$1M B.R.A.I.N. Prize Presented by Israeli President Shimon Peres to BrainGate Team led by Dr. John Donoghue at BrainTech Israel 2013

Oct 15, 2013, 08:58 ET from Israel Brain Technologies

BrainTech Israel 2013 Conference, TEL AVIV, Israel, October 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

The BrainGate Research and Development team led by Dr. John Donoghue (Brown University) and Dr. Arto Nurmikko was today awarded a one million dollar prize in recognition of their outstanding work in brain computer interfaces. The Moshe Mirilashvili Memorial Fund B.R.A.I.N. Prize was presented by Israeli President Shimon Peres, a leading proponent of brain research and technology, at the 1st International BrainTech Israel 2013 Conference  in Tel Aviv today.

The Moshe Mirilashvili Memorial Fund B.R.A.I.N (Breakthrough Research And Innovation in Neurotechnology) Prize is an international award granted for a recent breakthrough in the field of brain technology for the betterment of humanity. The award was granted by Israel Brain Technologies (IBT), a non-profit organization inspired by President Peres' vision of turning Israel into a global hub of brain technology innovation.

BrainGate was selected by an international judging committee of distinguished neuroscience and technology leaders headed by Dr. Gerald Fishbach, which included Nobel Laureates Profs. Eric Kandel, and Bert Sakmann.

After accepting a statuette of a brain presented to him by President Peres, Dr. Donoghue described BrainGate's breakthrough. "The biggest thing that we at BrainGate have accomplished is that we can now 'read out' the brain," said Donoghue. "That means that among other things we can reconnect the brain to the outside world for severely paralyzed people who have no way of getting thoughts out to the world."

"This is an international prize that establishes Israel at the center of the neurotech community, while giving recognition to researchers from all over the world," said Dr. Rafi Gidron, founder and Chairman of IBT. "The prize reflects the goal of IBT, which is to bring international brain technology to Israel and at the same time, bring Israeli brain technology to the world."

During the award ceremony, President Peres told the audience that brain technology will revolutionize our lives. "The brain is illustrious... The greatest hope is that we should begin to understand how our own brain functions…The first questions we ask ourselves is… how to make Israel a center of brain research. Where is Israel strong? There are five domains in brain research. We found out that Israel is strong in two of them: one, the interface of brain to computer and the other is the therapy of the brain."

When asked about the secrets of his own robust brain, President Peres responded, "When you discover the secrets of brain I shall know my own too - I am searching like everyone else!"

The BrainTech Israel 2013 Conference brought together key government leaders, Nobel Prize laureates, entrepreneurs, scientists, top multinational executives and key investors to explore the latest developments in brain technology and possibilities for collaboration and investment.

U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, Congress' chief proponent for brain research, also delivered a keynote address at the event. "The White House has made it abundantly clear that this conference is a priority," said Congressman Fattah. "The President [of the United States] said that brain research will be a superior among equals. We are going to map the brain. The E.U. has made decision to do this as well. We need to work together to make the progress we want to make. We are going to host a meeting in Washington, D.C. in which we are going to take the work of Israel Brain Technologies, the E.U. and the U.S. and have a meeting of the minds."

The conference showcased a number of next-generation neurotechnologies, including technologies related to diagnosis and treatment of brain disease, brain-machine interface, and brain-inspired computing.

The conference also featured a "Neurocity" exhibition area displaying the latest brain innovations from leading Israeli and international companies and a "BrainBlitz" roundtable event to accelerate cutting edge ideas in neurotechnology.

About  Israel Brain Technologies

Inspired by the vision of Israeli President Shimon Peres, Israel Brain Technologies (IBT) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to advance Israel's neurotechnology industry and establish the country as a global hub of brain technology innovation.

Building on Israel's position as a global technology powerhouse, IBT aims to make Israel both the "Startup Nation" and the "Brain Nation." 

IBT is also focused on increasing collaboration between the Israeli neurotechnology ecosystem and its counterparts around the world.

IBT is led by a team of technology entrepreneurs and life science professionals and is advised by a panel of renowned academic, industry and public sector representatives including two Nobel Prize Laureates.

Miri Polachek
Executive Director
Israel Brain Technologies

SOURCE Israel Brain Technologies