Israeli female scientists win L’Oreal-UNESCO awards

Dr. Ephrat Shema-Ya’acobi and Osnat Zomer-Pen receive NIS 50,000 apiece, while student Gili Bisker awarded NIS 10,000 prize.

July 19, 2012 06:40
1 minute read.
Scientist at work (illustrative)

Scientist 311. (photo credit: Marretao22/Wikimedia Commons)


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Two young scientists and one nanoscience student received substantial prizes in the L’Oreal-UNESCO competition for Women in Science on Tuesday night.

It was the 14th year in which the awards were given here; now, the first two will compete for the international prize, which an Israeli won for the last two years in a row.

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Dr. Ephrat Shema-Ya’acobi and Osnat Zomer-Pen received NIS 50,000 apiece, while student Gili Bisker was awarded a NIS 10,000 prize to help promote her scientific career.

Among the judges who chose the winners were Israel Science Academy president Prof. Ruth Arnon, Nobel Prize in Chemistry laureate Prof. Ada Yonath (who herself received a L’Oreal- UNESCO award), Ben-Gurion University president Prof.

Rivka Carmi, Open University president Prof. Hagit Messer- Yaron, Shaare Zedek Medical Center geneticist Prof.

Ephrat Levy-Lahad, industrialist Gad Propper and L’Oreal- Israel CEO Nava Ravid.

Shema-Ya’acobi conducts molecular biology research at the Weizmann Institute of Science on the use of proteins to fight cancer. Zomer-Pen of Tel Aviv University works in the field of bioinformatics to understand the genetic basis of autism.

Bisker is studying for her doctorate at the Technion- Israel Institute of Technology and working on the use of nanoparticles for slow release of medications.

Ravid said that when one woman scientist who previously received a scientific award in the US was asked what was most important to her in life, she said: “I will be a good mother when my science succeeds.”

Today, said Ravid, studies have shown that women scientists who manage both a scientific career and family raised their IQs.

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