Joint Canada-Israel Health Research Program


The Joint Canada-Israel Health Research Program is a seven-year, CA$35 million partnership between IDRC, the Azrieli Foundation, the Israel Science Foundation, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research that draws on the scientific strengths of Canadian and Israeli researchers in the broad field of biomedicine. It is expected to fund up to 30 collaborative projects involving researchers from Canada and Israel, as well as collaborators from low and middle-income countries.

The program is currently funding 24 joint projects as the result of the first four calls for proposals: 

Selected neurobiology research projects

The burden of neurological disorders has increased substantially over the past 25 years. For example, the expanded list of neurological conditions makes them the leading cause group of disability and the second-leading cause group of mortality worldwide. Furthermore, ongoing demographic changes in low and middle-income countries, such as lower child mortality rates and increases in aging populations, mean that the global number of patients needing neurological care will continue to grow. As such, additional research is critical to advancing our knowledge of the basic neurological mechanisms underlying neurological disorders. It is only with this evidence that we can design adequate services and therapeutic interventions.

The call for research proposals in the field of neurobiology was launched In October 2017. The proposals were evaluated by an international committee of 14 experts from eight countries, chaired by Professor Joshua Sanes from the Center for Brain Science at Harvard University. Six world-class teams were selected from among 45 proposals and will receive funding totaling up to CA$7 million over the next three years.

The following list of selected projects is in alphabetical order according to the Canadian nominated principal investigator's surname.

Molecular and structural mechanisms of astrocyte-mediated cognitive enhancement

Researchers: Dr Keith Murai (McGill University, Canada); Dr Inbal Goshen (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel); Dr Shu-min Duan (Zhejiang University, China); Dr Marcelo Chacon and Dr Yorka Munoz (Universidad de Chile)

Restoration of visual function via perceptual learning that targets specific brain areas

Researchers: Dr Christopher Pack (McGill University, Canada); Dr Ehud Zohary (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel); Dr Sujaya Neupane, Dr Srijana Adhikary, and Dr Keepa Vaidya (Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology, Nepal)

Selective real-time monitoring of diverse neuronal types in the brain

Researchers: Dr Adrien Peyrache (McGill University, Canada); Dr Eran Stark (Tel-Aviv University, Israel); Dr Mariano Belluscio and Dr Daniela Piña Novo (Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina); Dr Hugo Merchant (Univerisidad National Autonoma de Mexico)

Deciphering the blueprint of healthy and diseased human brain through the generation of patterned cerebral organoids

Researchers: Dr Carol Schuurmans (Sunnybrook Research Institute, Canada); Dr Orly Reiner (Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel); Dr Shubah Tole (Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, India)

Synaptic mechanisms underlying perceptual learning

Researchers: Dr Melanie Woodin (University of Toronto, Canada); Dr Adi Mizrahi (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel); Dr Antonia Marin-Burgin (Instituto de Investigación en Biomedicina, Argentina)

Functional connectomics of peripheral and central pain circuits

Researchers: Dr Gerald Zamponi (University of Calgary, Canada); Dr Alexander Binshtok (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel); Dr Juliana Chichorro and Dr Erika Araya (Universidade Federal Do Parana, Brazil)

Learn more about the Israel Science Foundation, the Azrieli Foundation, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.