Two classicists, two molecular geneticists chosen for science academy

Israeli Academy of Sciences aims to promote research and development in natural and social sciences.

Four senior scientists will be admitted on Tuesday to the Israel Academy of Sciences and the Humanities at a ceremony in Beit Hanassi. Over Hanukka, new members are inducted by the president of Israel, who formally appoints them. The academy is the most senior body in Israeli science. Established in 1961, it serves as the government's science adviser and aims to promote scientific research and development in the natural and social sciences. The new members are: Prof. Margalit Finkelberg, head of classical studies at Tel Aviv University. Born in Minsk in 1947, she came on aliya in 1975 and received her Ph.D. at the Hebrew University. She has an international reputation in the fields of literature and religion in ancient Greece. Prof. Ya'acov Klein of the Hebrew language and Bible departments at Bar-Ilan University was born in Hungary in 1934. He came to Israel and developed into one of the world's leading experts in ancient Sumerian culture and Mesopotamian literature. Prof. Michel Revel of the department of molecular genetics at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot as born in Strassbourg. He has done fertile and original research on protein synthesis and isolation of interferon-beta and interleukin-6 proteins and the cloning of genes that encode them. This work led to the development of Rebif, a widespread drug used to treat multiple sclerosis. Prof. Yosef Shilo of Tel Aviv University's molecular genetics and biochemistry department was born in Haifa in 1949 and received advanced biology degrees at the Technion in Haifa and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He then did post-graduate work at Harvard and the University of Michigan. He put a special focus on the severe genetic disease atazia-telangiectasia, which affects Jews of North African origin and Israeli Arabs, Beduin and Druse.