Michal Schwartz

Michal Schwartz is a Professor of Neuroimmunology at The Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. She is married and has four children. Schwartz’s work focuses on the role of innate and adaptive immunity in central nervous system (CNS) plasticity in health and disease. She was the first to claim that blood monocytes are needed for CNS repair, and that the integrity of the immune system is pivotal for neural tissue survival, repair and renewal. She pioneered the concept of “protective autoimmunity” and its role in CNS maintenance, cognitive and mental activity, and cell renewal from adult stem cells in the healthy and the diseased CNS. Her work has led to a paradigm shift in the perception of the cross talk between the CNS and immune cells, from viewing the brain as a tissue that is protected against immune cell entry, to a tissue that is protected by immune cell activity. Her publications include numerous peer-reviewed articles and invited reviews, many of which appear in the highest ranked journals (e.g., Nature Medicine, Nature Neuroscience, Nature Cell Biology, Nature Reviews Neuroscience, Nature Reviews Neurology, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., Science, Journal Clinical Invest., PlosMedicine, Journal Experimental Medicine). Schwartz has received a number of prestigious awards for her research: The 2002 Friedenwald Award from ARVO (Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology), for her outstanding contribution to vision research and ophthalmology; the Distinguished G. Heiner Sell Memorial Lectureship in 2002 for outstanding achievement in the field of spinal cord injury by the American Spinal Cord Injury Association; NARSAD (The Mental Health Research Association) Distinguished Investigative Award (2007); an award as a distinguished investigator from the European Commission (2008); an honorary doctorate from Ben-Gurion University (2009); and the Shaked Brain research award from Bar-Ilan University for her pioneering research (2009). Professor Schwartz has been invited as a keynote and plenary lecturer at numerous international meetings (more than 2000), and is an elected member of the International and European Societies for Neuroimmunology. Her pioneering view of the cross-talk between the immune and the nervous systems is a basis for searching for biological markers and developing therapies not hitherto considered for chronic neurodegenerative disorders, for mental disorders, and for rejuvenating the immune system as a way of arresting brain senescence and dementia.