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Bennett Family Award Honors Global Collaborations in the Science of Wellness

Inaugural annual prize salutes University of Chicago, Weizmann Institute professors

CHICAGO, May 11, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Two groundbreaking professors—the University of Chicago's Juan de Pablo and the Weizmann Institute of Science's Alon Chen—received the inaugural Bennett Family Award for Collaboration in the Science of Wellness. The annual award is designed to recognize experts doing collaborative research that merges science and wellness for the advancement of human health and wellbeing globally. It is a joint initiative between wellness advocate and Bennett Family Foundation President Bija Bennett and the Global Wellness Summit, an annual international symposium for leaders shaping the wellness industry's future.

Bennett cited the transformational potential of scientific research as an impetus for establishing the Bennett Family Award , which was presented at the 2022 Global Wellness Summit in Tel Aviv this past fall.

"Scientific partnerships are critical today, especially in the wellness sector. It is becoming more important than ever as we strive to restore health, promote resilience and prevent disease across lifespans," Bennett noted in presenting the honor. As a life-long champion of mental health awareness and scientific collaboration, she advocates for an emerging wellness paradigm that addresses the whole person in multiple and interconnected dimensions. "I believe collaborations allow researchers to learn new approaches from each other and apply this knowledge to innovative solutions in their own work, " Bennett pointed out.

Bennett's second, though no less important, impetus for establishing the Bennett Family Award was to honor the role her parents, Marshall and Arlene Bennett, played in bringing together the Weizmann Institute and the University of Chicago and funding many of their collaborative projects. Building on the existing Marshall and Arlene Bennett Family Research Program, the two institutions recently expanded their joint projects to include artificial intelligence research with the Toyota Technological Institute.

"I believe the wellness industry must become deeply integrated with science and cultivate more research on issues that can help people achieve optimal wellness. With my parents gone, I wish to celebrate their legacy and carry their seminal work forward," Bennett said.

First Bennett Family Award Honors Molecular Engineering and Neurology Trailblazers

This award was established to honor researchers who not only focus on cutting edge solutions in the science of wellness but have also demonstrated how the power of scientific collaboration can advance health and wellbeing and have a tremendous global impact. "De Pablo and Chen have both generated groundbreaking developments with their work that can change life as we know it for the better," Bennett pointed out.

De Pablo, a University of Chicago professor of molecular engineering, guides collaboration among researchers at the University, the Argonne and Fermilab national laboratories and other innovative science organizations. At the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering, de Pablo leads research in DNA, polymers, machine learning and nanotechnology, spanning the disciplines of biology, physics, computing and materials science. His discoveries in probiotics are in wide commercial use.

Chen, a neurobiology professor and the Weizmann Institute's president, conducts multidisciplinary research in life sciences, physical science and engineering. His study of molecular interactions may help explain the mechanisms behind depression and how to re-engineer fabrics to resist water or bacteria. His collaborations with the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Germany reveal how behaviors and environment affect the way genes work and how stress relates to anxiety, depression and eating disorders.

Chen, who was present at the Global Wellness Summit, said, "I am honored to receive this award and would like to thank Bija not only for this meaningful recognition but also for her inspiring dedication to strengthening the link between mental and physical health and supporting scientific research and global collaboration. She is carrying on the remarkable legacy of her parents, whose generosity and lifelong commitment to supporting science, medicine and innovation continues to make a difference throughout the world today."

Bennett Hopes the Award Will Have a Transformative Impact at the Personal Level for All

Bennett, who has dedicated her life's work to understanding, practicing and teaching principles and care strategies that contribute to wellness, hopes the Bennett Family Award will inspire scientists from different fields to collaborate and work on multidisciplinary solutions that can help individuals take care of themselves, enjoy optimal wellness and transform their health, wellbeing and fitness throughout their lives.

"What makes a person happy, healthy and resilient? Why do some people cope with stress better than others? What resources empower individuals, families and communities to thrive?" Bennett asked in awarding the honor. "There are no right answers to these questions and so many solutions that can make an impact. These are questions that are worthy of scientific examination as well as personal reflection. And their solutions will change people's lives."

Going forward, and with next year's award in mind, Bennett noted, "I hope this award inspires scientists and wellness professionals to see life with new eyes, consider a myriad of options, put their connections to work and take action to collaborate on projects that can—and will—heal the world," she said. She encourages people to share concepts and ideas through the contact page of her website,

About Bija Bennett
Bija Bennett is an internationally known wellness and lifestyle pioneer and an outstanding communicator who conveys the tenets of mind-body health in remarkably accessible and engaging ways. An author, speaker and life-long champion of mental health awareness, Bija is an advocate for an emerging wellness paradigm that addresses the whole person in interconnected ways, teaching care strategies and multidisciplinary solutions to help individuals realize optimal wellbeing. As a certified yoga therapist, she has treated thousands of patients and developed pioneering programs for Fortune 500 companies, major medical institutions, spa and hospitality groups and personal clients. Bija has written four internationally respected books and publishes regularly in Rolling Stone and AGEIST magazines. She is an ambassador for the Global Wellness Institute, the leading organization empowering wellness worldwide, and currently serves as GWI's Yoga Therapy Initiative chair. In partnership with the Global Wellness Summit, Bija established the Bennett Family Award for Collaboration in the Science of Wellness to recognize scientists collaborating for the advancement of human health and wellbeing. She has spoken at universities and corporate retreats and regularly appears at national and international conferences. Additionally, she has co-taught seminars with Deepak Chopra, M.D., and has worked with clients of all levels and ages, from CEOs to celebrities, including Laura Dern, George Harrison, The Beach Boys, Barbra Streisand, Donna Karan, Elizabeth Taylor and more. Through her charismatic and engaging style, Bija is a dynamic representative of the future of mind-body health.

About the Global Wellness Summit
The Global Wellness Summit is an organization that brings together leaders and visionaries to positively shape the future of the multi trillion-dollar global wellness economy. In addition to an annual conference held at different locations around the globe, GWS also hosts regular virtual gatherings, including Wellness Master Classes, Wellness Sector Spotlights and Investor "Reverse Pitch" events. The organization's annual Global Wellness Trends Report offers expert-based predictions on the future of wellness. For more information, visit

Allie Kuopus
Purpose Brand

SOURCE Bija Bennett