Israelis win prestigious ERC grants

Two university researchers from Israel have been selected to receive Europe’s most prestigious research awards – Starting Grants from the European Research Council (ERC). The highly-competitive grants were created to encourage “pioneering frontier research in any field of science, engineering …

Two university researchers from Israel have been selected to receive Europe’s most prestigious research awards – Starting Grants from the European Research Council (ERC).

The highly-competitive grants were created to encourage “pioneering frontier research in any field of science, engineering and scholarship,” according to the ERC’s mission statement.

The two recipients from Israel’s Ben-Gurion University (BGU) of the Negev – Prof. Yoav Tsori, a member of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Dr. Lital Alfonta of the Department of Biotechnology Engineering – were selected for their “promising track-record of early achievements… including significant publications… “

Tsori is a member of BGU’s Ilse Katz Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology and Reimund Stadler Minerva Center. His research focuses on the “theoretical description of ways to control structures at the sub-micron scale, in particular, how external fields induce new types of phase-transitions in liquids, polymers and other ordered phases of soft-matter.”

Alfonta’s research focuses on “the development of novel microbial biofuel cells and biosensors based on genetically engineered bacterial cell surface for enhanced communication with electrodes, site specific chemical modification of bacterial cell surface, and evolution and characterization of new functionalities in enzymes.”

Founded in 2007, the ERC is dedicated to “stimulating scientific excellence by supporting and encouraging the very best, truly creative scientists, scholars and engineers to be adventurous and take risks in their research.”