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.

Which Came First?

An experiment in reconstructing primordial proteins solves a long-standing riddle

22.06.2020

The characteristic (HhH)2 fold and its binding to the minor groove of a modern DNA molecule. How did the first ones form?

What did the very first proteins look like – those that appeared on Earth around 3.7 billion years ago? Prof. Dan Tawfik of the Weizmann Institute of Science and Prof. Norman Metanis of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have reconstructed protein sequences that may well resemble those long-lost ancestors of modern proteins, and their research suggests a way that these primitive proteins could have played a role in forming the earliest living cells. Their findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Weizmann Institute of Science is Seventh in Top ERC Grants

Around one in two proposals put forward by Institute researchers for some of the most competitive grants receives funding

22.06.2020

The Weizmann Institute of Science is ranked seventh in Europe – and first in Israel – for the total number of research grants obtained from the European Research Council (ERC), for the years 2007-2019. In fact, if the small size of the Weizmann Institute of Science were taken into consideration – compared to the large Institutes with numerous research groups – its ranking would be even higher.

What Does the “Love Hormone” Do? It’s Complicated

A study of mice in a semi-natural setting shows how the hormone oxytocin can amplify aggression as well as friendliness

15.06.2020

Competition or cooperation? Oxytocin might enhance social cues for both

During the pandemic lockdown, as couples have been forced to spend days and weeks in one another’s company, some have found their love renewed while others are on their way to divorce court. Oxytocin, a peptide produced in the brain, is complicated in that way: a neuromodulator, it may bring hearts together or it can help induce aggression. That conclusion arises from unique research led by Weizmann Institute of Science researchers in which mice living in semi-natural conditions had their oxytocin producing brain cells manipulated in a highly precise manner. The findings, which were published today in Neuron, could shed new light on efforts to use oxytocin to treat a variety of psychiatric conditions, from social anxiety and autism to schizophrenia.

Solving the Riddle: When was Wilson’s Arch, under Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, Built?

Analyzing a handful of charred seeds reveals the ancient builder of an iconic structure in the Western Wall Tunnels

04.06.2020

Wilson’s Arch is still partially visible today to visitors to the Western Wall in Jerusalem

Who built Wilson’s Arch? It wasn’t Charles Wilson, a British ordinance surveyor in and around Jerusalem toward the end of the 19th century. The arch, partially visible to all visitors to the Western Wall, has been a prominent fixture in Jerusalem’s landscape for centuries. Some have thought it was originally constructed around the turn of the common era by the Roman king Herod – one of the great builders of history – but others had assigned it a later date, believing it was erected in the Early Islamic Period, some 600 years later.

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.