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Work of Weizmann inspiring scientists today thanks to Lord Alliance

02 Apr 2015

University collaboration with Weizmann Institute of Science

Professor Steffen Jung, Lord Alliance and Professor Werner Muller

Exactly 100 years after the first President of Israel, Chaim Weizmann, made his vital discovery about acetone here at The University of Manchester, the institution is celebrating his legacy through new scientific discoveries made in collaboration with the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel thanks to the generosity of Lord Alliance.

In 1915, in the university’s Bio-Chemistry labs, Weizmann discovered a more sustainable way of making acetone which was required for the manufacture of the explosive powder cordite. His work attracted the attention of the British Government and eventually six distilleries were requisitioned for the mass production of cordite.

As a result, shell production rose from 500,000 in the first five months of the First World War to 16.4 million in 1915, demonstrating the significant impact Weizmann had on the war effort.

Today, the scientific link between the University and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel is stronger than ever with eight current partnerships in the area of Life Sciences which are yielding significant research. Funding is also now in place for seven further partnerships thanks to the generous support of the Alliance Family Foundation.

A two day symposium was held at the Weizmann Institute, celebrating the scientific discoveries already made through the Lord Alliance Get Connected Grants and encouraging additional partnerships.

During this symposium the Lord Alliance Prize of £100,000 was awarded to one of the current partnerships, that of Professors Werner Muller (UoM) and Steffen Jung (WIS). Their work has shed light on how the cells in our gut respond to foreign parasites like worms and how these cells may trigger diseases such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

Some of the other scientific discoveries that have been made possible through the Lord Alliance Get Connected grants impact on neural conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, food security, wound healing and cancer.

Lord Alliance said: “The University of Manchester and the Weizmann Institute are both so close to my heart. To have the opportunity to bring the very best scientists together and see where their collaboration can lead has been a wonderful opportunity. I am truly delighted to see the results the Get Connected programme has had so far and am very much looking forward to more far-reaching scientific partnerships being created at the Symposium in Israel.”