Yair Rotstein, Executive Director of the U.S.-Israel
Binational Science Foundation
For all of us at BSF one of the most anticipated weeks of the year comes in October, when new Nobel Prize winners are announced. This is because so many scientists and researchers who were either directly funded by BSF, or who participated in projects funded by BSF, have gone on to distinguish themselves so much in their fields that they could very well be selected for this most prestigious honor.
I am very happy to report that last October, Brandeis University Biology Professor Michael Rosbash became the 46th scientist who was once part of a project funded by BSF, and is now a Nobel Laureate. He, along with retired Brandeis Professor Jeffery C. Hall, and Rockefeller University professor Michael W. Young received the Nobel Prize for Medicine for their discovery about the importance of circadian rhythms in every living thing. In humans, these rhythms (also known as our “internal clock”) control critical functions such as sleep, behavior, hormones, body temperature, and metabolism.
Rosbash has spent decades studying the internal clock. In 1987, he partnered with the late Dr. Yoav Citri on a project studying biological clock genes. At that time, U.S. investigators could not receive direct funding from BSF. However, as an Israeli, Citri was funded by the BSF, enabling him to work in cooperation with Rosbash on the project.
In this issue of Vision, you will hear from several Nobel Laureates on what BSF meant to them early in their careers. We at BSF are proud of them.
Not many scientific organizations can count 46 Nobel Prize winners as part of their history. To put this in perspective, consider this: Harvard University has educated 49 Nobel winners. We at BSF are only three winners behind Harvard, even though Harvard is much larger than we are, and has been around for more than 380 years!
Yet here we are, a small funding organization representing scientific
partnerships with a small country like Israel and we can still boast such an
illustrious list of scientists. Plus, when you add the number of BSF-affiliated
scientists who have received so many other sought-after honors, you get an even
more impressive picture.
At BSF, our mission has always been to promote partnerships between researchers in Israel and in the United States that have the potential to transform our world. Our past Nobel winners prove that we have done an excellent job living up to that mission. We look forward to continuing our momentum – and to adding the names of many more Nobel winners in the future.