Public Release: 

Group led by Hebrew University professor chosen as Israeli Center for Research Excellence

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Jerusalem, June 2, 2011 -- A research group led by a professor from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Faculty of Medicine was announced this week as one of the first three centers chosen to be established in a new public initiative in Israel called the Centers for Research Excellence, known in brief as I-Core.

I-Core is part of a multi-year national program and will eventually include 30 research centers operating for five-year stretches. The overall budget for the centers stands at 1.35 billion shekels.

The winning I-Core project entitled "Systems-Level Analysis of the Molecular Basis for Human Diseases: From Genomics to Personalized Therapy" is headed by Prof. Chaim Cedar, who is the Harry and Helen L. Brenner Professor of Molecular Biology and a member of the Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada at the Hebrew University.

In addition to this project, the Hebrew University is also a partner in another I-Core project, headed by Prof. Yishay Mansour of Tel Aviv University, on "Advanced Topics in Computer Science," in which Danny Dolev, the Berthold Badler Professor of Computer Science at the Benin School of Engineering and Computer Science at the Hebrew University, will participate.

Announcement of the winning projects were made this week by Israeli Education Minister Gideon Saar, who is the chairman of the Israel Council for Higher Education, and Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg, chairman of the council's Planning and Budgeting Committee. It is expected that due to the program, some 300 leading Israeli researchers from the best universities in the world will be enabled to return to the country.

"The establishment of these centers of excellence are a central component of a multi-year program for higher education to strengthen research in Israel and confirm its status as a world leader in science" said Prof. Trajtenberg.

Hebrew University President Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson congratulated the Israeli government and the Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Council for Higher Education for their determination to continue the process of establishing centers of excellence.

He said, "I am proud of the members of the Hebrew University who are involved in this leading research - Prof. Chaim Cedar and Prof. Danny Dolev -- who are in the first ranks of scientists in Israel." Prof. Ben-Sasson also expressed his hopes that the projects will bring many scientists back to Israel and expand scientific horizons in the country.

The center headed by Prof. Cedar will be comprised of researchers from a number of universities and medical centers in Israel. It will enable the expansion of physical facilities as well as the recruitment of young researchers. "On the intellectual level we will be able to bring back to Israel young, brilliant researchers who have gone abroad in the pursuit of post-doctorates at leading universities. We can now offer them good conditions to conduct their research in advanced laboratories. Above all, this center of excellence will make it possible to gather together scientists from various disciplines under one roof who will attempt to solve complex problems of medical science. That will be our specialty," Cedar said.

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