Advancing Women in STEM

women in STEM

“Advancing Women in STEM” is not just a slogan at the Zuckerman STEM Program

We are proud to announce that 54% of the 2019-2020 Zuckerman Scholars are women

We continue to lead the way in advancing women in STEM in academic institutions. Much remains to be done, but the Zuckerman STEM Program believes it’s important to increase the momentum.

Each Zuckerman female scholar is making an impact in her field, creating a larger group of her peers and making it easier for other women to be accepted.




Meet the Israeli Zuckerman Faculty women who are paving the way for women in Israeli academia. 

4 Faculty Scholars opening Zuckerman labs in 4 Israeli universities

Dr. Gili Bisker
Dr. Gili Bisker
Dr. Limor Freifeld






Dr. Moran Shalev Benami
Dr. Hadas Soifer










Meet the  Zuckerman American postdoctoral women who are currently studying in Israel in our program.

24 Postdoctoral Scholars in 7 Israeli universities

Nelli Bodiford
Dr. Bodiford is researching the design of degradable nanostructured silicon and polymer composite materials for the delivery of therapeutics to the brain.

At Technion – Israel Institute of Technology
From Texas Christian University

Claudia Ciotir
Dr. Ciotir uses a combination of genetics, genomics and greenhouse experiments to study domestication-related traits and evolutionary processes that occurred during the transition from wild to domesticated wheat. Understanding the genomic basis of adaptive variation in plants could be applied in the future to improving the productivity and resilience of grain crops.

At University of Haifa
From Trent University, Canada

Hillary Anne Craddock
Dr. Craddock is using diverse cutting-edge, next-generation sequencing technologies to evaluate the impact of household wastewater reuse on levels of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in livestock and agricultural products among the Israeli Bedouin.

At Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
From University of Maryland

Jeana Drake
Dr. Drake is studying coral skeletal and membrane-associated proteins toward a better understanding of corals’ biomineralisation mechanisms.

At University of Haifa
From Rutgers University

Avital Fischer
Dr. Fischer is working to identify stress biomarkers and gene expression profiles in order to personalize and improve breast cancer treatments and prevention efforts.

At Tel Aviv University
From University of California, Irvine

M. Kate Gallagher

Dr. Gallagher is investigating the ecological and evolutionary processes that maintain continuous color variation and the existence of extremely dark flowers in the native endemic Royal Irises (Iris section Oncocyclus).

At Tel Aviv University
From University of California, Irvine

Jennifer Gilda
Dr. Gilda is researching the question of myofibril breakdown during muscle atrophy, a debilitating process associated with fatigue, weakness, insulin resistance, bone fracture, disability and death.

At Technion – Israel Institute of Technology
From University of California, Davis

Angela Grommet
Dr. Grommet is decorating nanoparticles (NPs) with coordination cages to develop a drug delivery vehicle for improved treatment of cancer.

At Weizmann Institute of Science
From Kansas State University

Nanami Kikuchi
Dr. Kikuchi uses the CRISPR/Cas9 system for gene editing as part of a large international program investigating the regulatory rules of RNA sequences, potentially leading to decoding genomic information.

At Technion – Israel Institute of Technology
From University of Central Florida

Sarah Kostinski
Dr. Kostinski is working on theoretical aspects of statistical and biological physics.

At Tel Aviv University
From Harvard University

Nili Krausz
Dr. Krausz is working towards the development of assistive and rehabilitation robots and increased understanding of how neurological disorders affect function and behavior.

At Weizmann Institute of Science
From Northwestern University

Alexandra Lai
Dr. Lai is researching the biological effects of exposure to atmospheric fine particulate matter (PM2.5) released by biomass burning (organic matter used as a fuel), and the relationship between these effects and the chemical composition of the PM2.5 sources.

At Weizmann Institute of Science
From University of Wisconsin, Madison

Myongwon Lee
Dr. Lee incorporates chalcogen elements in developing molecules that are capable of changing their behavior in response to external stimuli such as light (“photoswitching”). Through this project, she is gaining insight into the effect of chalcogen bonding on structural and functional components.

At Weizmann Institute of Science
From McMaster University, Canada

Tiffany Lewis
Dr. Lewis researches and explores the question of why jets form in some active galactic nuclei and not in others. She hopes that her work will eventually benefit the broader study of galaxy evolution.

At University of Haifa
From George Mason University

Amanda Lounsbury
Dr. Lounsbury examines pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs), one class of contaminants that is often not removed completely by wastewater treatment, and that presents risks at very low exposure concentrations.

At Tel Aviv University
From Yale University

Margaret Lutz
Dr. Lutz is working to devise a trigger algorithm sensitive to physics that existing algorithms are largely blind to: new particles which are produced in decays of the Higgs boson (a fundamental particle discovered in 2012), which then travel for several centimeters before decaying within the ATLAS inner detector.

At Tel Aviv University
From University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Kelsey Moreno
Dr. Moreno is conducting research at the Bat Lab for Neuro-Ecology, working on a project testing the influence of urbanization on the Egyptian fruit bat.

At Tel Aviv University
From University of Southern Mississippi

Monica Mowery
Dr. Mowery is investigating genetic diversity and adaptation in the invasive brown widow spider, Latrodectus geometricu, a globally-distributed generalist predator with neurotoxic venom.

At Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
From University of Toronto

Dahlia Perez
Dr. Perez researches mechanisms to promote cardiac regeneration after a heart attack, with implications for treatment of infarction in human cases where damage has until now been irreversible.

At Weizmann Institute of Science
From MIT

Andrea Price
Dr. Price examines the climactic and paleoenvironmental conditions that contributed to the northward migration of humans’ ancestors (hominins) from Africa.

At University of Haifa
From McGill University

Crystal Rapier
Dr. Rapier is working on generating a personalized Blood Brain Barrier-on-Chip device that could biologically mimic the human blood brain barrier, leading to the ability to reproduce a disease on the device, administer therapeutics, and measure tissue response, ultimately resulting in vaccines and other therapeutic measures for dealing with infectious and chronic diseases.

At Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
From University of California, Irvine

Grace Smarsh

Dr. Smarsh studies bat acoustic and spatial behavior, using novel GPS and microphone tagging technology to track Tadarida teniotis while studying their dynamic movements and vocal emissions. The study facilitates understanding of how small, fast-flying, nocturnal animals use social information while foraging, while also collecting valuable data for species conservation. Dr. Smarsh hopes her research will provide key information on bat movement ecology and behavior necessary to help determine how populations respond to environmental changes, such as disease, pollutants, hunting, and decimated food sources.

At Tel Aviv University
From Texas A&M University

Judith Wexler
Dr. Wexler uses RNA sequencing technologies to integrate gene expression data from multiple tissues and time points in species across the insect tree of life.

At Hebrew University of Jerusalem
From University of Maryland

Anastasia Yanchilina

Dr. Yanchilina researches past changes in Earth’s climate through the implementation of geochemical techniques which include isotope geochemistry, trace element analysis, chirp profiles, and more. Her work encompasses isotope geochemistry of amorphous opal and its diagenetic derivatives in the form of porcelanite and chert.

At Weizmann Institute of Science
From Columbia University




Meet the  Zuckerman Israeli postdoctoral women who are currently studying in the US in our program. 

10 Israeli Postdoctoral scholars in 7 US universities

Miri Adler
Dr. Adler combines mathematical models and in vitro co-culture experiments to investigate the question of how protective tissue repair can evolve into a disease state of excessive scarring, namely fibrosis, if an injury is severe or repetitive.

At Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
From Weizmann Institute of Science

Moran Balaish
Dr. Balaish develops solid-state ceramic-based memristors, materials which change their electrical resistance depending on their pre-history, or on the total current or charge that has passed through them, which have the potential to lead to neural-like information processing and storage.

From Technion – Israel Institute of Technology

Renata Balgley
Dr. Balgley is investigating novel approaches for selective chemical functionalization of silicon systems to achieve desirable chemical and electronic properties for use in solar cells and other types of energy-related applications.

At Caltech
From Weizmann Institute of Science

Hadar Elor
Dr. Elor is exploring how to leverage deep neural networks to boost clustering performance in challenging multimodal settings, improving image-to-image translation, and, in general, organizing visual information in a useful manner.

At Cornell Tech
From Tel Aviv University

Tal Gilboa
Dr. Gilboa is working on single-molecule biosensors that have the potential to detect biomarkers quickly, with low sample requirements, low cost, and high throughput, potentially leading to earlier detection of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s before significant neurodegeneration has occurred.

At Harvard University
From Technion – Israel Institute of Technology

Naama Kadmon Harpaz
Dr. Kadmon Harpaz researches the joint dynamics of neuronal populations to reveal principles of motor control and motor learning.

At Harvard University
From Weizmann Institute of Science

Shifra Lansky
Dr. Lansky uses pioneering high-speed atomic force microscopy (HS-AFM) technique to directly observe the conformational dynamics and gating mechanisms of transmembrane receptor channels at a single-molecule scale.

At Weill Cornell Medicine
From Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Netali Morgenstern-Ben Baruch
Dr. Morgenstern-Ben Baruch is investigating an inhibitory receptor, Immunoglobulin-like transcript 2, or ILT-2, to learn more about its role in T cell expansion and activation in EoE patients. She hopes to devote her career to research into personalized medication of food-related disorders.

At Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
From Tel Aviv University

Michal Polonsky
Dr. Polonsky researches cellular interactions and signaling pathways in human tissue samples to elucidate how the immune system interacts with tumor cells, holding the potential to aid in the design of improved cancer therapy protocols and more accurate diagnoses.

At Caltech
From Weizmann Institute of Science

Shira Weingarten-Gabbay
Dr. Weingarten-Gabbay studies viral immunogenicity, with the goal of identifying novel phenomenon affecting hundreds of viruses pathogenic to humans, in work that could be fundamental to rethinking vaccines and therapies to counteract viral threats.

At Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
From Weizmann Institute of Science




Meet the women who have completed the Zuckerman Postdoctoral and Israeli Postdoctoral programs.

5 Postdoctoral scholars at 3 Israeli universities and 6 Israeli Postdoctoral scholars at 6 US universities

Ivy Curren
Postdoc 2017-2018 at Weizmann Institute of Science

Dr. Curren’s specialization in laboratory experimentation (used to supplement spacecraft data) has led her to explore the environmental processes that dictate the evolution of materials on the surfaces of solar system bodies. The low temperature (–40º C) chamber at the Simulated Planetary Ices and Environments Laboratory (SPICE Lab) at Weizmann allowed her to simulate such planetary-like processes.

“I very much enjoyed being part of the program, especially connecting with fellow Zuckerman scholars (it was one of my highlights in Israel). I really think the program is doing an excellent job connecting scholars and getting us really involved.”

Ariel Ganz
Postdoc 2017-2018 at Weizmann Institute of Science

Dr. Ganz researches the impact of gut microbiota on aging, and her goal is to improve human health through personalized nutrition. Dr. Ganz currently works as a postdoc at Stanford University. She investigates the physical and psychoneuroimmunological consequences of beliefs including inflammation, immune function, cardiovascular risk, auto-immune sensitivity, gene expression, microbiome, and metabolism.

“The Zuckerman Fellowship brought so much good and collaboration to my life! Already one of the people from my lab in Israel has moved to Stanford and we have lunch together and consult on academics. AND the people in my previous lab at Weizmann have been invaluable as resources that I direct all my scientific questions about the microbiome to. They have undoubtedly helped me to succeed and excel at Stanford! And the skills I learned in Israel helped me to get on a Nature Medicine paper.”

Laura McCaslin
Postdoc 2016-2017 at Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Dr. McCaslin specializes in theoretical and computational chemistry with expertise in atmospheric chemistry, photochemistry, and vibrational spectroscopy of small molecules and molecular clusters. Dr. McCaslin is currently continuing her postdoc work under her advisor, Benny Gerber, at UC Irvine.

“I’ve had an incredible life-changing experience living in Israel and I am excited to move back to the U.S. with what I’ve learned.”

Emily Stark
Postdoc 2017-2018 at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology

Dr. Stark’s research lies within low-dimensional topology and geometric group theory, a field that aims to understand the algebraic properties of infinite groups, the geometry of spaces on which groups act, and the connections between the two. Dr. Stark is currently at the University of Utah for a one-year academic position, followed by a tenure-track position in the math department at Wesleyan University.

“I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to study at the Technion for the last three years! Thank you very much for supporting this position!”

Laurel Stephenson Haskins
Postdoc 2018-2019 at Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Dr. Stephenson Haskins’ goal is to understand the fundamental building blocks of nature. She works with phenomena that are outside of what is known as the Standard Model of particle physics. At Hebrew U, she researched dark matter model building, whose composition remains mysterious even though it may comprise up to a quarter of the energy density in the universe. Because of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN (near Geneva, Switzerland) and other developments, scientists believe that dark matter detection might actually be within reach. Dr. Haskins is currently a fellow at Insight Data Science in California.

Ayala Allon
Israeli Postdoc 2018-2019 at Ohio State University

Dr. Allon investigates the filtering of irrelevant information in working memory using both behavioral and electrophysiological measures. Her research takes into consideration the field of education technology in Israel, since filtering irrelevant information has a key role in the learning process in schools, due to the difficulty of processing all the incoming stimuli in our crowded environment. Dr. Allon is currently in Tel Aviv, working as a Data Scientist in a startup company called AntiToxin.

“It was a great honor for me to be a Zuckerman Scholar, and I enjoyed my time very much.”

Adi Ashkenazi
Israeli Postdoc 2017-2018 at MIT and Fermilab

Dr. Ashkenazi‘s research lies in the field of experimental neutrino physics in a world-leading facility, Fermilab. According to the Israeli national academy of sciences, not enough Israeli researchers are engaged in nuclear research. Dr. Ashkenazi’s experiences as part of the international nuclear community (at the intersection between particle and nuclear physics) could potentially contribute to enhancing Israel’s role in this area.

“These years are a great adventure. I’ve made my first steps in the field of experimental neutrino physics in a world-leading facility, and I look forward to carry on my work here.”

Inbar Grinberg
Israeli Postdoc 2017-2018 at University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

Dr. Grinberg’s research is focused on MEMS (MicroElectroMechanical Systems) actuators, and the ability to manipulate their responses using smartly placed directional elements. At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Dr. Grinberg has further developed her skills in micro/nano fabrication, and has enhanced her knowledge in the fields of topological insulators, non-reciprocal systems, acoustics and optics.

Tal Iram
Israeli Postdoc 2017-2018 at Stanford University

Dr. Iram studies how normal molecular changes occurring with age alter the activity of adult neural stem populations. This research could potentially lay the ground for manipulating adult neurogenesis to overcome, and possibly prevent, aging-related cognitive decline.

Margarita Orlova
Israeli Postdoc 2016-2017 at Arizona State University

Dr. Orlova researches the complex interrelationship between queens and workers in honeybees. Her approach is multidisciplinary, encompassing behavior, chemical ecology and molecular genetics. More detailed knowledge of this field could help closer monitoring of queen health and productivity in commercial hives, an area of research that is greatly needed in Israel.

Merav Stern
Israeli Postdoc 2016-2017 at University of Washington, Seattle

Dr. Stern strives for a deeper understanding of how our brains process information. She seeks to identify brain areas that alter their activity during the course of learning a visually-guided behavioral task, to characterize these changes, and to assess for each brain area the intrinsic (local) changes versus alterations in external influences from other cortical areas.