28 May 2017

New Tel Aviv-Monash research centre for metabolic disorders

L-R: Professor Paul Zimmet (Monash); Dr Ronni Gamzu (CEO, Tel Aviv
Medical Center); Mr Sami Sagol (philanthropist); Professor Naftali Stern
(Director of Endocrinology, Tel Aviv Medical Center)
A major research collaboration between the new Department of Diabetes at Monash University and the newly established Sagol Center for Epigenetics of Metabolism and Aging at Tel Aviv Medical Center was announced in Israel on 26 May 2017. This generous initiative was made possible by the Sagol family.

The Center is part of a network of research centres established in academic and medical centres by the Sagol family, focusing on the advancement of research on longevity and quality of life.

Project leaders are Professors Naftali Stern (Tel Aviv) and Paul Zimmet AO (Monash University). The collaboration will study how factors related to metabolic disorders including obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and aging induce potentially reversible epigenetic changes. Epigenetics involves changes in the genetic material surrounding genes induced by the environment, some of which are translated into adult disorders such as aging, obesity and type 2 diabetes. These changes may be passed down between generations; others are acquired over a lifetime and may precede or induce disease in adult life.

The research will seek to discover yet undiscovered epigenetic changes in various body organs which contribute to aging and disease. It will then attempt to discover which epigenetic changes are experimentally reversible; and finally, strive to discover practical ways to reverse such changes, allowing delay in aging and diseases such as diabetes.

The initiative will include training of Israeli scientists at Monash and exchange programs for visiting scientists. It will embrace both laboratory and clinical research on the role of harmful nutrition, obesity, lack of physical activity, and abnormal regulation of the body’s 24 hour biological clock, in the epigenetic events which may lead to disease.

Professor Stern said, “This is a wonderful day for us. Sami Sagol has provided us a new opportunity and tools to look yet deeper into our body and a chance to discover new ways to prevent diseases that eventually afflict most of us. We are privileged to have Professor Paul Zimmet as a partner in this exciting journey."

Professor Zimmet noted that Sami Sagol’s support for innovative scientific research both in Israel and internationally is both legendary and visionary. “Sami’s strong and enthusiastic commitment to this first stage of linking leading institutions and scientists in Israel with those overseas such as Monash University, one of Australia’s finest, is warmly applauded,” Professor Zimmet said.

Contact information
Australia – Professor Paul Zimmet AO ph +61 439 651 502 E: paul.zimmet@monash.edu
Israel - Professor Naftali Stern ph +972 52-4266564 E: naftalis@tasmc.health.gov.il

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