Joint Canada-Israel Health Research Program
The Joint Canada-Israel Health Research Program is a seven-year, CA$35 million partnership between IDRC, the Israel Science Foundation, the Azrieli Foundation, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research that draws on the scientific strengths of Canadian and Israeli researchers in the broad field of biomedical science. It is expected to fund up to 30 collaborative projects involving researchers from Canada and Israel, as well as from low and middle-income countries.
The program is currently funding 24 joint projects resulting from the first four calls for proposals:
- First call (2015) – Neuroscience
- Second call (2016) – Immunology
- Third call (2017) – Cancer
- Fourth call (2018) – Neurobiology
- 5th call (2019) – Metabolism
Selected immunology research projects
Since many human and animal diseases are caused by infections and disorders of the immune system, immunology is one of the most important branches of biomedical science. Immunology also plays a key role in disease diagnosis as it provides the basic tools for identifying aberrant changes in the body. Research investments in this field are needed to develop innovative treatments that will help manage and reduce the debilitating effects of disease. Immunology research can also tackle some of the major health challenges low and middle-income countries face, such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, vaccine development, and infectious diseases.
To that end, the Joint Canada-Israel Health Research Program is supporting six projects led by world-class teams that were selected from among the 52 proposals submitted to the program’s second call in 2016.
Among these projects, one team is investigating the role of two new potential molecular targets for immunotherapy against cancer in humans, while another is investigating affordable antibody-based therapies and improved vaccines for the control of dengue fever and East Coast fever in both humans and animals. Four other teams are investigating the development and maturation of the human immune system, which may lead to a better understanding of factors associated with several immunological conditions, such as cancers and infectious diseases.
The following list of projects is in alphabetical order (according to the Canadian nominated principal investigator’s last name):
Researchers: Dr John Dick (University Health Network, University of Toronto); Dr Tsvee Lapidot (Weizmann Institute, Israel); and Dr Eugenia Flores-Figueroa (Oncology Hospital of the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, Mexico).
- The two faces of endogenous DNA editing enzymes: promoting genome mutations as well as genome repair
Researchers: Dr Mani Larijani (Memorial University of Newfoundland); Dr Moshe Kotler (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel).
Researchers: Dr Heidi McBride (Montreal Neurological Institute – McGill University); Dr Atan Gross (Weizmann Institute, Israel); Dr Alvaro Elorza (Universidad Andres Bello, Chile); and Dr Xiaodong Wang (National Institute of Biological Sciences, China).
- Epitope focused immunogens and recombinant antibody therapeutics for the control of tropical diseases
Researchers: Dr Sachdev Sidhu (University of Toronto); Dr Jonathan Gershoni (Tel Aviv University, Israel); Dr Vishvanath Nene (International Livestock Research Institute, Kenya); Dr Sangeetha Mohan and Dr Amitabha Chaudhuri (SciGenom Labs, India).
- Improving macrophage innate immunity by modulating protein tyrosine phosphatases: the complete mouse and human PTPomes
Researchers: Dr Michael Tremblay (McGill University); Dr Ari Elson (Weizmann Institute, Israel); and Dr Prabhat Arya (University of Hyderabad, India).
Researchers: Dr André Veillette (Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal); Dr Michal Lotem (Hadassah Hebrew University, Israel); and Dr Mario Cruz (Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos, Mexico).