Hub for research of Autism and Mental Disorders
Members: Asher Ornoy, Chairman.: Itai Berger, Sara Eyal, Yoav Kohn, Nurit Yrmiya - Scientific committee members: Simon Adverdson, Michal Begin, Yoram Ben- Shaul, Osnat Chazzan, Roland Chisin, Yuval Cinnamon, Talya Dor, Yuval Dor, Orli Elpeleg, Avi Feinsod, Rachel Katz – Brull, Benny Y. Klein, Yonata Levy, Chaya Loberbaum – Galski, David Mankuta, Reuven Or, Shula Parush, Annik Raas-Rothschild, Reeval Segel, Ronit Sharon, Joseph Yanai, altogether about 25 members.
Autism is a severe neurobehavioral disorder manifested primarily by a problem in communication. Its incidence increased steeply in the last 30 years and is diagnosed now in almost 1% in children. Moreover, as evidenced from experimental animal models, there are, in addition to poorly understood genetic causes also environmental causes for ASD or mental disorders. In the Hebrew University and in Hadassah Medical Center there are many investigators who are performing research on Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other mental disorders, being interested either in clinical aspects or in basic medical and genetic research.
There seems to be little knowledge regarding each other's work or areas of interest and therefore insufficient collaboration among these investigators. The members of this hub come from clinical disciplines (Psychiatry, neurology, developmental pediatrics obstetrics and gynecology and immunology), as well as from psychology, occupational therapy, genetics and medical sciences. The main purpose of this research hub is therefore to enhance collaboration among researchers of the Hebrew University and Hadassah as well as with interested investigators in other parts of Israel. We already have established some teaching for graduate students in ASD and plan to expand these courses and offer, in the coming years, a graduate program in ASD and mental disorders. The hub will also serve as a center for excellence in research to attract grants for the different interdisciplinary research programs. In addition, we intend to establish new research and teaching collaboration with scientific and clinical leading authorities in this area in the US and Canada.
We decided to start our program by having research meetings every six weeks, the first one id planned for February 8th. The day of "TU Bishvat".
The hub was officially established in 26.12.2011 and approved by the University authorities on 27.12.2011.