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Dr. Albert Willner
An endowed scholarship can change the lives of many, by changing the lives of a few. Year after year, such scholarships enable promising young researchers to study in the Weizmann Institute Graduate School and to launch careers in science – to begin a lifelong adventure that could contribute to the development of a new cancer treatment, help find a solution for global climate change or give humanity a better understanding of the origins of matter or life. What follows illustrates the history of one such scholarship – the Dr. Albert and Blanche Willner Scholarship for Russian Students. This scholarship is given to young Russian immigrants to Israel, and helps them build a new life in their adopted country – a gift that benefits all of us.
Adviser: Prof. Shmuel Shaltiel (z”l)
Larisa Litovchick, together with members of Prof. Shaltiel's lab team, investigated PKA, an enzyme that is involved, among other biological functions, in dissol-ving blood clots in the body. She researched a molecule in cells that inactivates this enzyme, and that might have possible applications for certain cardiac disorders.
Adviser: Prof. David Wallach
Tanya Goncharov conducted research in Prof. Wallach's lab on the complex sequence of events that leads to cell death. She focused on caspases – enzymes for breaking down particular proteins – which are involved in one form of cellular suicide.
Adviser: Prof. Eli Canaani
Molecular Cell Biology
Irina Issaeva joined the research team in Prof. Canaani's lab studying the ALL-1 protein. The ALL-1 gene, first cloned in Canaani's lab in 1992, is associated with several forms of leukemia.
Adviser: Prof. Orly Reiner
Anna Kaplan, a student in Prof. Reiner's lab, is investigating the function of a member of the recently discovered family of proteins called DCX-repeat genes. Mutations in some of these genes are linked to disease, and Kaplan is finding where in the cell this protein works and how it binds to other cellular structures.
Adviser: Dr. Gil Levkowitz
Molecular Cell Biology
Natalia Borodovsky, under the guidance of Dr. Levkowitz, studies the genetic networks responsible for the development and maintenance of the brain cells that produce dopamine. Imbalances in this vital neurotransmitter are implicated in Parkinson's disease.