  the BSF (U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation), BIRD (U.S.-Israel Binational Industrial Research Foundation), and the USISTF (U.S.-Israel Science and Technology Foundation). Sponsorship was also provided by the Neurotechnology Industry Organization, The National Institute for Psychobiology in Israel, and the law firm of Mintz Levin.

“We currently have 69 neuroscience projects funded by the BSF.  Interest in this field is growing rapidly,” Yair Rotstein, Executive Director of the BSF reported to conference attendees.  “During a recent BSF competition in Life and Medical Sciences, 26 out of 107 grants were in Neuroscience,” he continued, “I am pleased to announce that next year we will add Computational Neuroscience to our growing list of partnerships with the National Science Foundation (NSF).  This expanding interest in Neuroscience within the Israeli scientific community, together with the new NSF-BSF program, will increase the level of support given to joint U.S and Israeli research in Neuroscience.  There is a great future for the development of cooperation in Neuroscience between our two countries to the benefit of both the United States and Israel.”

Dr. Marc A. Dichter, Professor at
U of Penn with AFBSF Executive
Director Gary A. Leo

Conference attendee Dr. Marc A. Dichter, Professor of Neurology and Interim Director of the David Mahoney Institute of Neuroscience at University of Pennsylvania shared, “The Conference gave those of us who work everyday with people facing brain related challenges an opportunity to learn about new advances from leading international experts.  I value the scientific partnerships we have with Israeli scientists.  I believe there is great promise in the work we are doing together to advance applications for brain-related diagnostics and treatments.”

The Honorable Patrick Kennedy, former U.S. Representative for Rhode Island’s 1st congressional district and co-Founder of One Mind for Research, said in his Conference remarks, “All the science today is united by a common organ – the Brain.  I think that while Washington D.C. is worried about the economy and deficit reduction that ironically what will transpire at the conference today is helping to put together a plan to get to the answers for everything from autism to Alzheimer’s, from addiction to Parkinson’s, that these things are going to be the best deficit reduction plans that Washington hasn’t even looked at.  The best national security plans that the Defense Department hasn’t even looked at yet.  And, the best plans to build a global economy that no economist has looked at yet.  The fundamental benefit from today’s conference will be to the society at large.”

Sanford Lakoff, Professor Emeritus at UC San Diego, Deborah Miller of Shelter Entertainment and Gary A. Leo, Executive Director of the AFBSF

The conference concluded with an intimate reception at the Israeli Embassy.  Among the special guests were Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Co-Chair of the Congressional Neuroscience Caucus, and Congressman Chaka Fattah, the Congressional champion for brain science research and author of the Fattah Neuroscience Initiative.  His address at the Embassy called for advancing the cause for international public-private collaboration in neuroscience research, especially between the United States and Israel. Said Sanford Lakoff, Dickson Professor of Political Science Emeritus, University of California, San Diego, “Research in neuroscience is especially critical now both because of the opportunities lately opened for advances in the basic science of perception and cognition and because of the prospects for the development in “translational medicine” of new ways to treat tumors, degenerative diseases of the brain, loss of vision, etc. The cooperation between American and Israeli researchers is therefore heartening — as is its endorsement by enlightened politicians like Congressman Chaka Fattah.”

You can view the complete conference proceedings HERE