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DR. MARCELLE MACHLUF:
At an age when many girls still dream of becoming a ballerina or a princess, Dr. Marcelle Machluf already knew she would be a medical researcher.
“My mother became very sick when I was 12,” she recalls, “and I had to take her to a lot of hospitals. I became acquainted with many hospitals and doctors, and I was inspired by them. So I said, ‘This is my area.’”
Today, Dr, Machluf is a senior lecturer at the Technion Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Engineering. In her laboratory, she is developing nano-particles for the delivery of anti-cancer drugs to the brain and other organs, working on tissue engineering for blood vessels and the heart, and finding ways to turn our bodies into pharmaceutical factories that can produce natural drugs to fight disease.
Born in Morocco, Dr. Machluf came to Israel with her mother and grandmother when she was just one year old. She grew up in Ashdod, where her mother supported the family as a seamstress and a cleaning lady. After completing high school and her army service, Dr. Machluf received a B.Sc. in biology from Hebrew University. She went on to receive an M.Sc. and a Ph.D. in biotechnology engineering from Ben-Gurion University of the
Negev, and then was a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard Medical School where her research focused on gene therapy, tissue engineering and the control of drug delivery in cancer therapy.
Her decision to work in the field of biotechnology engineering was shaped by her mother’s illness and how it impacted their lives. “I cannot just do basic research and work on things that cannot be applied soon for use by a human being,” she said.
She was approached by various Israeli universities, but says, “The best choice for me was the Technion, since I wanted a place that offered biology, life sciences and engineering.”
Dr. Machluf joined the Technion in 2001 and immediately felt the impact of the American Technion Society (ATS). “ATS support made it possible for me to have a huge lab with all the instruments I wanted right at the beginning. Today I have 10 doctoral students, one post-doctoral student, and one technician. This not only helps to advance my research, it also provides Israel with a new generation of first-rate scientists who will go on to make new discoveries and educate other young Israelis.”
Dr. Machluf is married with three children and says, “I hope that more women will know they can have a family and a successful career in science and take part in the future at the Technion.”
Click here to listen to Dr. Machluf talk about her groundbreaking research as part of the Techcast series. Techcast is a series of ATS podcasts, online audio programs, featuring groundbreaking Technion faculty members. These interviews can be played directly from your computer or downloaded.