3 2008 September

Letter from the Chairman of
the Board
From the Desk of the
Executive Director
BSF Calendar
Fundraising: Interview with
BSF’s Director of
Binational Seminar in
Washington D.C.: “From Science to Industry”
BSF Annual Dinner
Bergmann and Pazy
Memorial Awards
In Memoriam: Prof. Rami
New BSF Program for Short
Scientific Trips by PhDs and
BSF Applications and
Approved Grants –
BSF-Sponsored Workshops
New BSF Board Members
New BSF Chair & Vice-Chair
Focus on Research:
Young Scientists
News & Views is published by the
United States-Israel Binational Science
8 Hamarpeh St., Jerusalem 91450, Israel
E-mail: [email protected]
Editor: Danny Shapiro
Contributor: Rifkah Goldberg
Design: Dinitz Studio
Layout: Orli Rozencwajg
From the Chairman of the Board
I have the pleasure and honor to serve as the BSF
Board chairperson for the coming year.
The BSF has always stood out for the high level of
research it supports, and for the rigor, fairness and
Prof. Mina Teicher
efficiency of its selection process. Since its founding in 1972, the BSF has played a central role in
promoting collaborative American-Israeli scientific endeavors, and in
strengthening the friendship between our two countries. The numbers
speak for themselves: Since its inception, the BSF has provided $480 million in support for over 4,000 outstanding research projects.
But the essence of the BSF goes beyond the numbers. From my experience as
a scientist (and a past BSF grantee), and in numerous positions in the Israeli
and international scientific arenas, I, as well as most of you, can testify to the
dynamic synergy that exists between Israeli and American scientists and to
the tremendous value of the collaborations and mutual exposures. One cannot
overestimate the contribution of the BSF to this development.
We have recently completed our 2007 grant selection process, focusing
this year on medical and life sciences, biomedical engineering, and social
and developmental psychology. A total of 425 eligible applications were
received, an increase of 10% compared with the 2005 cycle. The BSF was
able to fund a total of 109 research proposals – a success rate of over
25%. The total funding to be disbursed in the coming year is $16.6 million,
including new and ongoing grants, and workshops.
The modest size of BSF grants continues to be our major problem. Efforts
to convince the U.S. and Israeli governments to increase the BSF’s endowment have not been successful so far, leading the Board to conclude that
our main hope to increase resources is to launch a fundraising campaign.
We began such an effort this year.
A noteworthy trend is the growing interest in the BSF's start-up program,
which provides two-year grants for young investigators. Over the past two
years, we have seen jumps of 92% (physical sciences) and 53% (life sciences)
in the number of applications. The BSF is keenly aware of the importance of
encouraging the best and brightest young Israeli and American investigators.
This year we are also expecting to initiate a special program devoted to
renewable and alternative energy, supported by special funding from our
two governments. With this program we will be making our small contribution to the global effort to cope with the energy crisis.
I join my fellow governors, and the dedicated BSF staff, in wishing the entire BSF community a year of progress and success.
Prof. Mina Teicher
Chairman of the Board of Governors
From the Desk of the Executive Director
Two numbers stand out with regards to the BSF: 36 and $42,000.
Thirty-six is the number of Nobel Prize laureates who have participated in BSFsupported research. This phenomenal number says just about everything regarding the quality and stature of BSF research and competition.
The second number, $42,000, is the average annual grant size that the BSF offered this year  a small grant by any standard.
Dr. Yair Rotstein
These two numbers bring BSF's current situation into sharp relief: On the one
hand, the continually growing demand for BSF support by leading Israeli and American scientists; and
the BSF's limited resources, on the other.
This situation is disturbing not only to the grantees who are disappointed by the modest amounts they
receive, and to the many who submit outstanding research proposals but are turned down by us; It is
also troubling to us, the BSF Board and staff, who face the frustrations and distress of the scientific
We are devoting serious efforts and resources to address this problem. We continue our ongoing efforts
to convince the two governments to increase the endowment which supports our activities. We have
also begun seeking support, for the first time, from private sources both in Israel and the US. No less
important, we are starting to actively seek cooperation with other science funding organizations in the
US, which are usually limited to a specific topic or state. By joining forces we expect that, at least in
some fields, it will be possible to increase the size of the grants, and possibly also their number.
To be successful in these efforts we will need the support of many of the present and past BSF grantees.
Our experience in this regard, and in the other cases in which we sought your help, has been excellent
indeed. I would like to take this opportunity and to thank you for your help. Together, we can move the
BSF forward!
Dr. Yair Rotstein
Executive Director
BSF Calendar
September 1, 2008
November 17, 2008
December 19, 2008
March 5, 2009
July 7, 2009
July 15, 2009
BSF website opens for submission of new applications in the exact, physical,
natural and social sciences
Submission deadline for applications in exact, physical, natural and social
Submission deadline for BSF-Supported Workshops and Travel Grants for
Young Scientists
Results for the BSF-Supported Workshop Program
BSF Annual Dinner in Jerusalem
Results for BSF Research Grant Applications
Fundraising: Interview with BSF’s Director of Development
The BSF has recently launched a fundraising effort for the first time in its history. To understand the
whys and hows a little better, News and Views interviewed Danny Shapiro, BSF's new director of development and public affairs.
Why has the BSF suddenly decided to engage
in fundraising, after so
many years?
It wasn't a sudden decision.
The static nature of the BSF
endowment, and the everDanny Shapiro
rising costs of innovative
about continuous erosion in the real value of BSF
grants. The BSF Board realized that additional
funding from the US and Israeli governments is not
likely in the near future; so, after thorough discussion, it was decided to launch a fundraising effort.
can say that as someone with nearly 20 years of
fundraising experience for Israeli institutions, I
myself am profoundly impressed with the BSF. It
was "love at first sight".
What areas are you trying to raise money
The Board has made it clear that the top priority
is BSF's core areas, to increase the size of the
grants and/or enable more grants. But we are
also seeking funding for important special areas
such as young researchers, travel grants, women
scientists and more.
There is so much competition in fundraising.
What makes the BSF unique?
What are the prospects for success? Are you
The BSF makes a unique contribution to the
friendship between Israel and the U.S., which is
of strategic importance for both countries. The
BSF also plays a crucial role in Israeli science by
enabling access to the top scientists and the
world's leading scientific power.
It's still early, but I am definitely optimistic; if I
wasn't, I wouldn't be doing this. Remember, we
are starting completely from scratch in fundraising, and it is a daunting task for such a small organization. But I am not alone: The Board is behind us; the Board chairperson, Prof. Mina Teicher, and our executive director, Dr. Yair Rotstein, are providing active support.
What kind of reaction have you been
When people hear about the BSF – not only who
we are but what we have achieved – they are
deeply impressed. For example, people are astounded to learn that 36 Nobel Prize laureates
have taken part in BSF-sponsored research, and
of the key role BSF support played in facilitating
the partnership that led to the Nobel won by
Profs. Hershko, Ciechanover and Rose. They say
we should be proud of our efficiency, that 93% of
our budget goes directly to science, that a staff of
8 people disburses and administers $15 million
dollars a year in grants. On a personal note, I
We are also establishing a “Council for the Advancement of the BSF” comprised of prominent
public figures and scientists. Those who have
joined so far: Nobelists Prof. Sidney Altman of
Yale, Prof. Aharon Ciechanover and Prof. Avram
Hershko of the Technion; Dr. Martin Indyk, former US ambassador to Israel and assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs; Prof. Itamar
Rabinovich, former Israeli ambassador to the US
and president of Tel Aviv University; and Prof.
Zehev Tadmor, former president of the Technion.
It is very encouraging to have people of this caliber standing behind us and willing to help.
Binational Foundations Hold Washington D.C. Seminar –
From Science to Industry: Successes and Challenges of the U.S. –
Israel Binational Model
On June 17, 2008, the BSF and its two sister binational foundations
– BIRD (industrial collaboration) and BARD (agricultural cooperation) – held a seminar in Washington, D.C., focusing on U.S.-Israel
collaboration in science and technology. The seminar, “From Science to Industry: Successes and Challenges of the U.S. –
Israel Binational Model,” showcased the powerful synergy of the
binational model and its achievements in bringing innovations from
the lab to the marketplace.
The seminar featured remarks by
John. D. Negroponte, U.S. Deputy
From left: Dr. Yair Rotstein, Executive Director BSF;
Secretary of State; Sallai Meridor,
John D. Negronponte, U.S. Deputy Secretary of
Israeli Ambassador to the U.S.; and
State; Sallai Meridor, Israeli Ambassador to the U.S.
Dr. Eli Opper, Chief Scientist of the
Israel Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor.
Sallai Meridor, Israeli Ambassador to the U.S.
Keynote speakers included Prof. Sidney Altman, Yale University, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, 1989; Prof.
Victor Lechtenberg, Vice Provost for
Engagement, Purdue University; Dr. Ed
Mlavsky, Chairman & Founding Partner,
Gemini Israel Funds; and Dr. Sass
Somekh, Founder, Musea Ventures.
The executive directors of the three binational foundations presented their activities and future goals in a panel called “The U.S. –
Israel Binational Foundations: A Proven Model with a View to the
Reception at the National Academies of Science
building, Washington D.C.
The event was held in the National Academy of Sciences Building, and was attended by some 200 guests.
Selected video clips may be seen at http://picasaweb.google.com/EitanatBIRD/BARDBIRDBSFEvent
Kenneth Ferguson, BSF governor (left) and
John Negroponte, Deputy Secretary of State
From left: Danny Shapiro, BSF director
of development; Prof. Sidney Altman,
Nobel Laureate in Chemistry; Dr. Albert
Teich, BSF governor; Dr. Yair Rotstein,
BSF executive director
Executive Directors of the three binational
foundations: From left: Dr. Edo Chalutz,
BARD; Dr. Yair Rothstein, BSF; and Dr.
Eitan Yudilevich, BIRD
BSF 2008 Annual Dinner
The 2008 BSF Annual Dinner was held
on July 9 at the Inbal Hotel in Jerusalem, during the Board of Governors
meeting, to welcome and honor American board members and to celebrate
another year of achievements in U.S. –
Israeli scientific cooperation.
The dinner was attended by some 150
guests from the scientific community in
Israel and the U.S.
BSF executive director Dr. Yair Rotstein
presented the highlights of the past
year, and paid tribute to Prof. Rami
Rahamimoff, the late BSF governor
who passed away earlier this year (see
separate item). Dr. Rotstein said that
the BSF, and he personally, “shall miss
Prof. Rahamimoff’s wisdom and experience.”
The guest speaker was Knesset Finance
Committee Chairman and former president of Ben-Gurion University, Prof.
Avishay Braverman. Prof. Braverman
spoke eloquently of the challenges of
science and higher education in Israel
today, from the dual perspective of a
former university president and a current member of Knesset.
Two BSF memorial awards, honoring
the late Professor Ernest David Bergmann and the late Prof. Amnon Pazy,
were presented to deserving scientists
(see separate item). The Bergmann
Award was presented by outgoing BSF
board chairman Ken Ferguson; and the
Pazy Award was presented by Dr. Batia
Pazy, Prof. Pazy’s widow, in the presence of her daughter, Mrs. Michal
Prof. Avishay Braverman, Member
of Knesset and guest speaker
BSF governors Kenneth Ferguson
(left) and Dr. Thomas Crisman
Dr. Shlomo Wald, BSF governor
(right) and Danny Grossman
BSF governors Yael Mevorach and
Dr. Clifford Gabriel
Dr. Albert Teich, BSF governor
Dr. Yair Rotstein, BSF executive
director (left) and M.K. Prof. Avishay
Dr. Michael Crosby, BSF governor
Dr. Batia Pazy and her daughter,
Michal Nechemia
Prof. Mina Teicher, incoming
chairpman of the BSF Board of
Governors, and Danny Haring
Dr. Batia Pazy presents the Prof.
Amnon Pazy Award to Prof. Omer
Reingold of the Weizmann Institute
The Bergmann and Pazy Memorial Awards
Each year, the BSF recognizes particularly outstanding research proposals by conferring special memorial
awards. The prizes given this year were the Bergmann and Pazy awards – honoring the memory of two
men who were both outstanding scientists and who made far-reaching contributions to Israeli research
and academia in general, and to the BSF in particular.
The Professor Ernest David
Bergmann Award
Prof. Bergmann was internationally
for his contributions in
organic chemistry.
played a major role in
establishing the BSF and
served on its Board of
Governors until his death
in 1975. One of his special interests was the encouragement of young scientists. To honor his
memory, the Board of Governors established, in
1976, special grants in his name, to be awarded
annually to promising young scientists
The recipients of this year’s Bergmann Prize
Dr. Hossam Haick (Technion). He submitted his
application together with Prof. Raymond Tung (City
University of New York). The title of their submission was Electron Transport through Conductor/
Molecular Film/Semiconductor Systems.
Prof. Assaf Naor (New York University). He submitted his proposal, Geometric Techniques for the
Analysis and Design of Algorithms on Metric Data,
together with Dr. Mendel Manor (Open University).
The Professor Amnon Pazy
Professor Pazy was a wellknow mathematician, who
was for decades a central
figure in Israeli higher education. He served as president of Hebrew University
and later as Chairman of the
Committee of the Council of
Higher Education.
Prof. Pazy served continuously on the BSF Board of
Governors from 1997 until his death in August
2006. During this period, he was twice elected
Chairman of the Board, and the BSF greatly benefited
from his considerable experience in science, academic affairs, and public service in general.
To honor his memory, the BSF established in 2007
the Prof. Amnon Pazy Memorial Award, to be given
biannually to the most outstanding and original new
project in mathematics and computer sciences.
The recipients of this year’s Pazy Award
Prof. Omer Reingold (Weizmann Institute of Science), Prof. Luca Trevisan (Berkeley), and Prof.
Salil Vadhan (Harvard) for their proposal, Pseudorandomness and Combinatorial Constructions.
Prof. Michael Krivelevich (Tel Aviv University;
past winner of the Bergmann Award) and Prof.
Alan Frieze (Carnegie Mellon University) for their
application Probabilistic Reasoning in Combinatorics.
Dr. Hossam Haick and
Prof. Raymond Tung
Prof. Assaf Naor (left) and
Dr. Mendel Manor
From left: Prof. Omer Reingold,
Prof. Luca Trevisan and Prof. Salil Vadhan
Prof. Michael Krivelevich (left)
and Prof. Alan Frieze
In Memoriam: Prof. Rami Rahamimoff
BSF Board member Prof. Rami Rahamimoff passed away on March
15, 2008. He was 70 years old.
Prof. Rahamimoff was a professor of physiology at the Hebrew University, and was awarded the Israel Prize in Medicine in 1998.
Prof. Rami
Born in Sofia, Bulgaria in 1937, Prof. Rahamimoff earned his M.D.
in 1963 from the Hebrew University, where he continued to become
a full professor and chair of the Department of Physiology. He later
served as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine of Hebrew University –
Hadassah Medical campus. He served as Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Health from 2001 until his death.
Prof. Rahamimoff had been a BSF board member for the past five years, serving as ViceChair in 2005/2006 and Chair in 2006/2007. Before joining the Board, he received numerous BSF grants.
A prominent figure in the Israeli medical and scientific community, he was world renowned
for his pioneering research on calcium regulation of synaptic transmission (passage of
nerve impulses at junctions between a nerve and another nerve, muscle or gland cell).
New BSF Program for Short Scientific Trips by PhDs and Postdocs
The BSF Board of Governors recently approved a new grant program to fund short scientific trips for
Israeli and American PhD students and postdoctoral fellows doing research that requires facilities and
expertise not available in their home countries. Ten such grants will be made in 2009. For more information, please see the BSF website at www.bsf.org.il.
BSF Applications and Approved Grants – 2007/2008
The 2007/2008 competition focused on medical and life sciences, biomedical engineering, and social and
developmental psychology. Grants are for two to four years. A total of 425 eligible proposals were submitted, and 109 were approved by the Board of Governors – a success rate of 25.6%, down slightly from
27.2% in 2005/2006 (the previous health/life sciences cycle). This is mainly due to the significant increase in the number of applications, which grew by more than 9% from 2005. Average grant size was
increased by about 10% from the 2005/6 cycle. The breakdown by areas of research are shown in the
table below.
Areas of Research
Health Sciences
135 (28)
103 (22)
Life Sciences
212 (62)
222 (71)
27 (5)
28 (4)
51 (14)
425 (109)
36 (9)
389 (106)
Biomedical Engineering
BSF-Sponsored Workshops
Eighteen workshop applications were submitted to the BSF this year. The two workshops selected for
support in 2007/8 were:
Ensuring the Sustainable Reuse of Wastewater for Agricultural Irrigation in Semi-Arid/Arid
Organizers: Prof. Uri Zoller (University of Haifa), Prof. Menachem Elimelech (Yale University), Prof.
Peter Fox (Arizona State University), Prof. Hassan Azaizeh (Galilee Society, Shefa Amr), Prof. Carlos Dosoretz (Technion), Prof. Yoram Gerchman (University of Haifa), Prof. Karl Linden (Duke University, Durham, USA)
Developing US-Israeli-Palestinian Sustained Collaborative Efforts
Prof. Ronny Shtarkshall (Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School) and Prof. Aryeh Stein
(Emory University, Atlanta)
New BSF Board Members
Four new members have joined the Board of
Governors in the past year:
Dr. Clifford Gabriel, U.S.:
Dr. Gabriel is
Senior Advisor at the National Science Foundation (NSF). He has replaced Dr. Marta
Cehelsky, also from the NSF.
Ms. Yael Mevorach, Israel: Ms. Mevorach
is an economist in the Israeli Ministry of
Finance, and replaced Ms. Rotem Rulf from
the same ministry.
Prof. Yosef Shiloh, Israel: Prof. Shiloh is
from the Department of Human Genetics and
Molecular Medicine, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, and a member of the
Israel Academy of Sciences. He replaced Prof.
Ariel Rubinstein, also from Tel Aviv University.
Dr. Shlomo Wald, Israel: Dr. Wald is the
Chief Scientist of Israel’s Ministry of National
Infrastructure. He replaced Dr. Abraham
Arbib, from the same ministry.
The BSF thanks all the outgoing board
members for their devoted service, and
welcomes the new board members.
New BSF Chair & Vice-Chair
The Board has elected Prof. Mina Teicher (Israel) as
its new chairman for 2008/9, replacing Mr. Kenneth
Ferguson (U.S.); and Prof. Thomas Crisman (U.S.)
as Vice-Chair, replacing Prof. Teicher. The BSF thanks
Mr. Ferguson for his dedicated service as chairman.
BSF Board of Governors 2008-2009
United States
Prof. Thomas L. Crisman
University of South Florida
Vice-Chair, BSF
Prof. Mina Teicher
Bar Ilan University
Chair, BSF
Dr. Michael P. Crosby
University of Hawaii at Hilo
Ms. Yael Mevorach
Ministry of Finance
Mr. Kenneth Ferguson
U.S. Department of State
Prof. Yosef Shiloh
Tel Aviv University
Dr. Clifford Gabriel
National Science
Dr. Shlomo Wald
Ministry of National
Dr. Albert H. Teich
American Association for the
Advancement of Science
Focus on Research: Young Scientists
The future of science depends to a large extent on the ability of universities, hospitals and other research
institutions to attract the most promising young researchers, and provide them with the resources and
environment that will nurture innovation and excellence.
The BSF is acutely aware of the importance of supporting these young scientists, and has established
several programs and awards to help them:
Start-up Grants: Two-year grants to scientists in the early stages of their career as independent investigators.
Travel Grants for PhDs and postdoctoral researchers, for short scientific trips for research that requires
facilities and expertise not available in their home countries.
The E.D. Bergmann Memorial Award, a prize given to outstanding researchers in the very early years
of their independent scientific careers, as a supplement to their BSF grant.
We devote this issue’s “Focus on Research” to young scientists, and will feature five early-career investigators who are the recipients of either a regular BSF grant or a start-up grant.
Dr. Aharon Blank ─ Schulich Faculty of Chemistry, Technion
Micro-Imaging Living Cells
BSF Research Grant (2006-2010); winner of the Bergmann Award for the
most outstanding research proposal by a young investigator in 2006.
Dr. Aharon Blank
Dr. Blank: “My BSF grant helped me to establish a very fruitful collaboration with
Prof. Kuppusamy, my U.S. partner. This enabled me to apply the methodologies I
developed in my laboratory in both biological and bio-medical settings. I used the
funding from the Bergmann Memorial Award to purchase some major equipment.”
U.S. collaborator, Prof. Periannan Kuppusamy, Ohio State University Medical Center:
“My collaborator Dr. Blank is working on an exciting project, the development of a microscope for ultrahigh-resolution imaging of free radicals. This system will have the sensitivity and resolution required to
detect very low paramagnetic spins in a variety of applications, including cancer and cardiovascular
disease. Dr. Blank has the expertise and experience to develop this innovative approach for biomedical
research and clinical applications. I am pleased to be associated with this project, and grateful to the
BSF for supporting it.”
Summary of Scientific Career
Dr. Blank is senior lecturer at the Schulich Faculty of Chemistry, Technion-IIT. He earned his B.Sc.
in physics, mathematics and chemistry from the Hebrew University in 1992; his M.Sc. in electrical
engineering from Tel Aviv University in 1997; and his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the Hebrew
University in 2002. He served in the Israeli Air Force for nine years while continuing his studies. He
spent several years as Chief Scientist of TopSpin, an Israeli start-up company developing intravascular MRI techniques. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Cornell University from 2002 to 2005.
Dr. Aharon Blank (Cont.)
Research Interests
Magnetic Resonance (MR), discovered over 60
years ago, is one of the most versatile fields of
science, with applications ranging from chemical
structure determination to medical imaging, and
quantum information processing. To date, seven
Nobel prizes in physics, chemistry and medicine
have been given related to MR. Industries based
on medical and chemical applications of MR are
worth billions of dollars.
Dr. Blank works mainly in two areas of MR: electron spin resonance (ESR) and nuclear magnetic
resonance (NMR). He develops unique methodologies and focuses on three key MR issues: sensitivity, image resolution, and affordability. His
aims are:
To increase the sensitivity of MR: Since
magnetic resonance is very insensitive, relatively
large samples are required to get a measurable
signal. Dr. Blank and his colleagues are developing sensitive miniature ESR resonators that operate at a wide range of temperatures and frequencies to try and solve this problem.
To increase the imaging resolution of
MR: Sensitive detection systems can be also utilized to greatly increase the imaging resolution of
MR. The search goal in this line of work is to
achieve resolution of ~ 1 micron at ambient conditions (for biological and medical applications)
and ~ 100 nm at cryogenic temperatures (for
materials science and basic physics research).
To develop more affordable systems: Dr.
Blank’s group devises affordable and simple NMR
systems for a wide variety of material sciences
and medical diagnostic applications.
BSF Project
Dr. Blank’s laboratory recently developed the
ESR micro-imaging technique, achieving a spatial
resolution of 1 micron, based on the unique magnetic signal of stable free radicals. This method
allows mapping of such radicals, including those
involved in malignant processes, and provides
other vital information about them. In the BSF
research project, this novel method is being applied in living systems for the first time: ESR is
used to provide high-resolution images of the
exact locations and types of reactive oxygen species generated by bio-activity in live smooth
muscle cells. The U.S. partner in this project has
a system for low-resolution ESR imaging of animals and also provides some of the biological
samples, as well as unique radicals for the microimaging experiments. Low- and high-resolution
ESR imaging techniques in small animals and tissue extracts provide accurate information about
the location of stable free radicals implanted in
these tissues. This may be used for cancer diagnosis and therapy purposes. ESR micro-imaging
measurements are also being carried out on
small live amoebas and other test samples. This
research is eventually expected to open up the
new broad field of ESR microscopy in biology and
Dr. Sara Lev ─ Graduate School of Business, University of Haifa
Joint Learning in Israeli/American High-Tech Ventures
BSF Start-up Grant for Young Researchers (2007–2009)
Dr. Sara Lev
Dr. Lev: “The BSF grant has allowed me to maintain a close relationship with
my professional advisor, Prof. Oded Shenkar, a world leader in international
management and alliances, and cutting-edge theories in this area. My BSF project, carried out together with my former Ph.D. advisor, Prof. Avi Fiegenbaum
from the Technion, develops theories to explain innovation performance of
global alliances. During the first year of my BSF grant, I also familiarized myself with people in other binational granting organizations (e.g. BIRD, MATIMOP), who gave me useful advice about how to get research data, and I am
sure that these connections will help me in the future.”
Dr, Lev is collaborating with Prof. Avi
Fiegenbaum, Technion, and Prof. Oded
Shenkar, Fisher College of Business, Ohio
State University. Prof. Shenkar: “Working with
Sara has, and continues to be, a great experience. Since we deal with complementary areas, the project is also a learning experience
for me, providing many brain-storming opportunities. Seeing a phenomenon from the perspective of a young researcher with many innovative ideas has also been very enriching.”
Summary of Scientific Career
Dr. Lev is a researcher at the Graduate School of
Management, Haifa University, and Acting CEO of
Carmel, Haifa University Economic Corp. Ltd, the
University’s technology transfer company. She
earned B.Sc. degrees in computer science and in
education in technology and science in 1986; an
M.Sc. in strategic management and entrepreneurship in 1999; and a Ph.D. in strategic management and entrepreneurship in 2004, all from the
Technion. From 2004 to 2006, she was a postdoctoral visiting researcher in the Strategy Department at INSEAD, France. Her experience in industry
GalaiLaboratories, Migdal-Ha’emek, an innovative hightech image-processing software company and
software engineer for the Israel Defense Forces
(IDF); and she served in the IDF Parachuting
Unit. Dr. Lev is a member of the Academy of Management (BPS division) and the Strategic Management Society.
Research Interests
Dr. Lev carries out research on strategic management and entrepreneurship, focusing on
organizational learning and innovation processes
at the organizational level, and on strategic
For the last decade, she has been studying Israeli
high-tech companies operating in global markets,
which are managerially challenged by the hypercompetition. She explores the impact of industry
structure and knowledge management on their
short- and long-term performance, using advanced quantitative methods, such as structural
equation modeling.
BSF Project
The jolt created by the burst of the high-tech bubble in 2000 raised questions about its global sustainability, as well as about the ability of Israeli
firms to recover in this market. Dr. Lev’s BSF research project explores the “post-bubble” jolt, focusing on the "re-surge," based on the learning
capabilities of Israeli high-tech firms. This project
seeks to extend existing theories in organizational
learning by focusing on joint learning of collaborating firms: global alliances between American
firms together with the current fast-growing Israeli innovative high-tech sector. Her research
team’s main hypothesis is that organizations
should develop both common and separate learning abilities: The common pursuit of external
knowledge for commercial purposes; and separate
assimilation and transformation of knowledge.
They are developing a comprehensive model,
innovational and performance factors. This novel
extended framework, supported by empirical
findings, is expected to provide a valuable addition to the theory of organizations strategy and
multi-national corporations. On the practical
level, it should be useful to global executives and
public policy makers for developing guidelines to
enhance economic growth and public wealth.
Dr. Liza Barki-Harrington — Department of Biology, University of Haifa
Receptor Signaling in Heart Failure
BSF Start-up Grant for Young Researchers (2006-2008)
Dr. Liza BarkiHarrington
Dr. Barki-Harrington: “The BSF start-up grant, my first competitive source of
funding, was crucial in enabling me to start my own laboratory at the University of
Haifa. The requirement for close collaboration with a U.S. partner gave me the opportunity to carry out research with state-of-the-art technology and invaluable scientific exchange. Our comprehensive study, together with Dr. Rockman's group, is
expected to lead to individual tailor-made drug therapy for heart failure patients.
On a personal level, Dr. Rockman’s continued support and enthusiasm are highly
significant for my development as an independent researcher.”
Collaborating with Dr. Howard Rockman, Duke
University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina:
“With funding from the BSF, Dr. BarkiHarrington and I have been able to study novel
mechanisms of β-adrenergic receptors in heart
failure. These receptors are thought to be directly involved in causing heart failure and are
the primary targets for the well known drugs
called β-blockers. The BSF start-up grant offered a unique opportunity for me to form a
long-lasting, synergistic collaboration with Liza
as she has evolved into a splendid independent
scientist at the University of Haifa. Together,
we have already made a number of exciting discoveries that I believe will greatly advance our
understanding of why the heart
fails in response to stressful conditions, such as
after a heart attack or with chronic high
blood pressure."
Summary of Scientific Career
Dr. Barki-Harrington is a lecturer in the Department of Biology at the University of Haifa. She
earned her B.Sc. in life sciences in 1992, and
M.Sc. and Ph.D. in clinical pharmacology, in
1995 and 1999 respectively, from Ben-Gurion
University of the Negev. She then served as
research associate at the Duke University Medical Center for five years. She was a research
associate at the University of Haifa’s Department of Neurobiology and Ethology from 2004
to 2007.
Research Interests
G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), the largest
and most diverse super-family of cell-surface receptors, mediate a vast array of biological responses. The classical model for signaling by receptors is based on activation by ligand (a molecule that binds to it causing physiological changes
or activity). In this case, ligand stimulates coupling
to G protein, which in turn leads to the generation
of intracellular second messengers. However, increasing evidence suggests that there are also alternative pathways. Dr. Barki-Harrington’s research team employs in vitro and in vivo techniques to shed light on these novel GPCR signaling
mechanisms, focusing in particular on their role in
heart failure and therapy for this condition.
BSF Project
The research carried out with the BSF start-up
grant, jointly with Dr. Rockman, focuses on the
role of β-adrenergic signaling system in the heart
and the changes it undergoes during heart failure.
These new signaling pathways (involving β-arrestin
and trans-activation of the epidermal growth factor receptor) were identified by combining an in
vitro tissue culture approach with in vivo physiological
Using transgenic animal models, these researchers
discovered that signaling by this pathway is highly
protective against deterioration of the heart under
pathologic conditions. These findings suggest that
further understanding of these signaling patterns is
likely to lead to novel therapeutic approaches for
treatment and management of heart failure.
Dr. Hossam Haick — Wolfson Department of Chemical Engineering
and Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute, Technion
New Approaches with Electronic Devices
BSF Research Grant (2007-2011), winner of the Bergmann Award for the
most outstanding research proposal by a young investigator in 2007.
Dr. Hossam Haick
Dr. Haick: “The BSF’s unique mission to promote excellence in multidisciplinary
collaborative research between the United States and Israel paved the way for
my joint work with Prof. Tung, enabling us to extend a very important research
area, which would not otherwise have been done. In our BSF project, Prof.
Tung’s experience in physics of semiconductors completes my expertise in materials and interfaces. Through this work, I have become familiar with new ways of
thinking and techniques, which have moved me in new scientific directions.”
Collaborating with Prof. Raymond Tung, Department of Physics, City University of New York
(CUNY): “It has been amazing for me to witness
Dr. Haick's ability to recognize the great value of
laboratory findings, which many people would have
regarded as routine and not given a second
thought to, and envisage their possible applications. The collaborative work Dr. Haick and I are
doing has given a breath of new life and many innovative ideas to my own research program. I
hope it will also provide a fresh and more physical
perspective in the interpretation of experimental
results from Dr. Haick's laboratory.”
Summary of Scientific Career
Dr. Haick is a senior lecturer at the Department of
Chemical Engineering and head of the Marie Curie
Excellence Center for Nanomaterial-Based Artificial
Olfactory Systems at the Technion. He earned his
B.Sc. in chemical engineering from Ben-Gurion
University of the Negev in 1998, and his Ph.D. in
chemical engineering from the Technion in 2002.
He then spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow
with Prof. David Cahen in the Department of Materials and Interfaces at the Weizmann Institute, followed by another two years as postdoctoral fellow
at the Division of Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology. He has received many awards
and honors, most recently being included in MIT’s
Technology Review’s list of the world’s top 35
young scientists for 2008.
Research Interests
Dr. Haick works in two main areas of research
in nanomaterials (materials with at least one
dimension less than one micron) that have
unique properties because of their small size.
To date, many potential molecules could not be
used in electronic devices because they do not
form well-ordered and uniform layers. Recently,
Dr. Haick, together with Prof. David Cahen at the
Weizmann Institute and Prof. Tung showed, both
“jumbled,” hole-filled layer of molecules (“Swiss
cheese”) solves many of these problems. Dr. Haick
continues to work in this field using various molecules to produce tailor-made opto- and other electronic devices for a broad range of applications.
Dr. Haick and his co-workers have also been developing a pocket-size electronic device (“nose”)
consisting of nanomaterials. In exhaled samples,
this inexpensive, compact and simple-to-use instrument can distinguish between “healthy” and
“cancerous” states, as well as determine the
stage of the disease from cancer biomarker patterns, with particular emphasis on early detection. The initial results of clinical trials carried out
at the Oncology Division of Rambam Hospital,
Haifa, are highly encouraging.
BSF Project
Dr. Haick and his collaborators are investigating
two aspects relating to the use of molecules for
modifying the properties of electronic materials
or devices: They are developing ways of producing such materials reproducibly. They seek to
understand the interaction between a variety of
molecules and semi-conductors, the nature of the
contact, and how different molecules and modes
of contact affect semiconductor properties.
They also study how organic molecules in metallic and/or semiconductor electrode(s) affect electronic transport through such hybrid structures.
They are probing possibilities and limitations of
device structures, with the aim of optimizing
them. The eventual aim is to design externally
controllable, molecule-based electronic devices,
which may be important for smart systems.
Dr. Marcelo Ehrlich — Department of Cell Research and
Immunology, Tel Aviv University
Membrane Traffic in Reovirus Infection
BSF Start-up Grant for Young Researchers (2006 - 2008)
Dr. Ehrlich: “The funds from the BSF start-up grant were essential for setting up my
laboratory at Tel Aviv University. This grant was also used to establish the experimental system, recruit a graduate student, and to initiate a fruitful collaboration with Prof.
Parker, which we plan to continue and expand beyond the period of the grant.”
Dr. Marcelo Ehrlich
Collaborating with Prof. John Parker, Baker Institute for Animal Health, Cornell University,
Ithaca, New York: “My collaboration with Dr. Ehrlich has been particularly valuable and led to
branching out into a new research area in my
laboratory, probing the pathogenesis of Bluetongue and Ibaraki viruses. These insect-borne
viruses cause significant disease morbidity in domestic animals in Europe and the Middle East. In
addition, there is renewed concern about the impact of these diseases in the United States. We
are investigating the role of programmed cell
death (apoptosis) in the viral life cycle. Our findings suggest that, similar to my work with mammalian reoviruses, a single viral protein is responsible for apoptosis induction.”
Summary of Scientific Career
Dr. Ehrlich is a lecturer at the Department of Cell
Research and Immunology at Tel Aviv University.
In 1987, he completed a B.Mus. in flute performance at Tel Aviv University, and was principal flutist of the Haifa Symphony Orchestra for ten
years. He then returned to study, earning his
B.Sc. in biology in 1995, his M.Sc. in cell biology
in 1997, and Ph.D. in neuro-biochemistry in 2002,
all from Tel Aviv University. He then spent three
years as a postdoctoral research associate in Dr.
Tom Kirchhausen’s laboratory at Harvard Medical
Research Interests
Dr. Ehrlich’s current research projects focus on
unraveling various aspects at the interface between membrane trafficking and signal transduction mechanisms in the cell:
Regulation of clathrin-mediated endocytosis
(the process whereby a cell membrane folds inward to take in substances bound to its surface).
The role of phospholipases (enzymes con-
verting phospholipids into fatty acids) in regulating signaling and membrane traffic in mouse
mammary tumor cells.
How the membrane trafficking machinery
serves as a platform for entry, infection and induction of apoptosis (cell death) by Orbiviruses
(vector-borne pathogens that mainly affect animals, which are transmitted by ticks, mosquitoes,
gnats and midges).
BSF Project
Dr. Ehrlich’s BSF-supported studies, carried out
in collaboration with Dr. Parker, focus on characterizing basic virus-cell interactions of two Reoviruses (Bluetongue Virus 16 -BTV-16) and the
Ibaraki strain of the Epizootic Hemmorrhagic Disease Virus (EHDV). While both these Orbiviruses
pose a considerable economic threat to cattle and
sheep, the infection process, interaction of host
cells with the membrane-trafficking machinery,
and virally-induced apoptosis are not understood.
Main findings include:
Identifying the infective route of entry of
these viruses (the clathrin endocytic pathway).
Characterizing how these viruses modify the
cell-membrane trafficking machinery.
induced apoptosis and the function of NS3 (a
virally encoded non-structural protein) in viral
In September 2006, an outbreak of Epizootic
Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) caused serious economic damage in cattle farms on Israel's eastern
border. In the future, this research project will be
expanded to include these viral strains, which are
structurally closely related to Orthoreoviruses.