When Dr. Tomer Langberg, a fresh Ph.D. graduate in neuroscience from the University of California, Berkeley, searched for a post-doctoral position, Tel Aviv University was at the top of his list. However, coming here would not have been possible without the Tanenbaum Fellowship’s financial support.
“TAU’s Neuroscience School is amazing, and there is real progress being made here to understand the brain,” Langberg says. “However, fellowship stipends for post-docs in Israel are relatively low, so the Tanenbaum Fellowship has been essential in enabling me to continue my studies here. It makes this a more competitive place to work compared to universities in other countries.”
Langberg researches the role of neurons in creating memories. His work may have major implications for understanding memory-related neuropsychiatric conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Langberg first discovered TAU when he met a few former graduate students of Prof. Inna Slutsky while studying at UC Berkley. Slutsky, of the Sackler School of Medicine and Sagol School of Neuroscience, is a world-renowned expert in the science behind Alzheimer’s and is the winner of the Metlife Foundation Award for Research in Alzheimer’s disease. Langberg now works in her lab. “She is a fantastic mentor,” says Langberg of Slustsky. “In the lab, we use state-of-the-art technology, and I’m learning from the best people to use it. I could not be happier to be here and to have been awarded this Fellowship,” he adds.
For the last few years, the Larry and Judy Tanenbaum Family Foundation has been instrumental in supporting post-doctoral fellows such as Langberg in the field of brain sciences.
“We believe in neuroscience research because that is the key to understanding and, one day, hopefully treating and curing Alzheimer’s disease, drug addiction, and depression,” say Larry and Judy Tanenbaum from Toronto, who are active supporters of neuroscience research both in Israel and worldwide.
“We hope our support will allow TAU to continue attracting and training the next generation of researchers aiming to unravel the various mechanisms of the human body’s most complex and mysterious organ.”
“By being at the vanguard of global brain research, TAU is a perfect fit for our efforts in promoting neuroscience research and standing with Israel,” the Tanenbaums added.
TAU leaders say that post-doc support is crucial for the development of science in Israel. “In recent years, we see that more and more Israeli and international students are looking to complete their post-doc fellowships in Israel. Despite the growth in interest, however, there is a huge deficit of funding opportunities for post-docs here,” explains Prof. Yossi Yovel, Head of the Sagol School for Neuroscience. “The Tanenbaum Fellowships are therefore extremely important for us, filling this crucial gap and substantially contributing to the development of science at TAU and in Israel.”
In parallel to Langberg, a second Tanenbaum Fellow, Dr. Lee Harten, is completing post-doctoral research at the Wise Faculty of Life Sciences under Yovel’s supervision. She is a TAU Ph.D. alumna who studies the relationship between brain structure and decision-making through bats.
“Both of our post-doctoral fellows have recently finished their PhDs and this post-doc period funded by the Tanenbaum Foundation is extremely important for their future careers,” concludes Yovel. “Tomer and Lee are both excellent fellows, and I am sure their scientific contribution will be substantial.”
By Sveta Raskin
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