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Machiah Foundation Announces Awards to Israeli Scientists to Train at Leading U.S. Research Institutions

SAN FRANCISCO - November 12, 2010. The Machiah Foundation, a supporting foundation of the Jewish Community Endowment Fund, announces the names of the nine recipients of the 2008 fellowship awards to support advanced life science research training for Israeli post-doctoral scientists to study at leading U.S. educational institutions. The Foundation initiated this program in response to the decreased training opportunities available to Israeli post-doctoral scientists at European institutions of higher learning in the last five years. Fellowship recipients, who are selected by a distinguished group of senior U.S. scientists, will each receive up to $110,000 of stipend support, awarded over a two-year period.

The recipients, research projects, and their host institutions in the U.S. are:
  • Chen Davidovich, Weizmann Institute
    University of Colorado at Boulder, Structural basis and mechanism for the regulation of epigenetic silencing through non-coding RNA recruiting the polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2)
  • Hagar Gelbard-Sagin, Weizmann Institute
    California Institute of Technology, Seeking a Neuronal Signature of Conscious Perception in the Human Frontal Lobe
  • Gal Romano, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
    Columbia University, “The whole is different than the sum of its parts”: Exploring the nature of genetic interactions
  • Shalev Itzkovitz, Weizmann Institute
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Characterizing the dynamics of normal and neoplastic epithelia using single cell gene expression
  • Reut Shalgi, Weizmann Institute
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Post-transcriptional regulation during stress: a source for evolution and tumor development
  • Eilon Shani, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
    University of California at San Diego, Specific functions of the TIR1/AFB auxin receptors during plant growth and development
All fellows are citizen residents of the state of Israel and have agreed to return to and reside in the state of Israel for no less than three years after the fellowship award period has concluded. Additionally, applicants must have not previously studied in the United States or Canada for a period of six or more months.

In June 2005, the Machiah Foundation board approved a grant to begin and sustain this fellowship program. Subsequently, additional donors have provided funds through the Jewish Community Endowment Fund to expand the number of fellowship awards. The 2008 cohort will receive research training funds from the Gerson and Barbara Bakar Philanthropic Fund, the Joe Durra Philanthropic Fund, and the Cohen Philanthropic Fund as well as the Bernard Osher Jewish Philanthropies Foundation, the Alexander M. and June L. Maisin Foundation,the Tauber Philanthropies, the Irving & Helen Betz Foundation, Stephen and Nancy Grand, the Kanbar Charitable Trust, the Koret Foundation and the Machiah Foundation.

Machiah Foundation board president Dr. Stanley N. Cohen, Professor of Genetics at Stanford University, indicated that, “the 2008 fellows were chosen from a group of 41 absolutely outstanding applicants.” He stated that he hopes that these fellowship awards will, “help to advance the progress of science not only in Israel, but also more broadly. The global scientific community and individual fields of study in the biological and medical sciences will benefit from increased interactions with excellent Israeli researchers, and the state of Israel’s scientific research will be strengthened as fellows return to live and work in Israel.”


For more information please contact:
Laura Mason, Senior Program Officer,, 415.512.62437
Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties
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