Israeli Science Minister visits Glycobiology Institute
Professor Raymond Dwek hosted Yaakov Peri, Israeli Minister of Science, Technology and Space, together with the British Ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, at the Glycobiology Institute at the end of November. They were joined by representatives from the British Council.
Professor Dwek spoke about the links developing between Oxford University and Israel in relation to the BIRAX Regenerative Medicine Initiative which focuses on regenerative medicine technology in which Britain and Israel are both world leaders.
This is a five year multi-million pound programme that the Ambassador called ‘one of the most ambitious and innovative bilateral medical science collaborations between two countries anywhere in the world.’ He added that it was the flagship programme of the British Government.
The initiative has supported a number of leading-edge collaborations. These include projects developing stem cell treatments for multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, looking for regenerative therapy for Type I diabetes, and finding ways to persuade the immune system not to attack stem cells.
Professor Dwek and the Ambassador are UK co-chairs of the group which oversees the initiative, the UK/Israel Life Sciences Council. They are supported by members including Oxford researchers John Bell and Marc Feldmann, Aaron Klug and John Walker from Cambridge, Chris Mason from UCL, Naren Patel from Dundee, Richard Sykes formerly at Imperial and GSK, and Robert Winston from Imperial College.
As part of the promotion of the BIRAX initiative, a large poster display currently being hosted by the Glycobiology Institute will remain in Oxford for a month before travelling round the major UK universities.
The Glycobiology Institute visit was followed by lunch at Lincoln College where Minister Peri met the Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Hamilton. The Vice Chancellor stressed the excellent links that exist between Oxford and Israel, and an official invitation was extended to him to visit Israel. The party then left for Downing Street for further discussions before going to the House of Lords where the posters were also on display with some 60 UK scientists present.