How is the Weizmann Institute improving health and medicine?

  • The Weizmann Institute's Prof. Nava Dekel discovered that performing a uterine biopsy just before a woman undergoes in vitro fertilization (IVF) doubles the chances of a successful pregnancy. Her method is now being used by women all over the world.

  • Prof. Yadin Dudai's groundbreaking neuroscience research includes identifying a way to erase memories; the discovery that a brain enzyme can improve memories, even older ones; and the finding that social pressure can lead to falsified memories.

  • Prof. Noam Sobel and his team of neurobiologists at the Weizmann Institute invented a device that enables quadriplegic persons to drive a wheelchair and locked-in patients to write using a computer–all by sniffing. The revolutionary, easy-to-use device is being studied for other uses as well.

  • Weizmann scientists have identified a single gene linking stress to obesity and diabetes, and have shown that the gene's action in the brain has profound effects on the metabolism of the whole body.

  • Prof. Michal Schwartz and her team at the Weizmann Institute developed a treatment to regenerate damaged nerves in the spinal cord. This innovative approach involves boosting the body's natural immune mechanisms to improve the outcome of trauma.

  • Weizmann immunologist Prof. Irun Cohen has developed a vaccine that stops the progression of type 1, or juvenile, diabetes by blocking the destruction of insulin-secreting pancreatic cells. The vaccine is in clinical trials.

  • Stem cell research by Weizmann’s Prof. Yair Reisner yielded the creation of functioning human kidneys in mice, offering hope for patients suffering from organ failure. The ability to “grow” new organs would save untold numbers of lives.

  • Weizmann scientists discovered that stem cells in bone marrow can transform into liver cells and help repair a damaged liver–the second most-sought organ for transplantation in the U.S.

  • Weizmann’s Profs. Joel Sussman and Israel Silman discovered the molecular spatial structure of acetylcholinesterase (AChE), a brain enzyme thought to play a crucial role in Alzheimer’s disease. Their research is helping pave the way for the design of novel drugs for this devastating condition.

  • In 1956, Weizmann Institute Prof. Leo Sachs and his colleagues published a scientific paper that led to the clinical application of amniocentesis, now routinely used all over the world.

  • Weizmann scientists have found that a membrane in the inner ear is rigid at one end and flexible at the other—a gradation that may allow the ear to distinguish between frequencies. This could provide insight into correcting some forms of hearing impairment and may enable the design of better hearing aids.

  • In the 1950's, Weizmann Institute laboratories yielded heavy-oxygen water for the study of basic processes such as respiration, brain chemistry, and photosynthesis. Today, this technology is used in advanced medical imaging scans such as positron emission tomography (PET).

  • A Weizmann scientist developed a blood test that may be used to screen for schizophrenia. The mental disorder, which affects more than two million Americans, is currently diagnosed only through behavioral methods.

  • A beta-carotene-based health food product with possible anti-cancer properties is derived from Dunaliella algae through a process developed at the Weizmann Institute.

  • The Weizmann Institute’s Prof. Ada Yonath won the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for crystallizing and deciphering the structure of the ribosome, the cell’s protein factory. Her achievement helps clarify the exact mode of action of antibiotic drugs and is aiding in the fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

  • A Weizmann scientist revealed that the positioning of nucleosomes–spheres of DNA compressed around proteins and strung like beads along the chromosomes–is encoded in the genes themselves. This discovery, which received global attention, may help in designing gene therapies.

  • Multiple sclerosis (MS) affects 2.5 million people worldwide. Copaxone® and Rebif®, two FDA-approved drugs that are now frontline treatments for MS, were developed based on Weizmann research.

  • Prof. Dan Tawfik and his team of Weizmann scientists successfully designed artificial enzymes that undergo “evolution” in a test tube, with exponentially faster reaction rates. This achievement opens the door to the development of numerous potential applications in medicine and industry.

  • When the brain is injured, a neurotransmitter called glutamate floods the brain, damaging it. Weizmann’s Prof. Vivian Teichberg has developed a method that causes the excess glutamate to exit the brain quickly and pass harmlessly into the blood.


Tomorrow Lab:Improving Health and Medicine

Years ago, a little girl told Rita J. King that she was the only grown-up who gave her hope that her imagination didn’t have to die when she became an adult. In the time since, Rita has devoted herself to the development of the Imagination Age, a period of collaboratively imagining and inhabiting a future built on science, math, engineering and most of all—creativity. She directs Science House Creative.


Rita J. King: Leading Safaris of the Imagination:

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IntroducingTomorrow Lab:

Tomorrow Lab for Humanity was created as a place to explore the state of science today and its impact on you. We've loaded this section with the latest data, news and information about our Health & Medicine and the ways in which we are working to improve it every day. Make a dedication like Rita's to share why Improving Health & Medicine is important to you.

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Malaria was eradicated in the
US in 1951. It still causes over
240 million
acute illnesses annually.

8 million children
under the age of 5 die from malnutrition
and preventable diseases every year.

Tuberculosis kills 1.3 million
people each year. Vaccination
costs about $3/dose.

There are currently
33.3 million
people living with HIV.

Deaths due to coronary artery disease have been
reduced by over 40%
in the last decade.

A new,needle-lessvaccine and drug
injection system could save billions of dollars and lower the risk of infectious disease.

Combining microscope parts with a cell phone,
scientists have produced a mobile device that
can detect malaria or TB.

Recent advancements could avert
over 10 million
HIV/AIDS related deaths by 2025.


How you can get involved in improving health and medicine:


The Tree of Humanity

This is an ever-growing collection of ideas and dedications from people around the world. Leave a personal message for Weizmann scientists and tell them what you’d like to see the Weizmann Institute achieve by making a dedication to Science for the Benefit of Improving Health and Medicine. Share your wish for the future. We are listening.

The Tree of Humanity grows with every dedication. Tell us your wish to make tomorrow better.
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Rita J. King’s Dedication  

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Anshel S. Bomberger’s Dedication  

Anshel S. Bomberger’s Dedication  

Caitlin Brown’s Dedication  

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Jackie Sussman’s Dedication  

Andrew Rabinowitz’s Dedication  

Avigail Berg-Panitz’s Dedication  

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Alana Ladson’s Dedication  


What is your wish
for a better tomorrow?

Scientists at the Weizmann Institute have dedicated their lives to basic research – the study of pure science in pursuit of knowledge. This freedom to unlock the secrets of nature and follow unexpected paths has led to breakthroughs and advancements that affect the world over. Leave a personal message to express what you’d like to see the Weizmann Institute achieve by making a dedication to Science for the Benefit of Humanity.

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Keep exploring Tomorrow Lab

Learn more about the breakthroughs that Weizmann scientists have achieved in Exploring The Physical World and the impact their discoveries have had on the world.

Exploring The Physical World
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