Three Israeli researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science were announced as the winners of a top science award and are set to receive a prize of $100,000 each at the third annual Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists in Israel.
The Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists are handed to promising young scientists and engineers under the age of 42 for breakthrough research in Life Sciences, Chemistry, and Physical Sciences and Engineering. They were first established in 2007 by the Blavatnik Family Foundation and administered by the New York Academy of Sciences.
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The awards made their Israel debut in 2017 in collaboration with the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, honoring three top scientists from Tel Aviv University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.
The laureates of the 2020 Blavatnik Awards in Israel are Dr. Guy Rothblum, an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at Weizmann Institute of Science who develops theories to address issues of privacy and security related to personal data; Dr. Igor Ulitsky, a senior scientist from the Weizmann Institute’s Department of Biological Regulation, who is “working in uncharted areas of the human genome, studying how a type of genetic information produced there—long noncoding RNA (lncRNA)” and has creatively “unlocked the potential unlocked the potential for using lncRNAs as both therapeutic agents and targets that can pave the way for the treatment of diseases such as cancer, brain injury, and epilepsy”; and Dr. Emmanuel Levy, a senior scientist from the Weizmann Institute’s Department of Structural Biology who “has revealed protein hot-spots, where mutations frequently trigger new assemblages. His findings suggest that these assemblages emerge frequently during evolution, both in health and disease,” organizers said. Additionally, he has “developed a range of computational and biochemical methodologies to study proteins and their interactions, thereby generating key ideas and tools for grasping the molecular infrastructure of living cells,” according to organizers.
“Recognizing and supporting promising scientists early in their careers is essential to ensure that they maximize the impact of their future research,” says Len Blavatnik, head of the Blavatnik Family Foundation. “For the past several decades, Israel has been a powerhouse of scientific breakthroughs and technological innovation. The three young scientists recognized by these Awards are outstanding examples of the enormous potential of Israeli scientific talent.”
“Together with the Blavatnik Family Foundation and the New York Academy of Sciences, we are delighted to honor these exceptional Israeli scientists on their achievement,” said Professor Nili Cohen, President of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, “Their drive, determination, and dedication are leading them to advance the frontiers of scientific discovery, and they deserve to be recognized with this esteemed Award.”
The scientists will be honored at a formal ceremony in Jerusalem on March 29, 2020. They will join 294 peers as fellow members of the Blavatnik Science Scholars community.