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Mrs. Lily Safra Dedicates the New Home of Hebrew University's Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences (ELSC)

02/07/2017

Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat, British Architect Lord Norman Foster, and more than 400 friends and supporters joined the gala celebration and naming ceremony of Israel’s largest neuroscience center

Video: ‘ELSC — The Next Generation of Brain Research’

More than 400 friends and supporters joined Mrs. Lily Safra as she dedicated the new home of the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences (ELSC) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Edmond J. Safra Campus.

The Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, and Lord Norman Foster, Founder and Executive Chairman of the British architectural firm Foster + Partners, which designed the new Center, were among the dignitaries attending the gala event.

“I am thrilled to join in celebrating this defining moment for ELSC when such an extraordinary new building becomes home to a remarkable community of researchers and students,” said Mrs. Lily Safra. “Their multi-disciplinary study of the brain's secrets will surely make a profound impact on how we treat disease and care for patients. I know that my husband Edmond would share my deep sense of pride that our names are associated with such pioneering work, and with such dedicated and inspiring people."

Mrs. Safra is a leading supporter of neuroscience research projects around the world, and Chairwoman of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation, which pledged a lead donation of $50 Million of the Center’s $150 Million initial budget.

“The Hebrew University is grateful to Mrs. Lily Safra and the Edmond J. Safra Foundation for their leadership in this historic initiative to unlock the mysteries of the brain,” said Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson, President of the Hebrew University.  “ELSC is unique in the way it brings together theoretical and experimental researchers to develop pioneering approaches to brain science.”

The 14,500 square-meter Center is a premier setting that will encourage effective collaboration through interdisciplinary collaboration and interaction. Specialists in disciplines such as physics, computer science, psychology, neurobiology and medicine will all work under one roof to achieve breakthroughs that improve the lives of patients suffering from illnesses of the brain.

Directed by Prof. Israel Nelken and Prof. Adi Mizrahi, the Center will include state-of-the-art labs, classrooms, an innovative imaging center, and areas for biological and pre-clinical research. Significant emphasis was placed on constructing an environmentally friendly building with a focus on conserving energy and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.  

Video: “ELSC — The Next Generation of Brain Research” can be viewed at https://youtu.be/JRibYsXS0lw

Photos for Download:
  • http://media.huji.ac.il/new/photos/hu170613_elsc-3.jpg - Mrs. Lily Safra cuts the ribbon to dedicate the new home of the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Science, accompanied by (from left) British architect Lord Norman Foster, Chairman of the Hebrew University's Board of Governors Mr. Michael Federmann, Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat, and Hebrew University President Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson. (Credit: Michael Zekri for Hebrew University) 
  • http://media.huji.ac.il/new/photos/hu170613_elsc-5.jpg - Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat speaks at the dedication of the new home of the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Science (Credit: Bruno Charbit for Hebrew University) 
  • http://media.huji.ac.il/new/photos/hu170613_elsc-6.JPG - (From left) ELSC scientist Prof. Idan Segev, Member of the Council for Higher Education and Chairman of the Planning and Budgeting Committee Prof. Yaffa Zilbershats, Hebrew University Rector and President-elect Prof. Asher Cohen, and ELSC researcher Prof. Eilon Vaadia. (Credit: Bruno Charbit for Hebrew University)
  • http://media.huji.ac.il/new/photos/hu170613_elsc-9.jpg - Interior photo of the new brain sciences building at the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences (Credit: Michael Zekri for Hebrew University) 
  • http://media.huji.ac.il/new/photos/hu170613_elsc-12.jpg - Exterior photo of the new brain sciences building at the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences (Credit: Michael Zekri for Hebrew University)
  • http://media.huji.ac.il/new/photos/hu170316_elsc-11.jpg - The facade of the new home of the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Science, depicting neuronal connections in the brain. (Credit: Foster + Partners / Hebrew University)

About the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences

ELSC’s mission is to achieve a comprehensive understanding of brain mechanisms by developing a thriving interface between theoretical and experimental neuroscience. Harnessing the extraordinary opportunities created by advances in technology and medicine, ELSC is shaping the next generation of researchers to advance the brain sciences and transform the treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders. By building bridges across disciplines—combining high-resolution studies of local neuronal circuits (from genes to neurons and synapses) with a global theory of the brain’s computational principles—ELSC aims to be at the forefront of neuroscience research worldwide. ELSC was founded with the generous support of the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation, which supports hundreds of organizations in more than 40 countries around the world. For more information, please visit http://elsc.huji.ac.il.

About the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel’s leading academic and research institution, is ranked among the top 100 universities in the world. Founded in 1918 by visionaries including Albert Einstein, the Hebrew University is a pluralistic institution where science and knowledge are advanced for the benefit of humankind. For more information, please visit http://new.huji.ac.il/en

Mrs. Lily Safra Dedicates the New Home of Hebrew University's Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences (ELSC)
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Hebrew University to Dedicate New Home of the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences (ELSC)

07/06/2017

Philanthropist Mrs. Lily Safra, Architect Lord Norman Foster, and more than 400 people from Israel and abroad to attend the gala celebration and naming ceremony of Israel’s largest neuroscience center

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem will dedicate the new home of The Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences (ELSC) in Jerusalem on June 13, 2017. More than 400 people from Israel and abroad will attend the gala celebration and naming ceremony of the largest neuroscience center in Israel and one of the most ambitious in the world.

Participating in the event will be Mrs. Lily Safra, a leading supporter of neuroscience research projects around the world, and Chairwoman of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation, which pledged a lead donation of $50 Million of the Center’s $150 Million initial budget.

“I am truly thrilled to join in celebrating this defining moment for ELSC when such an extraordinary new building becomes home to a remarkable community of researchers and students,” said Mrs. Lily Safra. “Their multi-disciplinary study of the brain's secrets will surely make a profound impact on how we treat disease and care for patients. I know that my husband Edmond would share my deep sense of pride that our names are associated with such pioneering work, and with such dedicated and inspiring people."

The Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences is at the forefront of the revolution in neuroscience research. Harnessing the extraordinary opportunities created by advances in technology and medicine, ELSC is shaping the next generation of researchers to advance the brain sciences and transform the treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders.

“ELSC is unique in the way it brings together theoretical and experimental researchers to develop pioneering approaches to brain science,” said Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson, President of the Hebrew University.  “The Hebrew University is grateful to Mrs. Lily Safra and the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation for their leadership in this historic initiative to unlock the mysteries of the brain.”

Lord Norman Foster, the award-winning Founder and Executive Chairman of the British architectural firm Foster + Partners, which designed the new Center, will participate in the gala event.

“The project for the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences is much like a city in microcosm, with some of the same challenges: how do we best create a sense of community, share knowledge, bring people together, and support collective endeavours towards common goals? The building works flexibly, accommodating a diverse range of requirements from customisable, individual workstations to a central courtyard that is the social heart, breaking the traditional mould of learning and making the process more collaborative. It is a celebration of the brain, and of the vital work that is carried out by the researchers here,” said Lord Foster.

The 14,500 square-meter Center will include state-of-the-art labs, classrooms, an innovative imaging center, and areas for biological and pre-clinical research. Significant emphasis was placed on constructing an environmentally friendly building with a focus on conserving energy and reducing carbon dioxide emissions. 

Prof. Israel Nelken, Co-Director of the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences, and the Milton z"l and Brindell Gottlieb Professor of Brain Science, said: "At the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences, scientists follow an interdisciplinary agenda to uncover the causal links between genes, neurons and circuits from which cognition and behavior emerge, paving the way to a wide spectrum of future applications, from clever gadgets that improve quality of life to better health care.”

ELSC scientists have already paved a way towards fundamental understanding of brain processes in health and disease. At the Lab for Understanding Neurons, Prof. Idan Segev, the David & Inez Myers Professor in Computational Neuroscience, uses mathematical tools to digitally reconstruct a whole piece of cortical circuits using powerful computers. Using these models his team recently discovered rich structures or connectivity previously unknown. These “hidden” circuit structures pose constraints on how sensory information is processed in the neocortex. Prof. Merav Ahissar, the Joseph H. and Belle Braun Professor of Psychology, with longstanding interest in studying dyslexia, recently found that a central problem for dyslexics is forming prediction, a fundamental aspect of brain computing that governs our behaviors.

ELSC’s young generation of researchers are also studying the brain at unprecedented resolutions. Dr. Ami Citri, for example, received  the prestigious $100,000 Adelis Brain Research Award for his outstanding work in the field of experience-dependent plasticity and its impact on diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders. Most projects are led by ELSC’s PhD students, an elite group of young scholars. 

About the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences

ELSC’s mission is to achieve a comprehensive understanding of brain mechanisms by developing a thriving interface between theoretical and experimental neuroscience. By building bridges across disciplines—combining high-resolution studies of local neuronal circuits (from genes to neurons and synapses) with a global theory of the brain’s computational principles—ELSC aims to be at the forefront of neuroscience research worldwide. ELSC was founded with the generous support of the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation, which supports hundreds of organizations in more than 40 countries around the world. For more information, please visit http://elsc.huji.ac.il.

About the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel’s leading academic and research institution, is ranked among the top 100 universities in the world. Founded in 1918 by visionaries including Albert Einstein, the Hebrew University is a pluralistic institution where science and knowledge are advanced for the benefit of humankind. For more information, please visit http://new.huji.ac.il/en

Hebrew University to Dedicate New Home of the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences (ELSC)
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