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BGU Brain Researchers Receive $1 Million Grant

BGU Brain Researchers Receive $1 Million Grant

November 7, 2013

Medical Research, Press Releases

NEW YORK, November 7, 2013 – Researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Beer-Sheva, Israel are teaming up with researchers from the University of Heidelberg and Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin to investigate the impact of mitochondria on memory and brain disorders. The team has been awarded a $1 million German-Israel Project-Cooperation Grant.

Nuclear calcium (Ca2+) signaling is essential for memory formation and neuronal survival when there is an inadequate supply of blood in the brain caused by partial or total blockage of an artery (known as ischemia). Recent discoveries by the researchers provide a basis to devise specific molecular tools to control the mitochondrial function.

The grant to support “The Interplay of Mitochondrial and Nuclear Ca2+ Signaling and its Implication for Memory and Brain Disorders” will enable the researchers to expand upon their research in as yet unprecedented depth.

Only four Israeli researchers receive these cooperation grants annually. The BGU grant-winners are Drs. Israel Sekler, Ilya A. Fleidervish and Michal Hershfinkel of the Department of Physiology and Cell Biology.

Their German collaborators are Dr. Hilmar Bading of the Department of Neurobiology, University of Heidelberg and Dr. Michael Bader of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC), Charité.

This project received its initial seed money from BGU’s Research Excellence Initiative to promote bio-medical research within its Faculty of Health Sciences.

The matching grant competition on “Convergence in Bio-medical Research as a Route to Medical Breakthroughs” provides important seed money that the researchers could leverage to obtain more significant research grants.

“Ben-Gurion University is committed to providing $6 million to its Research Excellence Initiative and we expect to support this fund significantly, raising as much as half the funds to encourage the discovery of solutions to some of the world’s most challenging problems,” explains Doron Krakow, executive vice president of American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU).

“This German-Israel grant will help BGU provide groundbreaking research on debilitating brain disorders,” he added.

Since the Research Excellence Initiative began in May 2012, BGU’s Faculty of Health Sciences has seen a 400 percent increase in funding from the U.S.-Israel Bi-National Science Foundation (BSF) and is second only to the Weizmann Institute of Science in the number of BSF grants.

About the German-Israeli Project-Cooperation Grant

Launched by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) in 1997, the six research universities in Israel and the Weizmann Institute of Science are each eligible to submit two project proposals per year. German researchers and scientists are not eligible to submit proposals themselves, but are included as project partners in the Israeli project proposal.  For more information, visit German-Israel Project-Cooperation Grant.


About American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) plays a vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurion’s vision: creating a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the University’s expertise locally and around the globe. Activities include showcasing BGU’s academic excellence and cutting-edge research through educational programs, events and informative communications. AABGU’s main purpose is to support Ben-Gurion’s vision and the university that bears his name by creating a community of Americans committed to improving the world tomorrow from the heart of the Israeli desert today.

Media Contact:
Andrew Lavin
A. Lavin Communications