Sheba to open new neuroscience center backed by Thomas Jefferson University

Joint research starting immediately on Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, schizophrenia, geriatric psychiatry, as well as neurological diseases that are unique to the Jewish population

Nathan Jeffay is The Times of Israel's health and science correspondent

Illustrative: Neuroscience research, with electroencephalograph examination of a brain. (ogen; iStock by Getty Images)
Illustrative: Neuroscience research, with electroencephalograph examination of a brain. (ogen; iStock by Getty Images)

Israel’s largest hospital is to open a major facility to progress neuroscience in partnership with America’s Thomas Jefferson University.

Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan is starting immediately to work with Philadelphia-based TJU on major research projects on brain disorders, stem cell research and behavioral disorders.

Sheba signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the university on Monday. It will lead to the center opening on its Ramat Gan campus in 2024. The new center will promote academia, innovation, research, and clinical care.

“The institution will embody Sheba’s ultimate goal of transforming health and transforming the brain sciences,” Prof. Michal Schnaider Beeri, a senior neuroscience researcher at Sheba, told The Times of Israel.

She said Sheba has very strong scientific prowess in the brain sciences and in neuro-technology, especially in treating Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, schizophrenia, geriatric psychiatry and also various neurological diseases that are unique to the Jewish population.

Beeri elaborated: ”The start of our joint work, to begin immediately, will focus on a program in which neuro-patients with unique symptoms and characteristics from both in Israel and Pennsylvania will be analyzed and their data will contribute to a database of the two populations that can help us in diagnostics and in finding novel treatments. This sort of global collaboration is rare.”

Mark L. Tykocinski, president of Thomas Jefferson University (left) signs a Memorandum of Understanding with Yitshak Kreiss, director of Sheba Medical Center, on September 12, 2022. The MOU will lead to a new neuroscience center at Sheba’s Ramat Gan campus. (Courtesy: Sheba Medical Center)

Dr. Mark L. Tykocinski, president of Thomas Jefferson University, said: “Together we have the power to move the needle. The new neuroscience center opens up a world of possibilities for collaboration between us as well as real advances in the field.”

The MOU for the new center comes on the heels of an increase in neuroscience and mental health work at Sheba.

The hospital’s Psychiatric Division has overseen a series of epidemiological studies into psychiatric disorders, carried out by linking Israeli databases, including those of the Israeli military, the Israeli National Psychiatric Hospitalization Registry, the Israeli Population Registry, causes-of-death registries, and others.

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