The University of Sydney
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Newsletter Issue #22 - June 2017

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE NEWSLETTER (PRINTABLE PDF - 1.8MB)

CONTENTS

 

2017 SZCUF PRIZE FOR DISCOVERY IN MEDICAL RESEARCH

 

The 2017 SZCUF Prize has been awarded to Dr. Yossi Buganim of the Hebrew University, who will receive the award in Jerusalem at a prize-giving ceremony in June 2017. This ceremony is one of the highlights of the annual meeting of the Board of Governors of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The SZCUF Prize is one of several prestigious awards presented to scholars in a wide range of fields at this ceremony.

Dr. Yossi Buganim Senior lecturer, Head of a stem cell lab, The Department of Developmental Biology and Cancer Research, The Hebrew University

The award of $20,000 and a medal crafted by renowned Melbourne sculptor, Michael Meszaros, will be presented to Dr. Buganim by SZCUF Trustee, Mr Robert Simons OAM, who is also a member of the Hebrew University Board of Governors.

Dr. Buganim was selected for the 2017 SZCUF Prize for his extensive and ground-breaking work focused undertaken in regenerative medicine.

Regenerative medicine is a new and developing field aimed at
engineering, regenerating or replacing human cells, tissues or organs, in
order to establish or restore normal function. Embryonic stem cells
(ESCs) have enormous potential in this area because they can
differentiate into all cell types in the human body. However, two
significant obstacles prevent their immediate use in medicine: ethical
issues related to terminating human embryos, and rejection of foreign
cells by the patient’s immune system. The creation of ES - like cells from skin cells, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), resolved both issues. Despite these cells’ enormous potential, their quality is still not sufficient to be used in clinical practice, and there is a need to find the best protocol that will enable production of high quality iPSCs that would not pose endanger patients.

Dr. Buganim’s laboratory has made two major breakthroughs in this area, representing major steps forward in the field.

Project A

In order to improve the quality of embryonic stem cells, Dr. Buganim and his colleagues conducted bioinformatic analyses which pointed to four new key genes capable of creating iPSCs from skin cells, of superior quality to stem cells in current use.
These cells produced in his laboratory (in this case mouse cells) are able to clone a whole mouse with much greater success (80%) than other iPSCs (30%). This test is the most important one determine the quality of the cells.

Project B

Many women suffer recurrent miscarriages and abnormal placenta, which causes fetal growth restriction that might lead to mental retardation.

Dr. Buganim’s laboratory found the key genes of the placenta stem cells and by expressing them in surplus in skin cells, created induced placental stem cells. These cells looked and behaved like natural placental stem cells. Various quality tests showed that these cells have cell - generating capability in vitro and inside a placenta that develops following a transplant. The success of this project may enable women with placenta problems to give birth to healthy children.

B’nai Brith Lodge Sydney

The 2017 Prize was sponsored by B’nai Brith Lodge Sydney.

Find more information about Dr Bugnaim and his laboratory here.

  • YOUR CONTRIBUTION

However you wish to support the Fund, you will be making a valuable contribution to the Fund’s work.

You could consider a donation to the Fund:

  • in the name of a friend as a special gift
  • in lieu of gifts to you
  • targeted toward an area of your interest
  • to sponsor one of the Fund’s projects

Please contact the Fund Office to discuss these and other options. Ph: 9351 6558 or email:

SUPPORTING THE FUND

 
  • Leslie Rich Scholarship For Dementia Research

Ms An Truong is the 2017 Recipient of the Leslie Rich Scholarship for Dementia Research.

Ms Truong

Ms Truong is a current PhD Candidate in the Regenerative Neuroscience Group at the Brain and Mind Centre, School of Medicine.

With a background in neuroanatomical and molecular biology, Ms Truong has developed an interest in a brain phenomenon termed ‘neurogenesis’. During her Honours project, Ms Truong investigated how this process of persistent neuronal generation in the adult human brain is disrupted in Parkinson’s disease. After completion of a Bachelor of Science with Honours, Ms Truong joined the Regenerative Neuroscience Group, bringing her understanding of neurogenesis to their current research on novel stem cells from the human skin.

Her doctoral project “Migratory Characteristics Of Skin-Derived Neural Precursors As A Novel Regenerative Therapy For Alzheimer’s Disease” will provide important preclinical data to facilitate the translation of a novel skin-derived neural precursor (SKN) technology. Stem cell replacement therapy presents a promising treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, halting and even reversing the dementia syndrome by replenishing depleted neuronal pools and restoring damaged brain circuits. Preliminary study showed that transplanted SKNs become functionally active, sufficient to reverse memory deficits in the treated rodents, back to a level equivalent with young healthy adult rats. These exciting results suggest that SKN may have great potential as a patient specific, disease-modifying treatment aimed at the regeneration of depleted brain circuits in patients with Alzheimer’s.

Following her PhD, Ms Truong plans to continue research in the field of neurodegenerative medicine, focusing on translational research. An is particularly interested in projects with strong collaborations between technology and basic science, looking at disease-modifying treatments for dementia and improving the quality of life for people with Alzheimer’s disease.

OTHER FUND INITIATIVES

 
  • SZCUF ACADEMIC EXCHANGE PROGRAM

Dr Dan Porat

In February 2017 the Fund sponsored the visit of Dr Dan Porat from the Hebrew University to deliver a keynote address for the 29th annual conference of the Australian Association for Jewish Studies at the Sydney Jewish Museum.

Dr Porat is the author of the book: The Boy: A Holocaust Story, which is focused on the iconic photograph of a little boy raising his hands in the Warsaw ghetto. Currently he is writing a book State Of Suspicion: Israel Tries Jews Who Collaborated With Nazis that focuses on forty criminal trials (1950-1972) in which the State of Israel prosecuted Holocaust survivors for alleged collaboration with the Nazis.

Dr Porat’s keynote address attracted a capacity audience and his other presentations and workshop did the same. Both the academic and general educational outcomes of his visit were substantial and added to both the scholarship of the academic community and to the wider education of interested individuals who attended the functions. In addition the fund also assisted a PhD student, Mrs Yehudit Dori Deston, to attend the conference and present there.

Professor Danielle Celermajer

Professor Danielle Celermajer from the Department of Sociology at the University of Sydney conducted primary empirical research in Israel in collaboration with a former SZCUF fellow, Professor Dan Avnon from the Hebrew University.

The empirical research furnished them with data that will be invaluable in developing their research concerning contemporary developments in democratic practices and the relationship between civil society organisations and the state.

SZCUF STUDENT EXCHANGE PROGRAM & ROGER SEBEL HEBREW UNIVERSITY MEDICAL ELECTIVE TERM FELLOWSHIPS

 
  • HEBREW UNIVERSITY TO SYDNEY UNIVERSITY

Tomer Falah is a student at the School of Law at the Hebrew University. He attended one semester at the University of Sydney. This experience allowed him to study subjects not offered at the Hebrew University, including game theory, Chinese law and international commercial arbitration. The knowledge Tomer achieved at University of Sydney, will be very useful for his continuous studies at the Hebrew University and for the seminar he is currently working on. In few months Tomer will start his internship in a law firm in Tel Aviv. He is very positive that subjects he studied will give him an advantage compared to the other interns in the firms.

  • SYDNEY UNIVERSITY TO HEBREW UNIVERSITY

Peace Talitha Klevjer, a postgraduate student at the University of Sydney, completing a Masters degree International Relations, travelled to Israel during Autumn Semester 2016/17.

At the Hebrew University she studied several subjects, including Israeli Defence Policy, Israel: Politics and Society, Social and Political History of the State of Israel, Studying the Middle East: A Histiographic Review and The Israel/Palestine conflict and International Law.

This trip enabled her to engage with Israeli psychology and policy in a way that would not be possible if she would come there as tourist or already affiliated with other organisations.

Following her time at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, she hopes to continue to a doctorate in International Relations/Spatial Politics.

  • MEDICAL ELECTIVE TERMS – THE ROGER SEBEL FELLOWSHIPS

During December 2016 to February 2017 three medical students from the University of Sydney chose Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem for their Elective Term.

The students commented on the advanced health system in Israel, the warmth with which they were welcomed, the kindness and support they have received from staff, students and patients at Hadassah hospital and the great experience and skills they have gained during their time
there, which will greatly benefit them as future doctors in Australia.

Tali Feiglin
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Namraj Goire
Infectious Diseases and Microbiology
Samantha Sattolo
Trauma and General Surgery




COMMERCIALISATION OF SCIENCE WORKSHOP, 17-18 JULY 2017

 

You are invited to join us at a unique workshop - a joint event of the University of Sydney and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, to be held in July under the auspices of the Sir Zelman Cowen Universities Fund.

The Workshop on the Commercialisation of Science will bring together
high-achieving scientists from both Universities, as well as venture capitalists and young Australian entrepreneurs, to share ideas, energise
collaborations already formed and seed new ones.

Both Israel and Australia have strong traditions of discovery, innovation and commercialisation. This event will bring together some of the best from both traditions.

Place: The New Law School in the Camperdown campus of the University of Sydney
Date: 17 and 18 July 2007
9:00AM – 5:00PM


For more details or to RSVP please contact the Fund Office
Ph: 9351 6558 or email





AUSTRALIAN FRIENDS OF THE HEBREW UNIVERSITY OF JERUSALEM TOGETHER WITH SIR ZELMAN COWEN UNIVERSITIES FUND DINNER - SUPPORTING THE BRAIN DISEASE RESEARCH AT THE HEBREW UNIVERSITY

 

DINNER
Tuesday 18 July 2017 at 6:30pm
The InterContinental Hotel Double Bay
For more information, please contact the office of the Australian Friends of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
on 9389 2825 or email
Invitation to follow



Donations will go towards supporting the Brain Disease Research at the Hebrew University

The Brain Disease Research Center (BDRC) was established at the Hebrew University in 2014.

BDRC’s mission is to conduct basic scientific research which is aimed at understanding the mechanisms of Brain Diseases and Repair; translating findings from this research into novel therapeutic strategies; training young scientists; educating and informing the lay public on coping and treating neurological disorders.

BDRC is focusing on neurological disorders of the central and peripheral nervous systems. These include trauma; neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer, Parkinson, multiple sclerosis and others); pain; psychiatric disorders; genetic disorders; congenital impairment and others.

BDRC is based in the Faculty of Medicine of the Hebrew University. It has 50 research laboratories, most of which are located in the basic medical sciences division of the faculty (The Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada and the Institute for Drug Research) and others in the clinical division of the faculty (Hadassah Medical Center departments Neurology, Neurosurgery, Ophthalmology, Psychiatry and others).

BDRC’s vision is that collaborative efforts across basic and clinical sciences are the key for meaningful advancement in understanding and treating Brain Diseases.