Austin Community Member One of Three 2019 Blavatnik Award for Young Scientists in Israel Laureates

Austin Community Member One of Three 2019 Blavatnik Award for Young Scientists in Israel Laureates

Moran Bercovici, Michal Rivlin and Erez Berg were named the Blavatnik Award for Young Scientists in Israel Laureates for 2019. Courtesy of the Blavatnik Foundation.

Moran Bercovici, visiting professor and Harrington faculty fellow at the University of Texas at Austin, mechanical engineering associate professor at Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, and a Shalom Austin Jewish Community Center Early Childhood Program dad, was named one of three Blavatnik Award for Young Scientists in Israel Laureates for 2019. The honor, bestowed by the Blavatnik Family Foundation, New York Academy of Sciences, and Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, was announced in Jerusalem April 7.

Also awarded were Michal Rivlin and Erez Berg of the Weizmann Institute of Science.

The Blavatnik Awards recognize outstanding, innovative early-career scientists and engineers for both their extraordinary achievements and promise for future discoveries. The prizes are awarded to promising scientists and engineers aged 42 and younger for breakthrough research in the disciplines of chemistry, life sciences, and physical sciences and engineering.

In 2019, 33 nominations were received from seven Israeli universities. Members of the Awards’ Scientific Advisory Council, including IASH President Professor Nili Cohen; Co-chair and Nobel Prize Laureate Distinguished Professor Aaron Ciechanover; and President and Chief Executive Officer of the New York Academy of Sciences Ellis Rubinstein were also invited to submit nominations. A distinguished jury of leading senior scientists and engineers from throughout the country selected the laureates.

Bercovici was selected for his innovative research in microfluidics, contributing to fundamental understanding of the chemical and physical behavior of fluids at extremely small scales, as well as to the invention of cutting-edge technologies in this field. His highly multidisciplinary research, which couples fluid mechanics, electric fields, heat transfer, chemical reactions, and biology, has the potential to not only miniaturize existing large-scale processes but also to create new capabilities that are not possible at large scale. For example, Bercovici and his team at Technion have developed a series of lab-on-a-chip technologies that significantly shorten the time and improve the sensitivity of traditional molecular analysis techniques, enabling rapid and early disease diagnostics and offering new research tools to scientists. Innovations coming from his lab also have potential use in many other fields, including soft actuators, adaptive optics, single cell analysis, and microscale 3D printing.

Visit youtube.com/watch?v=XZ4nE8ZmeIs&feature=youtu.be for a video about Bercovici’s work.

Reuven Rivlin, president of Israel, and Marcia McNutt, president of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, attended the award ceremony.

Also at the event, the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the National Academy of Sciences signed a historic cooperation accord, and Bercovici, Michal Rivlin and Berg participated in the signing ceremony.

The groundbreaking agreement was developed and signed by the President of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Nili Cohen, and her counterpart at the National Academy of Sciences, McNutt.

The purpose of the accord is to benefit outstanding scientists in both countries and to formalize cooperative relations between their scientific communities. Under the terms of the agreement, annual national scientific conferences with the participation of dozens of leading scientists will take place alternately in Israel and the United States. The accord also provides for annual binational exchanges of eminent scientists and scholars, who will hold meetings and conduct seminars at local academic institutions and deliver public lectures.

The IASH has agreements with more than 40 corresponding institutions around the world. ■

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