The Technion recently held a nucleation event for the Healthy Aging Center, which will bring together researchers from a wide range of fields to conduct applied research aimed at improving the quality of life for senior citizens
Life expectancy is consistently increasing thanks to progress in health care, science, and technology. However, longer lives have not meant an improved quality of life for the elderly. In response to this important global challenge, the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology has gathered researchers from different faculties in order to establish the Healthy Aging Center where they will address the growing disparity.
The initiative is headed by Professor Shai Shen-Orr of the Ruth and Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Professor Uri Lesmes of the Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Engineering, and Dr. Noga Ron-Harel of the Faculty of Biology. The Center will operate as part of the Technion Human Health Initiative (THHI), which was inaugurated last year by Technion President, Professor Uri Sivan with the goal of advancing interdisciplinary research related to health and medicine.
To map the broad potential of the Technion for impacting healthy aging, the Technion organized a nucleation event – a one-day workshop during which faculty members presented their research as well as their engineering and clinical capabilities for developing solutions to a range of challenges related to aging in the modern era and in the future. The launch event attracted more than 35 researchers and doctors from a wide range of faculties, including medicine, biology, chemistry, biomedical engineering, biotechnology and food engineering, industrial engineering and management, electrical and computer engineering, mechanical engineering, and architecture.
During the first part of the day, participants presented research projects related to aging mechanisms and longevity from the level of the individual cell all the way up to complete organisms, including various aspects of diseases associated with aging and quality of life, and relevant clinical and pre-clinical trials. In the second part of the workshop, the discussion focused on how to organize the breadth of applied research, scientific capabilities, and engineering technologies in a goal-oriented manner that best brings the Technion’s power to bear on these problems. Topics included diagnosing and analyzing medical data, regenerative medicine, nutrition solutions, engineering of supportive technologies, and designing residential environments for senior citizens. These subjects are expected to be the focus of the research activities at the new Center.
The workshop concluded with a discussion involving the researchers, President Sivan, and Professor Alon Wolf, then-vice president for External Relations and Resource Development. The conversation focused on challenges facing the Technion in researching issues associated with aging, and the resources required to lead scientific and engineering breakthroughs that will make it possible to age healthily in Israel and around the world.