The Dr. Josef Cohn Minerva Center for Biomembrane Research

Eitan Bibi, Director
The Ruth and Jerome A. Siegel and Freda and Edward M. Siegel Professorial Chair

The Josef Cohn Center for Biomembrane Research was officially inaugurated in 1988 to commemorate Dr. Cohn's major contributions to the scientific links between Germany and Israel. Through its activities, special attention has been given by the Center to promoting contacts with German scientists.

Scientific Aim

The aim of the Center is to initiate and promote interdisciplinary scientific research of biomembranes, with emphasis on processes involved in transfer of information across membranes of living cells.

This aim is achieved by provision of funds for original and innovative research activities and for purchase of specific equipment, by fellowships to young investigators (primarily from Germany and East Europe), and by supporting workshops on hot topics in this field in order to disseminate among young scientists current problems in that field and attract their research attention.

Research funds are granted competitively, on the basis of scientific merits, judged by an internal scientific committee of the Center. Initially the Center supported the research activities of up to 10 investigators per year, each receiving a very modest seed grant. In recent years the policy has been changed. Now, only 2-3 projects are supported, but larger grants are provided. This type of support is primarily for research projects that have the potential to significantly advance the field, but are at a too early stage for obtaining support from regular funding agencies. Funding is provided on a matching basis, i.e., partial coverage of expenditure for fellowships, purchase of equipment, and scientific meetings. Young scientists have priority in obtaining research support and in integration into the Center.

The Center was initially directed by Prof. Israel Pecht (1988-1994), followed by Prof. Michael Eisenbach (1994-1999), Prof. Haim Garty (1999-2000), and Prof. Zvi Livneh (2001-2007) Since 1.1.2008 the director is Prof. Eitan Bibi from the Department of Biological Chemistry.

The administration of the Center

The director operates the Center with the help of an advisory scientific committee. Two members of this committee are from the Department of Biological Chemistry, and the third is from another department. Awards are made annually during January. The administrator of the department functions as the administrator of the Center, and secretarial help is provided by the Department.