The Context

Over the past two decades interest in the area of health and nutrition has grown, and an unusual combination of dynamics currently exists.  Positively speaking, technological advancements have changed the face of healthcare.  In addition, as a result of significant research and investment, great strides have been made in the area of health, with improved sanitation, upgraded living and work conditions, stronger environmental regulations, and more. Concerning nutrition, there is heightened awareness of food security issues, improvement in combatting malnutrition, and greater understanding of the role of nutrition and diet in health and disease, as well as well-being.  Furthermore, awareness of the importance of fitness has increased and the benefits of a healthy lifestyle are actively promoted by healthcare providers, government offices, and other organizations. Yet, despite these positive trends, the incidence of obesity is out of control and nutrition-related illness has skyrocketed and grown more complex.

 

The Center’s First Two Decades

The Center was formed to promote interdisciplinary research in the fields of international health and nutrition, and the Center has evolved, reflecting the specific research interests of its members. The first decade emphasized faculty recruitment and development and the establishment of laboratories.  During this period, Dr. Natalia Bilenko, Prof. Assaf Rudich, Prof. Iris Shai, and Prof. Danit Shahar were recruited to BGU and joined Prof. Drora Fraser as members of the Center. The new Center provided an organizational framework and administrative support, enabling researchers to focus on research and the submission of competitive grant proposals.  At the time of its founding, the Center was involved in a prestigious research collaboration with Columbia University (based on an international cooperation in infectious disease research program from the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Disease) and a project with Egypt (based on an Institute of Medicine Grant for Middle East Regional cooperation).  These projects and other endeavors, including conferences on preventative nutrition served to launch the Center. 

Since then, the Center has taken off, and the past decade can proudly be described as a decade of research excellence at the S. Daniel Abraham International Center for Health and Nutrition.  The Center has supported the efforts of our new faculty and serves as a source of synergy and point of convergence for researchers from different disciplines with a shared interest in health and nutrition-related research.  The Center has not only facilitated the recruitment and education of researchers, but generated unique state-of-the-art infrastructure and a collaborative interdisciplinary research program that have resulted in high profile research published in top professional journals and widely reported in the mainstream media. Scientific achievements have led to invitations for the Center’s researchers to present at prestigious conferences and before general audiences. 

This research has generated fruitful collaborations, including joint grants with leading international institutions.  Furthermore, it has created a ripple effect and strengthened our ability to attract top students and postdoctoral researchers from all over Israel; the Center’s impact is expanding as our faculty trains the next generation of researchers and healthcare professionals.  Our graduates hold key positions in Israel’s health, scientific, and educational sectors, further extending the Center’s influence in the field.