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25 December, 2012

Institute for Advanced Studies appoints new director, Prof. Michal Linial
A leader in the field of computational biology, she is the first woman to hold this position

New IAS director Prof. Michal Linial (Photo courtesy of Prof. Michal Linial)
New IAS director Prof. Michal Linial (Photo courtesy of Prof. Michal Linial)

Prof. Michal Linial from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem was appointed this month as the new director of the Hebrew University’s Israel Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS). The first woman appointed to this position, she replaces Prof. Eliezer Rabinovici from the Racah Institute of Physics, who has held the position for the last seven years.

Commenting on her new appointment, Prof. Linial said, ''It's a great honor to be chosen for such an important and significant role. The Institute for Advanced Studies has an exceptional history of academic excellence and I consider it a great compliment that I was chosen to lead it and guide it toward its future path.''

Prof. Linial described her vision for the Institute as the cultivation of synergy. ''Collaboration and team work embody the Aristotelian principle that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I hope that my experience as a computational biologist, where the principles of physics, chemistry and biology mesh with the analytical tools of math, computer science and statistics, will serve me well as I strive to realize this principle at the IAS. I aim to make the promise that appears on our website — ‘All topics in all disciplines are welcome’ — a reality.''

Outgoing director Prof. Rabinovici said, ''The IAS fulfills a national and international role in strengthening scientific excellence. I wish the new IAS director Prof. Linial success and enjoyment as she leads the Institute onward.''

Prof. Linial served as the director of the Sudarsky Center for Computational Biology at the Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences, specializing in biochemistry and bioinformatics. Her research focuses on cellular strategies for coping with changing conditions such as stress, differentiation and pathogens. Under this framework she studies toxins, viruses, diabetes and neuronal communications. In the past 15 years she advanced the field of computational biology at the Hebrew University and around the world. She founded the educational program for computational biology at the Hebrew University and served in recent years as Vice President of the International Society of Computational Biology.

The Hebrew University’s Israel Institute for Advanced Studies was founded in 1975 to provide a nurturing and stimulating academic environment championing outstanding scholarly research in a wide range of disciplines. It brings together scholars from around the world to engage in collaborative research projects for periods of five, six and ten months. International collaboration is also fostered through its many conferences and its five annual Advanced Schools. As Israel’s only institute of advanced study, it plays a major role in promoting academic cooperation between the different universities in Israel and between Israel and the world.


 

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