Skip to main content

From EMT to MIT: Shai Zilberzwige-Tal’s Fast-Track Journey in Life Sciences

Shai Zilberzwige-Tal

Scholarship helps outstanding student follow her dreams.

When Shai Zilberzwige-Tal completed her army service, during which she was an emergency medical technician (EMT) stationed along the Gaza Strip, she knew she wanted to learn more about helping people combat disease.  

Now, eight years later, she’s getting ready to travel to Boston, with a PhD, two kids, and a husband in tow, to begin a post-doctoral position at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in cell biology.

“This is a dream come true for me, and the scholarship support I received throughout my studies has been instrumental in making it happen,” she said.

Zilberzwige-Tal grew up in a small town in the south of Israel. After the army, she enrolled at TAU’s Wise Faculty of Life Sciences as an undergraduate student in biology. From the start of her academic journey, she showed her exceptional talent and drive: she was on the Dean’s list two years in a row, received an excellency award and graduated with honors. 

After completing her bachelor’s degree, Zilberzwige-Tal enrolled in the exclusive Fast Track Program at TAU’s Smolarz Graduate School. The program for outstanding students offers a direct path to a PhD in four years. For Zilberzwige-Tal, the road took five years, with two maternity leaves in the midst. The Argentinian Friends of TAU support this program, in which participating students receive full coverage of tuition and a living stipend.


“Scholarships are very important in promoting science and research in general. Students really rely on this help to get ahead,” said Zilberzwige-Tal. “Thanks to the support of scholarships, I was able to concentrate on my research and invest most of my time in my studies.” 

While studying towards her PhD at the microbiology lab in the Shmunis Center of Biomedicine & Cancer Research, Zilberzwige-Tal continued to prove that she was an exceptional student and a leader on numerous occasions. She was nominated as the Faculty’s Student Union representative for three years in a row, and she received an excellency award for her work as a teaching assistant. Recently, Zilberzwige-Tal was awarded an early career research grant from NANOSERIES for her contribution to developing a disease-modifying treatment for rare genetic metabolic disorders.

During her time at MIT, Zilberzwige-Tal plans to continue her research in gene-editing technologies. “These technologies hold great promise for the treatment of human disease,” she said.  She also hopes to reach out and initiate collaborations with world-leading scientists—collaborations that she will continue once she completes the fellowship and returns home to open her own lab in Israel, she says.

Related posts

Conquering the Wall of Fear

Yakir Mazuz

Starting from Scratch at TAU’s Lowy International School

Tim Kogan

“Overcoming the Most Difficult Year of My Life”

Weaam Asli

At the Vanguard of Global Brain Research

Dr. Tomer Langberg

From the Patriarch to the Mossad: Learning About Israel on the Inside

Athanasios Katsikidis

Combating Stigmas, Helping Others Thrive

Bat El Bogala

From City of God to the Holy Land

Ana Letícia Araújo

Nursing People through Hard Times

Hodaya Levy Rublin

The Business of Balagan: Global MBA Propels Student’s Career

Eitan Rozen

Forging a Brighter Future through Caring

Wudnesh Wolde Giorgis

An Unexpected Fit: From Yeshiva to TAU Law School

Daniel Ben Zeev

A Rising Star in STEM and Social Engagement

Kochava Pavlov

Mexican Archaeologist Aspires to Bridge Countries, Cultures

Andrea Garza

Bringing Healthy Smiles to the Ultra-Orthodox Community

Alon Elias

Scholarship Helps Student Balance Top Internship with Graduate Studies

David Bodenheim

“A True Chance to Follow My Dream”

Batya Sonnenfeld


Tok Corporate Centre, Level 1,
459 Toorak Road, Toorak VIC 3142
Phone: +61 3 9296 2065
Email: [email protected]

New South Wales

Level 22, Westfield Tower 2, 101 Grafton Street, Bondi Junction NSW 2022
Phone: +61 418 465 556
Email: [email protected]

Western Australia

P O Box 36, Claremont,
WA  6010
Phone: :+61 411 223 550
Email: [email protected]