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March 2017

polak family receives einstein award

Technion President Peretz Lavie presents the Einstein Award to the Polak family.

Last Thursday, the American Technion Society presented "An Evening of Innovation." The special event honored the Polak family with the Albert Einstein Award, the ATS' highest honor, for their visionary and multi-generational support of the Technion.

Joining us that evening to introduce the Technion to the Los Angeles community, and bestow the Polaks with this honor, were President Lavie, ATS EVP Jeff Richard, and ATS President Zahava Bar-Nir. Comedian Elon Gold served as the Master of Ceremonies, and Distinguished Technion Professor and Nobel Laureate Aaron Ciechanover made a special appearance on stage to recognize the Polak family.

Tech demonstrations were held by four Technion Innovators: Derek Herrera, Ester Segal, Yair Shapira, and Yael Vizel.

Read the full press release here or visit to see videos and event sponsors. Learn more about the Technion’s breakthroughs in cancer treatment at


Reaching Out to Female Teens on International Women's Day

Female high school students from across Israel visited the Technion.

As women around the world stood up on March 8 for a more gender-equal world, the Technion invited some 700 female Israeli high school students to its Tech Women 2017 conference. Sponsored by The Rosalyn August Girls Empowerment Iniative, the conference was designed to encourage the most promising female high school students to opt for science and engineering in their academic studies.

The students toured labs and were exposed to various research throughout different faculties. They met women who were already pursuing their scientific dreams, such as Ph.D. student Sarah Nagosa, who immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia and is studying eye disease and treatment. Deciding while in high school to apply to the Technion, Sarah said she worried, “What if I’m not smart enough?” But she was admitted and worked hard. “I slowly realized that we all had the same apprehensions, and I suddenly found the courage to ask questions.”

The very first graduating class of the Technion was comprised of 16 men and one woman. Today, the undergraduate population is about 37% women. The Technion’s goal is to reach 50% women in all departments.



The Technion is contributing to Israel and the global good in unprecedented ways. Help us ensure its continued advancement as a world-class institution of higher education.


New Theory for How Parkinson's Develops

Neurons like the ones pictured above can be destroyed by Parkinson's disease.

Associate Professor Simone Engelender of the Technion, together with a research partner at Harvard Medical School, have suggested a new hypothesis for the development of Parkinson’s disease, which affects more than 10 million people worldwide. If validated, their findings could impact treatment, rendering unnecessary invasive procedures such as severing part of the vagus nerve.

The most commonly-held theory is that Parkinson’s patients get progressively worse as clumps of a toxic protein, called alpha-synuclein, spread like a virus from one neuron to the next. In their “threshold theory,” the researchers postulate that α-synuclein spreads simultaneously throughout the nervous system, overwhelming areas first that have a lower threshold of tolerance to the protein. This would explain why places like the gastrointestinal tract show the earliest signs of the disease.


Exciting Connections for NY and the Technion

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News of the partnership was front and center on the Governor's website.

On his recent “unity trip” to Israel, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced two initiatives that highlight the Technion’s global impact on science and technology. The first is the launch of a “New York-Israel Commission,” aimed at strengthening economic and cultural ties between New York and Israel. We are proud to share that ATS Executive Vice President Jeff Richard has been asked to serve on the Commission, alongside such NYC influencers as Mortimer Zuckerman (Honorary Chair) and Anti-Defamation League Director Emeritus Abe Foxman. Read the full press release here. 

The second is the creation of a new partnership between the Technion and the New York Genome Center. Coupling the entrepreneurial smarts of the Technion and its multidisciplinary Technion Integrated Cancer Center with the research capacity of the Genome Center, the collaboration is poised to promote research and treatment in advanced genomics and personalized medicine, and to create jobs in the life sciences.


Professor Rings in Promise of New Technology

Prof. Moshe Shoham

Professor Moshe Shoham is becoming a frequent visitor to Nasdaq in Times Square. Less than a year after representing his Mazor Robotics Ltd. in a closing bell ceremony, he was invited back to celebrate the success of his Microbot Medical Inc. Microbot develops transformational remote-controlled micro-robotics that can crawl through spaces within the body, such as blood vessels, the digestive tract and the respiratory system.

Microbot co-founders Prof. Shoham and Harel Gadot rang the closing bell on February 22 after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued the company a Notice of Allowance for a key technology patent. The patent covers systems and methods for reducing venous stenosis (progressive narrowing of veins caused by abnormal thickening of the walls) associated with the use of hemodialysis shunts. Receipt of a Notice of Allowance signals that an invention qualifies for a patent.

Prof. Shoham heads the Robotics Laboratory at the Technion, is a Technion alumnus and holds the Tamara and Harry Handelsman Academic Chair in Mechanical Engineering.



Exclusive programming includes a visit to the new Roosevelt Island campus of Cornell Tech, home to the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute.


Breakthrough in Antibiotics for Superbugs

Assistant Prof. Meytal Landau

Due to the overuse of existing antibiotics, certain highly pathogenic staph bacteria have morphed into “superbugs” that are almost impossible to treat. Annually, some 500,000 patients in the U.S. alone contract these drug-resistant staph infections during hospital stays.

Now, scientists at the Technion led by Assistant Professor Meytal Landau of the Faculty of Biology, have discovered, for the first time, unique amyloid fibrils that assist the infectious bacteria in attacking the immune system. All amyloids discovered so far (such as the protein responsible for “Mad Cow” disease) belong to a group with a cross-ß structure. Prof. Landau’s discovery is of a completely new structure, which was named cross-α.

She believes that the discovery could one day lead to the development of antibiotics that will reduce the toxicity of staph superbugs. Because the new antibiotics would not aim to kill but rather to disarm the bacteria, they should not engender drug resistance. 


Experience Technion in NYC at Cornell Tech

Rendering of the Cornell Tech campus, home of the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute.

We invite you to join the Technion World Tour NYC this fall, and be among the first to visit the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island.

Participants will spend time on the new campus, meeting students and faculty, and visiting startups. Other programs include a visit to the Nasdaq exchange in Times Square with Technion alumni whose companies are listed there.

Join us for this exclusive trip (October 25-28, 2017), which will provide a look inside the City’s booming tech scene and Technion’s growing impact here.

American Technion Society
55 East 59th Street New York, NY 10022
Tel: 212.407.6300 Fax: 212.753.2925
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