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The brains from Brazil


Date: July 11, 2023

The Brazilian Association of Friends of the Weizmann Institute of Science, under the leadership of President Mario Fleck, has undertaken a major endeavor to support the construction of the building to house Weizmann’s neuroscience flagship initiative, the Azrieli Institute for Brain and Neural Sciences.

The Association aims to match a leadership gift from a Brazilian donor who wishes to remain anonymous—a combined philanthropic contribution that will enable the Weizmann Institute to build The (Anonymous) Family and Brazilian Friends Building. The facility will serve as a hub for more than 40 internationally renowned multidisciplinary groups—over 600 scientists and students in total—working to advance bold, exploratory research that can overcome even the most overwhelming neurological diseases and disorders.

The Brazilian Association had previously pledged its support toward the Center for Research on Neurodegeneration—one of the 12 integral pillars of this flagship. However, when the opportunity arose to amplify the impact of their collective support by matching their anonymous compatriot’s gift, the Association decided to shift the scope of their already ambitious goals.

“The neuroscience flagshiprepresents one of the most impactful contributions of the Weizmann Institute to help humanity find solutions to the terrible neurodegenerative diseases that still cause great pain and sadness for so many people,” says Fleck. “It is with great honor that the Brazilian Friends decided to participate in such a critical endeavor for the future of humanity.”

“Just as the human brain needs a healthy body, neuroscience research needs the best facilities to develop the best science,” says Daniel Schmit, CEO of the Weizmann Institute’s Latin American Committee. “The decision of our Brazilian Friends will enable our neuroscientists to elucidate thechallenges of our most important organ: the brain.”

Israeli firm Skorka Architects is designing the new building—a sixstory edifice including a basement, lobby, and four floors of the most advanced research facilities.

Construction will incorporate sustainable materials, and a green rooftop will accommodate gatherings, with a sweeping view of the Weizmann campus and beyond. The exterior will feature an impressive entrance and outdoor area, intended to attract people from across campus and in different faculties, bolstering the flagship’s aim of facilitating collaboration across multiple avenues of basic research.

Located directly to the west of the new building is the Clore Garden of Science—a landmark outdoor science museum currently undergoing a massive renovation, and which is projected to attract half a million visitors a year. The brain building’s outdoor area will be a stop on a shaded “green belt” running to and from the Clore Garden and throughout campus.

Construction of The (Anonymous) Family and Brazilian Friends Building is slated to begin this summer, and is estimated to take a few years to complete. This magnificent project will enrich the crosstalk between neuroscience investigators, spark new ideas, and lead to significant discoveries in both basic, exploratory science and applied translational research.