Centre of Excellence for Research on Environment, Health and Aging

Background - MIGAL & CEREHA Project

Background - MIGAL & CEREHA Project

The project constitutes a continuation and advancement of activities initiated in FP6's RIS project GALEDGE (Regional Innovation Strategy) at MIGAL (project No. 014648) in collaboration with the Galilee Development Authority. MIGAL - the MEGA-Regional R&D Institute (as defined by the Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology) is located in north Eastern-Galilee. MIGAL is the largest R&D institute in Galilee (employing 154 staff members, among them 52 Ph.D.s and Professors) and the largest research centre in agricultural sciences in northern Israel. This plan is aimed at establishing CEREHA at MIGAL which has been a leader in the sciences of environment and health, excelling in the areas of agriculture, biotechnology, microbiology, nutrition and environmental research.

Aging is a crucial challenge for our society. With the fast advances in medicine, the average age expectancy increases fast. However, this important scientific achievement is not without a cost – aging involves a variety of physical and mental problems which have a high impact on society. Aging involves many aspects, several of which are tightly connected with health and environment. These include the age-related neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, and the age-related weakening of the immune system which results in susceptibility to frailty syndrome. All these aspects of aging are also tightly connected and affected by the environment in a multifaceted manner.

Currently MIGAL consists of a large number of experts in biology, genetics, infectious diseases, biotechnology, environmental studies, nutrition, sociology and economy. Our plan represents a significant change from the way we have operated in the past. Opening up the boundaries among individual labs, enhancing collaboration within our facility, with partnering organisations in the EU and in other regions in the world, across the nation and globally, is fundamental to operate more efficiently in the future.

We have close collaboration with local hospitals (Ziv, Naharia and Poria) as well as with national and regional authorities, thus resulting in a privileged position to carry out research or clinical tests or other complementary activities in real life or near to real life conditions. Representatives from the Israeli ministries visited the Galilee in the last year. The Minister of Health, Mr. Litzman and his staff are very supportive of the newly established School of Medicine in the Galilee and in improving the health services of the region. Support by the national government is also expected to match financing from the European Commission. The proposed CEREHA would regularly rely on collaboration with European institutes. Within the project, this will translate in active participation in the project steering committee and in a programme of mutual visits of scientists and students with the objective to keep or enhance the excellence of research groups operating on aging at MIGAL. The centre will also enable the development of new laboratories and will admit new faculty members in relevant areas, where the SWOT analysis has indicated knowledge and management gaps that have to be met with the contribution of new experienced researchers. These activities will also be complemented by broadening the teaching programs in the local colleges and universities.

Part of the research capacity reinforcement operation envisaged through the CEREHA project will also go through an upgrade of facilities, including the enlargement of an animal house for experimental activities. Details of the facilities upgrade are provided in the work-plan and in the Description of resources section.

Newsletter sign up