Almost 80 top Israeli scientists meet UK peers to share ageing knowledge

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Almost 80 top Israeli scientists meet UK peers to share ageing knowledge

Two academic conferences held over three days at King's College London sees top researchers discuss greater collaboration

Birax conference saw professor Robert Winston take part

Photo credits: James Gifford-Mead
Birax conference saw professor Robert Winston take part Photo credits: James Gifford-Mead

Up to 80 leading Israeli scientists were in London this week meeting British peers in an unprecedented event aimed at sharing knowledge on the diseases of ageing.

Over three days, two academic conferences were being held at King’s College London, with every Israeli research institution and university involved.

Organisers said the event was to “create more collaboration between the two counties, which face similar challenges related to ageing populations”.

Among the British scientists at the event, which was organised by the Britain Israel Research and Academic Exchange Partnership (BIRAX), the British Council and the British Embassy in Tel Aviv, was Lord Winston of TV fame, as well as senior dons from Oxford and Cambridge.

Topics discussed included the role of genetics and “precision medicine” in age-related illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and dementia, which are becoming more common as a result of ageing populations.

British Ambassador to Israel David Quarrey said: “This week saw a fantastic exchange of ideas between top researchers from both countries.”

He added: “Partnership between the UK and Israel can help us address one of the biggest challenges facing all societies – that is, ageing societies. Working together we can improve many people’s lives.”

Those behind the programme are aiming for £5 million funding, some of which has already been committed by the Pears Foundation and medical charities such as the British Heart Foundation. The money will pay for up to 12 projects, each lasting three years, with the money split equally between the British and Israeli researchers.

The last BIRAX initiative centred on regenerative medicine and raised almost £8 million to fund 19 cutting edge projects directly involving over 100 researchers in both countries.

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