TAU’s Professor Illana Gozes wins U.S. award for her work in Alzheimer’s research

Lauded research offers innovative AI method for improving treatment

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Tel Aviv University (TAU) Professor Illana Gozes, in collaboration with colleagues from Hong Kong, was named among the winners of the 2021 Healthy Longevity Catalyst Awards, presented by the U.S. National Academy of Medicine (NAM), for her contributions at the vanguard of Alzheimer’s research.

Professor Gozes, of TAU’s Sagol School of Neuroscience and the Adams Super Center for Brain Studies, won the award as part of an international team led by Professor Victor OK Li and Dr. Jacqueline CK Lam from the University of Hong Kong’s (HKU) AI Lab to Advance Well-Being and Society (HKU-AI WiSe). Their research offers an innovative AI-based approach to improve the process of identifying effective drug candidates for new Alzheimer’s therapies. The method evaluates how certain combinations of drug candidates respond to somatic (non-inherited, sporadic) gene mutations that accumulate with aging and affect the disease pathology. The findings lay the groundwork for novel treatments to boost longevity and quality of life for Alzheimer’s patients.

The Academy, together with seven global partners representing nearly 50 countries, conferred the award as part of the multi-year, international Healthy Longevity Global Competition for breakthrough innovations. Out of more than 1,000 candidates, about 150 prizes of $50,000 were awarded to advance novel ideas from innovators from across disciplines including medicine, technology, finance, social sciences, and more.

Professor Gozes is an internationally acclaimed neuroscientist, biochemist, and geneticist, renowned for her research toward drug development for Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, and autism. She has won numerous awards for her work, including the RARE Champion of Hope — Science International Prize by Global Genes.

“This is a great honor for me, and I am delighted that the international community sees fit to invest efforts in promoting solutions to diseases such as Alzheimer’s,” Professor Gozes says. “I thank my colleagues from HKU-AI WiSe, the University of Hong Kong, led by Professor Li and Dr. Lam, for our fruitful collaboration.”

The achievement comes as TAU has placed research for healthy aging among its top priorities. As demographic shifts poise the elderly to start outnumbering the young by 2030, accelerated research and innovation is more crucial than ever to contribute to healthy longevity and well-being. Currently, more than 50 million people worldwide are believed to be living with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. While certain treatments reduce symptoms and progression, no cure exists for the disease.