|Bar-Ilan dedicates laboratory in memory of Singapore's Jacob Ballas|
Members of the Jewish community of Singapore and of Israel gathered together on the Bar-Ilan University campus in Ramat Gan, Israel, for the dedication of a new laboratory in memory of the life of the late Singapore Jewish community leader Jacob Ballas.
The Jacob Ballas Memory and Amnesia Laboratory is part of the University’s Gonda (Goldschmied) Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center, headed by Professor Eli Vakil. The focus is on the human memory processes, delineating their brain substrates, and developing evidence-based therapeutic interventions to benefit memory-impaired people.
Researchers in the Ballas Lab strive to understand memory functions and their component processes, generating predictions regarding the effects of brain damage on those functions and the observed evidence of brain activity as assessed by neuroimaging. Professor Vakil is the former chairman of the Department of Psychology at Bar-Ilan University. A member of the Bar-Ilan faculty for over 20 years, he also serves as director of a rehabilitation centre for IDF soldiers suffering from extensive head injuries.
“Bar-Ilan University is the only university that so uniquely blends rich Jewish heritage and values with academic excellence and achievement. I am confident that the Jacob Ballas Lab will be a source of great developments and advances in memory and amnesia. As such this lab will impact greatly on the Jewish People and the State of Israel,” said Bar-Ilan University President Professor Moshe Kaveh at the dedication ceremony.
“Our late Jacob Ballas certainly understood the meaning of joining together and feeling a part of the greater community,” said Vera Muravitz, Executive Director of Singapore Affairs at Bar-Ilan University. “A pillar of the Singapore Jewish community and supporter of synagogues, Jacob devoted his life to the community and to the betterment of Singapore,” she added.
Jacob Ballas’s memory also lives on through the Children’s Garden, established in Singapore. The Children’s Garden is a unique and interactive venue, established by Ballas for the purpose of education. The children can discover how plants acquire their daily needs and may encounter their first introduction to the life sciences with a hands on approach.
(Issue October 2008)