Sherman Institute inaugurated

Special events

Date: December 4, 2019
Source: 
Weizmann Direct Dec. 2019

The establishment of the Dr. Barry Sherman Institute for Medicinal Chemistry celebrated the visionary gift of the Sherman family of Toronto to advance research on basic research in drug discovery. The new Sherman Institute is headed by Dr. Sarel Fleishman of the Department of Biomolecular Sciences.

The event took place at Kibbutz Ga’ash on Monday, November 11.

The new Institute funds multi-disciplinary collaborations and holds monthly seminars that attract researchers from all over the world.

Among the speakers were Weizmann President Prof. Daniel Zajfman; the newly elected Head of the Sherman Institute Dr. Sarel Fleishman; and the daughter of the late Barry and Honey Sherman, Alexandra Sherman Krawczyk. One of Israel’s most famous comic book artists and political cartoonists, Michel Kichka, entertained the audience with a moving presentation of his various works. The son of Holocaust survivors, Kichka expresses his views on society, politics, and Zionism through caricature—using humor to cope with some of the world’s most complicated subjects.

The evening closed with a performance from the Israeli dance troupe, Ka’et Ensemble. Dancing a contemporary style routine with a distinctly Hasidic flair, this all-male Orthodox group pushed the envelope—using the stage to translate their religious fervor into movement.

The Sherman Institute funds innovative research on compounds that hold promise for becoming therapies for a range of human diseases and disorders, including autoimmune diseases, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases and infectious diseases.

Among the investigations that are expected to be undertaken at the Sherman Institute are efforts to develop new antibiotics so as to overcome the growing challenge of antibiotic resistance. Scientists will also harness plant metabolites for potential drugs, including an unprecedented method of bioengineering plants to generate L-DOPA, the leading drug for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease; and they will advance a promising, effective, and inexpensive anti-malaria potential drug compound.

Among other research projects that the Institute will fund is his work, together with Dr. Neta Regev-Rudzki from the same department, on malaria, the most devastating parasitic disease in humans, with hundreds of millions of clinical cases and nearly half a million deaths per year, predominantly of children. The causative agent of severe malaria is the single-cell parasite Plasmodium falciparum, which invades red blood cells and blood vessels.