A New Home for Pioneering Genetics Research Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Cutting-edge Myers Building is inaugurated on the TAU campus
S. Lee Kohrman
Eagerly awaited in the scientific community, the David and Inez Myers Building for Transgenic Modeling of Human Disease was inaugurated Monday, May 10, 2010 during the Tel Aviv University's Board of Governors meeting.
Representing the Cleveland-based Myers Foundation, which plays a pivotal role in Jewish philanthropic causes worldwide, president S. Lee Kohrman said, "I am honored to be identified with a great institution. The Myers Foundation is interested in scientific research — searching for the truth in the natural world. We are indebted to Tel Aviv University for what you give, and allowing us to be associated with you."
In recognition of his personal and professional leadership, the university conferred an honorary doctorate on Kohrman on May 8, 2010, its most distinguished honor.
The Myers Building, expected to be fully operational in July 2010, is a Specific Pathogen Free (SPF) environment that will support genetic modelling and testing. With features such as a specialized ventilation system, autoclave and fumigation systems for all equipment, and state-of-the-art laboratories, the facility is a feat in engineering and construction.
Expanding stem cell science
Dany Leviatan, Prof. Yossi Shiloh and S. Lee Kohrman
At the inauguration ceremony, Kohrman applauded Prof. Yossi Shiloh of the Department of Human Genetics at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine and incumbent of the David and Inez Myers Chair in Cancer Research, for his foundational work in genetics research. "By any standard, Yossi Shiloh is first-class in his field. The opportunity to support his work is an opportunity the foundation could not pass up."
Prof. Shiloh gave the audience a virtual tour of the new building, and introduced new faculty recruit Dr. Yechiel Elkabetz of the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, who described the impact the new facility will have on TAU's scientific community.
Dr. Elkabetz's research involves building "genetic tools," a platform based on the genetic engineering of human embryonic stem cells enabling his research group to mark, isolate and track very early neural stem dells, the hallmark of the creation of the nervous system. Thanks to the new facility, the research he is directing can be significantly advanced.
A history of expanding human knowledge
The David and Inez Myers Building for Transgenic Modeling of Human Disease
Prof. Shiloh noted the pressing need for this type of cutting-edge facility on campus, and thanked the David and Inez Myers Foundation for funding such a pivotal project for TAU and for the State of Israel.
"Without an SPF facility at the university, we wouldn't be able to carry out significant research," he said. "The Myers Foundation has become a leader in funding scientific research in Israel. Without such funding, Israel could lose its scientific and technological edge."
Prof. Yossi Mekori, dean of the Sackler Faculty of Medicine added, "I am thrilled by the experimental tool being added to this university. This makes us a leading, cutting-edge scientific facility world-wide."
The Myers Foundation was established in 1977 by David Meyers, a Cleveland businessman who passed away at age 99 in 1999, as a general-purpose charitable fund to support distinguished higher education, health and welfare programs. The foundation also supports the JDC-Brookdale Institute in Israel and is a major supporter of education and human services in the Jewish world, funding programs throughout the United States, Israel, the former Soviet Union, Argentina, and Europe.