Prestigious grants from the European Commission’s Horizon Europe program were awarded to two Technion researchers to advance their decade-long research. Each of them will receive €2.5 million ($2.66 million). Coincidentally, both grants will further studies in brain science. 

Professor Michael Glickman, dean of the Faculty of Biology, was awarded for his work on an innovative model to study Alzheimer’s disease that uses nerve cells derived from human stem cells. His team’s research is based on the hypothesis that impairment of the ubiquitin system, which clears cells of damaged proteins, could lead to the development of Alzheimer’s. The grant will enable the researchers to identify the specific component in the ubiquitin system that contributes to the development of the disease in its early stages and better understand the underlying mechanism. The long-term aim is to develop novel treatments to repair the brain damage. 

Professor Jackie Schiller in the Ruth and Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine will further her research on how the brain manages to retain existing memories while learning new tasks — a challenge that artificial intelligence has not yet solved. Prof. Schiller hypothesizes that these remarkable memory abilities are based on the ability of dendritic branches within brain cortex cells to store large amounts of information simultaneously. She conjectures that disruptions in this mechanism are a key factor in various neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. 

The ERC Advanced Grant is one of Horizon Europe’s most prestigious and competitive grants, providing exceptional researchers with the opportunity to engage in ambitious, curiosity-driven projects that may lead to dramatic breakthroughs. The grants are dedicated to a wide range of research areas from life and physical sciences to social sciences and humanities.