Brazil friends take on neurodegeneration
The Brazil Association of Friends of the Weizmann Institute of Science launched its fundraising initiative for the Weizmann-Brazil Center for Research on Neurodegeneration, with more than 200 participants in attendance in an online event on February 28. The new center will be part of the planned Institute for Brain and Neural Sciences, a major flagship project. (A selection of participants’ enthusiastic feedback at the event is quoted here).
Mario Fleck, President of the Brazilian Association of Friends, recalled as an excellent precedent the establishment, in 2019, of the Weizmann-Brazil Tumor Bank in the Moross Integrated Cancer Center. “Through this relationship with the Weizmann Institute spanning over three decades, we have had the opportunity to participate in significant and impactful projects,” he said. “We all know how degenerative diseases of the brain pose great hardships to many people. All of us have a friend or acquaintance or a relative who once suffered from Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. This project will take on the quest to overcome these and other diseases.”
Prof. Mike Fainzilber, Director of the future Weizmann-Brazil Center and a member of the Department of Biomolecular Sciences, said research in the Weizmann-Brazil Center will work on combatting debilitating diseases and conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and cast a wide net to better understand what happens in the brain as it ages, affecting memory, behavior, and bodily function.
It will be one of 11 centers in the Institute for Brain and Neural Sciences, which will also reveal new understandings about mental and emotional health, brain injury and regeneration, cognition and learning, perception, and develop new computational tools and other methods to explore the brain as never before.
“The Brazil Friends have grown in size and scope, adding more and more friends in recent years,” Weizmann President Prof. Alon Chen said. “They have had a huge impact on campus throughout the years and have been instrumental in friend-raising and fund-raising. The Tumor Bank was… barely finished when you decided to embark on your next ambitious project: the Weizmann Brazil Center for Neurodegenerative Research. This center is of critical importance. We are deeply grateful that the Brazilian friends have taken it upon themselves—all of you—to help raise funds.”