Technion Announces Inaugural Winners of Crown Vanguard Award for Science and Technology Innovation

October 6, 2020

The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology has announced the inaugural winners of the Crown Vanguard Award for Science and Technology Innovation. Associate Professor Avi Schroeder, of the Wolfson Faculty of Chemical Engineering, and Associate Professor Daniel Zelazo, of the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering were selected, respectively, for their work in life sciences and classical engineering.

The Crown Vanguard Award was created to help secure the Technion’s place at the forefront of innovation, making it possible to retain outstanding mid-career faculty whose brilliant work is at the stage wherein it could become the next world-changing breakthrough. It helps provide the assets and funding to ensure the Technion retains its best researchers, and its position as the birthplace of the science and technology discoveries that impact Israel and the world.

Associate Professor Avi Schroeder, who leads the Laboratory for Targeted Drug Delivery and Personalized Medicine Technologies in the Wolfson Faculty of Chemical Engineering, will use his Crown Vanguard Award to purchase a flow cytometer sorter. Considered to be crucial for the Technion to compete with other leading universities, the sorter will replace a widely used system that has been in at the University for more than 12 years. Flow cytometry is used to detect and measure the physical and chemical characteristics of natural or synthetic cells and micro- and nano-particles. Flow cytometers identify, count, and characterize cells and small particles, and flow cytometry sorters sort them for further analysis. This includes growing the sorted cells, and extracting DNA, RNA, and other proteins from them for further detection, analysis, and evaluation. The sorter will benefit not just Prof. Schroeder: it will also be used by faculty members from three different departments.

Associate Professor Daniel Zelazo is the director of the Philadelphia Flight Control Laboratory in the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering. He was awarded the Crown Vanguard Award for his work that is critical for the development of controls necessary for multi-agent systems, which include automated transportation networks, smart grids, and the Internet of Things. Such controls require theoretical advances and experimental setups to validate theories. To that end, Prof. Zelazo will use his award to build a lab for testing algorithms, developing new control algorithms, and implementing the results in specific multi-agent control systems, including swarms of mini-robots, coordinated drones, and a smart grid control simulator. The new lab will also be used for teaching purposes.

The Crown Vanguard Award for Science and Technology Innovation is granted annually in a variety of disciplines under the broad umbrellas of Science & Technology and Human Health. Prize winners are selected by a council of world-renowned scientists and experts in each field, reviewed by a council comprised of the president of the Technion, one Technion vice president, the dean of the Graduate School, two representatives of both the Israel National Academy of Science and the Technion Senate. The Council’s recommendations are then passed through an evaluation committee that includes the Technion Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Executive Vice President for Research.

The Crown Family has long been a part of the Technion family. Past gifts to the university have included major funding for the Technion Integrated Cancer Center, support for graduate student fellowships, and the establishment of the Crown Center for Superconductivity. Lester Crown received a Technion Honorary Fellowship in 1996. In 1994, he was also awarded the Albert Einstein Award, the American Technion Society’s highest honor.

For more than a century, the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology has pioneered in science and technology education and delivered world-changing impact. Proudly a global university, the Technion has long leveraged boundary-crossing collaborations to advance breakthrough research and technologies. Now with a presence in three countries, the Technion will prepare the next generation of global innovators. Technion people, ideas and inventions make immeasurable contributions to the world, innovating in fields from cancer research and sustainable energy to quantum computing and computer science to do good around the world.

The American Technion Society supports visionary education and world-changing impact through the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. Based in New York City, we represent thousands of US donors, alumni and stakeholders who invest in the Technion’s growth and innovation to advance critical research and technologies that serve the State of Israel and the global good. Over more than 75 years, our nationwide supporter network has funded new Technion scholarships, research, labs, and facilities that have helped deliver world-changing contributions and extend Technion education to campuses in three countries.