BOG 2018: Strauss Facility Can Unravel Secrets of the Brain

The new Strauss Genomics Research Unit is providing TAU researchers with the tools to understand the brain on the genetic and molecular levels
27 June 2018
From left: Amos Elad, VP for Resource Development: Prof. Danny Chamovitz; Prof. Judith Berman; Polly Misrahi de Deutsch; Guillermo Strauss; and Prof. Joseph Klafter

All living organisms, from the simplest bacteria to the most complex plants and animals, share many common features. In particular, they all have their hereditary information encoded in DNA.  The newly-inaugurated Strauss Genomics Unit at the Alfredo Federico Strauss Center for Computational Neuro-Imaging is providing TAU scientists with on-site access to the powerful DNA sequencing tools needed to unravel that DNA code.  


The Unit will dramatically upgrade the Strauss Center capabilities, enabling researchers not only to image the brain, but also to understand it on the genetic and molecular levels. It will serve as a core research facility for the entire Wise Faculty of Life Sciences as well as for scientists in fields including cancer research, agriculture, archaeology and others. 


The Unit was inaugurated during the 2018 Board of Governors Meeting in the presence of Guillermo Strauss, TAU Governor and Vice President of the Argentinean Friends; Polly Misrahi de Deutsch, President of Argentinean Friends and TAU Honorary Doctor; Luis Alberto Lacalle de Herrera, former President of Uruguay and TAU Honorary Doctor; Prof. Danny Chamovitz, Dean of the George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences; Prof. Judith Berman, Head of the Unit; and members of the Argentinean Friends.                                


The Unit reinforces the Center’s standing as a world leader in computational neuro-imaging and further connects the Strauss family name with world-class neuroscience conducted at Israel’s leading institution of higher learning.


TAU President Joseph Klafter praised Guillermo Strauss as a “modest and kind man who is and a true and committed friend of Tel Aviv University.” Guillermo’s parents, Lotte and the late Fredy Strauss, were highly active members of the Argentinean Friends from 1990 and were active in numerous fields on campus,” said Prof. Klafter. “In 2006, Federico’s legacy was perpetuated through the Alfredo Federico Strauss Center for Computational Neuro-Imaging, a vital facility on campus used by dozens of researchers for imaging both animal and human brains.

Guillermo Strauss and TAU President Joseph Klafter

In response Guillermo Strauss said, “To this day, my mother, three sisters and I are very happy with the progress made at this Center. Tel Aviv University is considered to be at the forefront of this exciting new field of molecular imaging and we are happy to be associated with it.”  


At the plaque unveiling ceremony, Dean Chamovitz explained the importance of the Unit. Not only is it providing special equipment that was previously unavailable to TAU researchers, he noted, but it has also enabled TAU to recruit two new faculty members – one from MIT and one from UC Berkeley. “This has far-reaching effects for biological research and enables us to compete worldwide,” he concluded.  


In a lecture she gave at the ceremony, Prof. Judith Berman explained that the “data that emerges from the DNA sequencing device at the Genomics Unit is providing important information about how organisms grow and respond to stress, such as to drug stresses. Often, things that we learn about one organism – for example, how a fungus grows in a drug – are relevant for many others, such as how cancer cells become resistant to chemotherapeutic drugs.”  



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