A gala dinner to support a new Israeli centre for neuroscience designed by architect Lord Norman Foster was thrown in London on Monday night.

Foster’s Centre for Brain Sciences, which has been part-funded by the philanthropic foundation of the late Jewish financier Edmond Safra, is due to open on the grounds of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in June.

Safra’s widow Lily said: “Unlocking the mysteries of the brain depends on supporting the world’s best researchers in a premier setting that encourages effective collaboration. I am proud to be able to support such a noble cause, one that will improve the treatment and quality of life of so many patients suffering from illnesses of the brain.”

The gala dinner at the V&A Museum was organised by Brain Circle UK, a new charity set up to support the centre, where scientists are hoping to explore the relationships between gene function, brain neuronal circuits, and behaviour.

Backers hope the £130 million centre’s work will increase mankind’s ability to understand and treat neurological and psychiatric disorders, but still need to raise another £28 million before completion.