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Ties that bind

Zuckerman STEM Program is cultivating scientific bonds between Israel and North America



Date: March 20, 2019
Weizmann Magazine Vol. 15

Three years since its establishment, the Mortimer B. Zuckerman STEM Leadership Program has much to be proud of. It has funded three new principal investigators (PIs) and more than a dozen postdoctoral fellows from overseas doing research on campus. The program represents a large-scale effort to cultivate deeper scientific ties between North America and Israel and helps ensure that Israeli institutions of higher education can effectively compete with top North American institutions in science.

The most recent Weizmann PI to become a Zuckerman Scholar is Dr. Baran Eren of the Department of Chemical and Biological Physics, who is researching how catalysts speed up chemical reactions at the atomic and molecular level. The previous Zuckerman Scholars were Dr. Ivo Spiegel of the Department of Neurobiology and Dr. Itay Tirosh of the Department of Molecular Cell Biology. 

Program funding is split evenly between the Weizmann Institute, the Technion, Tel Aviv University, and the Hebrew University.

Dr. Eren’s scientific journey has taken him from his native Turkey to Switzerland, California, and now Rehovot—a journey which is the essence of the Zuckerman Program. To reveal the details of catalysts in action, Dr. Eren has worked with specialized microscopy and spectroscopy equipment, and has experimented with new techniques to observe the changes in the molecules and reaction surfaces involved in chemical reactions. 
His research has already led to new insights into the reactivity of the copper-based catalysts used in a variety of catalytic conversion reactions, including carbon dioxide reduction, and oxidation reactions for methanol and carbon monoxide.

By supporting both scientists and American-Israeli collaborations, the Zuckerman Program aspires to promote a generation of academic and industry leaders, who will bring about initiative and innovation.  

Dr. Baran Eren is supported by The Abramson Family Center for Young Scientists, the Ruth and Herman Albert Scholarship Program for New Scientists, the Ben B. and Joyce Eisenberg Foundation, The Ilse Katz Institute for Material Sciences and Magnetic Resonance Research, the Weizmann Institute "la Caixa" Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowships, and the Zuckerman STEM Leadership Program.