Letter from Our CEO

July 7, 2023


Dear Friends,

"Summer in the City," the classic 60s hit song by The Lovin' Spoonful, has become and remains the season's anthem for cities across the US. It's worth noting that the lead guitarist for the group, Zal Yanovsky, was a Canadian Jew who was the child of Eastern European immigrants. After dropping out of high school at 16, he spent time living on a kibbutz in Israel and then spent time in Tel Aviv. I can't help but think that the streets of Tel Aviv contributed to the grit and determination that would help Yanovsky and The Lovin' Spoonful become so successful. Tel Aviv is that way — it's a city that demands achievements, and so does Tel Aviv University (TAU). Researchers and students across campus continually prove to the world what success looks like through ground-breaking innovation and cutting-edge research.

Rankings are one tool for measuring success, and I am proud to share that TAU was just ranked the number one university in Israel by the prestigious QS World University Ranking 2024. TAU placed 215th out of 1,500 universities overall and first in Israel. The ranking focuses on research and education parameters such as citations, peer review, employability of graduates, and International Research Network. For this year's ranking, three new metrics — sustainability, employment outcomes, and international research network — were added. The results draw on the analysis of 17.5 million academic papers and the expert opinions of more than 240,000 academic faculty and employers. The full ranking can be found here.

Professor Dan Peer, Head of the Nanomedicine Laboratory at the Shmunis School of Biomedicine and Cancer Research and TAU's Vice President of Research and Development, has successfully discovered a novel approach to fighting cancer cells by inducing them to "commit suicide" with a self-produced bacterial toxin. Professor Peer, a pioneer in the development of RNA therapies explains that many bacteria secrete toxins and that by delivering the toxin directly to the cancer cells, unlike chemotherapy which kills healthy cells, this treatment is targeted. "It's like placing a Trojan horse inside the cancer cell."

Professor Carmit Levy from the Faculty of Medicine is a leading global researcher and the 2019 recipient of the prestigious Young Investigator Award, recognizing her major contributions to the field of melanoma research. Most recently she led a study that revealed critical insights in the fight against deadly melanoma. In a joint study with Sheba Medical Center, the team revealed how melanoma cancer cells affect their environment to support their needs. This is the first time that researchers have proven how cancer proliferates, and they believe that the discovery may contribute to the development of a vaccine against melanoma.

TAU's campus does not slow down for summer. In the past few weeks, Professor Dan Amiram, Dean of the Coller School of Management, hosted Mattel Chairman and CEO Ynon Kreiz, a TAU alum of the Faculty, for a conversation about transformative leadership. Media mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, co-founder of Dreamworks Animation and former Chairman of Disney Animation, spoke to students at TAU Ventures about entrepreneurship, leadership, failure, and AI. And a new statue of Sholem Aleichem, the Yiddish author and playwright who is best known for his collection of stories Tevye the Dairyman, the basis for Fiddler on the Roof, was dedicated on campus. Thanks to Dr. Mark Zilberquit, the founder of the Yiddish Heritage Preservation Foundation, in cooperation with the Leonard Blavatnik Foundation, the campus has a new permanent resident.

They say New York is the city that never sleeps, but I think Tel Aviv is just as deserving of that title.

Wishing you a Shabbat shalom and a good summer.

Jennifer Gross
Chief Executive Officer