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Baden-Württemberg – Israel: Investigating neurological diseases across borders

Interdisciplinary workshop in Ramat Gan offered by bw-i lays foundations for further cooperation between scientists from Israel and Baden-Württemberg.

Many different diseases of the nervous system have their cause in the death of cells in the brain or the spinal cord. These range from widespread diseases like Alzheimer’s to rare conditions like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) that astrophysicist Stephen Hawking is suffering from. Researchers from many different disciplines work on treating these diseases and a better understanding of their causes. Clinical research plays an important role, as well as experimental work on the biological basis, computer simulations of processes in the brain, or the analysis of proteins found in patients’ tissues.

In order to get these different disciplines together for an exchange beyond the borders of their respective fields, Baden-Württemberg International (bw-i) and the Gonda Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center at Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan organized a scientific workshop for scientists from both states in Israel on November 27-28, 2016. Baden-Württemberg and Israel have in common an outstanding position in neurobiological research as well as ongoing intensive relations between many of their scientific institutions.

17 scientists used the workshop in Ramat Gan near Tel Aviv to identify questions within research on so-called neurodegenerative diseases that can only be answered by combining their individual expertise. After two days of intensive discussion and scientific exchange, the group narrowed its focus on two specific topics that they want to jointly investigate in the future. The next step will be a return visit in Baden-Württemberg next year, where the necessary steps will be turned into concrete sub-projects, and where additional teams will be invited to join.

Some of the members of the bw-i-led delegation used the days following the workshop for visits to other research institutions in Israel, further intensifying existing contacts.

“We are glad to support the scientific collaboration between Israel and Baden-Württemberg by having organized this workshop,” says Dr Gunnar Grah, responsible for life sciences and healthcare at bw-i. “Furthermore, we are grateful to Dr Ed Stern at Bar Ilan University for supporting our idea from the onset and for receiving our group so cordially.”

Thanks to the positive feedback from the scientists’ side, bw-i will look into transferring this workshop concept to other scientific fields.

 




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