The Weizmann Institute of Science
One of the World’s Leading Basic Research Institutions
The Weizmann Institute of Science is one of the world’s leading basic research institutions. It is comprised of 250 experimental and theoretical research groups across five faculties – Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Mathematics and Computer Science, and Physics.
The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
Insights that emerge from its labs help provide a fundamental understanding of the human body and the universe, and lead to advances in medicine, technology, and the environment. This is science for the benefit of humanity at its best.
Weizmann Institute scientists are credited with inventing amniocentesis, blockbuster drugs for multiple sclerosis, nano materials and compounds for industrial and medical uses, advanced computer technology, and breakthrough data-storage options.
Scientists are investigating the intricacies of the immune system, breaking new ground in understanding rare genetic disorders, developing new breeds of plants, and elucidating physical properties of the universe.
Research and Discovery
Our cancer research has led to many discoveries, including the gene that encodes p53 – the tumor suppressor protein found to be dysfunctional in almost all cancers – and a protein that triggers chronic myelogenous leukemia, which provided the foundation for the development of Imatinib (known as Gleevec).
Our investigations led to the basis for the drug Erbitux to treat colorectal cancer and head and neck cancer, and many other insights in breast and ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, and more.
Our neuroscientists have revealed how the brain and nervous system develop and function in health and disease, with insights on neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and mental illnesses and conditions such as autism, depression, and schizophrenia.
One of the Institute’s strengths is its development of basic research tools, such as nuclearmagnetic resonance for the study of biological and non-biological materials.
The Weizmann Institute has historically led the way in computer science research; in the 1970s, the algorithm that allows for safe and secure computer transactions, RSA, was co-invented by our scientists and provided the foundations for start-up companies that fuel Israel’s booming telecommunications industry. Three of our computer scientists have won the Turing Award, considered the ”Nobel of mathematics”. And the list goes on.
Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2009
Prof. Ada Yonath of the Department of Structural Biology received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2009 for deciphering the structure of the ribosome, which has implications for the development of new antibiotics and better understanding resistance to antibiotics. In addition, she has elucidated the modes of action of many antibiotics that target the ribosome and revealed mechanisms of drug resistance, paving the way for structure-based drug design.
None of these achievements would be possible without the people behind the science: the scientists, postdoctoral fellows, and students who think outside the box for new solutions to pressing problems; alumni who become part of a large international network of scientists collaborating on a diversity of projects; and the philanthropists who generously back the research. The Weizmann Institute holds a firm belief that its most important asset is its people, and a clear understanding that basic research requires years – even decades – of investment to bear fruit.
The Weizmann Institute of Science was founded by Professor Chaim Weizmann (1874 – 1952) in 1934 as the Daniel Sieff Research Institute, named in memory of the son of U.K. donors Rebecca and Israel Sieff. The Institute was renamed in honor of Dr. Weizmann in 1949. Dr. Weizmann was a renowned chemist and ardent Zionist who saw his vision of the establishment of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel and of higher education in Israel all come to fruition during his lifetime. In partnership with others he established the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1925 and the Weizmann Institute of Science.
While working as a lecturer at the University of Manchester, Dr. Weizmann developed the process for producing acetone through bacterial fermentation, which was of great importance to the British during World War I. He worked with Lord Arthur James Balfour to write the Balfour Declaration in support of the establishment of the State of Israel and met with U.S. President Harry Truman to convince him to support the State’s establishment. Dr. Weizmann became the first President of the State of Israel. His residence on the Weizmann Institute campus is now a museum and a national landmark.
Dr. Chaim Weizmann
The history of the Weizmann Institute of Science is interwoven with that of its friends and benefactors from around the world. Established originally with the generous support of the Sieff family of the UK, the Weizmann Institute has proudly assembled a wide international network of friends and supporters, all of whom share our vision of science for the benefit of humanity. The Weizmann Institute campus pays tribute to these exceptional philanthropists through its buildings, plazas, halls, and courts. Their names, etched in stone, are an inspiration to our community.