The Fondation Weizmann.be 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.

Paying the Price of Protection

A new model of autoimmune disease may solve some great outstanding riddles, including what causes T cells to attack and why only certain organs get them

19.05.2020

Single-organ autoimmune diseases attack particular organs, eg., the thyroid, adrenals and beta cells in the pancreas

Is the wanton killing of cells in autoimmune disease a case of mistaken identity, or does it arise from an important physiological service? The first is the commonly accepted view – that autoimmune attack is a sort of mistake. But the latter view may be closer to the truth, according to a new model proposed by researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science. Among other things, the model suggests a solution to the long-standing riddle of why some organs are susceptible to autoimmune diseases while others are not.  The findings were published yoday in Immunity.

How to Neutralize the Coronavirus: Learning from the Body

Making copies of existing antibodies could be fast track to treatment

12.05.2020

A niche within a lymph node in which antibody-forming cells are generated

 

Recovered COVID-19 patients continue to produce coronavirus-neutralizing antibodies, keeping them as a long-lasting “immunological memory.” Dr. Ziv Shulman’s lab in the Weizmann Institute of Science’s Immunology Department recruits recovered patients, copies the information stored in their immune cells and reproduces the neutralizing antibodies against the virus under laboratory conditions. Such antibodies might eventually serve as coronavirus drugs for treating severe cases. This so-called “passive vaccine” could be injected into patients; or it might be developed into a form of preventive vaccine for at-risk populations, including the medical teams that come into direct contact with patients, or the elderly, who often do not respond well to normal active vaccines.

Israeli-American-British Labs and Biotech Partner to Speed Coronavirus Drug Development

An international initiative aims to identify compounds that target a key enzyme in the virus’s life cycle

04.05.2020

 

Dr. Nir London of the Weizmann Institute of Science’s Organic Chemistry Department is co-leading an ambitious project in collaboration with researchers from Oxford University, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, University of British Columbia, and a Californian-based biotech company, PostEra. Using a crowdsourcing approach, the researchers will identify small molecules that can bind to and inhibit the viral protein, a protease enzyme known as SARS-CoV-2 that the virus needs to reproduce. The researchers have already characterized the structure of this protease enzyme.

The Self-Synthesizing Ribosome

This cellular factory-on-a-chip could be used to design, produce and test drugs against antibiotic resistant bacteria

20.04.2020

Visual representation of the self-assembly process: Synthesis of proteins and ribosomal RNA from synthetic DNA strands attached to a chip leads to the self-assembly of a new ribosomal subunit on the surface of the chip. Bottom left: Imaging of DNA strands grouped into several densely-packed “brushes” in the shape of circles; right: fluorescence imaging of a “carpet” of subunits at the completion of the assembly process

Coronavirus by the Numbers

31.03.2020

Rate of similarity between the coronavirus genome and the genome of other viruses belonging to same family. (l-r) Bat coronavirus; pangolin coronavirus; SARS virus; MERS virus; coronavirus causing the “common cold”

Numerical data sometimes reveal facts that are otherwise concealed within the rushing flow of information from an overwhelming number of sources. Prof. Ron Milo and research student Yinon Bar-On of the Weizmann Institute’s Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, together with their US colleagues Prof. Rob Phillips from Caltech and Dr. Avi Flamholz from Berkeley, recently employed an original research method to organize the flood of coronavirus information in an orderly framework.