The AIA’s Educational Trusts
The value of a college education is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think.
For many years now the AIA has prided itself on the success of its educational trusts. We administer two trusts, the Wyndham Deedes Travel Scholarship Trust, named in honour of our founder, which provides scholarships for UK graduates to undertake research in Israel and the Kenneth Lindsay Scholarship Trust commemorating a former Director of the Association which awards scholarships to Israeli students wishing to study in UK universities.
We receive many outstanding applications, in fact this year it has been impossible to choose amongst them as the quality is so high. The students do exceptional and often world changing research and development, they are talented, inventive, creative, and original and contribute enormously to any university department they join.
For instance we include just a few of the phrases used by professors about our recent KL scholars :-
– Shaul is proving to be an exceptional researcher and has already had a paper accepted by one of the leading international journals in our field. Besides his excellent research progress, he has been invaluable in assisting me in the development of a new laboratory based set of projects. Prof. Visakan Kadirkamanathan, Head of Department, Automatic Control & Systems Engineering, University of Sheffield.
– Polina has been one of the most highly motivated PhD Students in my relatively large programme, which conducts top-notch research in regenerative medicine, tissue engineering and bio-sensing. Since the beginning of her PhD, Polina has presented outstanding research skills, knowledge and achievements Moreover, within the last year and a half she has achieved great results and has made significant progress. – Prof. Molly Stevens, Professor of Biomedical Materials and Regenerative Medicine, Imperial College London.
– Iddo Gruengard has just completed his MA in Performance, Design and Practice at the Central Saint Martin’s College of Arts & Design, University of the Arts, London. (UAL). As part of his graduation he had to produce a play for which he received an outstanding review. The critic concluded “Such is the difficulty in catching one of Gruengard’s productions, several members of the audience sat on the floor, as the seats were all taken. With “Metamorphosing” marking the end of his MA, Gruengard of course has further to go on his journey, but he knows where he wants to go and has an unconventional, exciting future ahead.”
The AIA just doesn’t have enough money to satisfy the number of applications we receive. Israeli students are having a very tough time trying to secure sufficient grants to enable them to study here. In these desperate times we need to help them more. As one of our scholars wrote :-
“The Kenneth Lindsay Scholarship helps me to have the opportunity in achieving a very significant milestone of my professional life. As a young researcher, leaving my country for several years is mandatory in order to improve my academic and professional experience and contribute to the progress of my country.”
Although relatively small, the scholarships are deeply appreciated by our scholars. The scholars are good ambassadors for Israel and use their time not only to study but also to engage in Israel Societies and to help counteract the vast anti-Israeli sentiment present today in most of our universities. The scholarships are open to all Israelis whatever their religion or ethnic group within the modern day Israeli society and a number of our former scholars have come from the Bedouin and Druze communities.
The AIA Kenneth Lindsay scholarships can make a huge difference to someone’s life, as the experience of studying abroad will utterly impact on their academic or professional career. But it changes much more than merely one student’s life – it can change their surrounding environment as well.
The only way to combat boycotts and hostility is for British students to have the opportunity to talk with Israelis, ask them their questions, and receive a ‘first hand’ impression of the country and its people. Many of our KL scholars have reported that for many British students it was the first time they had met an Israeli and as such gave an opportunity for perceptions to be changed and a more positive attitude formed.
This year we received over 70 applications The Israeli students are mature and often bring with them a spouse and young family. With the cost of living and university fees constantly rising, more funding is urgently needed. Israel’s future lies with these young people and we would appeal to our members to consider sponsoring a scholar and help them to achieve the highest levels of excellence.
Wyndham Deedes Scholarship
We encourage British students to study in Israel to see for themselves what Israel is really like. They come back full of enthusiasm and with a changed perspective. To this end, the AIA award a limited number of Wyndham Deedes scholarships each year. The objective of the award is to enable graduates of British Universities, who are normally resident in the UK to make an intensive study of some aspect, (sociological, scientific, cultural, economic, etc.) of life in Israel. We do not fund full-time degree courses at Israeli Universities but a short course or activity at an Israeli University is permitted if it forms part of a degree course at a British University.
Last year the applications were of a very high calibre and we awarded 3 scholarships:-
Yaelle Ester Ben-David used the scholarship to enable her to pursue a Summer Internship in Israel at the Peres Center for Peace in Tel Aviv-Jaffa. She worked primarily in the Business and Environment Department which focuses on economic collaboration and co-operation amongst Israelis and Palestinians, with the overall aim of fostering a cohesive and prosperous society and thus an environment conducive to a positive and permanent peace.
On her return she said “ This experience was insightful and rewarding, both personally and professionally. I was able to learn more about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, gaining a better understanding of the challenges as well as contributing positively to the situation. Furthermore, the internship directly complemented my desire to forge a future career within the international sphere of conflict resolution. Her full report may be found on our website.
Alexander Rodney – is a graduate of Cambridge University and Harvard University with an interest in law and ethics. He was invited to the Chambers of the Hon. Asher Grunis, Chief Justice of Israel to develop his research into, and advise the Court on, questions of transitional justice. Trained in both England and the United States he was hoping to bring rigorous legal and philosophic training to his role of law clerk at the Supreme Court of Israel.
In his report he said –
‘For the past five months, I have had the privilege of working as a law clerk for the Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice of Israel at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem. It was – socially, intellectually, and vocationally – a wonderfully enriching experience. While I have
always been stimulated by my academic studies – by the rich array of curricular and extracurricular offerings that I relished during my time in law school at Cambridge and
Harvard, and by my research interests that lie at the intersection of law and political philosophy, I have never had the opportunity to consider so directly the practical implications of abstract legal theory and normative inquiry.’
‘During my time at the Court, I gained exposure to some of the most difficult legal, social, and political questions that occupy Israeli society. Although – to a certain extent – these questions were similar to those that many other democratic societies encounter every day, the debates surrounding (and the consequences attending) their resolution seemed to be particularly significant in Israel. For it is at a high level of appellate adjudication that one frequently encounters those difficult questions that become a proxy for the fraught debates that democracies face in deciding how to constitute themselves – and, in the resolution of which, they affirm their national identity and civic character.’
‘I am immensely fortunate to have had the opportunity to spend the past five months in Israel. The ideas I have exchanged – and relationships I have formed – with my brilliant colleagues at the Court, mentors in the academy, and friends throughout Jerusalem, will remain with me for life. I am truly grateful to the Anglo-Israel Association and the Wyndham Deedes Memorial Trust for their generous support without which these inspiring experiences that I have sought to convey would not have been possible.’
His full report may be found on our website.
Miss Joanne Reilly is a graduate from the University of Oxford with a double first class degree in Philosophy and Theology and is presently pursuing a Masters Degree at Harvard University. She went to Jerusalem to participate in an academic field programme on “Co-existence in the Middle East”. On her return she has written:-
I would like to extend my most sincere thanks to the Trustees of the Wyndham Deedes Memorial Travel Scholarship for their generosity in supporting my participation in the “Coexistence in the Middle East” summer programme organized by the Rothberg International School of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the International Institute of Leadership in Israel. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Israel and whilst I would not claim to have now a thorough knowledge of the complexities of the Arab-Israeli conflict, I at least have a better idea of the right questions we should be asking when trying to understand it. Her full report may be found on our website.
Two years ago we awarded a Wyndham Deedes Scholarship to Dr Karen Leighton who as part of her final year BM studies spent 4 weeks at the Hadassah Hebrew University Hospital. Her long interesting report can be found on our website but here is an extract on Israel’s Medical clowns:-
Entertainment, recreational and / or educational activities provide some normality to the child in hospital, helping them to stay the boredom, ease the pain and keep the child in touch with their peers. But alone they fail to meet their objectives. By contrast, medical clowns are wonderfully successful. They connect with children, even those who are extremely ill. They enable children to connect with others who are trying to help them.
Israel is a global lead in medical clowning. Clowns began working in the paediatric department at Hadassah Ein Kerem September 2002. The programme was so successful they started at Ha HaTsofim shortly afterwards. Clowns now work in 22 of the 47 hospitals in Israel and since 2006 medical clown degree programmes (BA and MA) have been available at Haifa University.
Clowns are invaluable in pediatric treatment units, waiting rooms and on wards. They re-introduce fun and laughter to children reminding them that life is more than their illness. By playing games with them, performing magic tricks and generally goofing around, they lessen pain, reduce stress and enable them to cope better with difficult situations. Their doses of fun relieve a whole range of emotions such as fear, anxiety, loneliness and boredom. They are a priceless asset and an integral part of the medical team.
Medical clowns forge deep connections with chronically sick youngsters, even those who are withdrawn and remote. Once clowns are able to reach children, nurses and doctors can do the same. Clowns make them giggle, motivate them, reassure and encourage them and reduce their pain, in an environment that can otherwise seem strange and hostile. How do they do it?
A clown in hospital is a joke. But the laughter they bring is healing. It stimulates children to breathe more deeply, taking more oxygen into their lungs and via their lungs to the cells of their bodies; it increases their circulation by increasing their heart rate and reducing their blood pressure; it aides their digestion and reduces their stomach acid; it boosts both their innate and their adaptive immune systems. In all these ways it speeds up the healing process.
Laughter reduces secretion of children’s stress hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline and dopamine. It increases release of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, that increases their sense of well-being. Laughter reduces stress, tension and muscle tension and stimulates muscle relaxation. Again all help them to get well more quickly.
Laughter assists in children’s pain management. It increases release of endorphins (the body’s natural analgesics), relaxes muscles and breaks the pain-spasm cycle. Via the psychological phenomenon known as ‘facial feedback’, the simple act of smiling increases a child’s mood. By expressing a smile a child experiences the positive feelings associated with a smile. This in turn lifts his / her mood and reduces his / her pain and stress.
Medical clowns can stimulate children to cooperate with occupational or physiotherapy procedures that they may find uncomfortable or tedious. In his / her excitement the child reaches to burst bubbles the clown is blowing. The stretch required is therapeutic; it is just the movement he / she was resisting earlier. And it encourages children to think positively, feeling that there is something in this hospital experience for him / her.
Clowns bring a sense of control to the ailing child. Other staff come and go, according to their own timetables. By contrast, medical clowns come if the child wants them to and stay only as long as they are welcome. The child decides. This gives the child a sense of security and control that is often absent from the hospital environment.
From a cross-cultural perspective the hospital environment can be scary. Children may dwell in self-sufficient communities that have little contact with the outside world. They may be new immigrants unfamiliar with western medicine. They may be challenged by apparent religious, ethnic or national affiliations of doctors or nurses caring for them or of fellow patients sharing a ward with them. Clowns can help children (and adults!) build links across these cultural divides. Their smiles, fun and laughter are ‘culture-less’ bridges that inspire trust and calm fears. They open the way for other team members to bring therapeutic remedies.
For those wishing to learn more about these scholarships please visit our website at www.angloisraelassociation.com where application forms can be downloaded.
More and more students are applying to the AIA for scholarships. With more funds we could grant more scholarships and educate some of our future leaders. We are urgently looking for sponsors for a Kenneth Lindsay or a Wyndham Deedes scholar, please contact us at:
Info@angloisraelassociation.com or on telephone number 020 8458 1284
Yaroslav Tenzer is a former Kenneth Lindsay Scholar is now working in America having designed the SporoBot, a robot that could produce the world’s most potent malaria vaccine. Read the full story below:-
Yaroslav Tenzer and the SporoBot, a robot that could produce the world’s most potent malaria vaccine. Image: Sanaria
Dr. Stephen Hoffman is the founder and CEO of the biotech company Sanaria, Hoffman has done what many considered to be the impossible – he has created a vaccine that offers 100 percent immunity from malaria.
While vaccines for viruses like polio and bacteria like tetanus have been around for decades, his vaccine is the first that completely protects you from the malaria parasite, the leading cause of death in many developing countries. After ten long years of work on the vaccine, Hoffman published his findings this past August, and the vaccine is currently under trial. But while his historical discovery may seem like the end of a long journey, it’s really just the beginning. The vaccine isn’t yet ready for market, and Hoffman must now figure out how to make enough of the stuff to truly put a dent in the world’s malaria problem.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are 3.4 billion people around the world who are currently at risk of contracting malaria. In 2012 alone, says the World Health Organization, 207 million people contracted the disease, and 627,000 died from it. Hoffman’s vaccine certainly has the potential to reduce these numbers, but there’s a catch. The vaccine is made up of tiny malaria parasites that have been treated with radiation while living in the salivary glands of mosquitoes, and today, extracting these parasites involves a powerful microscope and a highly trained human hand to dissect the mosquito. It’s an almost artisanal process, one that Hoffman knows could prevent the vaccine from reaching a truly large number of people.
That’s why he and his company are building the SporoBot. Developed in partnership with the Harvard Biorobotics Laboratory, the SporoBot is a robot that can do all the delicate work that goes into making the vaccine, with one crucial difference: It can do it 20 to 30 times faster. That could be the secret to finally bringing Hoffman’s vaccine to the people who need it most.
Three Decades in the Making
Hoffman has been working on the malaria problem for nearly three decades, starting as a Naval doctor in Jakarta, Indonesia, specializing in tropical diseases. For years, he treated patients and watched “many, many, many young Indonesians die” in his care from malaria. Passionate as he was about treating patients, though, he eventually realized that he could have a much bigger impact if he could develop a vaccine to eradicate the disease altogether.
Hoffman has resorted to extreme measures in the name of this mission. Once, he subjected himself to the bite of 3,000 mosquitoes, after discovering an unusual method of vaccination that first arose in the 1970s. At the time, researchers found that after volunteers were bitten by 1,000 malaria-infected mosquitoes that had been treated with radiation, they developed immunity to malaria. When Hoffman tested the theory with 3,000 mosquitoes, not only did it make him immune to malaria, but it became the basis for Sanaria’s current vaccine.
Rather than forcing people to endure thousands of mosquito bites, Hoffman figured there must be a way to grow these parasites and inject them into the body. In 2002, he founded Sanaria from his kitchen table to figure out how to do just that. It wasn’t easy. First, the team had to figure out how to make sterile mosquitoes, how to make them live long enough, how to make them feed, and how to extract the parasites, purify, and preserve them. At the same time, Hoffman had to find a way to raise money for this research at the height of the global recession and in the face of a barrage of criticism from the scientific community.
‘A Gift From Heaven’
By 2010, Sanaria launched its first clinical trial of the vaccine and found–to Hoffman’s utter disappointment–that it didn’t offer subjects the level of protection he was looking for. “We come to work every single day with the idea that we’re working on something that, when we succeed, will save millions of lives,” he says. “It’s an incredible way to live your life, but at the same time, when it doesn’t work, it can be really problematic.”
The vaccine failed primarily because it was being injected into the skin. Hoffman guessed that if it were given intravenously, it would be more potent. He was right. In 2012, Sanaria launched another trial, during which the vaccine was given intravenously, and by the end of it, the trial subjects were still 100 percent immune. “It was a gift from heaven,” he says, remembering that day. “It was a treasure.”
The vaccine is still undergoing clinical trials and will be tested on some 500 volunteers in seven sites around the world this year. If successful, Sanaria will still have to wrestle with substantial logistical problems. For instance, the vaccine must be preserved in liquid nitrogen, which could pose a delivery challenge. The intravenous method of delivery could also make mass vaccination campaigns a challenge, says Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “It would be important to determine if the vaccine can be administered in a different and less difficult form, such as intramuscularly, with similar good results,” he says.
Sanaria, he says, must also prove that its vaccine is as effective in the field as it is in highly controlled experiments. “If the high degree of efficacy of the Sanaria vaccine holds up under ongoing field trials, then this would be very important and encouraging,” Dr. Fauci says.
But the biggest hurdle, in Hoffman’s opinion, will be scale.
Enter the Robot
That’s why, about two years ago, he began working with Harvard Biorobotics Lab to begin developing a robot that could produce mass quantities of the vaccine. That too, says Yaroslav Tenzer, who helped design the SporoBot, was a major technological undertaking. “Mosquitoes are very small and fragile,” he says. “Dissecting them and extracting the saliva glands in a sterile environment is a big manipulation challenge.”
But over the course of two years, Tenzer and his team managed to design working prototypes for each step of the process. First, the machines must restrain the mosquito. Then they pick it up, dissect it, extract the saliva gland, and collect it. Each step requires sophisticated image processing technology to ensure the right parts are being dissected and extracted. Now, Sanaria is trying to raise the money to put all the pieces together to build the SporoBot, a machine that wouldn’t be much larger than a microwave.
Once a basic prototype is built, Tenzer expects other roboticists will join in and help optimize the SporoBot. “But first, basic research needs to be done,” he says, “and that’s what we’re doing.”
Sanaria has so far raised just over $35,000 of its $250,000 with just four days left, a testament to just how difficult it is to crowd fund a product that you can’t give away as a perk for donating. Still, Hoffman says even if Sanaria can’t meet its crowd funding goal, he won’t stop until he finds the funding somewhere. It is, he says, quite literally a matter of life or death. “I’m envisioning total success,” he says. “I won’t be in a situation where we can’t produce enough of this vaccine in the most rapid period of time because we don’t have robots doing this one part of the process.”