Winnipeg Jewish Review Article: "Local Chapter of CFHU Raises Over $150,000 Towards IMRIC In Tribute To Dr. Brent Schacter"

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The Winnipeg Chapter of the Hebrew University raised over $150,000 towards the IMRIC Program (the Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada) at a very successful tribute evening for Dr. Brent Schachter at the Fairmont Hotel on April 29, 2013, attended by over 200 people.

IMRIC, which was created some four years ago on the premise of international collaborations between Israel's and Canada's most innovative medical researchers, harnesses the brainpower of scientists in both countries.

"Brent, a former CEO of Cancer Care Manitoba sits on the FASD joint steering committee and oversees the collaborative research project between the University of Manitoba and Hebrew University. We were delighted to pay tribute to him for all of his hard work, dedication and leadership," said Sharon Zalik, Executive Director of the local Chapter of Hebrew University.

In an interview with the Winnipeg Jewish Review after the event, Rami Kleinmann, President and CEO of CFHU told the Winnipeg Jewish Review that it is important for scientists in Israel "to have the infrastructure--the laboratories and specialized equipment needed to bring their research ideas to fruition.”
"This kind of infrastructure also keeps Israel's leading scientists in Israel- preventing a brain drain from the country. Time and time again we hear that Hebrew Univeristy's researchers would prefer to stay at home , provided they have access to the scientific equipment and facilities they need to conduct their world class research."

"Our ultimate goal nationally is to raise $7 million to complete the final three floors of the IMRIC building of the Hebrew University's Ein Kerem Campus, and to equip those floors with the key, cutting edge equipment that supports research into innovative new treatments for fetal alcohol spectrum disorder [FASD], cancer, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes and other devastating conditions," added Kleinmann.

In his remarks at the event, Schachter spoke on how the collaboration between Canadian and Israeli researchers has come to include so many different disciplines. He spoke of seeing this collaboration first hand taking place at Hebrew University.[To read Schachter's full remarks, scroll down after this article]

Merle Goldman, Executive Vice President of Hebrew U, who was in town for the event from Toronto, noted that she was impressed with the warm atmosphere and looked forward to the terrific partnership between Manitoba and Israeli scientists continuing.

David Chomiak, Manitoba's Minister of Innovation, Energy and Mines spoke of the strong partnership between Manitoba and Israel and how it is "an example" for others "around the world" to follow.
Geoff Hicks, director of the Regenerative Medicine Program at University of Manitoba delivered heartfelt remarks and spoke about some of the ongoing research into FASD which has been the subject of the scientific inquiry between Winnipeg and Jerusalem.

(Editor's note: I seem to remember that Hicks spoke about some experiments with frogs. Had the Editor learned more in science class with Tom Blair at Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate she may have been better equipped to understand the complexities of Hick's speech. She may have also gleaned more had she spent less time eyeing the extensive selections at the d'oeuvres and pastry table, not to mention the wine table. Rami and Merle-once again Sharon Zalik has outdone herself!).

BRENT SCHACHTER'S FULL REMARKS

Minister Chomiak, Doctor Hicks, Rami, Murray, Margaret, and all you folks,

Thank you so much for your kind words. I am absolutely thrilled and delighted to receive the IMRIC award today for the work that I have done for the CFHU and for the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJ).

Truly, it has been a labor of love, both for CFHU/HUJ and for the University of Manitoba.

I first came in contact with CFHU about 13 or 14 years ago when I attended a Passover luncheon primarily to hear a speaker (Arthur Drache) that was presenting a subject that I was very interested in. During the course of the luncheon a video about the HU and it’s accomplishments was aired, and that was it for me. I have since then enjoyed my association with CFHU because I know it promotes the support and development of programs and researchers at the HUJ that are critical to maintaining Israel’s role as a world leader in R&D.

The HUJ’s faculty truly punches above it’s weight and I have been very fortunate to find ways to link exceptional biomedical researchers in the U of M and in the HUJ to greatly synergize advances in HIV and FASD that may result in important advances in our overall knowledge and management of these two scourges. While helping to facilitate these collegial associations, I have met and worked with a host of wonderful, interesting and committed people in our local CFHU chapter, on the National Board of CFHU, within the CFHU administration and at the HU itself, both researchers and administrators. I have also appreciated the meaningful support expressed both through words and concrete actions in terms of financial support by the Provincial government. It has been an incredible experience for me personally to visit the HUJ on CFHU missions and learn first-hand of the impressive and innovative research that is being conducted by its staff at the university as a whole, within the faculty of medicine and at IMRIC – The Institute of Medical Research Israel-Canada, housed in a new building on the medical campus where construction and infrastructure is largely being funded by CFHU support, ….by you folks, and others like you. The idea of IMRIC is to integrate the knowledge of researchers from many biomedical fields within an institute that will result in immense benefits from collegial collaboration in research projects.

The extension of this concept into one that now incorporates Canadian researchers like Drs. Plummer and Meyers and Dr. Hicks into effective and productive research collaborations with Dr. Mandelbaum and Dr. Fainsod and many others on both sides of the Atlantic ocean (& Mediterranean sea) is going to result in important advances in medicine. CFHU has now been instrumental in organizing 16 of these collegial associations between Canadian universities across the country and researchers at the HUJ. I am proud to say that our HIV project was one of the first, if not the first, and lead the way on this initiative. Many people in the local chapter, the CFHU administration and National Board, and at HUJ have played  important roles in achieving this new paradigm and I salute them all!

Early on, long before Israel was established as a state in 1948, it was recognized that it would be important to harness the brain power of the nation if Israel was to be successful – that is why the HUJ was established in 1925 and it has fulfilled its promise to be a major driver of Israel’s prosperity through innovation and academic expertise.

It has been very gratifying for me to be associated with this success and achievement in some small way!

Finally, I would like to thank my entire family and especially my wife Sora for supporting me in these endeavours. I should mention that all 3 of my daughters have been to Israel on Birthright Israel trips and one met her future husband on that trip!

And I would like to thank all of your for being here this evening to share my experience and my joy as we make a meaningful contribution to the continued success of the CFHU, the HUJ and IMRIC!

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CFHU is dedicated to supporting IMRIC through direct funding and by developing key collaborative medical research partnerships between Canada
and Israel.
www.imric.org

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