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AFTAU Connections: January 2019



TAU-Led International Team Discovers New Way Supermassive Black Holes Are "Fed"
These "giant monsters" were observed suddenly devouring gas in their surroundings. more


New Biomarker Links Cancer Progression to Genome Instability
High level of specific protein in tumors indicates prognosis as well as optimal treatments, TAU researchers say. more

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Microplastics and Plastic Additives Discovered in Ascidians Along Israel's Coastline
TAU report assesses presence of plastic additives in Eastern Mediterranean and Red Sea marine life. more


Heart Cell Defect Identified as Possible Cause of Heart Failure in Pregnancy
TAU research has diagnostic and therapeutic implications. more


Sustainable "Plastics" Are on the Horizon
New sustainable biopolymer technology developed by TAU researchers may one day free the world of its worst pollutant. more


Drivers Who Can "Bid" for Parking Spaces May Improve Parking Options Around the World
Parking algorithm can relieve pressure on lucrative parking areas, TAU researchers say. more


Breast Cancer Recruits Bone Marrow Cells to Increase Cancer Cell Proliferation
Cancer-associated fibroblasts are derived from bone marrow cells, TAU researchers say. more


Epigenetic Map May Pave Way for New Therapeutic Solutions to Hearing Loss
Understanding genes involved in hearing are milestone discoveries, TAU researchers say. more


Gas Clouds Whirling Around Black Hole Form Heart of Distant Astronomical Object
Discovery is the first detailed observation of the environs of a massive black hole outside the Milky Way. more


The Tactics Behind "Taking to the Streets"
A new book by TAU researcher explores importance of public space in the design of social protests. more


Training Program for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities Opens at School of Dental Medicine
Pilot program helps students find jobs and changes attitudes about people with special needs. more





Dear Friends,

Happy New Year! I wish you only good things in 2019.

2018 was a banner year for Tel Aviv University and its American Friends. TAU research was splashed across the pages of The New York Times, Nature, Forbes, Psychology Today, Science Daily ... only to be nuzzled aside by exciting new collaborations in California and Illinois.

Our 2018 events won the hearts and minds of people across the US.

AFTAU Board Member Leslie Benitah and her husband Harry opened their beautiful Bal Harbour home to musicians from the TAU Buchmann-Mehta School of Music and the IPO and 100 very lucky guests.

Future Event:  

Tomorrow Leslie and Harry open their home again to celebrate the TAU MiG Prize for Architecture. The prize honors Leslie's father, Michel Gelrubin, of blessed memory.

The 2018 AFTAU Mission and TAU Board of Governors Meeting was the best one-two punch in recent history. Our 63-member delegation broke all records. Dr. Kathy Fields-Rayant gave a hands-on lesson in entrepreneurship. We commemorated several AFTAU additions to The Goldschleger School of Dental Medicine: the official opening of the Aufzien General Anesthesia Theater, the Finkelstein Sterilization Center, the Dr. Garry Rayant and Dr. Kathy Fields-Rayant Anesthesia Theater and the Harriet Rothman, z'l, Memorial Garden.

We also celebrated the inauguration of the $10M Koret Foundation-Tel Aviv University Bay Area Collaborative Initiative, the opening of the Gail White and Anne + William Cohen Multidisciplinary Brain Cancer Research Program and the Shmunis Family Anthropology Institute. TAU Ventures officially launched with AFTAU board member Behzad Kianmahd, as the lead investor and co-founder of the fund.

Future Event:  

You can register for the 2019 TAU Board of Governors here.

IDEAS Immersion brought TAU's best young entrepreneurs to Chicago for a one-of-a-kind experience for students poised to become leaders in Israel's evolving digital-technology sphere.

Vlad and Sana Shmunis hosted TAU Prof. Israel Finkelstein at the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. Israel is the head of the new Shmunis Family Anthropology Institute at Tel Aviv University. I don't know much about anthropology, but I can tell you that I became an instant fan of Israel Finkelstein's. If you get the chance to hear him speak, take it!

Varda and Israel Shaked generously hosted an inspirational evening of music featuring world-renowned pianist Tomer Lev at their home in Brookline, MA. Varda is a founding member of AFTAU's Boston Alumni Leadership Committee. Tomer is Head of the TAU Buchmann-Mehta School of Music. He delighted us with a peek inside the world of Master Classes before his performance.

Future Event:  

On February 19, Tomer Lev will be joining three young Israeli pianists in a MultiPiano Project at the San Francisco Conservatory. This evening is very generously hosted by Barbro and Barney Osher and includes a buffet dinner and after-performance dessert reception. Tickets are available here.

The 2018 TAU-AFTAU Annual Gala went to Los Angeles to honor Susan and Henry Samueli and the new Susan and Henry Samueli Engineering and Health Research Fund at TAU. The two-day event included a CleanTech symposium, featuring TAU Prof. Colin Price, TAU Governor and AFTAU Board Member Aaron Tartakovsky and H. David Nahai, the former CEO of the LA Department of Water and Power. It morphed into an eye-opening discussion on how private industry can create more environmentally friendly programs.

We closed with a lunch at the beautiful Beverly Hills home of Pouran Nazarian for President's Circle and Dizengoff Society members — men and women who have made gifts totaling $1 million dollars or more over their lifetime.

Friends, Tel Aviv University inspires me every day. I'm a very proud TAU alum. These news stories and events are the icing on the cake of a 45-year relationship that has shaped me as a husband, father, businessman and philanthropist.

I hope you will join me in 2019 in making Tel Aviv University a priority ... and that you will choose to learn more, to attend more events and to reach out to AFTAU staff across the country to identify more opportunities for you to make a difference in this world.

Thank you again and
Happy New Year,

Richard Sincere
National Chairman


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