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.

Cancer Protocols: A New Approach to Predicting Treatment Outcomes

Weizmann Institute of Science research shows heterogeneity in melanoma tumors prevents effective immune responses


Diversity – at least among cancer cells – is not a good thing. Weizmann Institute of Science research shows that in melanoma, tumors with cells that have differentiated into more diverse subtypes are less likely to be affected by the immune system, thus reducing the chance that immunotherapy will be effective. The findings of this research, which were published today in Cell, may provide better tools for designing personalized protocols for cancer patients, as well as pointing toward new avenues of research into anti-cancer vaccines.

Firework Memories

Weizmann Institute scientists have uncovered a neuronal mechanism central to human free recal


Extraterrestrial scientists landing in a football stadium would be struck by the sight of the crowd suddenly standing up and shouting in unison. In a similar manner, since the nineties, researchers have observed a special pattern of neuronal activity in rodents: tens of thousands of nerve cells firing in unison in a part of the brain called the hippocampus. But, like an alien scientist, the researchers have not been able to understand the “language” of the rodents’ minds when these mysterious synchronous bursts occurred. Recently Weizmann Institute scientists succeeded in recording these rapid bursts of activity – called “hippocampal ripples” – in the human brain, and they were able to demonstrate their importance as a neuronal mechanism underlying the engraving of new memories and their subsequent recall. These findings appear today in Science.

Mistaken but Not Always Wrong: Protein Errors Are under Control

Mapping where these errors occur was a feat they said couldn’t be done. It turns out many are not random

Getting a fix on when and where mistakes occur in the cellular manufacture of proteins is so challenging that a researcher in the United States once declared he would take out to lunch for an entire year anyone who’d manage to pull it off. Prof. Yitzhak Pilpel, head of the Molecular Genetics Department at the Weizmann Institute of Science, couldn’t take him up on the offer because of the geographic distance, but when a recent study of his appeared in Molecular Cell, he emailed his American colleague to let him know: The formidable mission has been accomplished.

Gut Microbes May Affect the Course of ALS

Researchers isolated a molecule that may be under-produced in the guts of patients


Gut microbes such as these were found to have altered levels in ALS patients

Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science have shown in mice that intestinal microbes, collectively termed the gut microbiome, may affect the course of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. As reported today in Nature,progression of an ALS-like disease was slowed after the mice received certain strains of gut microbes or substances known to be secreted by these microbes. Preliminary results suggest that the findings on the regulatory function of the microbiome may be applicable to human patients with ALS.

First Impressions Go a Long Way in the Immune System

An algorithm that predicts the immune response to a pathogen could lead to early diagnosis for such diseases as tuberculosis

When immune cells (macrophage, blue) meet bacteria (red), the first day or two is critical for the eventual outcome

First impressions are important – they can set the stage for the entire course of a relationship. The same is true for the impressions the cells of our immune system form when they first meet a new bacterium. Using this insight, Weizmann Institute of Science researchers have developed an algorithm that may predict the onset of such diseases as tuberculosis. The findings of this research were recently published in Nature Communications.