18 August 2021

Tell us about your research…
I am currently working in Prof. Ariel Kaplan’s lab prior to beginning my master’s degree this coming October.
Prof. Kaplan’s lab deals with biophysics – the use of physical methods and unique, advanced equipment (all built and designed here in the faculty!). The lab focuses on research at the individual molecule level in a way that allows for amazing insights regarding interactions between different biological components (e.g. – DNA and transcription factors).
At first, I found the combination of biology and physics to be unconventional, as I have always thought of them as two distinct scientific fields. . After learning more about biophysics, I realized that this extraordinary combination opens a door to incredible scientific insights that are otherwise locked when attempted to be opened in a “conventional” biological way. I also was excited to attempt scientific strategies such as catching a single DNA molecule using laser traps!

What is your background in the lab and how did you come a cross into this field of research?
I came to Prof. Kaplan’s lab after taking his course “Molecular Biophysics” – a faculty elective course available for undergraduate students.
Since the first day of the class, I have been fascinated by biophysics.

How did you get into the Faculty of Biology at the Technion?
I began studying as an undergraduate student at the Technion as part of the “Rothschild Program for Excellence.” – During my first year, I took a variety of courses from different disciplines, but by the end of the year, I decided to study molecular biology. By dipping my feet into all the Technion has to offer, I realized how rich the life sciences truly are My biology courses and professors were the most interesting!

3 tips on how to balance your personal life with your student life.
1. Do not get sucked into studying! You can always spend more time on homework; there is no limit to it. However, it is equally important to rest, clear your mind with hobbies, or spend time with friends
2. Organization is key! Especially when you have several classes and hours of homework (especially in the first year). Be aware of your assignments and plan your time properly.
Time management will help you avoid the unnecessary pressure of last-minute assignment submissions.
3. Study with friends! Find peers in your classes that you get along with to study with. After tackling homework in cell biology together, grab a drink.

A Funny story from school?
During the COVID-19 pandemic I served as the chair of the student committee of the Faculty of Biology. After several Zoom and WhatsApp calls with one of my fellows’ delegates (whom I had not met face-to-face before), I unknowingly ran into her in one of the in-person lab courses. After amicably talking for a few minutes, she realized that I had no clue who she was since I did not recognize her “in real life”, so she reminded me of her name. While a very embarrassing situation, COVID-19 created amusing social situations.

A tip for a beginner student?
Take time for yourself to rest and recharge, since the degree is challenging and exhausting
Spend time getting to know new people – who knows, maybe they will become lifelong friends! Some of my best friends today are peers that I met during my time here as an undergraduate.
In addition, take advantage of the various courses offered by the faculty and the opportunity to carry out a research project in one of the labs. These opportunities will let you actually take part in real research and aid you in determining which fields interest you the most. For instance, working with Prof. Meital Landau’s lab taught me that I love scientific research in general and biological research in particular.

A little about the campus life at the Technion?
Like many new students, I was also afraid that I was going to come across mostly strange people at the Technion, that all that goes through their minds is submissions of assignments and learning for exams. Yet, I found out there’s a crazy social life here! In the dormitories I made very good friends. The student association organizes lots of great parties and events throughout the year. In between, we also went out to bars (whether to “Junta” – a bar that is right inside the Technion! – or to bars that are in downtown or near the Technion), we played board games, and watched Technion screenings of Game of Thrones. Lastly, the Technion has almost everything you need for everyday life – restaurants, supermarkets, a pharmacy, a bank, a post office, and even a gym with a pool (the gym for a nominal fee and the pool is completely free for undergraduate students!).

As a student of biology at the Technion, what can you tell about the potential for a post-graduate career? Where are you headed?
To be honest – this question has accompanied me from the beginning of my undergraduate degree. I have come to understanding that in order to get good jobs, it is worthwhile to do an advanced degree – at least a master’s degree, preferably also a doctorate. A degree from the Technion is highly appreciated – and as such opens many doors. The “Technion” brand benefits its graduates, whether in industry, or in academia (continuing in various universities in Israel, the Weizmann Institute, or prestigious universities abroad) -.
I was surprised to find out what a huge leap the fields of biology and biochemistry have taken in recent years. There are now many start-ups in the field of personalized medicine, biochemical processes, or development of innovative drugs. In addition, covid-19 has propelled the entire biotech ecosystem to develop rapidly. The whole world realized that no matter how sophisticated our computers can be, in the end, a small virus can affect the lives of each and every one of us :). In this respect, a degree from the Technion is unique since it already combines basic studies with exposure to a wide range of the most advanced, up-to-date research methods – in a combination that allows for specialization at a later stage.

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