Click here to learn about Academy events, publications and initiatives around COVID-19.

We are experiencing intermittent technical difficulties. At this time, you may not be able to log in, register for an event, or make a donation via the website. We appreciate your patience, and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Our site is under planned maintenance. At this time, you will not be able to log in, register for an event, or make a donation via the website. We appreciate your patience, and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Support The World's Smartest Network
×

Help the New York Academy of Sciences bring late-breaking scientific information about the COVID-19 pandemic to global audiences. Please make a tax-deductible gift today.

DONATE
This site uses cookies.
Learn more.

×

This website uses cookies. Some of the cookies we use are essential for parts of the website to operate while others offer you a better browsing experience. You give us your permission to use cookies, by continuing to use our website after you have received the cookie notification. To find out more about cookies on this website and how to change your cookie settings, see our Privacy policy and Terms of Use.

We encourage you to learn more about cookies on our site in our Privacy policy and Terms of Use.

eBriefing

The Science of Tomorrow: Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists in Israel

The Science of Tomorrow: Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists in Israel
Reported by
Benjamin Schroeder

Posted December 03, 2021

Presented By

Blavatnik Family Foundation

The New York Academy of Sciences

The Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists in Israel is one of the largest prizes ever created for early-career researchers in Israel. Given annually to three outstanding, early-career faculty from Israeli universities in three categories—Life Sciences, Physical Sciences & Engineering, and Chemistry—the awards recognize extraordinary scientific achievements and promote excellence, originality, and innovation. On August 2, 2021, the New York Academy of Sciences celebrated the 2020 and 2021 Laureates at the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Jerusalem, Israel. The multidisciplinary symposium, chaired by Israel Prize winners Adi Kimchi and Mordechai (Moti) Segev, featured a series of lectures on everything from a new class of RNA to self-assembling nanomaterials.


In this eBriefing, you’ll learn:

  • The secret life of bats, and how the brain shapes animal behavior >
  • How genetic information in unchartered areas of the human genome—known as long noncoding RNA—could be used to develop treatments for cancer, brain injury, and epilepsy >
  • Creative ways of generating light, X-rays, and other types of radiation for practical applications such as medical imaging and security scanners >
  • The intricate choreography of protein assembly within cells, and how this dance may go awry in disease >

Speakers

Yossi Yovel, PhD
Yossi Yovel, PhD

Tel Aviv University

Igor Ulitsky, PhD
Igor Ulitsky, PhD

Weizmann Institute of Science

Emmanuel Levy, PhD
Emmanuel Levy, PhD

Weizmann Institute of Science

Ido Kaminer, PhD
Ido Kaminer, PhD

Technion - Israel Institute of Technology

Life Sciences of Tomorrow

Speakers

From Bat Brains to Navigating Robots

Yossi Yovel, PhD, Tel Aviv University 

In this presentation, Yossi Yovel describes his studies on bats and their use of echolocation to perceive and navigate through the world. To monitor bats behaving in their natural environment, he has developed miniaturized trackers—the smallest in the world—capable of simultaneously detecting location, ultrasonic sounds, movement, heart rate, brain activity, and body temperature changes. By attaching these small sensors to many individual bats, Yovel is able to monitor large groups of free-flying bats—a task which would be almost impossible in other mammals. His current and future studies include applying bat echolocation theory to engineering acoustic control of autonomous vehicles.

Yossi Yovel, PhD


Tel Aviv University

Further Readings

Yovel

Moreno, K. R., Weinberg, M., Harten, L., Salinas Ramos, V. B., Herrera M, L. G., Czirják, G. Á., & Yovel, Y.

Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 2021.

Amichai, Eran, and Yossi Yovel.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2021.

Geva-Sagiv, M., Las, L., Yovel, Y., & Ulanovsky, N.

Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 2015

Decoding the Functions of Long Non-coding RNA

Igor Ulitsky, PhD, Weizmann Institute of Science

Igor Ulitsky outlines his investigation of the biology of a subtype of genetic material—long non-coding RNA (lncRNA)—an enigmatic class of RNA molecules. Similar to other classes of RNA molecules, lncRNAs are transcribed from DNA and have a single-strand structure; however, lncRNAs do not encode proteins. Even though non-coding regions of the genome comprise over 99% of our genetic material, little is actually known about how these regions function. Ulitsky’s work has shown dynamic expression patterns across tissues and developmental stages, which appear to utilize diverse mechanisms of action that depend on their sub-cellular positions. These discoveries have unlocked the potential of using lncRNAs as both therapeutic agents and targets with promising leads for the treatment of diseases such as cancer, brain injury, and epilepsy.

Igor Ulitsky, PhD


Weizmann Institute of Science

Further Readings

Ulitsky

H. Hezroni, D. Koppstein, M.G. Schwartz, A. Avrutin, D.P. Bartel, I. Ulitsky.

Cell Reports, 2015

R.B. Perry, H. Hezroni, M.J. Goldrich, I. Ulitsky.

Molecular Cell, 2018

A. Rom, L. Melamed, N. Gil, M. Goldrich, R. Kadir, M. Golan, I. Biton, R. Ben-Tov Perry, I. Ulitsky.

Nature Communications, 2019

Chemistry and Physical Sciences & Engineering of Tomorrow

Speakers

Playing LEGO with Proteins: Principles of Protein Assembly in Cells

Emmanuel Levy, PhD, Weizmann Institute of Science 

In this presentation, Emmanuel Levy describes how defects in protein self-organization can lead to disease, and how protein self-organization can be exploited to create novel biomaterials. Levy has amassed a database of protein structural information that helps him to predict, browse, and curate the structural features—charged portions, hydrophobic and hydrophilic pockets, and point mutations—within a protein that govern the formation of quaternary structures. By combining this computational approach with experimental data Levy is able to uncover new mechanisms by which proteins operate within cells.

Emmanuel Levy, PhD


Weizmann Institute of Science

Further Readings

Levy

H. Garcia-Seisdedos, C. Empereur-Mot, N. Elad, E.D. Levy.

Nature, 2017

M. Meurer, Y. Duan, E. Sass, I. Kats, K. Herbst, B.C. Buchmuller, V. Dederer, F. Huber, D. Kirrmaier, M. Stefl, K. Van Laer, T.P. Dick, M.K. Lemberg, A. Khmelinskii, E.D. Levy, M. Knop.

Nature Methods, 2018

H. Garcia-Seisdedos, J.A. Villegas, E.D. Levy.

Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 2019

Shining Light on the Quantum World with Ultrafast Electron Microscopy

Ido Kaminer, PhD, Israel Institute of Technology

Ido Kaminer discusses his research on light-matter interaction that spans a wide spectrum from fundamental physics to particle applications. Part of his presentation addressed the long-standing question in quantum theory over the predictability of motions quantum particles. He also demonstrated the first example of using free electrons to probe the motion of photons inside materials. Finally, he talked about the potential applications of tunable X-rays generated from the compact equipment in his lab, for biomedical imaging and other applications.

Ido Kaminer, PhD


Israel Institute of Technology

Further Readings

Kaminer

R. Dahan, S. Nehemia, M. Shentcis, et al., I. Kaminer.

Nature Physics, 2020

K. Wang, R. Dahan, M. Shentcis, Y. Kauffmann, A.B. Hayun, O. Reinhardt, S. Tsesses, I. Kaminer.

Nature, 2020

Y. Kurman, N. Rivera, T. Christensen, S. Tsesses, M. Orenstein, M. Soljačić, J.D. Joannopoulos, I. Kaminer.

Nature Photonics, 2018