by Zack Pyzer
The University of Haifa revealed Wednesday that they have been jointly-allocated a highly prestigious $1.3 million grant from the Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP). The research seeks to uncover how the brain reacts chemically in a variety of social situations, focusing on the hormone oxytocin, and is estimated to produce results in three years’ time. As neuroscience reveals the secrets of the human mind, oxytocin has been linked to how we initiate “positive” behaviors, such as attachment and social recognition, as well as aggression. Past research has highlighted the oxytocin hormone as potentially key to understanding autism, borderline personality disorder and other social-related conditions.
Dr. Shlomo Wagner, head of the Neurobiology of Social Behavior lab at the University, will cooperate with the University of Heidelberg in Germany, the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York and the National Center of Scientific Research in Paris.
All four institutions will split the funding on a needs basis during the course of the research project, which is expected to last three years.
HFSP is an international project, dating back to 1987, set up to promote scientific research across the world. Financial backers include the EU, US, Japan, India and South Korea.
Despite Israel not featuring as a “Management Supporting Party,” the program has often distributed funding to Israeli research institutions, including the Weizmann Institute of Science, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University.