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 Skip Navigation LinksHome > About Us > Board of Governors  
About Us Board of Governors
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As set out in the 1972 agreement between the United States and Israel that established the BSF, the Foundation is governed by a Board of Governors consisting of 10 members, five from each country, appointed by the respective governments. The Board is responsible for determining financial and managerial policies of the BSF, the subject areas for cooperative research and the research programs of the Foundation. The Board meets twice a year, once in Jerusalem and once in Washington D.C. The chair and vice chair of the BSF alternate annually between the two countries.


The following are the members of the Board for 2015-2016:


Dr. Susan Koester, U.S.A. - Chair
Deputy Director, Division of Neuroscience & Basic Behavioral Science, NIH



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Dr. Susan Koester serves as the Deputy Director of the Division of Neuroscience and Basic Behavioral Science (DNBBS) at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in Bethesda, MD and as the co-chair of the Interagency Working Group on Neuroscience for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.  As Deputy Director, Dr. Koester has an oversight role for the largest research grant Division in the Institute , with an annual budget of $350 Million.  The Division supports research ranging from human genetics through molecular, cellular, integrative and systems neurobiology relevant to mental disorders.  Dr. Koester also serves as co-leader of the NIH Common Fund Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx) project.

Dr. Koester received her Ph.D. in Neural Sciences from Washington University, was a postdoctoral fellow at the Salk Institute, and served as Senior Editor at Neuron.  She was recruited to NIMH in 1997 where she previously served in the Office of Science Policy and Program Planning and as the Associate Director for Science for the Intramural Research Program. 


Prof. Abraham (Avi) Israeli, Israel - Vice-Chair
Chief Scientist, Ministry of Health; Hebrew University - Hadassah School of Public Health



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Professor Abraham (Avi) Israeli is the Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Health.  He is also Head of the Department of Health Policy, Health Care Management and Health Economics at the Hebrew University – Hadassah Faculty of Medicine. Prior to this he was the Director General of the Israel Ministry of Health (2003-2009) and the Director – General of Hadassah Medical Organization (1998 -2001).

He holds the Chair of Dr. Julien Rozan Professorship of Family Medicine and Health Promotion at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem (since 1996) and teaches there regularly.

Professor Israeli chaired the national committee to update the Israeli national standard basket of health services, and served on several blue ribbon panels related to health policy in Israel.

Professor Israeli received his medical degree and his master in public health from the Hadassah – Hebrew University Medical School. He completed residencies in Internal Medicine and in Health Care Management at Hadassah University Hospital and has certification in both specialties. He received his Master's Degree from the Sloan School of Management at MIT, Boston.

His scientific activities are related to applied, methodological and theoretical research in the fields of health policy, health care management, and the epidemiological, economic, social and cultural basis for decision-making.

His publications deal with translation of academic knowledge and inputs from the field into policy setting and decision-making processes.

Two additional key research foci are rationing / priority setting and comparative health care systems.


Prof. Howard Cedar, Israel
School of Medicine, Hebrew University; Member, Israel Academy of Science



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Dr. Howard Cedar studied mathematics at M.I.T. and then received M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from N.Y.U. In 1973 he immigrated to Israel and took up a position as Professor of Molecular Biology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where he has remained ever since. Over the past 30 years his laboratory together with that of Prof. Aharon Razin have pioneered in the study of DNA methylation. These discoveries help explain how genes are regulated and have lead to better understanding of human development and the molecular basis of many diseases. He was awarded the Israel Prize in 1999, is an elected member of EMBO since 1983 and became a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences in 2002. He has received the Wolf Prize in Medicine (2008), the Emet Prize (2009) and the Gairdner International Award (2011).

Prof. Thomas L. Crisman, U.S.A.
Professor of Biology, University of South Florida, Tampa



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Dr. Thomas Crisman holds the position of Patel Professor of Environment jointly in the Patel Center for Global Solutions and the Division of Integrative Biology, Biology Department, University of South Florida in Tampa. Prior to assuming that position, he was Professor of Environmental Engineering Sciences at the University of Florida for 30 years and Director of the Howard T. Odum Center for Wetlands for 11 years. In 1992, he was named Teacher/Scholar of the Year, the highest honor bestowed on a faculty member at the University of Florida. His research focuses on the ecology, conservation and management of subtropical and tropical wetlands, lakes, estuaries and streams, and he has received over $11 million in research funding over the course of his career. His current research is being conducted in Greece, Uganda, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and Florida. He has presented over 250 presentations at scientific meetings throughout the world and is the author of over 160 refereed journal articles, book chapters and books.

Mr. Shlomo Fashkos
Budget Division, Israeli Ministry of Finance



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Dr. Bracha Halaf
Chief Scientist & Senior Manager, Oil Replacements; Israeli Ministry of Energy & Water



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Dr. Bracha Halaf is the Chief Scientist and Senior Manager of the Oil Replacement Program at the Ministry of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources. She also serves as Head of the National Coal Ash Board and is a member of the Natural Gas Authority Council. Previously, she was the Scientific Advisor to the Director General of the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources. In 2009, Dr. Halaf received her PhD in Biophysics from the Weizmann Institute of Science. In addition, Dr. Halaf holds M.Sc. and B.Sc. degrees in Chemical Engineering from Ben Gurion University of the Negev.

Dr. Andrew M. Hebbeler, U.S.A.
Deputy Director for Science & Technology (OES/STC), U.S. State Department



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Andrew M. Hebbeler is a former scientist wth foreign affairs, national security, science and technology, and nonproliferation program and policy experience. Currently, he is Deputy Director in the Office of Science and Technology Cooperation at the U.S. Department of State. Previously, he was a Senior Advisor for Science, Technology, and Innovation in the Office of S&T Adviser to the Secretary of State (E/STAS) where he focused on a range of emerging technologies that impact foreign policy, and also served as the Acting Deputy Director for the Office of Cooperative Threat Reduction (ISN/CTR) where he oversaw the NADR Global Threat Reduction program, a $65M program to prevent terrorists and other non-state actors from acquiring biological, chemical, and nuclear WMD materials, expertise, and knowledge. From 2013-2015, he was Assistant Director for Biological and Chemical Threats in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and focused on national security policy at the intersection of infectious disease, weaponizable chemicals, and science and technology. Prior to his position at the White House, Dr. Hebbeler managed and oversaw the State Department's Biosecurity Engagement Program (BEP), a $40M program that reduces the threat of bioterrorism by preventing terrorist access to potentially dangerous biological materials, dual-use infrastructure and expertise, while supporting efforts to combat infectious disease and enhance public and animal health worldwide.

Dr. Hebbeler was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and received his Bachelor's degree in biology and philosophy from Thomas More College in Crestvew Hills, Kentucky. He completed his doctoral work in the laboratory of C. David Pauza at the University of Maryland, Baltimore where he focused on understanding an unconventional lymphocyte population that is important during immune responses to infectious disease and cancer. Before joining the State Department, Dr. Hebbeler was a postdoctural fellow in the laboratory of Warner C. Greene at The J. David Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco, California.


Dr. Rebecca Keiser, U.S.A.
Senior Advisor, National Science Foundation



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Dr. Rebecca Keiser heads the National Science Foundation's Office of International Science & Engineering (OISE). OISE promotes an integrated, foundation-wide international strategy and manages internally focused programs that are innovative, catalytic and responsive to a broad range of NSF and national interests.

Prior to this position, Keiser was a special advisor for NASA's Innovation and Public-Private Partnerships, reporting to the NASA administrator, and an executive-in-residence at American University. She held several positions with NASA, including associate deputy administrator for strategy and policy, associate deputy administrator for policy integration, executive officer to the deputy administrator, and chief of staff for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. Keiser also served as assistant to the director for international relations at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, where she provided policy guidance to the president's science advisor.

Keiser's experience covers science and technology policy, agreements and other cooperative efforts. She is a board member of Women in Aerospace and a member of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science. She speaks Japanese and Spanish.

Keiser earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Japanese studies from Wellesley College, a Master of Science degree in politics of the world economy from the London School of Economics, and a doctorate in international studies from the University of South Carolina.


Dr. Albert Teich, U.S.A.
Research Professor of Science, Technology & International Affairs, George Washington University



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Dr. Albert H. Teich served as director of science policy at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington, DC, prior to his retirement in 2011.  He currently serves as senior policy adviser for the Association.  The AAAS was founded in 1848, is the world's largest multi-disciplinary scientific and engineering society with over 130,000 members and is the publisher of the journal Science.

Dr. Teich received a B.S. degree in physics and a Ph.D. in political science, both from M.I.T. Prior to joining AAAS in 1980, he held positions at George Washington University, the State University of New York and Syracuse University. He is the author of numerous articles and editor of several books, including Technology and the Future, a widely used textbook on technology and society, the twelfth edition of which will be published by Cengage Learning in January 2012. An internationally-known expert on science and technology policy, Dr. Teich has testified before the U.S. Congress numerous times, has given invited lectures in many countries and appears frequently in print and electronic media.






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For the list of former Chairs and Vice-Chairs of the Board of Governors click here .
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