The Fondation pour la science is a non-profit, private entity. Its aim is to promote the Weizmann Institute of Science in Belgium and to support its research projects via appropriate public relations activities as well as selective fund raising, in particular in the form of sponsorships, donations and legacies.

One of the Foundation’s regular activites is the sponsoring of promising students attending Belgian secondary schools, who qualify for participation in the annual 4 weeks International Scientific Summer School (ISSI) on the Weizmann Institute of Science campus, before continuing their tertiary education in science. This year two promising young women have been selected.

The Foundation is chaired by Mr Christian Hendboeg.
Mrs Diane Culer, Prof. Pierre Klees, Prof Maurice Sosnowski, Mr Paul de Schietere de Lophem, Mr Eric Hemeleers and Mr Roland Louis are directors.
The Belgian Foundation was founded in 2006, replacing the Belgian Committee, which had been established in 1973 by Prof. Georges Schnek, who also served as the first Secretary General until 1979. He was succeeded by Mr Louis Culer, who held this position for 20 years until 1999, followed by Prof. Marc van Montagu until June 2006.

Among the former Chairmen of the Committee were the former Belgian Prime Minister Theo Lefèvre (1973-1975), Prof. Piet de Somer, Rector of the “Katolieke Universiteit Leuven” (1975-1980) and Prof. Jean Brachet (1980-1972). Two Nobel Laureates, Prof. Christian de Duve and Prof. Ilya Prigogine, were members of the Academic Council.

Marine Biomass: The Life that Stays Small, Lives Fast, Dies Young

A new census asks why the oceans have so little biomass compared to land, and shows how small marine producers pull their weight


Coral is made of two symbiotic organisms: It is both a biomass primary producer and a consumer

If you took all the fish in the ocean and weighed them, how much biomass would that be? Now add all the crabs and herring, the tiny krill and the giant whales that feed on them, the marine bacteria and plankton. That is still far below the biomass on land, and a new census of life in the ocean ‒ by dry weight ‒ provides some clues as to why this came to be. The insights emerging from an analysis performed at the Weizmann Institute of Science may help researchers understand, among other things, how carbon gets absorbed and fixed in the ocean’s biomass and how future changes may affect that biomass. The findings of this study were recently published in Cell.

Why is this Nerve Cell Different? Finding the Genetic Roots of ALS

Q & A with Prof. Eran Hornstein on discovering why mutations in a gene for a tiny non-coding RNA could herald the onset of neurodegenerative disease


Prof. Eran Hornstein

Q. How do you identify genes that are relevant to disease?

A: The disease that is studied in my lab, ALS, is a neurodegenerative state of the human motor system. The accepted view is that there are genetic causes for ALS. However, the most frequent cause is not in a gene that codes for protein, but rather in a non-coding gene in which a sequence gets repeated again and again. To identify new genes that might be involved, we often apply powerful ’Genome Wide Studies’ to look for any pattern that might stand out in association with the disease. But in this particular case our approach had a unique focus: Rather than looking for genes directly related to the disease, we identified those that are expressed only in motor neurons, that is, they are highly specific to the cell type affected by the disease.

The Matter of the First Matter

A new “cold-storage” ring first proposed by Prof. Daniel Zajfman yields its first results – and they were not what scientists had though


Prof. Daniel Zajfman (background): the cryogenic storage ring in Heidelberg

Scientists who are curious about the beginnings of the Universe – how the very first matter formed, for example – can only dream of getting into time machines and traveling back some 13 billion years. The next best thing is to try to recreate the conditions that may have existed in the Universe’s infancy, soon after the Big Bang. That is precisely what Prof. Daniel Zajfman does in his lab in the Particle Physics and Astrophysics Department at the Weizmann Institute of Science.

TOOKAD®, Invented at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Gains European Approval for Prostate Cancer

The treatment, approved for use in 31 countries, is now being marketed in Germany, Italy, Israel and Mexico


TOOKAD® optic fibers illuminate only the cancerous regions, leaving healthy tissue alone

Steba Biotech, a privately-owned company, in collaboration with scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science, has conduct extensive research and development on TOOKAD®, and has received marketing authorization to make TOOKAD® available in 31 European countries. Following this regulatory approval, the first patients are currently being treated in top Israeli, German, English and Italian medical centers.

Blue-Sky Dye Spells Hope for Improving Heart Function

The small molecule reduces damaging inflammation and improves heart function in mouse models of heart attack


Also in:

Life SciencesDisease, Drugs & DiagnosticsMolecular and Cell BiologyPersonalized Medicine

Injured heart following myocardial infarction. Healthy cardiomyocytes are stained in green. Injured area is stained in red

One day “blue blood” might be synonymous with a way to help the heart heal. Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science found that a non-toxic blue dye used in biology labs can help repair damaged heart tissue in mice. The results of this research were recently published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation (JCI) Insight.