Photo Credit: Anat Hermony/Flash90
HaBonim Beach Nature Reserve in Haifa

Israel has been chosen as one of four countries to host 27 graduate students from 24 US institutions as part of the first cohort of the prestigious Limnology and Oceanography Research Exchange (LOREX) program, funded by the National Science Foundation. Students will be coming to study at Haifa University’s Marine Sciences school and the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences in Eilat.

The graduate student program was initiated to forge a connection between the next generation of oceanography professionals through international collaboration. The students are collaborating with 25 labs across six host institutions in Israel, Canada, Australia and Sweden.


Elena Forchielli, a fourth-year Ph.D. student in molecular cellular biology and biochemistry at Boston University, is one participant who will conduct research this coming Fall at the University of Haifa’s Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences. Forchielli has previously visited the University of Haifa for collaborative research with the Charney School’s Dr. Daniel Sher, and she will be reunited with Sher as part of her LOREX experience from at the end of the year.

“I’m excited to perform experiments at the University of Haifa that my lab doesn’t have the capacity to carry out in Boston,” Forchielli says. “The Eastern Mediterranean setting enables us to collect valuable samples in the sea, and then to replicate our experiments in an environment which closely resembles the conditions of the real ocean. I’m looking forward to obtaining powerful data from this process.”

Given its home along Israel’s coastline, the Charney School is strategically positioned to study the uniquely diverse Mediterranean Sea in an interdisciplinary manner.

“Through the LOREX exchange, Elena’s research collaboration with University of Haifa promises to deliver not only significant findings for the marine biology community, but also the latest fruitful partnership between American and Israeli academic institutions,” says Karen L. Berman, CEO of the American Society of the University of Haifa. “We are grateful for this special opportunity to amplify the Charney School’s existing impact. Situated at the doorstep of the Mediterranean Sea, the school finds itself at a cradle of maritime civilizations throughout history. There is simply no substitute for a real-world laboratory of that magnitude.”


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