She was studying chemical engineering and he was in his last year of medical school. Yet, their paths crossed. “I was taking a tennis class and Nathan spotted me,” said Fariba Ghodsian. The two later married. “Credit goes to the Technion,” she said. Now they are returning the favor.
Drs. Ghodsian and Fischel have generously supported the Technion with the Dr. Fariba Ghodsian and Dr. Nathan Fischel Graduate Fellowships Fund in the Nancy and Stephen Grand Technion Energy Program and the Ghodsian-Fischel Fellowship Fund in the Center for Security Science and Technology. Both serve on the ATS National Board and the ATS – Southern California Board. “Whatever you give to the Technion has a ripple effect because the Technion supports defense in Israel, high-tech, biotech, and many other industries,” said Fariba.
She and Nathan also work to introduce Technion alumni to ATS. “We have a lot in common and many of us are successful in our field,” said Fariba. “The ATS gives us an opportunity to get to know each other and network.” The couple thanks the Technion not only for serving up their “love match,” but also for jump-starting their careers.
Born in Germany, Nathan came to the Technion where he received preparatory classes to learn Hebrew. He was pleased with the academic seriousness of student life and was lucky enough to study with Nobel laureate Distinguished Professor Avram Hershko. “I kept those notes for 30 years,” he said. Nathan also did his thesis under a young professor then at the start of his career — former Technion President Peretz Lavie.
Nathan’s career got off the ground with his acceptance into a residency program at Boston Children’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School, a move he attributes to his Technion training. Following a research fellowship in hematology/oncology at the University of Oxford and Harvard, he became a professor at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the UCLA School of Medicine, retiring in 2009. He also founded a genomics company and in 1999 started DAFNA Capital Management, a hedge fund that invests in biotechnology and medical device companies.
Fariba was born in Iran and started studying at the University of Tehran in 1977, just as the political situation was becoming uncertain. Transferring the following year to the Technion, she took a course with Nobel laureate Distinguished Professor Dan Shechtman and thrived in “an informal atmosphere that stimulated discussion and invited challenge.” The Technion paved the way for a master’s degree at MIT, “and everything built on that,” she said.
She then earned her Ph.D. in biomedical engineering at the University of Oxford, conducted postdoctoral research at Harvard Medical School, and received an MBA at UCLA. Gravitating from the biotech industry to investments, she was named one of the top five biotechnology analysts by the Wall Street Journal in 2002. Fariba then joined Nathan at DAFNA, where she is chief investment officer.
“It has been so gratifying to see our professors become Nobel laureates and the Technion become such a strong force in shaping Israel,” said Fariba. “We’re grateful to be a part of it.”
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