Reichman University has announced the establishment of a research institute for the development of cutting-edge technologies in the field of synthetic biology, thanks to a fully funded grant with the express purpose of expanding innovative scientific research in Israel.

Low-Res_Drahi Innovation Building

Source: Reichman University

Illustration of the new Drahi Innovation Building in Reichman University, where the Scojen Synthetic Biology Institute will be located.

The institute will be a hub for interdisciplinary research, bringing together scientists, engineers and clinicians from across Israel and the globe to collaborate on projects aimed at addressing some of the most critical challenges facing society today.

Synthetic biology is a relatively new field of science that combines molecular biology with advanced engineering. This multidimensional approach utilizes existing biological organisms and, through novel engineering, enables them to perform specific and targeted tasks that solve problems in areas such as medicine, biofuels, textiles, defense technologies, food and agriculture.

The Scojen Institute will engage in basic and applied research on various topics in the field of synthetic biology and tangential fields in state-of-the-art research laboratories, using new technologies that integrate and apply knowledge from the life sciences, exact sciences, medicine, and engineering.

Interdisciplinary method

“The Scojen Institute represents a major step forward for the university and the broader Israeli scientific community,” said Prof. Uriel Reichman, founding president and chairman of the board of Reichman University. “We have brought the power of the interdisciplinary method into the fields of life sciences, medical sciences and exact sciences. We are confident that the institute will become a world-leading center for synthetic biology research, driving innovation and positive impact through significant scientific breakthroughs.”

The institute will be headed by Prof. Yossi Shaham. Prof. Shaham is a graduate of the Faculty of Engineering at the Technion, a postdoctoral fellow at UC Berkeley, and a faculty member at Cornell University. He also served as the Bernard L. Schwartz Chair for Nanoscale Information Technologies at Tel Aviv University.

Prof. Shaham has over 30 years of research and teaching experience in the areas of micro and nano technologies for solid-state devices and large-scale integrated circuits, and particularly in functional biosensors using synthetic biology on biochips.

“We are excited to welcome Prof. Shaham to the Reichman University family, and we look forward to seeing what the future holds for the Scojen Institute and the field of synthetic biology in general,” said Prof. Noam Lemelstrich Latar, head of the Innovation Center at Reichman University. “By bringing together some of the brightest minds in the field, we are confident that we can make significant progress towards solving some of the world’s most pressing problems.”