September 25, 2011 Canadian Student at Technion’s 2011 SciTech Program

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Canadian Jewish News

Student Enthralled by Israeli Science Camp

By FRANCES KRAFT, Staff Reporter

Thursday, 15 September 2011

TORONTO  This summer, Yaakov Green, a Grade 12 student at Yeshivat Or Chaim, combined his love for Israel with his love for science as the only Canadian participant in SciTech 2011, a scientific summer camp at the Technion  Israel Institute of Technology.

Yaakov Green addresses fellow students, mentors, faculty and guests at the final assembly of the Technion’s SciTech program for high school students.

Along with a participant from London, England, Green worked with an Israeli Arab PhD student on her research project looking at the effects of the hormone angiotensin, which regulates salt balance and fluid balance in the body. They also wrote up the research and presented a poster on it at the end of the program.

Green spent about a week familiarizing himself with background material on the project before he left Toronto. It was a totally unique opportunity,  he said in a recent phone interview. It was really amazing. 

The 16-year-old was selected from the 44 participants to speak as student representative at graduation.

In his address which was attended by mentors, faculty and guests, including Peretz Lavie, president of the university  Green said the SciTech experience was uniquely challenging, fascinating and fun. 

Where else, he asked, can you feel cool about being a nerd?

On a personal note, he added, he’s always had a strong connection with Israel, citing the spirituality, culture and life  as aspects he loves. He has spent a number of summers at a kibbutz sleepover camp there, most recently in 2010 as a counsellor.

But never before have I been exposed to the side of Israel that it is so renowned for its science,  he added.

Green, who is thinking of a career in health sciences, credits his school for providing him with a good science education. I love sciences,  he said, adding that he finds anatomy particularly interesting.

He also liked the social and touring components of the Technion program, and the mix of people from places such as France, Serbia, Bulgaria, Italy and Israel. The latter group included Christian Arabs, Muslim Arabs and recent olim from Russia, he noted.

Everybody had a great time,  Green said. It was interesting to meet all these different people and hear about their countries, cultures and outlooks. It was a huge learning experience for me. 

SciTech  is a well-established international science and technology research camp organized by the Centre for Pre-University Education and hosted each summer at the  Technion. This program is intended for eleventh and twelfth grade high school students from around the world who have demonstrated an exceptional interest and ability in science and technology. This program brings together outstanding students from North and South America, Europe, Asia, Israel and elsewhere.

June 27, 2011 Canadian Technion Society is Heading to Cottage Country

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The Canadian Technion Society is heading to Cottage Country and is proud to present “It Doesn’t Take a Rocket Scientist……….well actually it does” with Dr. Victor Chernov.Dr. Chernov, is a graduate of the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at Technion and now a Lyon Sachs Post Doc Fellow at the University of Toronto. He has spoken to groups across Canada about his own journey to Israel from the FSU and described his research in Aerospace Engineering. In telling his story Dr. Chernov gives us a picture of the outstanding support he has received from his professors and how the nurturing atmosphere of Technion has allowed him to pursue his dream of becoming a Rocket Scientist.

Date: Sunday, July 24, 2011
Time:9:15 am
Location: Tent City Jewish Congregation, Lefroy ON (Innisfil) 725 6th Line
Breakfast will be served.
For more information please contact: Meyer Feldman at or 416-885-2932

April 13, 2011 “Get Connected to Israel and Technion”

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The Canadian Technion Society launches its Generation NEXT  initiative in Montreal at a lunchtime program hosted by Heenan Blaikie at 12:00pm on Monday May 16, 2011. The event will take place at 1250 Rene Levesque Blvd. West on the 25th floor.

The guest speakers will be Dr. Victor Chernov, a graduate of the Technion Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, who is at present a Lyon Sachs Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto and Scott Woodrow CA, Director and Co-Founder of Lions Peak Capital Corporation and CTS National Board Member.

For more information and to RSVP please contact Anne Kalles, Eastern Regional Director at or 514-735-5541

April 4, 2011 It Doesn’t Take a Rocket Scientist…Well Actually It Does!

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Following his extremely successful Western Canada tour this past fall, Dr. Victor Chernov will speak to members of the Atlantic community and to the Windsor Jewish Community about his research. Dr. Chernov, the current Lyon Sachs Post-Doctoral Fellow from Technion is at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. In his presentation Dr. Chernov will also simplify the finer points of Rocket Science to those not familiar with its many difficult to comprehend principles.

Date: Sunday, May 1, 2011
Time: 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Location: UPEI – Charlottetown Prince Edward Island, McDougall Hall, Room 242, Charlottetown, PE
Refreshments will be served.
RSVP: Leslee Sack 1-902-367-1979 or

Date: Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Time: 7:30pm – 9:00pm
Location: Tiferes Israel Synagogue, 56 Steadman, Moncton, NB
Refreshments will be served
RSVP: Prof. Francis Weil  or 506-854-9053

Date:  Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Time: 7:30pm – 9:30pm
Location: Beth Israel Synagogue, 1400 Oxford Street, Halifax, NS
Refreshments will be served.
For more information please contact Marty Merovitch 902-422-1301 or

Date: Thursday, May 19, 2011
Time: 12:00pm – 1:30pm
Location: Windsor Jewish Community Centre, 1641 Ouellette, Windsor, ON
Lunch will be served. Cost $10
RSVP: Sharron Lacey 519-973-1772 or

Date: Thursday, May 19, 2011
Time: 7:30pm
Location: London Jewish Community Centre, 536 Huron Street, London, ON
Refreshments will be served.
RSVP: Efrat  519-673-3310 or

April 4, 2011 Technion President Professor Peretz Lavie Visits Toronto

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news_id117Prof. Peretz Lavie speaks to the Economic Club of Canada

The President of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Prof. Peretz Lavie   recently gave a Luncheon talk in Toronto, to a sell-out crowd at the Economic Club of Canada. This was the first address by an Israeli leader or Israeli University President to the Club – Technion truly is the Gateway to the Start-up Nation.

He later spoke to the Business Network. Listen to the interview –  BNN Video Player

Raising Chutzpah  -Financial Post interview with Prof. Peretz Lavie.

Prof. Peretz Lavie attends Generation NEXT event “As Good As Gold”  
President Lavie answered questions from the close to 300 young adults who are being recruited as supporters of the Technion by Canadian businessman and Philanthropist Seymour Schulich.

Technion Grads Key Factor Behind ‘Start-up Nation’  – article in the CJN

April 4, 2011 Raising chutzpah

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Jameson Berkow,  Financial Post

Published:  Monday, April 04, 2011

Professor Peretz Lavie is a serial entrepreneur and president of The Technion: Israel Institute of Technology. He was in Toronto last week to speak to the Economic Club of Canada about Israel’s thriving high-tech startup economy. Financial Post technology reporter Jameson Berkow had a chance to sit down with Prof. Lavie to discuss the origins of that booming industry and how Canada might be able to replicate some of that success. The following is an edited transcription of their conversation.

Q  Your institution notes that Israel is home to about 4,000 high-tech startups, the equivalent to the entire European continent in absolute numbers. What do you believe accounts for that?

A  There is something about Israel, the combination of excellent education plus some attributes that are unique to Israel that make it such an innovative society.

Israeli Professor Peretz Lavie says one of the secrets to success in innovation is to not give up on the young. Tim Fraser / National Post
Israeli Professor Peretz Lavie says one of the secrets to success in innovation is to not give up on the young.
Tim Fraser / National Post

Q  What are some examples of those attributes?

A  There are Israeli characteristics. If you are [here] and you give a talk to students and you ask questions, the fear of the hierarchy is so embedded in the culture that the fear of being embarrassed in public is a major issue. For Israelis, the hierarchy is very weak. They challenge you whether you are a professor, whether you are a CEO, whether you are a politician, they constantly challenge you so there is no fear of failure, we call it chutzpah. It is part of the spirit and I think the characteristic of the Israeli culture; the ability to find solutions where everybody says there is no solution; the resilience, you fail? that is part of the game, we’ll do it again.

Q  Is it Israeli chutzpah that has attracted large technology firms such as Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp. to open research centres in Israel?

A  Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, every major company has an R&D centre in Israel. Many of the microchips for [Intel Corp.] were developed in Haifa. I was in the U.S. and I visited several of these companies in Silicon Valley three weeks ago and I asked them what brought you to Israel? They said if we have a problem that cannot be solved, we know that the centre that will do it is in Israel. It is like the elite troops that [Israel] has and they have 30 centres all over the world. But if they need something that is tough where there is no other solution, they know the only place where it can be done is in Israel.

Q  Canadians are not exactly known for their chutzpah. Quite the opposite in fact, we are known for being shy and non-confrontational. Do those characteristics represent a barrier to fostering the same entrepreneurial drive and passion?

A  I believe so. I think that to really invest in innovative technologies you must take risks, you must have this chutzpah. In the book Startup Nation the authors describe a scenario in which somebody is buying an Israeli company and when he met the employees for one second he wasn’t so sure who was buying who because of the way they asked him questions and talked about the company. So I think you need a society that encourages shorter distances between different hierarchies.

Q  You mentioned that Israel went from being a Jaffaoranges economy to one based on semi-conductors in recent decades. What else might account for that transformation?

A  We had an influx of one million people from the former Soviet Union. They were highly educated, highly talented, with an inclination toward the natural sciences. So the number of engineers and scientists in Israel, mostly because of the Russian immigration, is the largest in the world per capita. I also should credit the government. It is interesting and very few people know that during the 1960s when Levi Eshkol was prime minister, he established in every ministry a chief scientist position and the chief scientist was given a budget for research and development. It helped to generate some of these companies, and then there was a community of venture capitalists that developed and continued to fuel this trend.

Q  That is a stark contrast to Canada, which is currently facing a serious labour shortage for technology-related positions. Do you have any advice for how Canada can encourage more students to study math and science?

A  The philosophy is you have to encourage these children at the age of 8 or 9, otherwise don’t invest. That is wrong, it can be done and it is incredible. We have something called the ‘pre-academic centre’ in which we take 700 youth a year after their army service and they come to the centre for six to 18 months depending on how much they need to complete the course. Out of this 700, two thirds are accepted to the Technion. So one of the keys is not to give up on the young people who drop out and facilitate some education that will allow them to catch up and join university and professional schools. I see it as a national mission.

October 21, 2010 Medical Students Take Part in Exchange Program

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news_id105Medical Students Take Part in Exchange Program

By Laura Strickler, Staff Reporter
Thursday, 21 October 2010

TORONTO  – The first two medical students to participate in an exchange between University of Toronto and the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology recently shared their experiences at a dinner celebrating the inauguration of the program.

Rana Halloumee of Israel and Daniel Pincus, a Toronto student, were the first participants in the CREMS (Comprehensive Research Experience for Medical Students) Program between Toronto and Israel. Halloumee spent her two months on exchange researching heart rate-dependent electrical remodelling. This was her first time in North America, and one of the first things she noticed about Toronto was its multiculturalism.

“I was very impressed to see how people [in Toronto] respect each other and treat each other well no matter what their nationality or homeland is,” the third-year medical student (equivalent to first year in Canada) said.

Pincus spent his three months in Israel researching hip fractures and bone imaging at Carmel Medical Center in Haifa. When asked about his experience on exchange, he said he would definitely recommend that others should participate.

“It’s good to get some really productive research done, and on the other hand, have an experience that is usually not offered to medical students in first and second year.

“I am humbled and privileged that I was able to participate,” he added.

The CREMS Program, established in 2005, allows first- and second-year medical students from the University of Toronto to participate in research-based exchanges at medical schools all over the world.

The idea to start a Toronto-Israel exchange came from Dr. George Fantus, associate dean of research in the faculty of medicine at U of T. He was familiar with schools in Israel – his daughter went to medical school there, a nephew attended the Technion and his son spent some time at the Weizmann Institute of Science.

One of the largest hurdles, Fantus said, was getting money to fund the students. After approximately a year of negotiating, the Canadian Technion Society approached with a proposal to support the exchange program. Gary Goldberg, national president of the society, has been very supportive, he said. In all, it took about 2-1/2 years to get this exchange off the ground.

At the dinner, Judith Wolfson, vice-president of university relations, discussed the importance of students appreciating and being aware of the world beyond where they live.

“[There is a] huge interest in all students at all levels to ‘internationalize’ their experience and ensure a broader understanding of their field in the world,” Wolfson said.

Catharine Whiteside, dean of the U of T faculty of medicine, was excited by both the potential of the Israel branch of CREMS and that of the program in general.

“We’re very keen to partner with the best in the world, and this opportunity with Technion exemplifies that for us,” she said.

“It’s a great opportunity for our students to experience another institution in another country and learn about health and about medical sciences from a different perspective, but still have an experience that’s beyond just learning about science.

“These types of experiences have a lifetime impact on the students. I think we’ll probably see this program grow.”

For Fantus, the importance of the exchange program is threefold: it furthers medical research, creates global citizens and promotes peace in the world.

“It’s important for people everywhere to have different experiences and be exposed to different cultures,” he said.

“Only with common goals and understanding can we create a better life for everybody.”

October 21, 2010 Israeli Nanotech Experts Exploring Canadian Collaborations

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news_id106Israeli Nanotech Experts Exploring Canadian Collaborations

By Andy Levy-Ajzenkopf, Staff Reporter
Thursday, 21 October 2010

TORONTO – Three Israeli nanotechnology experts recently made visits to Ottawa and Toronto on a mission to make contact with Canadian counterparts and lay the groundwork for possible future collaborations between both countries.

Scientists Baruch Fischer, and Dov Sherman – a professor and associate professor respectively at the Israel Institute of Technology (Technion) – and Eylon Yavin, a researcher with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s faculty of medicine, met with peers at a two-day Carleton University nanotechnology workshop on Oct. 4 and 5.

They then made their way to Toronto to make the acquaintance of other researchers at the Ontario Centre of Excellence before heading back to Israel.

Israeli ambassador to Canada, Miriam Ziv, lauded the meetings.

“Israeli research and innovation is world renowned, and the potential benefits of an exchange of knowledge between Canada and Israel will be extremely valuable,” she said in a statement prior to the workshop.

Carleton University vice-president Kim Matheson said her researchers looked forward to “sharing our work with top scientists from Israel and [to] co-operative ventures and initiatives that could result from these discussions.”

Though no official agreements or projects resulted from the meetings, the Israeli researchers said they were excited at the opportunity to meet new colleagues and work with Canadians in the future and hoped both countries would find ways to free up grant money for collaborations in the future.

“It’s difficult for us [to secure financing]. We need the help of industry to do this,” Fischer said. “Universities in Canada are problem-solvers, and we want to collaborate on basic science and research. We are here to open windows and do more collaborating” with Canada.

Sherman expressed enthusiasm for his field and said that nanotechnology, while impressive for the layman, is still only in its infancy.

“This is an enthusiastic field. Things you could only imagine [before] are now possible,” he said. But he cautioned that nanotechnology also has its limits in terms of applications in semiconductor technology.

“We can only shrink so much. We’re getting to the limits of the semi-conductor,” he said, adding that in his opinion, in about 15 or 20 years scientists will have to “find other ways” to go smaller in scale.

For his part, Yavin, the lone nanobiologist of the three, said his research is currently focusing on improving ways of drug delivery in the body as well as “finding ways to get molecules to where you want them in the body.”

All three experts expressed their eagerness to reciprocate Israeli hospitality to sector representatives at the NanoIsrael 2010 Conference in Tel Aviv on Nov. 8 and 9.

June 9, 2010 Technion – Back to the Future

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What would Albert Einstein think if he visited Technion today?

Technion City in the 3rd millennium, a world renowned research university pursuing teaching and research in the sciences, engineering, management, medicine, and architecture… a powerhouse of pure thought where the decision makers, researchers and great minds of today are charting the future.

February 8, 2010 A Nano-Delivery System that Leads Anticancer Drugs Directly to Cancerous Cells.

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Technion researchers have developed a nano-delivery system made up of a chemical connection between a polysugar, produced from the cypress tree, with folic acid and an anticancer drug. The delivery system leads the drug directly to the cancerous cell and releases it inside the cell. Thus the cancerous cell is destroyed without causing any damage to the healthy cells around it.

“We looked for a polymer that would easily dissolve in water and we found as most appropriate the polymer produced from the cypress tree,” explains Dr. Yoav Livney of the Technion’s Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Engineering and the Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute. “The cancerous cell produces receptors that absorb the folic acid in much larger quantities than the healthy cell. The cancerous cell needs this acid in order to divide quickly and grow,” adds Dr. Livney. “After the folic acid connects to the receptor, a process, called endocytosis, is renewed. This is a process in which the cell membrane peels inward creating a depression that turns into a bubble called an endosome. It unites with another bubble called a lysosome, which contains enzymes that digest the contents of the bubbles (a kind of cell digestive system). When the PH measure decreases, the receptor releases the folic acid.”

Technion scientists Prof. Yehuda Assaraf from the Faculty of Biology and Dr. Livney attach the drug to a polysugar by a section of protein (peptide) that is dissolved by the enzymes secreted by the lysosome. The drug is released only in the lysosome because there are no enzymes in the blood that know how to break down this specific peptide.

The Technion development is especially efficient against ovarian, kidney and uterine cancer, which is characterized by folic acid receptors.