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Maurice and Ilse Katz Professorial Chair in Neuroimmunology, Weizmann Institute of Science

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 world pioneer in demonstrating that blood macrophages are needed for spinal cord repair, against the dogma that infiltration of immune cells to the central nervous system should be mitigated. Subsequently, she demonstrated that not only blood macrophages but also T lymphocytes are pivotal for repair and beyond. Shepioneered the concept of “protective autoimmunity” and its role in the maintenance of life-long brain plasticity including cognitive and mental activity, and neurogenesis from adult neural stem/progenitor cells in the healthy brain and in disease.

Her work has led to a paradigm shift in the perception of central issues in immunology, neurobiology, and adult neural stem cells by suggesting, against the common wisdom, that immune surveillance by autoreactive T cells maintains, fights off and corrects dysfunction of the CNS. She has developed a cell-based therapy, based on the therapeutic activity of immune cells, to induce partial recovery after severe spinal cord injury.

Her novel view of the cross-talk between the immune and the nervous systems forms the basis for the development of therapeutic vaccinations for additional acute (e.g., stroke) and chronic neurodegenerative diseases (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; ALS, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, glaucoma, and others), for mental disorders (depression and post-traumatic stress disorder; PTSD), and for rejuvenating the immune system as a way of arresting brain senescence and dementia.


  • –present
    Professor of Neuroimmunology, Weizmann Institute of Science