The Suzanne And Charles Goodman Brain Sciences Building

ELSC’s new home in the 14,000-square-meter [150,000-square-foot] Suzanne and Charles Goodman Brain Sciences Building has been planned specifically to enhance their efforts by providing an outstanding research and teaching facility. With 32 state-of-the-art laboratories, a sophisticated imaging center and designated areas for biological and pre-clinical research, the building reflects an interactive, interdisciplinary approach to brain research. Its flexible floor plans encourage original investigations and interactive collaboration.

 

Physically, the building acts as a gateway linking the university campus and the city. Public spaces are located at ground level with the laboratories, offices and support facilities on the floors above. Its dynamic social spaces and laboratory facilities are designed to attract exceptional scientists and scholars, as well as foster interest in the Center’s research activities within the wider community.

The building enjoys the most advanced environmental strategies to reduce energy use naturally. The building is orientated east-west to reduce solar heat gain and local materials, such as Jerusalem stone, are utilized where possible. The upper three levels are shaded by a perforated metal screen, embossed with a pattern derived from the neurological brain structure.

Foster + Partners, the world-renowned British architectural firm, along with the Jerusalem firm of Baer, Shifman-Nathan Architects, designed the imaginative four-story building that blends traditional local architecture with cutting-edge facilities. ELSC’s new home is distinguished by two wings surrounding an open courtyard and by its unusual façade inspired by Santiago Ramón y Cajal, an early pioneer in neuron theory.

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Education: Investing In The Future

A guiding ELSC doctrine is the belief that educating the next generation of neuroscientists in its hallmark approach is essential to the development of brain research; that true insight can be acquired by combining knowledge from many different fields – and that creating a cadre of scientists from a range of disciplines provides the best promise of creative and practical solutions to the complex problems the brain presents.

Its faculty-initiated Ph.D. Program in Brain Research reflects ELSC’s belief that a broad-based multifaceted education ensures future interdisciplinary collaboration. All students, regardless of their academic background, are required to become firmly grounded in both theoretical and quantitative methods, as well as in experimental neuroscience. The Program’s curriculum is designed to provide students with the theoretical and experimental tools to achieve groundbreaking advances.

With over 80 doctoral and post-doctoral students to date, the ELSC program is one of the world’s largest graduate programs in the field.

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Neurological Disorders

The rapid growth of neuroscience research has produced amazing progress in the knowledge and treatment of diseases as diverse as schizophrenia, Parkinson’s, depression and Alzheimer's.

ELSC is not simply seeking a magic solution to one specific brain disease. Rather, the ELSC research model provides the foundation for the construction of novel and practical applications to treat or prevent a wide spectrum of debilitating diseases and devastating brain disorders.

Parkinson's is an incurable destructive disease that causes abnormal movement, involuntary tremors and lack of coordination. In advanced cases, Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) can improve motor symptoms and conditions. ELSC researchers have developed a new and more effective DBS prototype that can make real-time adjustments in response to the dynamics and progression of the disease and may be better for managing advanced symptoms.

In studies on anxiety, pioneering and innovative strategies for investigating the consequences of traumatic experiences have revealed that the genetic information that processes events in both brain neurons and blood cells is vulnerable to change under stress. Another study indicates that inherited and acquired defects in neurons, as well as traumatic experiences or exposure to a contaminated environment, contribute to delayed susceptibilities to stress-associated diseases.

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International Collaborations

The Company We Keep

Great academic and scientific establishments attract equally distinguished partners to conduct research on the most sophisticated level. ELSC is proud to have has established more than a dozen scientific collaborations with leading institutes in Europe, the Far East and North America, among them:

The Max Planck-Hebrew University Center for Sensory Processing of the Brain in Action focuses on unraveling the causal relationships between neuronal mechanisms underlying sensory processing and the changes that they undergo based on the behavioral state of the animal. The Max Planck Society is Germany's most successful research organization.

The Gatsby Tri-Centre collaboration between the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit at University College in London, the Center for Theoretical Neuroscience at Colombia University in New York and ELSC supports research in theoretical and computational neuroscience provides doctoral and postdoctoral fellowships, and sponsors conferences, lectures and common projects.

The EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne)-Hebrew University Collaboration in Brain Research aims to advance understanding of the brain mechanisms that govern behavior and cognition and facilitate the development of new treatments for brain disorders. EPFL is considered one of the most prestigious universities in the world for engineering and scientific study and research.

 

ELSC professors also collaborate with their international colleagues at important institutions throughout the world including: ICM (Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle épinière) in Paris; Colombia University’s Grossman Center for the Statistics of Mind in New York; Harvard University’s Center for Brain Sciences and the McGovern Institute for Brain Science at MIT, both in Boston.

Consciousness And Cognition

The advent of advanced EEG and MRI brain-mapping imaging tools provides an insight into how the brain receives information and reacts to stimuli, enabling researchers to observe how the brain behaves while subjects are performing conscious actions.

Among current research projects are studies that focus on the disruption of information processing – dyslexia is a prime and widespread example of this disorder. ELSC research results are already being used to develop new treatments for dyslexia and other learning disabilities.

Awareness is also being investigated by studying stroke patients with right-hemisphere damage. They may suffer from unilateral neglect – an inability to attend and respond to events and objects located on their left side. Other studies examine the remarkable ability of our brain to learn and classify new information, explaining how it is able to identify and categorize information from simple comparisons, how new categories may be identified and how we achieve expertise in identifying faces, names, letters and other objects.

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