On Tuesday, March 4, 2014, a cooperation agreement was signed between the Max Planck Society and the Weizmann Institute of Science to inaugurate the Max Planck - Weizmann Laboratory for Experimental Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Neurogenetics. The agreement was officially signed at the Weizmann Institute by Prof. Dr. Peter Gruss, President of the Max Planck Society, Prof. Daniel Zajfman, President of the Weizmann Institute, Dr. Ludwig Kronthaler, General Secretary of the Max Planck Society and Prof. Haim Garty, Vice President of the Weizmann Institute.
Prof. Alon Chen of the Weizmann Institute of Science will serve as head of the new Lab.
The Max Planck - Weizmann Laboratory for Experimental Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Neurogenetics will be addressing one of the looming issues of this century: the causes of cognitive, emotional, behavioral and neurological disorders. Some 450 million people worldwide suffer from some form of mental illness, and it is becoming increasingly clear that these disorders arise from a complex interplay between genetics and environment. The field of neuropsychiatry attempts to untangle this relationship, to understand the process by which genetic makeup and variations in physical brain structure lead to particular behaviors or mental illness.
Researchers from both institutes will be directly addressing such complex psychiatric disorders as depression, schizophrenia, anxiety and autism, using a wide range of multidisciplinary research methods, from the genomic and biochemical to the clinical. According to the agreement, the Laboratory will support joint research projects between scientists at the two institutes, host joint seminars and symposia, arrange exchanges of visiting scientists and students, and create opportunities for research students to get joint training.