In 2016 the Garvan-Weizmann partnership was formalised during an Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce NSW mission to Israel, led by the NSW Premier of the time, Mr Mike Baird. A memorandum of understanding was signed and the Garvan-Weizmann Centre for Cellular Genomics was born.
Roll on three years at a Garvan-Weizmann showcase event on 2 December 2019; guests consisting of supporters, scientists and stakeholders were provided with an update on the partnership and just how far it has come.
Some of the guests and Garvan scientists were fresh from a visit to Israel where the Weizmann Institute of Science’s 70th anniversary was celebrated and the second Garvan-Weizmann Symposium took place.
Key to the Centre’s establishment was Ms Jillian Segal AO, a long term member of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research Board, Chair of Garvan-Weizmann Ambassadors Advisory Group and newly appointed member of the Weizmann Institute’s International Board. It was her knowledge of the Garvan and Weizmann Institutes’ work and how they complement each other that was a trigger to the partnership development.
Ms Segal delivered the Garvan-Weizmann showcase’s official welcome, highlighting that it was “an amazing team effort” to make the Centre a reality and that at Weizmann’s 70th anniversary event “little Australia” was a key player.
“There we were together with MIT and the Pasteur Institute punching well above our weight and I felt very proud to be there. The Garvan-Weizmann team is a force to be reckoned with,” she said.
“I came back very excited and reassured about the future of the partnership between Garvan-Weizmann.”
The Garvan Institute’s Executive Director Professor Chris Goodnow followed, and echoed Ms Segal’s praise of the partnership and Centre’s future.
“We had one particularly special day where Garvan and Weizmann scientists joined together for a scientific meeting, which ended up being a terrific day where you could really see how our partnership is crystallising,” he said.
“A key point I made in my talk to the 70th anniversary meeting was the three things our partnership brings,” he said.
“First is scientific and medical breakthroughs; second is the meeting of minds because when you bring minds together it propagates higher thinking that we can’t do alone; and third is ambassadors that each of our countries can produce.”
Professor Goodnow also reported that the Centre is now in the top four genomics centres in the world alongside Harvard, the Broad Institute in Boston and the Sanger Institute in the United Kingdom.
“That’s an extra extraordinary feat seeing as we were little known a couple of years ago,” he said.
The Centre has sequenced over four million single cells in the past 12 months. A new brochure which outlines the Centres current achievements was launched at the event and can be downloaded from this webpage.
Researchers, Dr Bella Shadur and Associate Professor Tri Phan, working both as clinicians and researchers, each provided three minute presentations on their work, focussing on immunology, followed by a panel discussion and questions.
Weizmann Australia’s Chair, Stephen Chipkin, closed the event thanking all involved and reiterating the importance of research in changing the complex face of personalised medicine and science.
Some photos from the event feature below: