October 21, 2010

October 21, 2010 Israeli Nanotech Experts Exploring Canadian Collaborations

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.