The Edmond & Lily Safra Center’s New Home!







The Hebrew University of Jerusalem dedicated the new home of The Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences (ELSC) in Jerusalem on June 13, 2017.

More than 400 people from Israel and abroad attended the gala celebration and naming ceremony of the largest neuroscience center in Israel and one of the most ambitious in the world.


Attended by Mrs. Lily Safra, a leading supporter of neuroscience research projects around the world, and Chairwoman of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation, which pledged a lead donation of $50 Million of the Center’s $150 Million initial budget.

“I am truly thrilled to join in celebrating this defining moment for ELSC when such an extraordinary new building becomes home to a remarkable community of researchers and students. Their multi-disciplinary study of the brain’s secrets will surely make a profound impact on how we treat disease and care for patients. I know that my husband Edmond would share my deep sense of pride that our names are associated with such pioneering work, and with such dedicated and inspiring people.”

-Lily Safra

Lord Norman Foster, the award-winning Founder and Executive Chairman of the British architectural firm Foster + Partners, which designed the new Center, also participated in the gala event.

“The project for the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences is much like a city in microcosm, with some of the same challenges: how do we best create a sense of community, share knowledge, bring people together, and support collective endeavours towards common goals? The building works flexibly, accommodating a diverse range of requirements from customisable, individual workstations to a central courtyard that is the social heart, breaking the traditional mould of learning and making the process more collaborative. It is a celebration of the brain, and of the vital work that is carried out by the researchers here,”               – Lord Norman Foster


The 14,500 square-meter Center will include state-of-the-art labs, classrooms, an innovative imaging center, and areas for biological and pre-clinical research. Significant emphasis was placed on constructing an environmentally friendly building with a focus on conserving energy and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.









The Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences is at the forefront of the revolution in neuroscience research. Harnessing the extraordinary opportunities created by advances in technology and medicine, ELSC is shaping the next generation of researchers to advance the brain sciences and transform the treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders.


ELSC scientists have already paved a way towards fundamental understanding of brain processes in health and disease. At the Lab for Understanding Neurons, Prof. Idan Segev  (pictured left) the David & Inez Myers Professor in

Computational Neuroscience, uses mathematical tools to digitally reconstruct a whole piece of cortical circuits using powerful computers. Using these models his team recently discovered rich structures or connectivity previously unknown. These “hidden” circuit structures pose constraints on how sensory information is processed in the neocortex. Prof. Merav Ahissar, the Joseph H. and Belle Braun Professor of Psychology, with longstanding interest in studying dyslexia, recently found that a central problem for dyslexics is forming prediction, a fundamental aspect of brain computing that governs our behaviors.


ELSC’s young generation of researchers are also studying the brain at unprecedented resolutions. Dr. Ami Citri, for example, received  the prestigious $100,000 Adelis Brain Research Award for his outstanding work in the field of experience-dependent plasticity and its impact on diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders. Most projects are led by ELSC’s PhD students, an elite group of young scholars.



The Inauguration was a great success with events spanning over 4 days. Some of the events showcased ELSC’s outstanding achievements over the years. Several events were dedicated to paying tribute to the generous donors who have helped build ELSC into the world-class institution it has become.





Left: Mr. Freddy Salem, Mrs. Muriel Salem, Mr. Menachem Ben-Sasson

Center: Mrs. Muriel Salem, Mr. Freddy Salem, Mrs. Catherine Haddad, Mrs. Cecile Ganansia

Right: Laure Ghouila-Houri, Serge Crasnianski



The Jewish Chronicle: Brain power brings in £600k for pioneering Israeli centre





A UK charity supporting the Edmond and Lily Safra Centre for Brain Sciences at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University raised £600,000 from its inaugural dinner at the V&A in Kensington.

More than 400 guests heard from Professor Idan Segev, who heads the Lab for Understanding Neurons at the centre. His work is part of the Human Brain Project, a major European undertaking.

Muriel Salem, who set up Brain Circle UK, said at least one billion people worldwide are affected by illnesses of the brain.

“Any real hope for progress, from cures to prevention, can come only with a comprehensive understanding of brain function.

“Our ambition is to aid in this effort and to invest in our future by supporting the distinguished researchers and talented students in their mission.”

The centre’s new premises will be dedicated in June.

Read more:

Brain Circle Inaugural Gala Dinner





Brain Circle UK is pleased to have hosted our Inaugural Gala Dinner on the 20th of March at the Victoria & Albert Mueseum.

The evening was a great success and we are grateful to all our guests for their support and enthusiasm.

It is due to the incredible generosity of our donors that we were able to raise £600k toward Scholarship for PhD students at the Edmond & Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences.

A big thank you to all those who were able to attend and who contributed to our success.

We look forward to bearing witness to the ground breaking discoveries the future hold at ELSC.










©Bircan Tulga Photography

15th of November – Neuroscience: A Glimpse into the Future








Brain Circle UK is proud to work with the B & C Club to present a series of talks about ELSC’s ground breaking research in Neuroscience.

We are pleased to present the first in this series : “Neuroscience: A Glimpse into the Future.” by Professor Adi Mizrahi


Date: 15th of November

Place: In & Out Naval Military Club, No.4 St James’s Square, London SW1Y 4JU

Time: 7pm-9pm

Buy tickets :


Professor Adi Mizrahi, the new co-director of ELSC.,will talk to us regarding the recent findings on neuronal systems for processing information, from different biological, technological, mathematical and computational viewpoints, in order to combine them and obtain a broader, more complete view of the state of the art in systems neuroscience.

In recent years, neuroscience has experienced an important transformation thanks to scientific breakthroughs such as the development of high-resolution medical imaging technology to study brain structure and activity, as well as the application of new molecular tools.

Prof. Adi Mizrahi earned his doctorate at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
From 2001 to 2004 he was Post-doctoral fellow at the Medical Center of Duke University (USA).

Since 2004, Senior Lecturer in Neurobiology Department at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Adi Mizrahi is a member of ICNC (Interdisciplanry Centre for Neural Computation).

His research focuses on the olfactory system by experimental observation in vivo neurons which he showed for the first time possible regeneration. He has used mouse models to study how neurons, or nerve cells, develop from an undifferentiated cellular sphere of in a rich and complex cell.

Jerusalem Post: ELSC Receives Neuroscience Outreach Award at FENS Forum 2016


July 12, 2016 Jerusalem Post

European neuroscience outreach award given to Hebrew University brain sciences center :

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences received the European Dana Alliance for the Brain (EDAB)-Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) Brain Awareness Week Excellence Award for 2016.