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4.12.13 Issue

by Dr. Curtis Hutt, Special Program Coordinator, Schwalb Center for Israel and Jewish Studies

Israeli scientist Dr. Gilad Barnea is visiting Omaha. On April 16 at 7 p.m., at UNO, in the Arts and Sciences Hall, Room 306, he will give a talk titled Academics Without Borders: Israeli Scientists in the United States. The talk is organized by the Schwalb Center for Israel and Jewish studies. It is free and open to the public.

Dr. Barnea is a molecular and cellular neurobiologist with a research laboratory at Brown University. He is a graduate of Hebrew University in Jerusalem who completed his Ph.D. at New York University. As a postdoctoral scientist at Columbia University, Dr. Barnea worked with the Nobel Laureate Richard Axel. In 2009, he received the prestigious EUREKA grant from the National Institute of Health. The focus of his research is how the olfactory system detects and identifies odor stimuli and how this information is translated into behavioral outputs.

The topic of Dr. Barnea’s talk is Israeli scientists in the United States. Two-thirds of all Israeli scientists live and work abroad. There are many Israeli scientists in academic institutions throughout the United States. This is by no means unusual, as scientists from around the world are trained and find employment in United States’ research institutions. Dr. Barnea will be speaking as an Israeli whose universities have produced groundbreaking scholars across a wide number of fields, but also as a member of an international research community where national borders are often blurred or nonexistent. To quote Dr. Anna Dunaevsky, an Israeli neuroscientist who is an Associate Professor with the Munroe-Meyer Institute at UNMC: “When you visit graduate scientific research centers in the United States and Nebraska specifically, it is more like visiting the United Nations. We all work alongside fellow scientists from Asia and Europe. In my own lab, there are post-docs and graduate students from India and South Korea.”

Responding to Dr. Barnea’s talk will be another Israeli scientist who lives and works in Omaha. Dr. Steve Caplan is an Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UNMC, the author of Matter Over Mind and Welcome Home, Sir, and a regular contributor to the Guardian newspaper on issues of international science []. Steve and his wife Dr. Naava Naslavsky, an Assistant Professor in the same department at UNMC, both earned their doctoral degrees from Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

For further information about Dr. Barnea’s talk, contact Dr. Curtis Hutt, Special Program Coordinator of the Schwalb Center at, or 402.554.3175.