Hebrew University autism researcher receives prestigious grant from the Eagles Autism Foundation

Hebrew University of Jerusalem professor Haitham Amal. Credit: Courtesy.
Hebrew University of Jerusalem professor Haitham Amal. Credit: Courtesy.

Professor Haitham Amal of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has received a prestigious research grant from the Philadelphia Eagles Autism Foundation to develop new drugs for the treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Amal is the first researcher outside the United States to be awarded the $400,000 Eagles Autism Foundation Grant. He is one of only nine recipients selected by a panel of nationally recognized U.S. researchers.

“I am excited and honored to receive this significant award as the first global recipient,” says Amal, a professor at the Hebrew University School of Pharmacy, Institute for Drug Research, Faculty of Medicine. “This grant will enhance our research initiatives to develop ASD therapeutics that will help millions of children and families around the world.”

The grant is funding Amal’s groundbreaking research on the role of nitric oxide (NO) in ASD pathology. Amal published the first paper linking nitric oxide with ASD, which is a key step towards identifying a drug target for the disorder. NO is a multifunctional signaling molecule and a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in physiological and pathophysiological processes.

Recently, Amal co-founded and serves as the chief scientific officer at Point6 Bio Ltd, a computational biology company for the diagnosis and treatment of ASD. He is also partnering with a NASDAQ-traded U.S. pharmaceutical company to research and develop ASD drugs.

In his Laboratory for Neuromics, Cell Signaling and Translational Medicine, Amal leads a group of scientists whose goal is to discover therapeutics and biomarkers for ASD, Alzheimer’s disease and other brain disorders.

He has received many awards, including the Wolf Foundation’s prestigious Krill Prize; the Prusiner-Abramsky Research Award in Clinical and Basic Neuroscience; the Kaye Innovation Award; the Golda Meir Lectureship Award; and the Brettle Center for Research Award. He has also received numerous grants, including funding from the U.S. Department of Defense and the Israel Science Foundation.

Amal was listed among the “40 under 40” most promising people in Israel by TheMarker magazine, a major business publication.

Prior to joining Hebrew University, Amal was a senior postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as an affiliate at the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University. In 2015, he earned his Ph.D. from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in nanotechnology and chemical engineering. Amal also holds an M.Sc. in Pharmacology from Tel Aviv University (2009) and a B.Sc. Pharmacy from Hebrew University (2007).

Click here to learn more about the Eagles Autism Foundation.

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About the Hebrew University of Jerusalem: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is Israel’s premier academic and research institution. Serving over 23,000 students from 80 countries, the University produces nearly 40% of Israel’s civilian scientific research and has received more than 11,000 patents. Faculty and alumni of the Hebrew University have won eight Nobel Prizes and a Fields Medal. For more information about the Hebrew University, visit: http://new.huji.ac.il/en. 
About American Friends of the Hebrew University (AFHU): American Friends of the Hebrew University (AFHU) is a national, not-for-profit organization based in the United States. AFHU is headquartered in New York and has seven regional offices working in close partnership with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. AFHU provides supporters, Hebrew University alumni, and the public with stimulating programs and events and organizes missions to Israel. The organization’s activities support scholarly and scientific achievement at HU, create scholarships, fund new facilities, and assist the university’s efforts to recruit outstanding new faculty. For more information, visit: www.afhu.org.
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