Dr. Gabriel (Gabi) Amitai holds a Ph.D. degree in Neurobiology from the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot (1981) and a Master of Science in Technology Management from the Polytechnic University, New York (2001). During the last 40 years Dr. Amitai has been involved in various applied pharmacological research projects at the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR).
His main areas of expertise are enzyme kinetics and drug design of small molecules for the treatment of neurological diseases and antidotes toward poisoning by toxic compounds. He served more than seven years as Head, Division of Medicinal Chemistry, IIBR (1989-1997) and as General Manager, Life Science Research Israel (1999-2001). Dr. Amitai established excellent scientific relationship with biotech companies in the USA with whom he managed collaborative applied research projects (2002-2007). In the last 30 years, he has been consistently awarded with research grants by USA and Europeans funds. Dr. Amitai was a Post Doc and assistant research pharmacologist with Prof. Palmer Taylor, at the University of California, San Diego (1981-1983).
Dr. Amitai served as visiting scientist at the NIDDK, NIH (1989) and as Senior Fellow of the US National Research Council at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (1995). He has spent two years as Visiting Research Professor at the University of Pittsburgh, PA (2006-2008) doing research with Prof. Alan Russell. Dr. Amitai is a laureate of Prof. E.D. Bergman award for Chemistry (1994). Dr. Amitai currently serves as President of the Israel Society for Neuroscience (ISFN).
Ron DeKloet’s main interest is in the field of stress hormones and how they can change their action in the brain from protective to harmful. Resolving this question might promote ‘resilience’ still present in the diseased brain as a novel approach to treat stress-related mental and neurodegenerative disorders.
With an oeuvre of about 600 scientific publications, 1 co-authored monograph and several edited books, Prof. DeKloet’s research received recognition with the 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award of the International Society for Psychoneuroendocrinology, 2007 Award of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 2005 Geoffrey Harris Award of the European Federation of Endocrine Societies. Since 2001 he was dentified as one of the worlds’ 250 most cited neuroscientists.
Prof. Ahuva Golik specializes in internal medicine and clinical pharmacology and currently serves as the Head of Medicine ‘A’ Department and Head of The Medication Committee at Assaf Harofeh Medical center (affiliated with The Sackler School of Medicine Tel- Aviv University).
She is a fully accredited clinical professor in Internal Medicine was the president of the Israeli Society for Clinical Pharmacology as well as the head of Medicine at the Sackler School of Medicine. Prof. Golik is a member of several governmental committees in the field of drug registration and generics.
Her research includes evaluating the pharmacoepidemiology and pharmacodynamics of medications mostly in cardiovascular diseases. Recent research involves supplements and vitamins in different situations.
Raphael Mechoulam was born in Sofia, Bulgaria and immigrated with his family to Israel in 1949 where he later studied chemistry. He gained his first research experience in the Israeli Army working on insecticides. He finished his PhD thesis on the chemistry of steroids under the supervision of Prof. Franz Sondheimer in 1950s. After a postdoctoral stay at the Rockefeller Institute with Prof. S. William Pelletier he became a junior member at the Weizmann Institute of Science, focusing on the isolation, structure elucidation and total synthesis of the main active principles of marijuana.
As a full professor for medicinal chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem where he established the “Department of Natural Products”. His major scientific interest is the chemistry and pharmacology of cannabinoids. Mechoulam was awarded several prizes, including the Heinrich Wieland Prize in 2004, the Israel Prize in Exact Sciences – chemistry in 2000 and The Israel Chemical Society Prize for excellence in research, Feb. 2009. In 1999 The International Cannabinoid Research Society established the “Raphael Mechoulam Annual Award in Cannabinoid Research”.
He is an elected member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities.
Prof. Koichiro Kawashima graduated and obtained PhD from the University of Tokyo, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, followed by fellowship at the New York Medical College and Postdoctoral training at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology. He served for many years as Professor of Pharmacology at the Kyoritsu College of Pharmacy in Tokyo. Currently he is a visiting Professor at the Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Kitasato University School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Tokyo.
Prof. Kawashima’s major research interests are the roles of non-neuronal cholinergic system in regulation of immune function, and the physiology and pharmacology of central and peripheral cholinergic nervous systems. His oeuvre covers about 200 scientific original papers, reviews and books in English and about 100 publications of original papers, reviews and books in Japanese. Prof. Kawashima was invited as a Keynote and Plenary Speaker to many International Symposia and Conferences, and served for many years as committee member of the New Drug Examination and Reevaluation of the Central Pharmaceutical Affairs Councils at the Ministry of Health and Welfare in Japan.
Prof. Palmer Taylor, currently serves as Professor and Sandra Monroe Trout Chair of Pharmacology; Dean, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Assoc. Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences at the University of California San Diego. Prof. Taylor has published over 425 publications mainly in the field of cholinergic pharmacology. His editorial responsibilities span over several journals and books e.g. 2000 – 2006 Associate Editor, Molecular Pharmacology; 1990 Co-editor with W.B. Pratt, Principles of Drug Action, 3rd Edition; 1990 Co-editor with A.G. Gilman, T.W. Rall and A.S. Nies. Goodman and Gilman’s Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, 8th Edition 1998-2003 Co-editor with G.V.R. Born, P. Cuatrecasas, D. Ganten, K. Starke, Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology; 1981-1986, and 1992-1998. Editorial Boards of several journals.
Prof. Taylor has worked with cholinesterase structure and function, inhibitors and reactivators for over three decades. His efforts have entailed characterization of the enzyme forms, cloning its cDNA and gDNA, examination of expression and splicing, analysis of structure by physical and crystallographic methods, and characterization of inhibition and reactivation kinetics. His group has also been studying the structure, function and metabolism of peripheral and central nicotinic acetylcholine receptors and synaptic adhesion proteins neuroligin and neurexin critical to the development of the nervous system.
Prof. Taylor has served as President, American Society for Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET); 1995-2000, Pharmacology Advisory Committee, Burroughs-Wellcome Fund; 1995-2002, FASEB Board; 1995, FASEB Industrial-Academic Alliance; 1996-98 FASEB Executive Committee; 1999-2006, Board of Trustees, Gordon Research Conferences; 2009 NIGMS Merit Award; 2000-2004 FASEB Finance Committee; Honorary Member, Croatian-Slovenian Society of Biochemistry; American Society for Clinical Investigation, Rene Couteaux Lecture-XV International Symposium on Cholinergic Mechanisms;. 2003 Torald Sollmann Award in Pharmacology; 2004 Perugia University 700 Year Award for Research in the Cholinesterases, Perugia, Italy; 2005 Karl Beyer Lectureship, University of Wisconsin; 2001 University of Bologna, Alma Mater Studiorum, Saeculare Nona Sigillum Magnum. Since 1997 he has been a member of the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Science; and since 2007 an Elected Fellow of AAAS. Prof. Taylor was awarded with 2009 Julius Axelrod Award in Research, ASPET.