“Synthetic biology” sounds like a misnomer, since biology refers to life sciences, not a man-made one. In fact, it is a relatively new field of science that combines molecular biology with advanced engineering. This multidimensional approach uses existing biological organisms and – through innovative engineering – makes it possible for them to perform specific and targeted tasks that solve problems in areas such as medicine, biofuels, textiles, defense technologies, food and agriculture.
Now, Reichman University in Herzliya has announced the establishment of a research institute for the development of cutting-edge technologies in the field of synthetic biology, thanks to a fully funded grant with the express purpose of expanding innovative scientific research in Israel.
The Scojen Institute will engage in basic and applied research on various topics in the field of synthetic biology and related fields in state-of-the-art research laboratories, using new technologies that integrate and apply knowledge from the life sciences, exact sciences, medicine and engineering.
How is Israel combining molecular biology and engineering?
“The Scojen Institute represents a major step forward for the university and the broader Israeli scientific community.”Uriel Reichman
“The Scojen Institute represents a major step forward for the university and the broader Israeli scientific community,” said Prof. Uriel Reichman, founding president and chairman of the board of Israel’s first private university.
“We have brought the power of the interdisciplinary method into the fields of life sciences, medical sciences and exact sciences. We are confident that the institute will become a world-leading center for synthetic biology research, driving innovation and positive impact through significant scientific breakthroughs. It will be a hub for interdisciplinary research, bringing together scientists, engineers and clinicians from across Israel and the globe to collaborate on projects aimed at addressing some of the most critical challenges facing society today.”
The institute will be headed by Prof. Yossi Shaham, who is a graduate of the Faculty of Engineering at Haifa’s Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California at Berkeley and a faculty member at Cornell University in New York. He also served as the Schwartz Chair for Nanoscale Information Technologies at Tel Aviv University (TAU). He has over three decades of research and teaching experience in the areas of micro- and nano -technologies for solid-state devices and large-scale integrated circuits and particularly in functional biosensors using synthetic biology on biochips.
“We are excited to welcome Prof. Shaham to the Reichman University family, and we look forward to seeing what the future holds for the Scojen Institute and the field of synthetic biology in general,” said Prof. Noam Lemelstrich Latar, head of Reichman’s Innovation Center. “By bringing together some of the brightest minds in the field, we are confident that we can make significant progress towards solving some of the world's most pressing problems.”