Hebrew University Memorial Service Marks 15 Years Since Attack on Mount Scopus

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem held a memorial service on July 31, 2017, to honor and remember those who were killed and injured 15 years ago in a terrorist attack at the Mount Scopus campus. The ceremony was attended by leadership, students, staff, faculty, and friends of the Hebrew University, at Nancy Reagan Plaza near the site of the attack.

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem held a memorial service on July 31, 2017, to honor and remember those who were killed and injured 15 years ago in a terrorist attack at the Mount Scopus campus. The ceremony was attended by leadership, students, staff, faculty, and friends of the Hebrew University, at Nancy Reagan Plaza near the site of the attack. Among the dignitaries who participated in the event was Ambassador Hélène Le Gal, France’s first female ambassador to Israel, who delivered remarks in Hebrew.

Laying a memorial wreath, front row, left to right: Hebrew University President, Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson; French Ambassador to Israel, Helene Le Gal; Hebrew University Rector and President-elect, Prof. Asher Cohen. (Photo: Hebrew University)

Nine students and staff members were killed in the bombing of the cafeteria in 2002:

  • Benjamin Blutstein
  • Marla Bennett
  • Revital Barashi
  • David Gritz
  • David Diego Ladowski
  • Janis Ruth Coulter
  • Dina Carter
  • Levina Shapira
  • Daphna Spruch

You can learn more about the event on the Hebrew University website.


From ‘Startup Nation’ to ‘Cannabis Nation’

Hebrew University and City of Jerusalem to Host International Conference on the Cannabinoids in 2021

July 26, 2017 — The International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS) has chosen the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to host the International Symposium on the Cannabinoids in 2021 in Jerusalem.

The ICRS is the oldest scientific society dedicated to the research in the cannabis plant, cannabinoids, and their physiological and biochemical targets.  The ICRS has nearly 400 members from all over the world. The members and guests of the ICRS gather yearly to present the ICRS Symposium.

Hundreds of participants from Israel and around the world will participate in the conference, at the International Convention Center (ICC) in Jerusalem, in cooperation with the Jerusalem Conventions & Visitors Bureau (JCVB), which operates under the Jerusalem Development Authority (JDA).

The event will be hosted by the Hebrew University’s Multidisciplinary Center on Cannabinoid Research (MCCR), which is the leading center in Israel for conducting and coordinating research on cannabinoids, endocannabinoids and medical Cannabis.

Over the last 50 years, Hebrew University research has spearheaded a new scientific era of Cannabis research. Professor Raphael Mechoulam, a Hebrew University researcher widely regarded as “the father of cannabinoid research,” and his colleagues isolated the active constituent of the Cannabis plant, tetrahydrocannabinol, elucidated its structure, and synthesized it. Later Professor Mechoulam identified the endogenous cannabinoids (formed in the mammalian body) and thus pioneered the field of cannabinoid research.

Professor Raphael Mechoulam

The International Symposium will mark Professor Mechoulam’s 90th birthday.

The Symposium will feature oral and poster presentations covering a wide range of topics germane to cannabinoid science and medicine. Past conferences have covered such topics as autoimmunity, epilepsy, pain, PTSD, drug development and medicinal chemistry, neuroprotection, metabolism, endocrine and obesity, cancer, and much more.

Professor Cecilia Hillard, Executive Director of the ICRS, said: “The board of directors of the International Cannabinoid Research Society is very pleased that our 31st annual meeting will be held in Jerusalem in 2021. Jerusalem holds a special place in the history of the science of cannabis and the endocannabinoids. Professor Raphael Mechoulam of Hebrew University was the first to publish the structure of the active principal of cannabis, THC, and was also the first to identify an endogenous cannabinoid, anandamide.  Just as impressive is the current state of cannabinoid research in Jerusalem and Israel at large, including the Multidisciplinary Center on Cannabinoid Research led by Dr. Tam.  We are looking forward to visiting Jerusalem and to an exciting and informative conference.”

Dr. Joseph (Yossi) Tam, Director of the Hebrew University’s Multidisciplinary Center on Cannabinoid Research, said: “I’m excited that the International Cannabinoid Research Society has decided to hold its 31st conference in Jerusalem under the auspices of the Multidisciplinary Center on Cannabinoid Research. One of our first goals after establishing the Center was to host the ICRS conference in Jerusalem so that the international community of researchers can learn about the highly advanced work in the field of cannabinoids carried out in the Center and in Israel. I am certain that hosting this high-level conference will constitute another turning point in Israel’s position as a global leader in cannabinoid research and development.”

“Modulating endocannabinoid activity has therapeutic potential in a large number of human diseases, and research on cannabinoids may lead to very significant advances in basic science and therapeutics. We look forward to hosting the world’s top scientists working to discover new therapies based on cannabinoids,” said Professor Raphael Mechoulam, Head of the Academic Committee of the Multidisciplinary Center, and the Lionel Jacobson Professor Emeritus of Medicinal Chemistry in the Hebrew University’s Faculty of Medicine.

“Bringing this global symposium to Jerusalem emphasizes the ongoing collaboration between multiple institutions including the JCVB, ICC, and MCCR. This partnership was only possible with the shared vision in highlighting the city’s potential as a leading scientific conference destination. Jerusalem offers an ideal setting to host the over 400 global researchers to learn and promote the exchange of scientific information and gain new perspectives about Cannabis,” said Ilanit Melchior, Director of Tourism in Jerusalem.

“As the largest and leading conference center in Israel, the Jerusalem ICC looks forward to hosting this important conference aimed at bringing international researchers together to improve human health and well-being,” said Mira Altman, CEO of the International Convention Center (ICC) in Jerusalem.

The ICRS is a scientific association with hundreds of international members, all active researchers in the field of endogenous, plant-derived and synthetic cannabinoids and related bioactive lipids. The ICRS Symposium is considered the most important conference in the field of cannabinoids research. The conference brings together the leading researchers from the international scientific community and presents the latest and most up-to-date research in the field.

The Multidisciplinary Center on Cannabinoid Research, staffed by leading scientists and medical doctors from the Hebrew University and its affiliated Hadassah Medical Center, conducts and coordinates exciting new research about cannabinoids, endocannabinoids, and medical Cannabis, while promoting collaboration and disseminating information. More info at


Sperm Counts Are Declining Among Western Men

Comprehensive study shows a significant ongoing decline in sperm counts of Western men, pointing to impaired male health and decreasing fertility

SUMMARY: A rigorous and comprehensive meta-analysis of data collected between 1973 and 2011 finds that among men from Western countries who were not selected on the basis of their fertility status, sperm concentration declined by more than 50%, with no evidence of a “leveling off” in recent years. These findings strongly suggest a significant decline in male reproductive health that has serious implications beyond fertility and reproduction, given recent evidence linking poor semen quality with a higher risk of hospitalization and death. Research on causes of this ongoing decline and their prevention is urgently needed.

Jerusalem, July 25, 2017 — In the first systematic review and meta-analysis of trends in sperm count, researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Faculty of Medicine and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai report a significant decline in sperm concentration and total sperm count among men from Western countries. The study is published in Human Reproduction Update, the leading journal in the fields of Reproductive Biology and Obstetrics & Gynecology.

By screening 7,500 studies and conducting a meta-regression analysis on 185 studies between 1973 and 2011, the researchers found a 52.4 percent decline in sperm concentration, and a 59.3 percent decline in total sperm count, among men from North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand who were not selected based on their fertility status. In contrast, no significant decline was seen in South America, Asia, and Africa, where far fewer studies have been conducted.

The study also indicates the rate of decline among Western men is not decreasing: the slope was steep and significant even when the analysis was restricted to studies with sample collection between 1996 and 2011.

The research was led by Dr. Hagai Levine, Head of the Environmental Health Track at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Jerusalemwith Dr. Shanna H. Swan, Professor in the Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, and an international team of researchers from Brazil, Denmark, Israel, Spain, and the United States.

While declines in sperm count have been reported since 1992, the question has remained controversial because of limitations in past studies. However, the current study uses a broader scope and rigorous meta-regression methods, conservatively addresses the reliability of study estimates, and controls for factors that might help explain the decline such as age, abstinence time, and selection of the study population.

“Given the importance of sperm counts for male fertility and human health, this study is an urgent wake-up call for researchers and health authorities around the world to investigate the causes of the sharp ongoing drop in sperm count, with the goal of prevention,” said Dr. Hagai Levine, also an adjunct assistant professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York.

The findings have important public health implications. First, these data demonstrate that the proportion of men with sperm counts below the threshold for subfertility or infertility is increasing. Moreover, given the findings from recent studies that reduced sperm count is related to increased morbidity and mortality, the ongoing decline points to serious risks to male fertility and health.

“Decreasing sperm count has been of great concern since it was first reported 25 years ago. This definitive study shows, for the first time, that this decline is strong and continuing. The fact that the decline is seen in Western countries strongly suggests that chemicals in commerce are playing a causal role in this trend,” Dr. Shanna H. Swan.

While the current study did not examine causes of the observed declines, sperm count has previously been plausibly associated with environmental and lifestyle influences, including prenatal chemical exposure, adult pesticide exposure, smoking, stress, and obesity.  Therefore, sperm count may sensitively reflect the impact of the modern environment on male health across the lifespan and serve as a “canary in the coal mine” signaling broader risks to male health.

The Hebrew University-Hadassah Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine is the first school of public health in Israel and one of five schools within the Hebrew University’s Faculty of Medicine. Since 1961, both in Israel and internationally, the Braun School, which is APHEA accredited, has improved the physical, mental and social well-being of populations, trained a public health workforce for the challenges of today and the future, conducted public health research, and made an impact on health services and policy. The School’s renowned International Master’s in Public Health (IMPH) program prepares graduates to take up key positions as leaders and teachers of public health in their home countries.

# # #

Researchers who participated in this study are affiliated with Hebrew University-Hadassah Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine, and the Hebrew University Center of Excellence in Agriculture and Environmental Health, Jerusalem, Israel; Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health, and Gustave L. and Janet W. Levy Library, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA; University Department of Growth and Reproduction,  University of Copenhagen, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark; Department of Physiology, Federal University of Parana, Curitiba, Brazil; Division of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Murcia School of Medicine and Biomedical Research Institute of Murcia, Murcia, Spain; Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel.


CITATION: Temporal trends in sperm count: A systematic review and meta-regression analysis. Hagai Levine, Niels Jørgensen, Anderson Martino‐Andrade, Jaime Mendiola, Dan Weksler-Derri, Irina Mindlis, Rachel Pinotti, Shanna H Swan. Human Reproduction Update, July 25, 2017, doi:10.1093/humupd/dmx022. Link:

FUNDING: Researchers received support from the Environment and Health Fund (EHF), Jerusalem, Israel; American Healthcare Professionals and Friends for Medicine in Israel (APF); Israel Medical Association (IMA) [Levine]; Research Fund of Rigshospitalet (grant no. R42-A1326) [Jørgensen); The Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development [Martino-Andrade]; The Mount Sinai Transdisciplinary Center on Early Environmental Exposures (NIH P30ES023515) [Swan].


American Friends of the Hebrew University Opens Philadelphia Office

Seth M. Bloom, experienced Jewish communal leader, to spearhead Philadelphia outreach in support of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

PHILADELPHIA—July 24, 2017 American Friends of the Hebrew University (AFHU), a national nonprofit organization dedicated to raising support for, and awareness of, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, announced the launch of a new Center City Philadelphia office to serve the greater Philadelphia community. This office will complement AFHU’s six current offices in regions throughout the United States, as well as the operations of its national headquarters in New York. AFHU’s Philadelphia office will be headed by Mr. Seth M. Bloom, an experienced development professional with close ties to Israel and the American Jewish community.

Herb Sachs, AFHU national board member, remarked: “We respect and appreciate the steadfast commitment of Philadelphians, including philanthropic leaders and the academic community, to Israel and the nation’s foundational institutions. In opening the Philadelphia office, AFHU is signaling its intention of making our community pivotal to the university’s future growth. Hebrew University is an outstanding research university. By extending our roots and relationships, we will improve lives the world over.”

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in independent surveys of the top institutions in academia, ranks first in Israel and among the top 100 universities worldwide. Founded in 1918 by visionaries such as Albert Einstein and Chaim Weizmann, the Hebrew University is a multicultural and pluralistic institution devoted to innovation and achievement across seven academic Faculties. Among its many accomplishments, Hebrew University faculty and alumni received eight Nobel Prizes.

Over the years, Hebrew University has developed productive collaborations and partnerships with leading U.S. universities, including the University of Pennsylvania. The Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Dental Medicine was founded by the Alpha Omega Fraternity, with support from U. Penn alumni and faculty. The D. Walter Cohen Middle East Center for Dental Education at Hebrew University was established in tribute to Dr. D. Walter Cohen, former Dean of the U. Penn School of Dental Medicine.  The Koret School of Veterinary Medicine at Hebrew University has maintained an ongoing relationship with U. Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine, and other exchanges exist between these two leading universities. The Hebrew University and Thomas Jefferson University also initiate academic partnerships.

Seth Bloom began his career as Assistant Director of the Jewish Federation of Delaware in 1989, subsequently becoming a Planned Giving and Major Gifts Officer of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia. In 2000, he expanded his professional portfolio as Vice President of WPO & Associates Consulting and later as the Founder and President of Bloom Metz Consulting. He has spent the past several years with the American Associates of Ben-Gurion of the Negev. As a professional consultant, he has provided hands-on service and supplementary leadership to more than 150 non-profit organizations.

“Seth Bloom will play an important role in our efforts to advance higher education and research in Israel. AFHU will ensure that our already strong community of supporters in the greater Philadelphia area can become actively engaged in the transformative work of the university,” stated Beth Asnien McCoy, National Executive Director of AFHU.

“Recognizing the special relationship that people who live in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic Region have with Israel, I’m thrilled to be representing Hebrew University in this new position,” said Bloom.

Seth Bloom can be reached at the AFHU office located at 2100 Arch Street, Suite 455, Philadelphia, PA 19103; telephone 215.330.6722 or email [email protected].



Meet the New Zuckerman 2017-2018 STEM Program Scholars

July 24, 2017-The Zuckerman STEM Leadership Program committee completed its selection process, awarding 30 new scholarships in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

In October 2016, the program began the academic year with a cohort of 14 scholars. This fall, the second cohort joins it with 30 new scholars, forming an impressive group of 44 women and men.

The Steering committee is extremely impressed by the scholars’ scientific achievements, career development plans, and demonstrated leadership qualities. The program offers the new scholars sincere congratulations on their selection. Please meet the new Zuckerman 2017-2018 Scholars, including several at Hebrew University. 

Starting next year, the Zuckerman STEM Leadership Program will double the number of fellowships. Instead of selecting roughly 30 new students each year, it will choose 50. Within a few years, it will be supporting 64 fellows at one time within the multi-year program.

Read the source article at


Seth M. Siegel

AFHU spoke with Hebrew University of Jerusalem alumnus Seth M. Siegel. Seth is a businessman, activist and writer. His essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times and other publications around the world on business, political and cultural issues. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. His book Let There Be Water: Israel’s Solution for a Water-Starved World came out in September 2015. All proceeds from the book will be donated to charity.

Why did you study at Hebrew University?

I worked my way through Cornell and by the end of my junior year I saved extra money. I thought it’d be great to take some time off before starting to work. I decided on Italy.

While planning to go to Florence, the Yom Kippur War broke out. It really awakened my sense of Jewish vulnerability and history. I craved to understand my origins and learn Israel’s history.

Tel Aviv University and Hebrew University both accepted me, but HU provided a scholarship, so I went there.

What did you study at HU?

I enrolled in the international relations master’s program and Ulpan. I loved the Ulpan and thought it was fantastic. I also made some wonderful friends.

What was the best part of HU?

Well, I met my wife at HU but we didn’t start dating until years later. We met again at a New Year’s Day brunch her HU roommate hosted and fell in love. My further connection is I have a daughter who also studied at HU and now lives in Israel.

How did being in Israel affect you?

Israel is one of the most exciting countries and has a great deal to offer. HU is a seminal institution that helped shape and create what Israeli society is today. It would be hard to think of a single important Israeli of a certain generation who didn’t spend time at Hebrew University.

To the extent that Israel is a center of innovation, a place of extraordinary intellectualism, a country of educated, well-read people, and a well-planned society, then you have to give a lot of credit to one of the primary institutions that made that possible. HU’s DNA can be found in many, if not all, other Israeli educational institutions.

Israel, a country that I love, a society that I revere, a value system that I think is extraordinary, has been profoundly affected by the birth and the creation of HU. We should bless those extraordinarily visionary people who laid that cornerstone.

How did you become interested in water issues?

I’ve been interested in water most of my life. Even as a grad student at HU, I took a class called the ‘Water of the Middle East.’ Following HU, I was involved in a program with the Jewish Agency. I worked with a professor from Haifa University and remember discussing Israeli immigration in conjunction to the country’s water issues. After college, I continued thinking about water as a resource.

What prompted you to write a book about water issues?

I attended a seminar on the impending global water crisis and became very concerned. I started researching and realized that there was a very big Israel story. Weeks later I was still researching and decided to buy a book, but I couldn’t find one. [laughing] So, I wrote the book that I would have wanted to read.

Why are some regions doing something about water scarcity and others aren’t?

Frequently, when there’s a scarcity issue, people get motivated. Then it rains and people lose motivation, which I fear for California.

Elected officials tend to respond to imminent crises. In democratic countries, water tends to be more local than national. Water tends to be out of sight, out of mind, because it’s underground. Elected officials respond to citizen demands about parks and roads. Most water infrastructure projects require many years; mayors and governors don’t have much incentive to respond to water issues that will only be resolved long after they are likely to be out of that office

I’m hoping to be part of a movement that changes how people think about water.

Can water be a pathway to peace?

Yes. We see this in countries that historically did not have good relations with Israel. China and India now have a multilayered trade relationship with Israel, and water is a major reason.

As regards the Palestinians, as I write in my book, Israeli technology became so sophisticated that now the water problem between them is either solvable or solved. Therefore, the water relationships between Israelis and Palestinians can create conditions (if the parties want) for dialogue.

Is nationalizing physical resources like water is a model for others to follow?

It’s going to be hard for other regions to adopt the exact Israeli model. However, everyone would benefit if they would nationalize their water supply. More generally, everybody would benefit from emulating Israel’s water policies. An example is Carlsbad, California, which is building the largest desalination plant in the Western hemisphere. It took 10 years from planning to breaking ground because of litigation. We need to be mindful of environmental impact, but this process became overly complicated.

How is water local and global?

It’s local because if there’s a drought in California, it does not affect water in New York. However, a drought in California can drive up food prices everywhere. It’s also national because we can learn from another city’s experiences and it’s going to affect regulation, legal structure and governance. But we need citizen activists to make this happen.

It’s also global because of trade. The changing water profile of countries around the world will affect the cost of commodities, food prices and global stability. If there is a water crisis somewhere, there’s going to be mass migrations, which is going to be destabilizing.

What can everybody can do for water conservation?

The most important thing that we all can do besides stop wasting water is to set a price for water. Brilliantly, Israel set a price for water. In most of America, water fees are paid into a general budget that the mayor can divert for schools, hospitals and more. In Israel, 100% of the water fees are used only for water infrastructure, technology and running the system.

The extent of water leaks is enormous. In 1980, New York City discovered a leak that was losing 35 million gallons every day. The city just started construction on the repair of the leak, and it won’t be done until 2021. In the U.S., most of our cities lose a third or more of our water to failed infrastructure. It’s imperative we reduce our loss of water.

We need systems to reclaim and reduce water usage. Israel uses 86% of its wastewater for irrigation which should be the norm everywhere. With technology and innovation, there will be changes, but we can live a life similar to one we live right now.

Did you enjoy the writing process?

I loved the research and writing of this book. My two favorite modes in life are learning and teaching. To merge these two things together was so satisfying; to develop a mastery of a topic that touches the lives of billions of people both affluent and poor.

What’s your advice to students interested in environmental or water conservation?

Twenty-five years from now our lives will be different. There’s going to be opportunities for engineers, people with environmental backgrounds and for public policy majors. Water is going to be one of the great subjects of conversation over the next couple of decades.

What’s your favorite quote?

My favorite quote is from a British essayist and critic named Matthew Arnold. The quote is, “Life is not a having and a getting, but a being and a becoming.”


New Tool Could Lead to Earlier Diagnosis, Better Treatment of Parkinson’s

Suaad Abd-Elhadi wins a Kaye Innovation Award for a new diagnostic tool that could pave the way for early diagnosis and improved treatment of one of the most common and debilitating neurodegenerative disorders

July 5, 2017 — Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder in humans, after Alzheimer’s disease. It is typically characterized by changes in motor control such as tremors and shaking, but can also include non-motor symptoms, from the cognitive to the behavioral. An estimated seven to 10 million people worldwide are living with Parkinson’s disease, with medication costing approximately $2,500 a year, and therapeutic surgery costing up to $100,000 dollars, per patient.

Making an accurate diagnosis of Parkinson’s, particularly in early stages and mild cases, is difficult, and there are currently no standard diagnostic tests other than clinical information provided by the patient and the findings of a neurological exam. One of the best hopes for improving diagnosis is to develop a reliable test for identifying a biomarker, i.e. a substance whose presence would indicate the presence of the disease.

Now, Suaad Abd-Elhadi, a Ph.D. student in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Faculty of Medicine, developed the lipid ELISA. This unique diagnostic tool could lead to earlier detection of Parkinson’s, along with better tracking of the disease’s progression and a patient’s response to therapy.

How the diagnostic ELISA works
ELISA stands for “enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.” An assay is a procedure used in laboratory settings to assess the presence, amount, and activity of a target entity, such as a drug, cell or biochemical substance. ELISA is a common assay technique that involves targeting cellular secretions.

In the case of the lipid ELISA, the cellular secretion of interest is a specific protein called the alpha-Synuclin protein. This protein serves as a convenient biomarker that is closely associated with the tissues where Parkinson’s disease can be detected, along with the neurological pathways the disease travels along, causing its characteristic symptoms.

As a simple and highly sensitive diagnostic tool that can detect Parkinson’s biomarkers, the lipid ELISA could lead to a minimally invasive and cost-effective way to improve the lives of Parkinson’s patients. Recently, Abd-Elhadi has demonstrated a proof of concept to the high potential of this lipid-ELISA assay in differentiating healthy and Parkinson’s affected subjects. She is now in the process of analyzing a large cohort of samples, including moderate and severe Parkinson’s, and control cases, as part of a clinical study.

Through Yissum, its technology transfer company, the Hebrew University holds granted patents on the technology and signed an agreement with Integra Holdings for further development and commercialization.

2017 Kaye Innovation Award
In recognition of her work, Suaad Abd-Elhadi was awarded the Kaye Innovation Award for 2017.

The Kaye Innovation Awards at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have been awarded annually since 1994. Isaac Kaye of England, a prominent industrialist in the pharmaceutical industry, established the awards to encourage faculty, staff and students of the Hebrew University to develop innovative methods and inventions with good commercial potential, which will benefit the university and society. For more information about the 2017 Kaye Innovations Awards, visit

Suaad Abd-Elhadi is a direct-track Ph.D. student at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the Hebrew University’s Faculty of Medicine. She completed her B.S. in medical laboratory science at Hadassah Academic College. She was awarded a scholarship from the Liba and Manek Teich Endowment Fund for Doctoral Students and an Adrian Sucari Scholarship for Academic Excellence. She conducts her research under the supervision of Dr. Ronit Sharon and has published papers in Science Reports and Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry describing her research.


Prof. Asher Cohen Elected Next President of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

July 3, 2017 — The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is pleased to announce that its Board of Governors, headed by its Chairman Mr. Michael Federmann, has elected Professor Asher Cohen as the next President of the Hebrew University.

Professor Cohen will succeed Professor Menahem Ben-Sasson, who led the University for the last eight years. He will begin serving as President on September 1, 2017.

Professor Cohen was elected President after serving for five years as Rector of the University. As Rector, Professor Cohen led many important initiatives. Among these are recruiting top researchers from Israel and abroad, opening new and innovative academic programs, refreshing the university’s curricula, and developing in-depth processes for continually improving the education of university students, in cooperation with the Student Union.

After graduating from the Hebrew University with a B.A. in Economics and an M.A. in Psychology, Professor Cohen completed his doctoral and post-doctoral studies at the University of Oregon in the United States. He served as a senior lecturer at Indiana University before returning in the early 1990s to the Hebrew University’s Department of Psychology, in the Faculty of Social Sciences. From 2008 to 2012, he served as the head of the Department of Psychology, after which he was appointed Rector, a position he currently holds.

Professor Cohen’s research in the cognitive sciences focuses on the relationship between the human perception system and human response mechanisms in situations that require very fast motor responses. In the framework of his research, Professor Cohen developed a theoretical model that successfully predicts the situations in which performing two tasks simultaneously will lead to a decline in abilities.

At the request of incoming President Professor Asher Cohen and Chairman of the Board of Governors Mr. Michael Federmann, the Board of Governors appointed outgoing President Professor Ben-Sasson as Chancellor of the Hebrew University. As Chancellor, he will undertake a variety of tasks which will be assigned to him from time to time by the President, particularly in the area of relations with donors, key supporters, and government officials in Israel and around the world, to advance the University’s development plans.

Chairman of the Board of Governors Mr. Michael Federmann congratulated the Board of Governors, wished Prof. Asher Cohen success, and thanked Professor Menahem Ben-Sasson for his service. Said Federmann: “In the coming years, Professor Asher Cohen will lead the university to even greater academic heights. At the end of his two terms in office, I thank Professor Menahem Ben-Sasson for his great contributions to establishing the Hebrew University’s leading position in Israel and around the world, to which he will continue to contribute as Chancellor.”


Mrs. Lily Safra Dedicates New Home of Hebrew University’s Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences

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

July 2, 2017— 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.

(L-R) 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)

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.

(Credit: Michael Zekri)

“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 Professor 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 Professor Israel Nelken and Professor 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.

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