Hebrew University of Jerusalem doctoral student Yossi Kabessa brought home the top prize from the Global Young Scientists Summit in Singapore for an innovative proposal to protect urban water supply systems. Kabessa, who received the award from Singapore's president Tony Tan Keng Yam, returned to Israel with the Singapore Challenge gold medallion and a $100,000 cash prize. Kabessa is the Bryant and Lillian Shiller Fellow at the Hebrew University's Peter Brojde Center for Innovative Engineering and Computer Science, which focuses on applying scientific discoveries into ground-breaking technology.
Kabessa's winning proposal was for the use of biosensors based on genetically engineered bacteria to monitor the presence of pollutants and hazardous materials in the water supply system of large urban areas. Kabessa conceived his proposal while working on another project based on bacterial biosensors, aimed at the remote detection of buried landmines, led by Prof. Aharon Agranat and Prof. Shimshon Belkin at the Hebrew University.
Organized by Singapore's National Research Foundation, the five-day Global Young Scientists Summit brought together 350 post-doctoral fellows and PhD students from around the world, along with internationally eminent science and technology leaders, among them 13 Nobel laureates. The young researchers were encouraged to submit proposals to address challenges related to urban development and sustainable cities.
According to Yossi Kabessa, "The Global Young Scientists Summit provided a great opportunity to exchange ideas with top scientists and Nobel laureates from around the world. I was proud to present made-in-Israel ideas for ensuring the safety of large populations around the world, and I was especially honored to bring home the gold medallion to the Hebrew University and to Israel."
In 2013, Kabessa was part of a team that made headlines by building the world's tiniest menorah (candelabrum), the size of a speck of dust, in honor of Hanukkah, to demonstrate the revolutionary abilities of the Nanoscribe system based at the Brojde Center.
Kabessa earned a B.Sc. in Physics and M.Sc. in Applied Physics at the Hebrew University. He is now studying for a Ph.D. in Applied Physics under Prof. Aharon Agranat, Director of the Brojde Center. His research deals with the development of a generic method for the construction of electro-optic integrated circuits by high energy ion implantation.