First Annual I-CORE Conference

First Annual I-CORE Conference on Gene Regulation in Complex Human Disease

The First Annual Israeli Centers for Research Excellence (I-CORE) Conference on Gene Regulation in Complex Human Disease took place on Dec. 17, 2012 at the Hadassah Hospital at Ein Carem, Jerusalem, organized by Prof. Karen Avraham, I-CORE Board Member and Vice Dean of the Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University and Yael Katz, I-CORE Administrative Director. The conference was opened by Prof. Chaim Cedar, I-CORE Coordinator, followed by Dr. Liat Maoz, who described the I-COREs financed by the PBC Planning and Budgeting Committee (PBC) of the Council for Higher Education and co-directed by the PBC and the Israel Science Foundation. The day was filled with cutting-edge research lectures of I-CORE members and international and national guests from academia and the pharmaceutical company TEVA. Prof. Mary-Claire King, visiting Israel as a Tel Aviv University Sackler Institute of Advance Studies Lecturer, gave a captivating lecture on the latest advances in the genetics of schizophrenia. Prof. Martin Chalfie, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry in 2008, described transduction and modulation of touch in the nematode C. elegans. I-CORE members Prof. Eytan Ruppin, Prof. Ofer Mandelboim and I-CORE Board Member Prof. Eithan Galun gave lectures on their I-CORE collaborative research projects. Ruppin discussed counteracting metabolic alterations in aging, an integrative computational and experimental collaborative project with another I-CORE member, Dr. Haim Cohen from Bar-Ilan University. Mandelboim asked why a virus needs to encode its own distinct microRNAs and described how RNA editing of a microRNA can help to fight viral infection, collaborations with Dr. Noam Shomron of Tel Aviv University and Prof. Eithan Galun of Hadassa Hospital. Dr. Michael Hayden, President of Global R&D and Chief Scientific Officer at TEVA Pharmaceuticals, lectured on innovation, diagnostics and drug discovery. He announced a new initiative by TEVA, the National Network of Excellence (NNE), which will include universities, institutes and medical centers in Israel. Prof. Vineet Bafna, visiting Israel as a Tel Aviv University Edmond J. Safra Center for Bioinformatics Distinguished Speaker, described algorithmic strategies for personalized medicine. One of the highlights of the day was the roundtable discussion, moderated by Prof. Chalfie, with the leading question being “Will genomics bring the promise we are hoping for? King, Hayden and I-CORE member Prof. Batsheva Kerem held a fascinating discussion, fielding questions from the audience. I-CORE Graduate and Post-Doctoral Fellows introduced the speakers throughout the day. The Conference was attended by over 250 researchers, physicians, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, including I-CORE Board Member Prof. Gidi Rechavi and new I-CORE faculty members Dr. Tamar Geiger, Dr. Irit Gat-Viks and Dr. Carmit Levy.