Professor Ilana Berman-Frank
The Director of the Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences, Professor Ilana Berman-Frank transferred to the University of Haifa in March 2018 with more than 15 years as a faculty member at the Faculty of Life Sciences, Bar Ilan University. Prof. Berman-Frank immigrated to Israel from the USA as a child and after finishing high-school and army service returned to complete her BSc. in Biology and Ecology at the University of California, Irvine. Then returned to Israel and finished her PhD (joint Bar Ilan U and Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research (IOLR)) and an initial post-doctoral fellowship from the Hebrew U studying the dominant algae of the Sea of Galilee, Israel’s only freshwater lake. She then spent 4 years of post-doctoral work at the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University, NJ before returning to Israel and Bar Ilan University where she successfully headed the Aquatic Ecology and Biological Oceanography laboratory.
Research at the laboratory is dedicated to the impact of aquatic ecosystems on the environment and society, ranging from the local to the global scales, from Lake Kinneret to the Mediterranean and Red Seas, to the South Pacific Ocean. Research is focused on how global changes and environmental stressors influence the organisms forming the base of the aquatic food-webs. Other research projects at the laboratory are more locally relevant to issues specifically affecting our local marine environments of the eastern Mediterranean Sea, and include examining the impacts of discharges from the rapidly expanding desalination industries on microbial coastal populations. As principal investigator of a large collaborative interdisciplinary project (with co-PIs from Bar Ilan University, the Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research (IOLR)l Co, the Hebrew University, Tel Aviv University, and MERCI consortium) the Berman-Frank laboratory helped establish and deploy the first deep-water tethered mooring in the Levantine basin of the eastern Mediterranean with an array of instruments providing physical, chemical, and biological measurements.
In addition to active research and teaching, Prof. Berman-Frank has extensive experience in local and international capacities promoting marine sciences. She has served as President of the Israeli Association of Aquatic Sciences; Chair of the Education Committee, Mediterranean Sea Research Center of Israel (MERCI – a consortium of all Israeli Universities focusing on Mediterranean Sea research and education); Co-Chair of the International Group of Aquatic Primary Productivity (GAP); member of the International Association of Limnology and Oceanography(ASLO) ethics and scientific organizing committees; member of the Board of Directors for “EcoOcean” an environmental NGO promoting marine research and education; and organizer of an international course in Italy sponsored by EcoOcean “Environmental Issues Know no Boundaries” bringing together graduate students from Mediterranean countries in conflict to work jointly on marine and environmental issues affecting us all beyond national borders.
Ilana Berman-Frank lives on Kibbutz Kfar Hanassi in the Upper Galilee, is the proud mother of four daughters and 2 grandchildren.