EMIM 2017 Plenary Speakers

The Opening Lecture will be given by MICHAL SCHWARTZ - Rehovot

Michal Schwartz

"Harnessing the Immune System to Combat Neurodegenerative Diseases"

Michal Schwartz is a Professor of Neuroimmunology, incumbent of The Maurice and Ilse Katz Professorial Chair in Neuroimmunology, at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel, and the elected president of the International Society of Neuroimmunology (ISNI) for the years 2016-2018.

Schwartz received a BSc (with distinction) in chemistry, from the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel, and a PhD in Immunology from the Weizmann Institute of Science. She performed postdoctoral research in the neuroscience department at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, studying nerve regeneration.

Schwartz’s research is focused on the role of innate and adaptive immunity in central nervous system (CNS) plasticity in health and disease, and on developing methodologies to manipulate the immune system for the benefit of the CNS under acute injuries, chronic neurodegenerative conditions, mental dysfunction, and brain aging. Schwartz was the world pioneer in demonstrating that the immune system is needed for brain protection and repair. Her group identified specific sites within the brain’s territory that serve as immunological interfaces between the brain and the immune system. A major current focus of Schwartz’s group is in developing novel approaches for harnessing the immune system to fight brain aging and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Schwartz publications are highly cited (H index 92; Google Scholar), and include numerous peer-reviewed articles and invited reviews, many of which appear in the most highly ranked journals. Professor Schwartz has been invited as a keynote lecturer at numerous international meetings. Her honors include the Friedenwald Award from ARVO (Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology), for her outstanding contribution to vision research and ophthalmology; the distinguished G. Heiner Sell Memorial Lectureship for outstanding achievement in the field of spinal cord injury, from the American Spinal Cord Injury Association; the NARSAD (The Mental Health Research Association) Distinguished Investigative Award; an Advanced European Research Commission award; a honorary doctorate from Ben-Gurion University; the Shaked Brain research award for her pioneering brain research, and the Blumberg Prize for excellence in medical science  Lately her book “Neuroimmunity: A New Science that will Revolutionize How We Keep Our Brains Healthy and Young”, has won an accolade from the annual PROSE Awards. She was lately profiled by Britannica Book of the Year, published since 1938 by Encyclopaedia Britannica.


Boudewijn Lelieveldt

"Visual analytics for spatial transcriptomics: from single cell to tissue and back"

Dr. Boudewijn Lelieveldt is professor of Biomedical Image Analysis at the Department of Radiology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, the Netherlands, where he is heading the Division of Image Processing (LKEB). He is also appointed as Medical Delta professor at the Department of Intelligent Systems, Delft University of Technology, Delft, the Netherlands. His research focuses on developing computational techniques for integrative analysis of spatially resolved –omics data (3D-Omics), such as spatial transcriptomics, imaging mass spectrometry and mass cytometry.


PETER VAN ZIJL - Baltimore

Peter van Zijl

"Molecular Imaging using diamagnetic CEST contrast"

Dr. Peter van Zijl is a Professor in the Department of Radiology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the founding director of the F.M. Kirby Research Center for Functional Brain Imaging at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. His research focuses on developing new methodologies for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Spectroscopy (MRS).  His current interest is the imaging in situ of proteins and carbohydrates and the development of bioorganic, biodegradable MRI contrast agents


Ofer Yizhar

“Optogenetic dissection of prefrontal circuits for cognitive function and social behavior”

Dr. Ofer Yizhar is a group leader at the Department of Neurobiology at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. He received his Ph.D. from the Tel Aviv University, and completed his postdoctoral training with Prof. Karl Deisseroth at Stanford University. His research focuses on the role of the prefrontal cortex in learning and motivated behavior, and on the development and refinement of optogenetic technologies for manipulating neural circuits.


Theodore Alexandrov

"Metabolite imaging enabled by mass spectrometry and big data analytics"

Dr. Theodore Alexandrov is a team leader at the Structural and Computational Biology Unit, European Molecular Biology Laboratory, an Assistant Adjunct Professor at Skaggs Schoolf of Pharmacy, University of California San Diego, and the scientific director of SCiLS GmbH. The Alexandrov team contributes to the emerging field of spatial metabolomics by developing computational biology tools that enable imaging, identification and interpretation of metabolites in tissue sections, agar plates, and cell cultures, in particular by using imaging mass spectrometry.