Congressman Fattah Promotes International Neuroscience Collaboration in Israel

Oct 14, 2013, 16:50 ET from Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah

The Philadelphia Congressman visits Tel Aviv for Israel's first international brain tech conference, BrainTech Israel 2013

WASHINGTON, Oct. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Congressman Chaka Fattah (PA-02) brought America's neuroscience agenda to Israel today, where he delivered an opening keynote on neuroscience and neurotechnology to more than 700 assembled investors, scientists, entrepreneurs, and government officials in Tel Aviv. Fattah's speech launched the first day of Israel's inaugural international brain technology conference, "BrainTech Israel 2013," and offered a resounding commitment to the international community that the United States is ready to partner when it comes to advancing brain science.

"The time is now—to invest, to research, to collaborate, to focus. We must engage on every level when it comes to brain research and technology, and there has never been a more opportune moment in history than today," Fattah said. "We have an international community that is primed to deliver breakthrough results in the field. Right now, so many nations, Israel and America included, are truly making the study of the brain a priority. Not only are they saying they support neuroscience, but they are backing it with significant amounts of funding. The possibilities are endless, but we know this much: making headway in brain science will affect millions of people, and will have an enormous economic impact as well."

Congressman Fattah's Tel Aviv speech comes almost two years after launching the Fattah Neuroscience Initiative (FNI), and is his second international speech in the last six months to promote America's neuroscience interests to a global audience.  Fattah spoke in May at Healthy Brain: Healthy Europe in Ireland.

Today's speech, "Neurotechnology—The Time is Now," addressed the Fattah Initiative's progress to date, which includes the formation of the Interagency Working Group on Neuroscience (IWGN), housed at The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and a formal collaboration with the pharmaceutical community to substantially increase private sector investment in brain research.

Fattah also offered insight into President Obama's BRAIN Initiative and the progress of the IWGN, which will release a public report, highlighting its first year activities, later this month. A focus area for the coming year will be increased international dialogue and cooperation on issues of mutual interest.

Congressman Fattah praised Israel for its staunch commitment to advancing brain science and technology, especially Israeli President Shimon Peres' vision to promote Israel as a global epicenter in the field.

"We need to work together," Fattah said in remarks following his speech, citing the commitments that both the U.S. and European Union have already made towards mapping the brain.

Fattah, the Congressional champion of neuroscience research and funding, was the only American official invited to address the conference. During the visit he is also meeting with President Peres, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro, Avi Hasson, Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Economy, and a group of young Israeli entrepreneurs with business interests in Philadelphia.  

Fattah emphasized the impact of his visit for the country, and especially Philadelphia.

"Not unlike Israel, Philadelphia is uniquely positioned as a leader in the sciences, given the abundance of research universities, renowned hospitals, science centers, and technology businesses throughout the region. We are really primed to take advantage of our assets and expand our international relationships," Fattah said. "Israel offers exciting opportunities to develop, innovate, and partner when it comes to neurotech and brain science."

In the coming weeks and months, Fattah will continue advancing his neuroscience initiative locally. In November, Fattah will speak at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), to patients and families who have been impacted by brain injuries. Additionally, Congressman Fattah was recently announced as a keynote speaker at the American Academy of Neurology's 2014 conference in Philadelphia. The event will bring nearly 11,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals to the city for their week-long annual meeting.

Fattah is the Senior Democrat on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies, where he leads the fight in Congress to increase federal resources for neuroscience research.

For additional information on the Fattah Neuroscience Initiative, please see the FNI media kit and video.  

SOURCE Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah