Weizmann brings out its best in Israel – event report

January 13, 2020

In November 2019, the first Garvan-Weizmann Symposium was held in Israel, coinciding with the Weizmann Institute of Science’s 70th anniversary celebrations plus the 71st meeting of its international board. Weizmann’s best from around the world attended.

It was a busy schedule for all, including twenty Australians; representatives of Weizmann Australia and the Garvan Institute, philanthropists and partners, who flew over for the historical event.

From 10-13 November there were meetings and celebrations to mark seven decades of scientific discovery, philanthropy, friendship and science partnerships, which not only included the Garvan-Weizmann Partnership, but also partnerships with international leaders such as the Pasteur Institute, Curie Institute, Harvard and MIT.

The inaugural Garvan-Weizmann Symposium, held on Monday 11 November, was a great opportunity for Australian and Israel-based scientists to find out more about the current status of the partnership, learn about others’ research and identify potential areas for future collaboration.

The Symposium was led by Garvan’s Executive Director, Professor Chris Goodnow, and Weizmann’s Professor Ido Amit, both immunologists and leaders in their fields.  Speakers from Australia included Garvan scientists, Dr Joanne Reed, Associate Professor Cindy Ma, Associate Professor Joseph Powell, Dr Warren Kaplan and Dr Dorit Samocha-Bonet.

The event covered the Partnership’s latest research projects such as single cell analysis of Scleroderma patients; mapping cell-type control in complex disease to personalised diets; immunological cloning; microbiome interactions in health and disease; and the PREDICT clinical trial – personalised diets and metformin for pre-diabetes and early-stage type 2 diabetes. Full program details are here.

On the Tuesday evening, a ceremony was held for the conferment of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy honoris causa. The President of the state of Israel, Reuvin Rivlin was a recipient as well as the keynote speaker at this celebratory dinner.

On the final day (13 November) of the International Board meeting, Weizmann’s international collaborations were celebrated.  Here Australia was given another platform to showcase the Garvan-Weizmann Centre for Cellular Genomics with Jillian Segal presenting, followed by Professor Chris Goodnow.  Jillian is a key supporter of Weizmann Australia and was in fact the pioneer of the Garvan-Weizmann Partnership due to her relationship with Weizmann Australia and her role on the Garvan Institute of Medical Research’s board.  At the meeting she was also appointed to Weizmann’s International Board. Read the article about Jillian here in Weizmann Compass.

Another key announcement during the celebrations was the changing of the management guard, with the entire Weizmann executive team stepping down.  Weizmann’s outgoing President, Prof Daniel Zajfman officially handed over to incoming President, Profesor Alon Chen and notably for Ausralia, Vice President for Resource Development and Public Affairs Professor Israel Bar Joseph handed over to Professor Roee Ozeri and Vice President of Bimolecular Sciences, Professor Michal Neeman handed over to Professor Ziv Reich.

You can watch the 70 year anniversary video here and view some selected photos below.

Report by Dr Kirsten Shteinman PhD – Weizmann Australia Executive Officer

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