(August 12, 2019 / JNS) Israel has been chosen as one of four countries to host 27 graduate students from 24 U.S. institutions as part of a first cohort of the Limnology and Oceanography Research Exchange (LOREX) program, funded by the National Science Foundation.
Students will study at University of Haifa’s Marine Sciences school and the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences in Eilat.
The graduate student program was initiated in order to forge a connection between the next generation of oceanography professionals through international collaboration. Students are collaborating with 25 labs across six host institutions in Israel, Canada, Australia and Sweden.
Elena Forchielli, a fourth-year Ph.D. student in molecular cellular biology and biochemistry at Boston University, is one participant who will conduct research this fall at the University of Haifa’s Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences. She has previously visited Haifa for collaborative research with the Charney School’s Daniel Sher; they will join forces again as part of her LOREX experience from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31.
“I’m excited to perform experiments at University of Haifa that my lab doesn’t have the capacity to carry out in Boston,” says Forchielli. “The Eastern Mediterranean setting enables us to collect valuable samples in the sea, and then to replicate our experiments in an environment which closely resembles the conditions of the real ocean. I’m looking forward to obtaining powerful data from this process.”
Given its home along Israel’s coastline, the Charney School is strategically positioned to study the Mediterranean Sea in an interdisciplinary manner. The school has four complementary divisions: Department of Maritime Civilizations; Dr. Strauss Department of Marine Geosciences; Department of Marine Biology; and Hatter Department of Marine Technologies. It also offers an MBA program in shipping and ports management.
Through this exchange, the research collaboration “promises to deliver not only significant findings for the marine biology community, but also the latest fruitful partnership between American and Israeli academic institutions,” says Karen L. Berman, CEO of the American Society of the University of Haifa. “Situated at the doorstep of the Mediterranean Sea, the school finds itself at a cradle of maritime civilizations throughout history. There is simply no substitute for a real-world laboratory of that magnitude.”