The Future of Health: From Molecules to Machines

September 12, 2017
Kevin Hattori

More than 100 researchers from the University of Michigan, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, and Weizmann Institute of Science gathered at the Technion’s Rappaport Faculty of Medicine last week for the 6th annual Michigan-Israel Partnership for Research and Education Symposium. The event was held September 5-8, 2017.

The symposium, titled “The Future of Health: From Molecules to Machines,” featured presentations by faculty at three partner institutions about their research in the life sciences, medical science, imaging, physics, nanotechnology, and more – all with the goal of collaborating on new discoveries, therapies and future tools for treating disease.

Among the session topics were: “Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering; “Robotics and Nano/Micro-Machines in Biomedicine; “Protein/mRNA Structure, Function and Regulation in Health and Disease; “Microbiome; “Turing Big Data into Health and Discoveries; and “New Breakthroughs in Drug Discovery: Nan-Bio and Nan-Chemo” and more. Technion President Prof. Peretz Lavie delivered the symposium’s keynote lecture, entitled “My Science Heroes.”

“Excellent research does not required a large laboratory, but rather large ideas and good collaborations,” said Technion Professor Michael Aviram, one of the founders of the three-university collaboration

The first symposium was held in 2011, when philanthropist D. Dan Kahn – an ardent supporter of both the Technion and University of Michigan – funded the effort to bring the two universities together for collaborative research on cardiovascular disease.  The D. Dan and Betty Kahn Foundation remains one of the symposium’s main supporters.  In 2012, cardiovascular disease and diabetes were added as research topics.  In 2013, the Weizmann Institute of Science was added as a partner, and cancer and neurobiology as additional topics.

The Partnership is headed by Prof. Ofer Binah of Technion’s Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Prof. David J. Pinsky of the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, and Prof. Avraham A. Levy of the Weizmann Institute of Science.

The partnership conducts and funds joint scientific investigations, student and faculty exchanges, institutional collaborative ventures and technology commercialization.  According to Professor David Pinsky, director of the University of Michigan’s Cardiovascular Center and the symposium’s coordinator, the goal is bringing together people of different backgrounds to make breakthrough discoveries in human health.

This year’s symposium concluded with a celebratory gala dinner at the Technion Rappaport Faculty of Medicine. Among those in attendance were Vice President for Research at the University of Michigan, Prof. S. Jack Hu and President of the Weizmann Institute of Science, Prof. Daniel Zajfman.

The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is a major source of the innovation and brainpower that drives the Israeli economy, and a key to Israel’s renown as the world’s “Start-Up Nation.” Its three Nobel Prize winners exemplify academic excellence. Technion people, ideas and inventions make immeasurable contributions to the world including life-saving medicine, sustainable energy, computer science, water conservation and nanotechnology. The Joan and Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute is a vital component of Cornell Tech, and a model for graduate applied science education that is expected to transform New York City’s economy.

American Technion Society (ATS) donors provide critical support for the Technion—more than $2 billion since its inception in 1940. Based in New York City, the ATS and its network of supporters across the U.S. provide funds for scholarships, fellowships, faculty recruitment and chairs, research, buildings, laboratories, classrooms and dormitories, and more.