Ten outstanding PhD students of the sciences will on Sunday receive Adams
Fellowships totaling more than $1 million.
The fellowships, selected and
awarded by the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, are considered the
most prestigious of Israel and funded by 93-year-old Montreal philanthropist
The exceptional doctoral students at research universities
here will receive a stipend of more than $100,000 over four years of doctoral
studies in addition to exemption from tuition. The real estate magnate will
arrive, as he always does, in Israel to hand the fellowships out and to attend
the annual Adams Seminar at the academy’s building in Jerusalem.
Aaron Ciechanover, academy member and 2004 Nobel Laureate in chemistry, will
lecture on “The Revolution of Personalized Medicine – Are we going to cure all
diseases and at what price?” Academy president Prof.
Ruth Arnon said on
Sunday that the meticulous selection process of the universities and the
fellowship’s professional committee ensure that those granted fellowships will
be at the forefront of Israel’s cadre of researchers in the fields of the
natural sciences, mathematics, computer science, life sciences and
The program’s recipients get their postdoctoral training at
top universities including Stanford, Berkeley, Princeton, Harvard, Yale,
Columbia, Cornell and Oxford; then they return to Israel to take up senior
positions in universities and hitech companies.
Adams founded the
fellowship fund in 2005, and, as of last year, financed the studies and living
expenses of 78 promising young researchers.
An avid Zionist, Adams
started out as a penniless Holocaust survivor from Romania, fought in Israel’s
War of Independence and eventually became a real estate entrepreneur in
Among this year’s new fellows is Livnat Jerby Arnon, a doctoral
student of computer science at Tel Aviv University who develops and applies
computational methods for cancer research under the guidance of Prof. Eytan
Ruppin. Her research is dedicated to the systematic characterization of cancer
cells based on their genetic profiles, aiming to pinpoint their unique
Arnon said that biologic processes, among them the
cancerous process, include tens of thousands of
Computational-experimental studies are essential for
advancing toward a systematic understanding of cancer. In the past decade
technological breakthroughs took place, providing huge amounts of clinical
“Based on this information, the computational frameworks we
develop profile the unique properties of the patient's cancer,” Arnon said. “By
doing so, we aim to improve cancer diagnosis and help designing new, and more
effective, therapeutic strategies, with fewer side effects.”
researcher being granted the fellowship this year is Eitan Schechtman, a
doctoral student at the Hebrew University’s Center for Neural
During the course of his bachelor’s degree studies in
psychology, Schechtman began taking part in academic research and has already
published three articles in prominent scientific journals. His doctorate, under
the guidance of Prof. Hagai Bergman at the HU faculty of medicine, examines a
new method of dealing with schizophrenia, which affects 1 percent of the
To date, there is no efficient treatment to deal with the
disease, even though in recent decades there was certain advancement in the
development of drugs that affect some of its symptoms.
research focuses on treatment based on brain stimulation through electrodes
planted deep inside the patient’s brain.
Assaf Manor, a student of
Carmel Rotschild (himself a graduate of the second cycle of the
fellowship program and therefore inaugurating the second generation of Adams
Fellows) is a third fellow. Aged 32 and a resident of Haifa, Manor was attracted
to sciences and experiments from an early age.
He completed his
bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and physics at the Technion- Israel
Institute of Technology and his master’s degree working on solar energy at
Ben-Gurion University’s Institute for Desert Research, where he studied the
effect of concentrated sunlight on photovoltaics.
Now at the Technion,
Manor works in the Excitonics Laboratory at the Faculty of Mechanical
His research focuses on the possibility of boosting solar
cells’ efficiency through the thermodynamic manipulation of sunlight, as current
state of the art cells are limited in efficiency due to their mismatch in
harvesting the solar radiation. Novel cell concepts that solve this problem can
reach efficiencies that are as twice as high, enabling a new generation of