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 policy issues 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 2021-2022:

  • Mr. L. Reece Smyth, U.S.A. - Chair

    Director for Science & Technology Cooperation, U.S. State Department

    Reece Smyth is the director of the Office of Science and Technology Cooperation in the Department of State.

    Reece served as Charge d’Affaires ad interim at the US Embassy in Dublin from January 2017 to July 2019, where he advanced US relations with Ireland on trade, investment, and cyber security. Previous assignments include the political/economic counselor at the US Embassy in Beirut and the deputy director of the State Department’s Office of UN Political Affairs. Reece also served at the US Mission to NATO as the action officer in the NATO-Russia Council, and as senior economic officer in the Office of Arabian Peninsula Affairs.  Other tours include Skopje, Sarajevo, Islamabad, and the State Department’s Operation Center.

    Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Reece worked in the private sector as a senior trade consultant in Houston, London, and New York. He is a graduate of Baylor University and holds master’s degrees from Princeton University and the Universite Libre de Bruxelles. Reece was a National Security Affairs Fellow at Stanford University. He speaks Russian, Serbo-Croatian, French, and some Arabic


  • Prof. Abraham (Avi) Israeli, Israel - Vice-Chair

    Chief Scientist, Ministry of Health; Hebrew University - Hadassah School of Public Health

    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.

  • Ms. Cathleen Campbell, U.S.A.

    President and CEO (retired), CRDF Global

    Cathy Campbell has four decades of experience in international science, technology and security programs, policies and management. In 2017-2018 she was a Visiting Scholar in the AAAS Center for Science Diplomacy where she researched national approaches to science diplomacy among Arab countries. Prior to AAAS, she served for ten years as President and Chief Executive Office of CRDF Global, where she led science diplomacy initiatives and oversaw science cooperation with over forty countries. Previously, Cathy served as director of the Office of International Technology Policy and Programs, Department of Commerce from 1998-2002 and senior policy analyst in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy from 1995-1997. She was the U.S. State Department’s program officer for Soviet/Russia science and technology affairs from 1989-1994. Before joining the State Department, Cathy held research positions at the Library of Congress, Rand Corporation and Presearch, Incorporated.

    Cathy has a Master’s degree from George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs and a B.S. from Georgetown University. She serves on the External Advisory Board, Pennsylvania State University’s School of International Affairs; and the Advisory Committee, Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS). She is a Fellow of the AAAS.

  • Prof. Howard Cedar, Israel

    School of Medicine, Hebrew University; Member, Israel Academy of Science

    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).

  • Dr. Iris Eisenberg

    Director of Life Sciences Research, Israel Ministry of Science & Technology

    Dr. Eisenberg received her PhD in Human Genetics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2003. Subsequently, she joined Harvard University, Children’s Hospital Boston, as an HHMI post-doctoral research associate.

    Dr. Eisenberg’s PhD research focused on investigating the biology of neuromuscular disorders, leading to the identification of the gene (GNE-Myopathy) causing Hereditary Inclusion Body Myopathy. Her fellowship research in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy piloted the understanding of the role of small non-coding RNAs in the pathology of the disease.

    Dr. Eisenberg served as a researcher at the Magda and Richard Hoffman Center for Human Placental Research, Hadassah Medical Center Mount Scopus, with a focus on translational research in the field of fertility and placental dysfunction.

    In September 2019 Dr. Eisenberg was appointed as the Scientific Director of Life Sciences Research at the Chief Scientist Unit, Israel Ministry of Science and Technology. Dr. Eisenberg serves as a board member of several leading European life science organizations and is also a member of the Gender and Health committee of the Israeli Council for the Advancement of Women in Science and Technology.



  • Dr. Joshua Gordon, U.S.A

    Director, U.S. National Institute of Mental Health

    Dr. Gordon received his MD/PhD degree at the University of California, San Francisco and completed his Psychiatry residency and research fellowship at Columbia University. He joined the Columbia faculty in 2004 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry where he conducted research, taught residents, and maintained a general psychiatry practice. In September of 2016, he became the Director of the National Institute of Mental Health.

    Dr. Gordon’s research focuses on the analysis of neural activity in mice carrying mutations of relevance to psychiatric disease. His lab studies genetic models of these diseases from an integrative neuroscience perspective, focused on understanding how a given disease mutation leads to a behavioral phenotype across multiple levels of analysis. To this end, he employs a range of systems neuroscience techniques, including in vivo anesthetized and awake behaving recordings and optogenetics, which is the use of light to control neural activity. His work has direct relevance to schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, and depression.

    Dr. Gordon’s work has been recognized by several prestigious awards, including the The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation – NARSAD Young Investigator Award, the Rising Star Award from the International Mental Health Research Organization, the A.E. Bennett Research Award from the Society of Biological Psychiatry, and the Daniel H. Efron Research Award from the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology.

  • Prof. Peter Hotez, U.S.A.

    Professor of Pediatrics and Molecular Virology & Microbiology, Baylor College of Medicine

    Peter J. Hotez, M.D., Ph.D. is Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and Professor of Pediatrics and Molecular Virology & Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine where he is also the Director of the Texas Children’s Center for Vaccine Development (CVD) and Texas Children’s Hospital Endowed Chair of Tropical Pediatrics. He is also University Professor at Baylor University, and Fellow in Disease and Poverty at the James A Baker III Institute for Public Policy.

    Dr. Hotez is an internationally-recognized physician-scientist in neglected tropical diseases and vaccine development. As head of the Texas Children’s CVD, he leads the only product development partnership for developing new vaccines for hookworm infection, schistosomiasis, and Chagas disease, and SARS/MERS, diseases affecting hundreds of millions of children and adults worldwide. In 2006 at the Clinton Global Initiative he co-founded the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases to provide access to essential medicines for hundreds of millions of people.

    He obtained his undergraduate degree in molecular biophysics from Yale University in 1980 (phi beta kappa), followed by a Ph.D. degree in biochemistry from Rockefeller University in 1986, and an M.D. from Weil Cornell Medical College in 1987. Dr. Hotez has authored more than 400 original papers and is the author of the acclaimed Forgotten People, Forgotten Diseases (ASM Press) and the recently released Blue Marble Health: An Innovative Plan to Fight Diseases of the Poor amid Wealth (Johns Hopkins University Press).

    Dr. Hotez served previously as President of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and he is founding Editor-in-Chief of PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, and in 2011 he was awarded the Abraham Horwitz Award for Excellence in Leadership in Inter-American Health by the Pan American Health Organization of the WHO. In 2014-16 he served in the Obama Administration as US Envoy, focusing on vaccine diplomacy initiatives between the US Government and countries in the Middle East and North Africa. In 2018 he was appointed by the US State Department to serve on the Board of Governors for the US Israel Binational Science Foundation, and he received the Sackler Award in Sustained Leadership from ResearchAmerica!

    In 2016, Prof. Hotez emerged as a major national thought leader on the Zika epidemic in the Western Hemisphere and globally. He was among the first to predict Zika’s emergence in the US and is called upon frequently to testify before US Congress, and served on infectious disease task forces for two consecutive Texas Governors. For these efforts in 2017 he was named by FORTUNE Magazine as one of the 34 most influential people in health care.

  • Ms. Sapir Ifergen

    Budget Division, Israeli Ministry of Finance

    Ms. Sapir Ifergen is presently the Head of Communication, R&D, and Higher Education in the Budget Department of the Israeli Ministry of Finance. Before that, she was in charge of managing the Israel Defense budget for three years. She is a member of the board of governors for several binational R&D funds. Sapir graduated in the Honors program at Ben Gurion University and she holds a Master’s degree in Economics.

  • Prof. Mouna Maroun, Israel

    Sagol Department of Neurobiology, University of Haifa

    Prof. Maroun finished her Ph.D at the University of Haifa in Biological Psychology and moved then to Paris Sud XI for postdoctoral research.

    Prof. Maroun’s research focuses on how the brain regulates emotions under normal and pathological conditions. In her lab, she addresses in the rat model, the interaction between the amygdala and the medial prefrontal cortex in fear regulation. Further, Prof. Maroun studies the effects of environmental challenges in the forms of exposure to trauma or to fatty food on the neural circuits that mediate the regulation of emotions, social behavior and memory while addressing the impact of these challenges on the developing brain.

    Prof. Maroun is a member of the planning and budgeting committee of the Higher Council of Education (VATAT) and chair of the steering committee of accessing the Arab population in Israel to higher education.

  • Dr. Kendra Sharp, U.S.A.

    Head, Office of International Science and Engineering, National Science Foundation

    Dr. Kendra Sharp is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Oregon State University (OSU), currently on loan to the U.S. National Science Foundation where she has been serving as the Head of the Office of International Science and Engineering since February 2021. Previously, at OSU, she served as Senior Advisor for Global Affairs, where she provided leadership for the development and implementation of strategic initiatives in internationalization and global engagement. She was also an Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Development. She founded OSU’s Humanitarian Engineering Program, and was named the Richard and Gretchen Evans Professor of Humanitarian Engineering.

    She believes deeply in the value of interdisciplinary education and research, and using engineering and technology for positive social impact. She has extensive international research and teaching experience in the Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, and Thailand. She is an elected Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineering. Recent awards include an Erskine Fellowship at the University of Canterbury (New Zealand), the OSU College of Engineering’s Faculty Mentoring Award, the American Society of Mechanical Engineering’s Edwin F. Church Medal, and OSU’s International Service Award.  She was also an American Association for the Advancement of Science/American Institute of Physics Congressional Science Fellow in the U.S. Senate in 2001.


    Dr. Sharp received her Ph.D. and B.S. degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Master’s degrees from the University of Cambridge and the University of California-Berkeley.